Call for autism inquiry to visit EdSpace

29 August 2016

Monday 29 August 2016

A Parliamentary inquiry looking into autism has been invited to visit EdSpace in Benalla.

The inquiry is investigating what services are available to people with autism spectrum disorder and their families in Victoria including the availability and adequacy of services.

Member for Euroa and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan said one in every 100 to 110 people were diagnosed with autism.

“There are some very big gaps that exist in services to assist families who have an autistic child, particularly in regional communities,” Ms Ryan said.

“I have written to the committee overseeing the inquiry to invite them to visit EdSpace to learn more about the work the school is doing within the Benalla community.

“I have also spoken with the Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Autism Spectrum Disorder Bernie Finn who is keen to visit.”

Ms Ryan said Mr Finn was as the first Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Autism Spectrum Disorder to investigate, on behalf of the Victorian Liberal Nationals Coalition, new ways to help families and children with autism.

“EdSpace can give a valuable insight to this inquiry, particularly from the perspective of a service in regional Victoria,” Ms Ryan said.

Ms Ryan who visited EdSpace recently said the school offered innovative educational programs and evidence-based clinical services as an alternative for students who may struggle in the mainstream school setting.

“Unemployment rates for individuals on the autism spectrum are around 65 per cent, compared to roughly six per cent for the whole population,” Ms Ryan said.

“They are also over represented in the homeless population and in the justice system.

“The evidence shows that early intervention has tremendous results and I have seen the difference EdSpace is making in the lives of many local young people with their creative programs.

“No insight can compare to the first-hand knowledge of those working in the field and I am hopeful the committee will visit EdSpace to hear from staff and students directly.”

The Inquiry Into Services for People with Autism Spectrum Disorder will look at services provided by the Commonwealth, State and local governments across health, education, disability, housing, sport and employment services.

More information is available at


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