17 May 2023 – Minderoo Foundation’s Thrive by Five initiative has welcomed the Federal
Government’s announcement today of new pilot programs to provide young babies showing
signs of neurodiversity and their parents with additional support in this critical phase of
The pilot programs follow research from Telethon Kids Institute showing early support and
interventions in children under three can improve outcomes and reduce the likelihood of a
later autism diagnosis.
Thrive by Five Director Jay Weatherill said the announcement today was recognition of the
crucial importance of the early years on lifelong learning and wellbeing.
“The brain grows to 90 per cent of full size by the time a child is five, making this a crucial
time for shaping thinking and social and emotional development,” Mr Weatherill said.
“The earlier we can discover that a child is neurodiverse and may need more support, then
the sooner support can be provided and children can be helped to reach their full potential.
“A key to giving every Australian child the best start to life is a universal, accessible and high-
quality early childhood education and care system.
“Early childhood educators are a cornerstone of early learning and have profound impact on
the lives of children and families. They should also play a key role in the new pilot programs
announced today,” Mr Weatherill said.