The Better Start for Children with Disability (Better Start) Initiative aims to assist eligible children with developmental disabilities to access funding for early intervention services. My Favourite Physio is very proud to be a part of the Better Start Initiative, and is a member of the Better Start Early Intervention Provider Panel (the Panel).
Eligible families who have registered their child for Better Start can use service providers on the Better Start Early Intervention Provider Panel.
Because Your Future Matters.
From 1 July 2011, eligible children diagnosed with Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, Fragile X syndrome, or a moderate or greater vision or hearing impairment, including deafblindness, will have access to funding and new Medicare items under the Better Start for Children with Disability (Better Start) initiative.
From 1 January 2013, Better Start has been expanded to include children diagnosed with:
Children in this group who are under six (or turn six) on 1 January 2013 are eligible to register for Better Start.
Children with one of the listed disabilities are also able to access Medicare rebates under Better Start.
From 1 July 2011, eligible children will be able to be registered to access early intervention funding of up to $12,000 (to a maximum of $6,000 per financial year).
The funding will be able to be used to pay for early intervention services including speech pathology, audiology, occupational therapy, physiotherapy, psychology and orthoptics. Families will have until their child turns seven to use the early intervention funding.
This targeted early intervention in the pre-school years is intended to complement existing Commonwealth and State and Territory services and to assist these children to have the best possible preparation for the transition to school.
Parents or carers of eligible children will need to register their child for the Better Start initiative before they turn six in order to access the early intervention funding.
Registration is completed by the Registration and Information Service (RIS), operated by Carers Australia. Parents and carers will be able to contact the RIS from 1 July 2011.
To register a child for the Better Start Initiative, call the RIS on 1800 242 636.
To register a child for the early intervention funding, parents or carers must provide evidence of:
To ensure children can be registered for the initiative as quickly as possible, parents and carers are encouraged to have the required documents ready prior to contacting the RIS.
Below are the eligibility thresholds for each of the disabilities included under the Better Start initiative. These thresholds were determined in consultation with an Expert Reference Group established by the Department.
Hearing impairment: children will be eligible if they have a hearing loss of 40 decibels or greater in the better ear, across 4 frequencies (including children with permanent conductive hearing loss and auditory neuropathy).
Sight impairment: children will be eligible if they have vision of less than or equal to 6/18 or equivalent field loss, in the better eye with correction.
Deafblindness: diagnosis by a specialist multidisciplinary team which includes an ophthalmological and audiological evaluation (therefore application of a threshold is not necessary).
Down syndrome: all children with a confirmed diagnosis of Down syndrome, including those with mosaic Down syndrome.
Fragile X syndrome: all children with a confirmed diagnosis of Fragile X syndrome with full mutation.
Cerebral palsy: all children with a confirmed diagnosis of cerebral palsy.
Families will be able to access the new Medicare items from 1 July 2011.
Medicare items will be introduced for:
Children do not need to register for the Medicare component of the initiative.
For further information about the Better Start initiative, please contact the Better Start Helpline on 1800 989 530. This helpline operates from 8:30am – 5:00pm Monday to Fridays (excluding Public Holidays).
Enquiries can also be emailed to Better.Start@fahcsia.gov.au