Government adds funds for children with disabilities

Not-for-Profit organisation, The Shepherd Centre helps educate hearing impaired children to listen and speak through Auditory-Verbal Therapy programs.
The organisation said the Gillard Labor Government’s $10 million commitment to further disability reform, confirmed the commitment of the Government for disability reform.
Prime Minister Gillard announced an immediate $10 million investment in disability reform, including the establishment of a COAG Select Council of Ministers to lead disability reform and the establishment of an Advisory Group to the Select Council to be led by Dr Jeff Harmer
The announcement followed the release of the Productivity Commission’s Report into disability care which recommended the establishment of a National Disability Insurance Scheme and a National Injury Insurance Scheme.
According to the Shepherd Centre CEO Jim Hungerford, the funds confirm the commitment of the Federal Government to disability reform in Australia.
“This is a very welcome initiative, which in conjunction with the Federal Government's Better Start for Children with Disability initiative and the support of the NSW and ACT Governments will provide a much needed boost to children with hearing impairment,” he said.
“It will help ensure that these children and their families have access to intensive early intervention therapies and treatments from expert health professionals from organisations like The Shepherd Centre.”
Mr Hungerford said the Shepherd Centre is looking forward to working with the advisory group and Dr Harmer to ensure that children who are deaf or have impaired hearing receive support.
The Federal Government has also launched a $147 million program – dubbed – Better Start for Children With Disability, for children with hearing impairments, sight impairments, and cerebral palsy.
Children with Down Syndrome or fragile X syndrome are also eligible to receive up to $12000 for early intervention services.
Updated data analysis from The Shepherd Centre shows that in 2010, all of the graduating children, with mild to profound hearing loss for whom English was their first language and who had no additional needs, went on to enter their local mainstream school with age appropriate language skills.
Providing early intervention services at the Centre costs $14025 per child, per year, with the majority of this cost being provided by community fundraising.

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