News/Announcements

Autism prevalence in Australia 2015

Media Release

The number of people who are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) continues to rise in Australia. Autism, once considered rare, is now 31% of NDIS participants, the largest disability group in the scheme according to recent the NDIS Quarterly Report issued in June 2015.

The number of NDIS participants with autism indicates that growth in autism diagnoses is not, as some commentators suggest, just due to greater autism awareness and diagnosis of milder cases. 

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported enormous growth in the number of people with autism with data it collected in 2009 and again in 2012 through its Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC).

Steady growth can also be seen in the number of families getting Carer Allowance (child) for children (data from Centrelink) who are  diagnosed formally with Autistic Disorder or Asperger's Disorder, just two of the autism spectrum disorders.

Submission on National Disability Advocacy Framework

To the DSS advocacy and access team,

Thank you for the opportunity to provide input to your review of the National Disability Advocacy Framework.

Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia, known as A4, is a nation organisation that focuses on systemic advocacy for the growing number of people living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in Australia. The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) estimates that the number of Australians with ASD over recent times has been …

year 1998 2003 2009 2012
autism '000s 13.2 30.4 64.4 115.4
5 year growth   2.3 1.9 2.6
severe & profound   87% 74% 73%

 

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), most people who are diagnosed with ASD have severe or profound disability.

A4's submission on National Disability Employment Framework

According to the DSS Engage website ...

The Australian Government wants to get more people with disability into jobs. We see a future where people with disability, like other Australians, can enjoy the economic and social freedom work brings.

Their task force published an Issues Paper and invited submissions. 

A4's sent a submission, available via the link below, that points out that the Australian Bureau of Statistics has repeatedly reported abysmal employment outcomes for people with autism/ASD. A4's submission concludes:

World Autism Awareness Day - United Nations Secretary-General's Message for 2015

I am hugely encouraged by the growing public awareness of autism spectrum disorders and the increase of public services to many of those affected. World Autism Awareness Day not only fosters greater understanding, it empowers parents into seeking early intervention therapies and calls for the full integration of persons with autism into society. It also invites policy-makers to encourage schools to open their doors to students with autism. With adequate support, they can -- and should -- be educated in the heart of their communities.

Discrimination against autistic persons, the rule rather than the exception

Two United Nations human rights experts today called for an end to discrimination against autistic persons and a celebration of diversity. Speaking ahead of World Autism Awareness Day, the Special Rapporteurs on the rights of persons with disabilities, Catalina Devandas Aguilar, and on the right to health, Dainius Pūras, noted that about one per cent of the world’s population -some 70 million people- is estimated to be on the autism spectrum worldwide. “As part of human diversity, autistic persons should be embraced, celebrated and respected.

Submission to UN on Rights or Persons with Disabilities

Autistic Minority International included a section from A4 in its submission to the United Nations Day of General Discussion (DGD) on the right to education for persons with disabilities.

The section from A4 says ...

"While the Australian government readily signs up to many international human rights conventions, it refuses to take the required next step, that is enacting laws that ensure the protection of human rights for its citizens. This lack of legal protection for rights of Australian citizens with a disability results in especially poor outcomes. Australia has the worst poverty of people with disability in the OECD.

Autism included at last ... but in a de-funded national disability consortium

Media Release

This week saw a major milestone for autism advocacy in Australia. The Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) helped Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4) prepare and distribute a media release. It was the first time ever that the wider disability community in Australia recognised and helped advocate for specific issues/needs of people living with autism.

Open letter about Autism, disability unemployment, etc. to the Minister for Social Security

Media Release

Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (known as A4), the national peak body for autism spectrum disorder (ASD), wrote an open letter to Scott Morrison MP, the new Minister for Social Security. The letter gives essential information about ASD and the impact of Government policy for people living with ASD, and asks for a meeting to discuss ways to improve outcomes.

The Hon Scott Morrison MP: Open letter on people living with autism, and request to meet

The Hon Scott Morrison MP
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Minister Morrison MP

Subject: Open letter on people living with autism, and request to meet

Your website shows that with new responsibilities in Social Security you have turned your attention to “our welfare system” and “our safety net”. Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4) asks to meet you to discuss the serious issues relating to welfare and supports for people living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Disability employment scheme: sudden exclusion, fish-slapped by Departments and their "systems"

Monty Python fish slapping dancePeople with autism have difficulty getting a job. The letter below describes the experience of one person and his carer on reaching a point just 2 years after leaving school. 

This experience shows that the Commonwealth Government's Disability Employment Scheme (DES) is largely intractable. The Australian Bureau of Statistics describes its abysmal outcomes for people with autism/ASD (link here): 

In 2012, the labour force participation rate for people with autism was 42%. This compares with 53% labour force participation rate for people with disabilities and 83% for people without disabilities.

The 41.2% of people with autism in the labour market in 2012 experienced 23% unemployment (there is improvement since 2009 when labour force participation was just 34% and unemployment was 41%).

‘Greatest area of need for people with disability left unmet by Government’

said Matthew Wright, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) and spokesperson for the disability peaks.

Responding to claims in The Australian newspaper by Minister for Social Services, Scott Morrison that the new peaks funding ‘supports the area of greatest need’, Matthew Wright said “The department has cut or not provided funding to the highest population groups of people with disability in Australia’.

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