Disabled children to get help from new funding

PARENTS of disabled children will soon be able to access up to $12,000 in Medicare rebates as part of a new Federal Government initiative.

Under the $122 million Better Start program, children under six with sight or hearing impairment, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy or fragile X syndrome will be eligible for the funding from 1 July.

The cash – up to $6000 a year per child – goes towards speech pathology, audiology, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, psychology, orthoptics and other services to help prepare for school.

Sydney GP and associate professor of general practice at the University of Sydney Michael Fasher said previously children with autism had benefited most from Government assistance, but the new program represented a “remarkable breakthrough” in policy to support children with any developmental disability.