Coalition hears autism concerns in Benalla
06 February 2017
Benalla parents opened up about the financial and emotional toll of living with autism during a roundtable discussion on autism with Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Autism Bernie Finn in Benalla today.
Mr Finn visited EdSpace in Benalla for the roundtable at the invitation of Member for Euroa and Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan.
Issues raised included the need for early intervention, financial support to help meet education needs, more support systems for parents and carers and the significant role that autism and special needs specific schools play.
Ms Ryan said it was important for the Liberals and Nationals to hear directly from families touched by autism.
“There are huge gaps when it comes to support and services for people and families affected by autism and the services that do exist can be very expensive,” Ms Ryan said.
“I have been contacted by a number of parents from across my electorate who are facing the challenge of this and who don’t know where to turn for support.
“Some are driving an extra two hours every day to ensure their child has the same opportunities as those in mainstream schooling. Others have had to uproot their lives to move across the state so that their child can access a school suitable for their needs.
“Listening to parents share their stories gives an amazing insight into the challenges they face day in day out.
“I invited Bernie to visit so that he could hear these concerns and better understand what changes are needed to make the lives of those affected by autism easier.”
Ms Ryan also recognised the work of EdSpace Principal Maggie Fanning and David Rodgers in starting EdSpace and continuing to run such a successful school.
“Hearing about the difference EdSpace is making in the lives of these parents is testament to the wonderful work that Maggie, David and the teachers at EdSpace are doing.
“One parent told us that their child now comes home from school at the end of the day with a smile on his face for the first time in his life.
“It’s examples like this that demonstrate that schools like EdSpace work and we need to pay attention to that.”