Ageing Disability and Home Care (ADHC) has released the high-level findings from ARTD’s evaluation of four models of early intervention for children with autism aged 0 to 5 years and their families. The four programs—Footprints (Autism Behavioural Intervention NSW), Building Blocks, More Than Words and Autism Pro (Aspect NSW)—were funded throughStronger Together: A new direction for disability services in New South Wales, 2006–2016. All of the programs were designed in line with best practice principles, but they varied in terms of their philosophical orientation, delivery (mode, intensity, duration) and the intervention focus (child or parent).
The evaluation compared the outcomes for children across the four programs, as well as the cost-effectiveness of the programs, drawing on quantitative and qualitative data. The findings showed that children who took part in one or more of the four programs—within the context of receiving other services, supports and therapies through other sources, including the Helping Children with Autism Package—demonstrated improved skills, abilities and behaviours. Their parents’ knowledge, understanding and ability to cope also increased. The evaluation will inform ADHC’s decisions about the future direction of programs to support children with autism and their families.
This work builds on our other work in the autism area, in particular the evaluation of the Helping Children with Autism Package for the Commonwealth Department of Families, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs, and adds to the evidence base about effective supports for children with autism and their families.
ARTD is continuing to champion collaboration in government by sponsoring the NSW Institute of Public Administration Australia’s (IPAA) Collaboration Award again this year. The Collaboration Award recognises individuals who
– have established effective joint working arrangements that bring together colleagues from multiple teams, departments or other organisations
– can clearly identify and communicate the benefits of a collaborative approach
– have delivered improved, coordinated and efficient services.
Our Principal Consultant Sue Leahy presented the award to the 2013 winner, Dion Peita, at a special reception after IPAA’s Special Forum: Reforming to Create Value on Wednesday 8 May. Dion was recognised for his innovative work leading a collaboration between the Australian Museum and the Fairfield Office of Juvenile Justice NSW.
Concerned with the over-representation of Pacific youth in the NSW criminal justice system, in 2008, Dion began exploring the potential for the Australian Museum to help at-risk young people stay out of jail. Juvenile offenders of Pacific background now have the chance to access the Museum’s cultural collections as part of special programs. This has been achieved through collaboration between the Museum and organisations that provide services to at-risk young people. As a result of Dion’s vision, hundreds of young people have gained awareness of their cultural background through handling cultural artefacts and engaging with cultural experts, discussing issues around cultural identity and artistic expression.