Proof of diagnosis
Registration and Information Service (RIS) staff must sight a written conclusive diagnosis made by or through any one of the following:
- a paediatrician
- a relevant medical specialist, such as a geneticist, neurologist, ophthalmologist, otologist or ENT
- a general practitioner
- a multidisciplinary assessment service, or
- Australian Hearing.
An acceptable form for a diagnosis should include either:
- letter-head paper, which includes the signature and position of the diagnosing professional, or
- an email with ‘approved for transmission’ in the email written by the appropriate diagnosing professional.
Residential eligibility for access to the Better Start funding is the same as that for Centrelink Carer Allowance (Child). That is, both the carer and the child being cared for must be living in Australia permanently as:
- an Australian citizen
- the holder of a permanent resident visa, or
- a New Zealand citizen who was:
- in Australia on 26 February 2001, or for 12 months in the 2 years immediately before that date,
- assessed as "protected" before 26 February 2004.
To ensure children can be registered for Better Start without unnecessary delay, parents and carers are encouraged to make sure that they have the required documentation ready prior to contacting the RIS.
Below are the eligibility thresholds that apply to each of the disabilities included under the Better Start initiative.
The thresholds were determined in consultation with an Expert Reference Group established by FaHCSIA and were endorsed by the Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers.
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 or
- 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.
Deafblindness: diagnosis by a specialist multidisciplinary team which includes an ophthalmological and audiological evaluation (therefore application of a threshold is not necessary).
Down syndrome: all children with a confirmed diagnosis of Down syndrome, including those with mosaic Down syndrome.
Fragile X syndrome: all children with a confirmed diagnosis of Fragile X syndrome with full mutation, including those with mosaic Fragile X.
Cerebral palsy: all children with a confirmed diagnosis of cerebral palsy.
Prader Willi syndrome: all children with a confirmed diagnosis of Prader Willi syndrome.
Williams syndrome: all children with a confirmed diagnosis of Williams syndrome.
Angelman syndrome: all children with a confirmed diagnosis of Angelman syndrome.
Kabuki syndrome: all children with a confirmed diagnosis of Kabuki syndrome.
Smith-Magenis syndrome: all children with a confirmed diagnosis of Smith-Magenis syndrome.
Cri du Chat syndrome: all children with a confirmed diagnosis of Cri du Chat syndrome.
CHARGE syndrome: all children with a confirmed diagnosis of CHARGE syndrome.
Cornelia de Lange syndrome: all children with a confirmed diagnosis of Cornelia de Lange syndrome.
Microcephaly: If a child has:
- A head circumference less than the third percentile for age and sex; and
- A functional level at or below two standard deviations below the mean for age on a standard developmental test, or an IQ score of less than 70 on a standardised test of intelligence.
Explanatory notes: “Standardised test of intelligence” refers to the Wechsler Intelligence Scale (WISC) or the Wechsler Preschool and Primary Scale of Intelligence (WPPSI). “Standard developmental test” refers to Baley Scales of Infant Development or the Griffiths Mental Development Scales. It is up to the clinical judgement of the diagnosing practitioner if other tests are appropriate to be used.