Can I get Better Start?

Age Threshold

A child must be under the age of six years and have been diagnosed with one of the following disabilities to be eligible for Better Start funding.

Disabilities included in Better Start 

  • Cerebral palsy
  • Deafblindness
  • Down syndrome, including mosaic Down syndrome
  • Fragile X syndrome with full mutation
  • Hearing impairment
  • Sight impairment
  • Prader-Willi syndrome
  • Williams syndrome
  • Angelman syndrome
  • Kabuki syndrome
  • Smith-Magenis syndrome
  • CHARGE syndrome
  • Cornelia de Lange syndrome
  • Rett's Disorder
  • Cri du Chat syndrome; or
  • Microcephaly

 

Eligibility thresholds  

Cerebral palsy

All children with a confirmed diagnosis of cerebral palsy will be eligible for Better Start. 

Deafblindness

All children with a diagnosis made by a specialist multidisciplinary team which includes an ophthalmological and audiological evaluation (therefore application of a threshold is not necessary) will be eligible.

Down syndrome

All children with a confirmed diagnosis of Down syndrome, including those with mosaic Down syndrome, will be eligible.

Fragile X syndrome

All children will be eligible if they have a confirmed diagnosis of Fragile X syndrome with full mutation.

Hearing impairment

Children will be eligible if they have a hearing loss in both ears that meets either of the following two criteria:

  • A permanent conductive or sensorineural hearing loss that has a four frequency average hearing loss* of 40dBHL or greater in the better-hearing ear
  • Auditory Neuropathy Spectrum Disorder diagnosed in both ears.

* The four frequency average hearing loss represents the average of hearing thresholds at 500 Hz, 1000 Hz, 2000 Hz and 4000 Hz. 

Sight impairment

Children will be eligible if they have vision of less than or equal to 6/18 or equivalent field loss, in the better eye with correction. 

Prader-Willi

All children will be eligible if they have a confirmed diagnosis of Prader-Willi syndrome.

Williams

All children will be eligible if they have a confirmed diagnosis of WIlliams syndrome.

Angelman

All children will be eligible if they have a confirmed diagnosis of Angelman syndrome.

Kabuki

All children will be eligible if they have a confirmed diagnosis of Kabuki syndrome.

Smith-Magenis

All children will be eligible if they have a confirmed diagnosis of Smith-Magenis syndrome.

CHARGE

All children will be eligible if they have a confirmed diagnosis of CHARGE syndrome.

Cornelia de Lange

All children will be eligible if they have a confirmed diagnosis of Cornelia de Lange syndrome.

Rett's Disorder

All children will be eligible if they have a confirmed diagnosis of Rett's Disorder.

Microcephaly

All children will be eligible if they have a confirmed diagnosis of Microcephaly based on a head circumference less than the third percentile and a functional level at or below two standard deviations below the mean for age on the Griffiths Mental Development Scales or the Bayley Scales of Infant Development.

 

Parents or carers who have questions about the disability thresholds should contact the Department of Social Services directly through the dedicated mailbox Better.Start@dss.gov.au

Information on how your child's participation in the Better Start program may be affected if they become a participant in the NDIS can be found here.

Organisations representing the disabilities included under the Better Start initiative are listed on the Links and Resources page.

Information on the assessment and registration of your child for Better Start is included in Steps to Better Start.

Please note

If your child has a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder and has already accessed the Helping Children with Autism package, you will not be able to register for Better Start. Children with a diagnosis of ASD and a diagnosis of one of the disabilities identified for Better Start are entitled to access one package of early intervention funding only, that is, they are not entitled to access both packages either sequentially or at the same time. Please contact the Carers Association in your state or territory and talk to a Registration and Information Service Adviser about your family's circumstances.


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