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Doesn't Evander deserve a Better Start?

Sign our Petition to have Spinal Cord Injury included in Better Start For Children with a Disability (Better Start) Initiative on change.com 

It is acknowledged by the Better Start Initiative that disabled children and babies up to the age of 6 years are more responsive to therapies and their young bodies more adaptive to change. Through these children receiving early intervention treatments, a tremendous difference can be made in their rehabilitation, transition to school and ultimate quality of life well into adulthood.

The Better Start Early Intervention Funding should provide money for all disabled children to provide strategies, practices and therapies to help them participate as fully as they are able in social, educational and economic life. 

KPMG’s report for the Government on ‘Early Childhood Intervention’ outlines in detail the need for early intervention and the benefits of therapies in the lives of disabled children. What I do not understand is why only four ‘most’ needy disability groups were chosen as deserving of the Better Start Funding when these benefits also apply to spinal cord injury cases? SCI children have an equally compelling and well-documented argument for intervention in these critical developmental years.

Well the government has now agreed that actually there are more children that should also be helped with scheme and will be opening it up to 8 new disabilities in 2013. Yet, still miraculously spinal cord injury is not on the list.

 

Watch Evander on the Channel TEN News (above video)

 

 

Budgeting for the Inclusion of SCI Kids in the Better Start Initiative

Unfortunately, due to the low numbers of children with spinal cord injuries in Australia it is difficult to get a number of cases in NSW or Australia as there is no National Database or record. It seems that these numbers are not even recorded until children are 16 years old.  

I believe the number of Spinal Cord Injured children under the age of 6 years throughout all of Australia would be under 30 (if that). The government does not have the budget to even create a database of Children with Spinal Cord Injuries in Australia. This handful of children would not significantly impact the budget for the Better Start Funding. The incremental cost to include these few children would be extremely low, but the benefits to SCI children would be life-long.

The Government should have the foresight to spend money now and save money later. The reality of not helping these children now, will increase the burden to the Government and the taxpayer in years to come. The problem that this money has to come out of the current Government’s budget rather than the budget of a Government in 10-20 years time who will be facing exponential costs for not having helped with intervention in the critical years of these children. 

Better Start funding should be intended to help ALL children with a disability with early intervention therapies in order to minimise developmental problems in later life.  

Government's duty of care

Where is the Government of Australia’s duty of care to look after these children at a time when they are most responsive to therapies and equipment aids? I hope that this Government can immediately include Spinal Cord Injury as one of the disabilities covered in Better Start Funding so that our son can begin to have access to funding for therapies and equipment to give him the best start in life!

 Advocacy

We are thankful to Spinal Cord Injuries Australia who have taken up Evander's case to have Spinal Cord Injury included in the Better Start Initiative. If you also have a child with a Spinal Cord Injury under the age of 13 years I would encourage you to contact SCIA and ask for assistance. Read SCIA blog on the subject >>