Autistic Australians are being locked out of the workforce, study finds

Of unemployed people with autism, 54% surveyed said they had never held a job despite wanting to

Australians living with autism are being locked out of the workforce, while some of those who found paid employment say they have previously lost a job because they are on the spectrum, new research claims.

A study commissioned by autism peak body Amaze, and described as an Australian-first by its authors, surveyed the employment experiences of those living with autism and their carers, as well as attitudes towards autistic people in the workforce.

Senate motion for a National Disability Strategy

Following representation by the Australian Autism Alliance, Senators Griff (Centre Alliance) and Brown (Labor) moved the following motion in the Australian Senate. Hansard records that the Senate passed the motion on 2/4/2019.

Senator GRIFF (South Australia) (16:44): I wish to inform the chamber that Senator Brown will also sponsor this motion. I, and also on behalf of Senator Brown, move:

That the Senate—

(a) notes that:

   (i) in 2015, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that there were 164,000 Australians with an autism diagnosis and a prevalence rate of 2.8% for those aged between 5-14 years (around 81,000 children), though this does not reflect the large numbers of autistic adults who remain undiagnosed,

NDIS - another massive rort: Bernardi

Editorial: nearly one year ago, the Conservatives claimed the NDIS is a rort. While it may not be what they meant, the Government is rorting the NDIS: instead of providing the support that autistic Australians needs, the Commonwealth Government is sucking revenue back from autistic people on the NDIS into its coffers to fund it's paper-thin budget surplus. Senator Bernardi mentions families of autistic children specifically.

Australian Conservatives leader Cory Bernardi is warning that the National Disability Insurance Scheme is already being rorted.

Australia adopts standards for autism diagnosis, to mixed reviews

 

Australia has become the latest country to establish guidelines for diagnosing autism, with the goal of making diagnoses consistent nationwide.

Clinicians typically diagnose autism using criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or the International Classification of Diseases. The new guidelines do not replace or reform these criteria; rather, they outline a framework for assessing behaviors and determining whether an individual meets the criteria.

Latest test of promising autism therapy shows only mild benefits

child seated at a learning table

A much-touted behavioral therapy for autism, the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM), may not be as effective as its creators had hoped1.

In the latest study of the therapy, it did not improve children’s intelligence quotients (IQ) or adaptive behavior any more than other treatments. Children treated with ESDM showed some improvement in their language, but only at two of the three study sites.

Independent experts say the results are disappointing, and they question some of the methods used to generate them.

Draft Terms of Reference for a Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability

DSS crest: Australian Government Department of Social Security

Have your say!

Finally, progress is being made towards a royal commission into violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of Australians with disability.

You can provide input to the terms of reference if you are quick (until 28/3/2019): see https://engage.dss.gov.au/royal-commission-into-violence-abuse-neglect-a...

Supporting autistic Australians is a crucial election issue

The next federal election is May 18!

Both A4 and the Australian Autism Alliance have produced material that improves awareness of ASD-related issues ahead of the coming federal election.

A4 encourages autistic people, their families, carers, ... everyone who wants better outcomes for autistic Australians, to share these documents with candidates in the coming May 18 federal election.

You can make a difference! The easiest thing to do is write to political parties: send them (electronic) copies of the documents below and ask them to tell you what they are doing to address issues that are crucial for autistic Australians.

NSW Education: Disability Strategy, A Living Document

The NSW Education department has released its latest "disability strategy" (download here).

In relation to autistic students, it says:

  • autistic students are 33% of "students supported by funded programs distributed by disability type 2017" in NSW (students with intellectual disability make up 40%).
  • "From 2013-17, enrolments of students with autism increased by ~14.5% per year" according to the Education Department's own data ... at this rate, the number of autistic students doubles every 5 years.
  • ...

What's Next for Autistic Adults?

John Elder Robison

We don't know, because most autistic adults are unrecognized and unsupported.

Reading the news, the prognosis for autistic adults looks like a very mixed bag. On one hand are hopeful stories about Project Search, Autism at Work, and Neurodiversity in school. Those accounts portray autistic people as loyal, kind, eager to work, and wanting to make a meaningful contribution. Employers talk about superior attention to detail and exceptional caring about quality and correctness.

Then there are the downsides. One study found that autistic people are nine times more likely to die of suicide. An autism website says 80% of autistic adults are unemployed. Autistics are far more vulnerable to diabetes, anxiety, obesity, depression and a host of other serious medical problems. Most autistic adults never get married, and if they do, it doesn’t last. 

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