Bundoora autism centre to ease pressure on services

Community hub manager Claire Jones with Miles and Joshua. Picture: Marco De Luca

Families living in the northern suburbs will have improved access to autism services, with a dedicated centre opening in Bundoora.

Autism service provider Irabina opened its first centre in the north earlier this month, allowing parents to access support services for their children close to home.

The Plenty Road centre includes a paediatrician, speech and occupational therapy, psychology, early behavioural intervention and school holiday programs.

It also has diagnostic teams who can assess a child for autism and recommend a tailored treatment program.

Irabina chief clinician Jose Molina said the centre would be a “one-stop shop” for families in the north.

He said that between 2012-15, there was a 40 per cent increase in autism diagnoses, placing pressure on services.

The new centre will offer welcome relief to families with a child with autism, he said.

“If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism. Every case of autism is completely different and has a variable degree of severity, and so every case needs to be treated in a completely different way,” Mr Molina said.

“Rather than parents having to go to a number of different service providers and see no change in their child, we can work out exactly what that child needs and create a special program specifically for them.”

Irabina chief executive Debra Goldfinch said the centre also offered support to family members.

“Autism can have an enormous impact on a family as a whole, and we like to offer the family support, training and counselling when they need it too,” she said.