Public services for children with special needs: Discrimination by diagnosis?

Authors

  • Michael McDowell,

    Corresponding author
    1. Child Development Network, South Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
      Dr Michael McDowell, Child Development Network, Mater Potter Building, 3/39 Annerley Road, South Brisbane, QLD 4101, Australia. Fax: 07 3010 3377; email: m.mcdowell@uq.edu.au
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  • Mick O'Keeffe

    1. Child Development Network, South Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
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Dr Michael McDowell, Child Development Network, Mater Potter Building, 3/39 Annerley Road, South Brisbane, QLD 4101, Australia. Fax: 07 3010 3377; email: m.mcdowell@uq.edu.au

Abstract

In July 2011, the Australian federal government announced expansion of early intervention funding. Children diagnosed with cerebral palsy, Down syndrome, Fragile X syndrome and hearing and vision impairments are now eligible in addition to the existing funding for children diagnosed with autistic disorders. By deciding who gets the funding according to a set of accepted diagnoses, many children with equivalent if not greater levels of early intervention special need are excluded. In this viewpoint, we consider the fairness of this approach, and argue that while it may make sense from a political point of view, it is hard to justify, and possibly even discriminatory, from clinical, ethical and legal perspectives.

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