The Helping Children With Autism (HCWA) funding package is the first port of call for many families.

There are many different elements to the HCWA, here’s an image showing the various components that you are entitled to.

NB If the NDIS has arrived in the area you live in, then you will use that rather than HCWA.

Getting started with HCWA – Diagnosis

The HCWA package includes some Medicare numbers which refund part of the cost of diagnosis and treatment for ASD. Visit our Medicare pages to learn more about this in detail.

Getting started with early intervention

1. Call the Autism Advisor Hotline in you state

NSW 1300 978 611
VIC 1300 424 499
WA (08) 9489 8900
QLD 1800 428 847
ACT (02) 6140 1061
NT 1300 288 476
TAS 1300 288 476
SA (08) 8379 6976

2. Complete the application form and consent form
3. Attend an appointment with an Autism Advisor (or talk on the phone)
4. Receive a letter of introduction to service providers

HCWA funding is only for children aged 0 – 6 years. Your son or daughter can claim services to the value of $12,000 (maximum $6,000 per financial year) until he or she reaches his or her seventh birthday.

If your child is older than six when diagnosed then you can find out about help available on our Therapies and Medicare pages.

If your child is six or under, then they are eligible and we suggest you call your state’s Autism Advisors as soon as possible.

Finding Services

Your Autism Advisor will help you to get set up with the early intervention service of your choice.

There are so many options for early intervention, read about the ones that have a solid evidence base on our Early Intervention page.

However, there may be very few services actually available in your area. Your Autism Advisor should be able to offer unbiased advice on the services to help you make your choice.

If you live in a rural or remote area then your Autism Advisor may also be able to help you secure some extra funding of $2,000.

You can find a list of approved service providers in your area on the webpage of the DSS Early Intervention Service Provider Panel.

https://www.dss.gov.au/our-responsibilities/disability-and-carers/program-services/for-people-with-disability/helping-children-with-autism/providers

HCWA – Medicare payments

HCWA funding offers rebates under Medicare to assist with both the cost of diagnosis and treatment.

See our Medicare section for a detailed description of what is available.

Raising Children Network Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder

HCWA funding supported the Raising Children Network to develop a section within their website specifically covering Autism Spectrum Disorder.

There is a great deal of information on this website and many videos where parents and professionals are interviewed about their life experiences. The website covers children and teenagers and we highly recommend you add this site to your resources.

HCWA PlayConnect Playgrounds

PlayConnect playgroups are run by Playgroups Australia and are a place where families and carers can connect with each other whilst being supported themselves. The play environment is structured and workers assist families to help their children learn and develop through play.

For more information call 1800 790 335 or email info@playgroupaustralia.com.au

HCWA Early Days Workshops

Early Days is a series of FREE workshops for parents, grandparents, and families of young children (0-6 years) who have an Autism Spectrum Disorder or who are going through the assessment and diagnostic process.

They offer both face-to-face workshops and online training.

To find out more about the Early Days workshops please visit their website.

HCWA Positive Partnerships

This program provides training for teachers and for parents too, aiming to improve educational outcomes for school aged children on the spectrum. The website has online training modules plus a list of upcoming training events.

To find out more about Positive Partnerships please visit their website.

Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centres

Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centres are long day care centres for children on the spectrum. There are six of them nationwide including south-western Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide, north-west Tasmania, Melbourne and Perth.

HCWA Contact Information

The federal government’s Department of Social Security manages HCWA and has a helpline:
HCWA Early Intervention Helpdesk on 1800 778 581, or email early.intervention@dss.gov.au.