A down-syndrome boy with school kids and teacher sitting on the floor in class, playing guitar.

Two projects, led by Autism Queensland and the Australian Catholic University, will provide support to children aged up to eight years and their families as part of the National Early Childhood Program.

The Labor Government has awarded $13.8 million in grants to support young children with newly diagnosed disability or emerging developmental concerns.

The grants aim to support families with evidence-based information, family-focused strategies and peers with similar experiences, Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said. “The two successful applicants were able to demonstrate their ability to deliver a quality national service with face-to-face delivery in every state and territory, complemented by online services.”

A national consortium of Playgroup Associations facilitated by Autism Queensland will deliver supported music groups and face-to-face and online playgroup sessions for young children to eight years with disability or developmental concerns and their families.

The Australian Catholic University consortium, including key partner, the University of Melbourne, will deliver a peer support program that empowers, supports and connects caregivers early in their experience of raising a child with disability or developmental concerns. The consortium includes research, health and community services.

The program was co-designed with parents, carers, service providers and researchers and includes a dedicated co-designed First Peoples program.

The co-design summary report is on the Department of Social Services website.

More information about the NECP is available here.