MC17-009292 - response on NDIS Independent Advisory Council

Below is a link to a response on behalf of The Hon Christian Porter MP, Minister for Social Security, to A4's concerns about the lack of autistic representation on the NDIA's Independent Advisory Council (IAC).

The Government's response is very disappointing.

Basically, it says "Ms Sylviana Mahmic is a representative of the peak body for early childhood intervention in Australia and a significant portion of the people her organisation assists are people with autism". A4 is not aware that Early Childhood Intervention Australia (ECIA) assists autistic people ... or actually assists (provides service for) any people with disability.

Ms Mahmic is not known to people in the ASD community. Her views and the advice she is offering are unknown. The ASD community has no idea whether her views are in anyway representative of ASD community.

ECIA, who Ms Mahmic represents, does not support good/best practice early intervention for autistic children. ECIA promotes the inclusion of children in mainstream settings: basic it believes in Inclusion, that autistic children should be returned to the mainstream settings where they already failed (which lead to their ASD diagnosis). In other words, do the same thing and expect a different result.

The available evidence does not show Inclusion, ECIA's preferred early intervention approach, improves outcomes for autistic children. Inclusion without good/best practice early intervention for ASD is support by only a minority of the ASD community ... and this approach is already available for those who want it.

Time wasted waiting for inclusion to fail again waste the limited opportunity for good/best practice early intervention for an autistic child.

The response also says

To ensure that all major stakeholders are represented in the IAC's deliberations, the NDIA has engaged five expert advisers to supplemnent the IAC's membership. One of the expert advisers, Mr Ross Joyce, is the Chief Executive Officer of thye Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) that has a membership base of national and state organisations run by and for people with disability and their families. One of AFDO's member organisations is Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia. The Expert Advisers have the same responsibilities as members and, with the involvement of their member organisations, will substantially further the breadth of information provided to the NDIA Board.

The AFDO CEO, Mr Ross Joyce, does not have any responsibility or authority to speak on issues related to ASD as a distinct disability.

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