Better Start is an Australian Government initiative that provides up to $12,000 in funding (up to a maximum of $6,000 per financial year) which can be used to pay for early intervention services, including Speech Pathology for children with disabilities. Families living in outer regional or remote areas may be eligible for an additional one-off support payment of $2,000 to assist with additional expenses such as travel and home visits associated with accessing services.
Better Start funding is for children with a confirmed diagnosis of the following conditions: Angelman syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, CHARGE syndrome, Cornelia de Lange syndrome, Cri du Chat syndrome, Down syndrome, including those with mosaic Down syndrome, Fragile X syndrome, Fragile X syndrome with full mutation includes mosaicism, Kabuki syndrome, Prader-Willi syndrome, Smith-Magenis syndrome, Williams syndrome and Rett's disorder.
Also included, with the following thresholds: Hearing Impairment in both ears (a hearing loss of 40 decibels or greater in the better ear, across 4 frequencies or permanent conductive hearing loss and auditory neuropathy) Microcephaly (a head circumference less than the third percentile for age and sex; and a functional level at or below 2 standard deviations below the mean for age on a standard developmental test, or an IQ score of less than 70 on a standardised test of intelligence) Vision Impairment (less than or equal to 6/18 or equivalent field loss, in the better eye with correction), Deafblindess (diagnosis made by a specialist multidisciplinary team which includes an ophthalmological and audiological evaluation).
To access Better Start, children with an eligible diagnosis must meet all registration criteria and be registered prior to their 6th birthday. Families will have until the child turns 7 to access funding.
The information in this pamphlet is a collective summary of potential funding options as at 8.12.2014. For up to date accuracy, please consult your healthcare professional or the appropriate funding mechanism website.