By abbott |

My son was diagnosed with Asperger's at 8 years. As it is on the recognised list of disabilities I was automatically eligible to receive Carer Allowance. As he will be turning 16 this year (and for some reason that means Centrelink consider him an adult) I have been sent review forms. After reading the forms, I can see he will not qualify as having an adult disability as he is mobile and can care for himself, as can most other 15 year olds. He has come a long way, but still has the obvious Asperger traits and still needs a lot of emotional support. I believe in the education system he will still be deemed to have a disability, as on diagnosis I was told one of the benefits of having this registered is that come exam time he can have extended sitting times negotiated. Obviously, he will be 18 before he sits year 12 exams. I also believe the school will continue to receive $100 per school week ($4 000 per year) disability payment for him, although I have never managed to convince them to spend any on assisting him.
I would dearly love to continue receiving this payment as it allows a tutor to mentor him at home in organising his work (where most Aspie's fall down)so he can hopefully get the best results possible at school. However, if there is no recognised list for "adults" we definitely wont be eligible. Can anyone tell me if it's still possible to receive payment for Asperger's after age 16?
Thanks so much.

I'm in the same boat and was really hoping there might be some group that is lobbying to change this. As the government changed FTB to extend past 16 if the child was in school, then they should have also extended Carers Allowance. For one payment they are a child dependent and for the other they are suddenly an adult!!

My identical twins were finally diagnosed with Aspergers at 15 years - after about 3 years of actively struggling to get help (after years of not knowing what was going on) and an initial wrong diagnosis by Autism SA then a correct one down the track with the Womens and Children's Hospital Child Development Unit. Anyway, long long story.

But it meant that we got the Carers Allowance for about a year - what a help that was - especially as I can't work as much. Now they're 16 and I really don't think they would be qualified under the adult test, yet I'm still doing all that I was before, nothing has changed. It upsets me that there is such emphasis placed on giving funding to early diagnosis (yes they should) but that the ones who have fallen through the cracks or don't "present" typically - like identical twins don't have similar funding to help after a late diagnosis.

Luckily although the payment has stopped, finally having an NEP (compulsory now with this diagnosis) means that the school has to help us. But even that took over a year and a complete breakdown of communication with the school and involvement of a Disabilities Advocate (amazing results & support!). Now my boys get weekly counselling sessions - really these are organisational sessions - where the counsellor goes through all work due and breaks down the goals and finally, finally they are getting the help at school they have always needed. They are in Year 11.... And more help would be better, but compared to what we endured at another high school for years 8 & 9 before the diagnosis and before I fought for this at the school they've been at since the beginning of Year 10 (just after the diagnosis) there is a HUGE difference.

Are you in SA, Abbott? (that's if you do see this thread reply). Because in terms of getting a school to help I definitely understand what you are going through, and could give you some details about my battle & how that's been resolved.

I asked at Autism SA (we are now on their books but there aren't really services for kids my boys age) about getting the form filled in for the adult carers assessment & was told they don't do it there, but a suggestion was to apply for Disability Support Pension as it was easier to get than Carers for kids like ours. I think my boys don't need that, we just need that extra help at least until 18 with the Carers Allowance. Anyway I believe the qualifications for DSP have tightened up since the woman who gave me that advice applied for it with her son.

All I can suggest is that you take "advantage" of the way they don't cancel Carers Allowance until 3 months after the child turns 16. If you hold off putting in the forms - which I did - until that 3 months it's 3 months extra payment. If you put the forms in just after he turns 16 & you're not eligible they'll cancel you straight away.

I've put my forms in - just before cancellation - and the payment has stopped but I keep contacting and when I have enough money to see an occupational therapist again I might get them to fill in the TDR and see how we go. We are seeing a Psychologist but they are not counted when it comes to these forms !?!* Again, another unfair boundary after the 16 year mark.

Any input from anyone who knows any more would be welcome :)

Cheers, Bronwyn

My daughter was not diagnosed with Aspergers until she was 18 years old during her HSC year. We would have loved some support during her younger years. Our school did provide support for her anxiety & depression from Year 10.

In reply to Abbot's original post. In regards to support when your son does his HSC you should still be able to gain special provisions so he can do his exams in a quieter setting. You should also look into the Educational Access Schemes - ''for applicants who've experienced long-term educational disadvantage due to circumstances beyond their control or choosing, which has seriously affected their educational performance.''

Our school provided us with support by giving us information about both these schemes which allowed my daughter to sit Year 12 exams in a separate area with a smaller group of students. She also qualified for the Educational Access Scheme due to long term anxiety & depression (though she did not need these extra ATAR points in the end). She is now studying at University albeit taking only 2 subjects per semester study load & is registered with the University Disability Unit for ongoing support.