Helping children with autism
The Helping Children With Autism (HCWA) funding package was introduced in 2008.
There are many different elements to the HCWA package, as seen in the image on the right.
HCWA - Applying for Early Intervention Funding
If the NDIS has not rolled out in your area, then follow these steps to get started with HCWA.
1. Call the Autism Advisor Hotline in you state
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 they reach their seventh birthday.
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.
Your Autism Advisor will help you to connect with the early intervention services in your region.
There are 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.
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.
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.
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.
For more information, visit the Early Days website here.
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.
For more information, visit the Positive Partnerships website here.
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.
For more information, visit the Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centres website here.
Information accurate as of September 2018.