The Swiss Times - Swiss News in English

The Federal Council Will Regulate Assistance for Early Childhood Autism

Families of preschoolers with early childhood autism should receive long-term financial assistance for early intervention. The Swiss Federal Council has proposed changes to the law to this effect and a pilot project is currently underway. The Swiss Invalidity Insurance (IV) is covering part of the costs of Intensive Early Intervention (IEI) for children with early childhood autism as part of the pilot project, which will run until 2026. Around 270 children, or 0.3% of a year group, are affected each year. In 2022, around eighty children will be able to start an IEI. IEI can improve behaviour and social and communication skills, and includes medical and educational measures such as psychotherapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, special education and psychology. The costs of medical measures are covered by the IV as part of the pilot project, while the cantons cover the costs of educational measures. The Federal Council has proposed changes to the Invalidity Insurance Act to ensure that the IV continues its commitment after 2026. Rules will also be set for cooperation between the federal government and the cantons. The IV will pay cantons a lump sum for the costs of medical measures, covering up to 25% of the average costs. This joint financing by the federal government and the cantons is considered appropriate and is the best way to ensure the effectiveness of IEI programmes. The early intervention should benefit all families with children with early childhood autism in the medium term. The consultation period ends on 22 December.

©Keystone/SDA

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