NOTICE OF MOTION TO MD CONVENTION

*** MOTION WAS ACCEPTED OVERWHELMINGLY AT CONVENTION ***

MOTION: That the following Motion be submitted to the next Multiple District Convention.

SUBJECT:               PRESCHOOL AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS (ASD) EDUCATION AND THERAPY PROJECT.

That  this Multiple District Convention approves the continuation and extension  in the manner set out in the explanation of the project called "Preschool Autism Spectrum Disorders Education and Therapy Project " as a Category "B" M.D. Project for a further term expiring on 30th June 2014.

EXPLANATION:

1) The Project was originally adopted as a Category "B" Project at the Launceston Multiple District Convention and is managed by the Lions Club of Lugarno Inc. The purpose of the Project is to improve life outcomes for children with ASD by increasing their parents` ability to access appropriate ASD specific preschool education and therapies through greater government funding.

2) The adoption of this Motion will allow Lions Clubs of Australia to continue to support early intervention preschool intensive ASD specific education and therapy by both continuation of the Project and expansion of the Project.

3) As the issue of ASD has come to the attention of Lions Clubs some have shown a desire to be actively involved in supporting groups assisting children with ASD.  Lions` interest has been warmly received and has given encouragement to parents and professionals.

4) While we are asking Lions Clubs to continue lobbying governments for increased funding for ASD therapies Lions Clubs are  also requested to contact preschool  schools or groups in their area and   where possible to determine whether such groups require support  and assistance.

5) There is growing evidence that early intervention intensive ASD specific education and therapy improves the opportunity for children with ASD to enter mainstream schooling and to have fuller life opportunities and outcomes.

6) The rate of childhood ASD in Australia has increased. Research from La Trobe University has revealed one in every 119 Australian children suffers from ASD and this is up from one child in 160 just three years ago. At present there are estimated to be over 12 000 children in Australia with ASD under the age of six years.  An estimated one in 70 boys per annum is born with ASD. The costs associated with education and therapy are very high and beyond the reach of most working families. Two days each week of ASD early intervention preschool can cost $10 000 per annum. Twenty hours each week of intensive ASD specific therapy can cost upwards of $54 000 per annum. Speech Pathology, Occupational therapy can cost $135 per hour.

7) At present the Federal Government provides a subsidy of up to $12 000 (maximum of $6 000 each financial year) until the child’s 7th birthday for various types of ASD therapy.  The Federal Government also provides an additional 20 service sessions over a life time for Psychology, Speech Pathology and Occupational Therapy.  A carer's allowance of $53 a week is also available through Centre Link. Fortunately at all levels governments are gradually increasing their support services for children with ASD.

8) Despite the support from the various levels of government the costs facing a family that  wants best outcomes for their child  by providing what is considered best practice educational therapy  will be well in excess of $30 000 per annum.

9) These costs can be financially crippling. For example many families have sold their homes and have moved in with their parents in order to provide educational therapy for their child with ASD. Many
families have taken out loans to provide funding for therapies.

10) If the Federal, State and Local Governments increase their respective funding for preschool children with ASD children’s chances for a better childhood and adult life will be enhanced, potentially reducing their lifetime dependence on government social welfare.

11) There are a large number of parent and charity groups struggling to fund ASD-specific therapies. The groups are constantly finding it difficult to raise sufficient funds for therapies. We believe the
considerable talents and skills of Lions Clubs could be applied to the parent and charity groups with great effect. The ASD groups are found all over Australia.

12) In conclusion we believe that an extension of time will materially assist the Project to fulfil its goal of improving the life-outcomes and possibilities of children with autism spectrum disorders.

MANAGEMENT DETAILS:

All Lions Club in Australia are requested to continue to make representations to the Federal Government and their respective State governments and where relevant, their respective Local
Governments to increase financial support for preschool autism spectrum disorders education and therapy.

All Lions Clubs in Australia are requested to continue to make representations to the Federal government to raise financial support for early intervention preschool autism spectrum disorders
education and therapy provided by qualified health professionals to a minimum of $30 000 per annum child claimable through Medicare and other agencies.

All Lions Clubs are requested to make contact with preschool early intervention ASD schools or groups in their local areas to determine whether such groups could be rendered assistance by way of funding or other forms of support.

The Projects continuation will be Managed by Lions Club of Lugarno Inc and the Managing Club will:

1) Appoint a Committee and Chair.

2) Promote the Project to Clubs.

3) Prepare suitable proforma letters for Clubs to use in making representations to Members of Parliament and where relevant Local Government representatives.

4) Meet all costs of printing and posting material to Clubs. There will be no financial costs to M.D. 201.

5) Submit Reports to M.D. as provided in the Constitution.

FINANCIAL IMPLICATIONS:

1) The continuation of the Project would incur no additional financial commitment to Clubs save for the cost of some stationery and postage with respect to writing letters to government representatives.

2)  If in addition to writing letters to government representatives Clubs choose to form relationships with local ASD groups they may incur financial costs associated with fund raising and donations,
but any such participation and financial commitment will be voluntary.