Families with babies showing early signs of autism will be among the first to benefit from a new autism support pilot program in South Australia.

The Inklings program, for infants between six to eight months uses short videos of the parent with their baby to help parents better understand their baby’s thoughts and feelings, different ways babies communicate, the importance of interaction and following baby’s focus of interest.

The program is being delivered up to 1,300 babies by the South Australian Government in partnership with the Telethon Kids Institute across the state in Northern Adelaide, metro and regional areas, Lower Eyre and Far North (regional and remote). It will focus on families from First Nations, culturally and linguistically diverse and low-socio economic backgrounds.

Speaking at a press conference, Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said the programs are about getting in early and providing the best support possible for parents to ensure their children continue to develop on a strong developmental trajectory. “It’s about improving parents communication with their babies and making sure they have access to the best family-based supports”, she said. SA Premier Pete Malinauskas said South Australia has the aspiration to be a world leading jurisdiction when it comes to providing support in the neurodiverse community. “There are countless numbers of people in Australia who are neurodivergent who have got something to offer, and we are not currently fully realising their potential and that costs everybody,” he said. “Having a program like Inklings in place to support children and their families as early as possible will have widespread benefits across our community