What Is A Disability Support Worker
A Disability Support Worker is a professional who supports an individual with a disability or a disorder and their family, to develop independence skills and to participate in the community. Disability Support Workers often support people who have neurological injuries, disabilities or disorders including acquired brain injury, physical and neurological disabilities, intellectual disability, and people on the autism spectrum.
Disability Support Workers often support an individual across both the home and community setting.
Education Services And Supports
Australian Government Department of Education Inclusion Support Program The Inclusion Support Program funds approved child care services, including out of school hours and holiday programs, to include all children in their programs, including children with high support needs. Your child care service will need to apply through its state or territory Inclusion Agency. You can discuss your childs needs with the child care service.
Preschool Inclusion Support Your childs preschool or kindergarten can apply for Inclusion Support from your state or territory government to fund extra resources to help the preschool or kindergarten include all children in its programs. Ask your preschool or kindergarten director about inclusion support.
Government, independent and Catholic schools all have support and funding for children with disability at school. Your childs school can explain whats available. You can also contact the disability and education agencies or departments in your state or territory for more information.
What Challenges Are Associated With Autism
Autism is often linked with physical, developmental or mental health conditions such as intellectual disability, epilepsy, gastro-intestinal issues, ADHD, dyspraxia, anxiety or depression.
However, many of the disabling challenges associated with autism come about when individuals dont have the respect, understanding and supports that allow them to be comfortable in a non-autistic world.
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Disability Assessment Services And Supports
Hearing Services Program The Hearing Services Program provides hearing assessments and a standard range of devices. Children who are eligible for the hearing services program will get hearing devices through this program. Other children might be able to get hearing devices through their NDIS plan.
Public disability and autism assessment services You wont have to pay for these assessment services. Contact your state or territory disability or autism association or the NDIS for details of services in your area and information about the process in your state or territory. Some of these services might have long waiting lists.
Better Access To Mental Health
The Better Access to Mental Health Plan provides you or your child with up to 10 sessions per year with mental health professionals like psychologists, mental health occupational therapists and some social workers using the Medicare rebate. This referral can be accessed through your GP.
Group sessions such as a social skills group or emotion regulation groups can also be claimed under this plan, but you will need to check whether Medicare covers them first.
A Snapshot Of Autism In Australia
The following provides a summary of relevant data and trends pertaining to the autism spectrum community and key current policy issues and implications affecting the autism spectrum community.
Prevalence and Incidence
- A shift to recognising and respecting neurological differences as a âsocial categoryâ , promoting the acceptance and celebration of difference and diversity.
- There is currently no consistent Australian standard for diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder
- There is a lack of consistency in diagnostic practices across Australia and some professionals may not be practicing in a way that is consistent with international best practice guidelines for ASD diagnosis
- A major study has been launched to develop Australiaâs first national diagnostic guideline for autism led by The Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism .
Early Intervention/Developmental Supports
Participation in the workforce is important for social inclusion and economic independence, but people with autism may encounter barriers to entering the labour market.
Primary and Secondary Education
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- The word autism refers to autism spectrum disorder , including Asperger syndrome.
- ASD can affect a persons ability to interact with the world around them and lead to repetitive behaviours or a narrow range of interests and activities.
- It can be hard to understand why people on the autism spectrum behave the way they do. Try to remember that the world can be a very confusing place for them and the best way to help is to be supportive and caring.
- Asperger Syndrome is now classified under the single umbrella term, ASD.
- There is no cure for ASD, but by getting advice early and working with your healthcare professional, you can give your child the best possible chance of fulfilling their potential
- Amaze is funded to help individuals on the autism spectrum, their families and carers who need information about Autism Spectrum Disorder and to understand what supports are available in Victoria. The Amaze InfoLine operates 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday 1300 308 699
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Ndis Plan Goals For Autism
Aligning your goals with the objectives of the NDIS is often a great place to start. The NDIS aims to support people with a disability to improve their independence, increase their participation in social and economic activities and to develop their capacity to engage with their community.
When you are developing you or your childs personal goals, reflect on each of these NDIS objectives and consider how your goals fit within these objectives.
Assessment And Diagnosis Of Autism
A detailed assessment is crucial to making sure an accurate diagnosis is made. It will be carried out by a multidisciplinary team of a paediatrician, psychologist or psychiatrist, and speech pathologist.
Some children will demonstrate signs of ASD by the age of two, but a diagnosis may sometimes not be possible until three or older. There is a significant amount of research indicating that early intervention maximises outcomes and gives children on the autism spectrum the best possible chance of fulfilling their potential.
There are a number of government-funded teams that specialise in the assessment and diagnosis of ASD. Parents can contact these teams directly, but you may need a referral from your GP or paediatrician.
There are also private practitioners and teams who conduct assessments on a fee-paying basis.
provides information on public assessment teams in Victoria.
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Autism And The Workplace
People with autism are underrepresented in Australian workplaces, with 40% of people with autism employed, compared with 83% of people without disability.
While people on the autism spectrum often face inherent challenges associated with communication and social interaction, these issues can be compounded by unsupportive colleagues and environments.
Autism In Australia: A Snapshot
While most people know someone on the autism spectrum, its not clear to everyone what autism actually is. Autism Spectrum Australia describes autism as a lifelong developmental disability characterised by difficulties in social interaction, impaired communication, restricted and repetitive interests and behaviours, and sensory sensitivities. 4 out of 5 people diagnosed with autism are male.
Until last year, it was generally accepted that approximately 1 in 100 people in Australia are on the autism spectrum. But that number is now considered to be closer to 1 in 70, with a broadening of autism criteria and improvements in identifying autism said to be behind the change.
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Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia
Sat, 02/10/2021 – 9:07am
Im pleased to share with you some material that you are welcome to share with your members in all states and territories. The material is designed to encourage people with disability and NDIS participants to book in and receive their vaccination as soon as possible. It also highlights the eligibility criteria for all vaccines. Its not new information the information is already available online if you know where to look but I hope that pulling it together in a single place with a particular focus on the options available for people with disability will make it a little less overwhelming.
Submitted by convenor on Sat, 23/10/2021 – 12:00am
A4’s brief and somewhat rushed submission on proposed changes to the NDIS legislation is available below.
The government gave the disability sector insufficient time to respond to its proposed changes. Parts of the disability sector have received legal advice that the limited time allowed is disability discrimination. It certainly shows that the government’s aim to build trust and to work with the sector is insubstantial.
Submitted by convenor on Fri, 08/10/2021 – 5:05pm
Fri, 17/09/2021 – 4:55pm
post-school employment boat awaits a rising tide of Autistic school-leavers
A4 made a late submission in response to DSS’s consultation on a National Disability Employment Strategy.
Submitted by convenor on Thu, 16/09/2021 – 12:41pm
For the autism sector, there are deeper issues from the outset.
Communication And Social Interaction For Autistic People
Autistic people often have difficulty with communication. They may have difficulty expressing their needs. Some autistic people never develop language, while others might have good verbal language skills.For those who do develop language, they may have difficulties using appropriate grammar and vocabulary, and constructing meaningful sentences. They may misunderstand words, interpret them literally or not understand them at all. Other peoples feelings and emotions can be difficult to understand.
Autistic people can find social skills and social communication very difficult.
This may mean that they appear disinterested in others, aloof or unsure of how to engage in social interactions. They may have difficulty using or interpreting non-verbal communication such as eye contact, gestures and facial expressions, or appear disinterested in the experiences and emotions of others. Establishing and maintaining friendships can be challenging for some autistic people. Some autistic people appear to be withdrawn and can become isolated others try very hard to be sociable, but may not seem to get it right. There is a range of help available, including assessment, education programs and family support.
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Autism And Employment: Lets Get To Work
Every workplace in Australia can contribute to lifting the employment of autistic people by making these changes many of which are low or no-cost.
Amaze has developed eight simple workplace adjustments, in collaboration with Specialisterne Australia, a social business which enables jobs for autistic adults through social entrepreneurship, innovative employment models and a national change in mindset.
Start with just one, or take them all on every change you make can transform your workplace culture in positive ways, and empower your autistic and neurotypical employees to collaborate and achieve more.
Financial Support Available Through Hcwa
If your child is eligible, HCWA provides access to early intervention funding of up to $12,000 until a childs seventh birthday.
You must apply for this funding before your childs sixth birthday. After your childs seventh birthday, you will no longer be able to access the funding.
If your application is successful, the funding will be paid to a registered HCWA service provider, who will then use that funding to provide therapy or interventions for your child.
If you live in an outer regional or remote area, you can get an extra, direct payment of $2,000 to help with travel and accommodation costs.
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What Causes Autism
Autism is caused by the way that the brain develops. If someone in your family has autism, it is more likely that other people in the family will also have autism.
Research is also looking at the role of the environment in triggering autism, such as viral infections, complications during pregnancy and air pollutants.
There is no evidence that autism can be caused by vaccinations, foods or other lifestyle factors, or by persons cultural or social surroundings.
What Did We Find
In 2018 two research reports, Community Attitudes & Behaviours towards Autism and Experiences of Autistic People and their Families, were commissioned by Amaze and conducted by the Social Research Centre at Australian National University and the Centre for Health and Social Research at the Australian Catholic University.
The third findings release centred on employment.
In Australia, the unemployment rate for autistic people is 31.6 per cent. This is three times the rate of people with disability, and almost six times the rate of people without disability.
Amazes Australia-first research revealed that more than half of unemployed autistic Australians had never held a paid job, despite often possessing the skills, qualifications and a strong desire to join the workforce.
The study also found that more than half of employed autistic Australians would like to be working more hours and given a more challenging role, with 45% reporting that their skills are higher than required in their current job.
Furthermore, more than half of unemployed autistic people who had previously held a paid job have been out of employment for three or more years. 20% of autistic people reported having lost a job due to their autism.
Despite the reported experiences of autistic people and employment, the study found that most Australians would support an autistic colleague at work.
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Centrelink Payment: Carer Adjustment Payment
The Carer Adjustment Payment is a one off payment for children under seven who have a severe illness or a significant disability. If eligible, the maximum payment amount any family can receive is $10,000 for each child. There are several eligibility criteria, and the amount you receive is dependent on your familys circumstances. The payment is non-taxable.
State And Territory Disability Laws
State and territories also have disability laws. Many of these laws outline state and territory responsibilities for services:
- Australian Capital Territory: Disability Services Act 1991
- New South Wales: Disability Inclusion Act 2014
- Northern Territory: Disability Services Act 2012
- Queensland: Disability Services Act 2006
- South Australia: Disability Services Act 1993
- Tasmania: Disability Services Act 2011
- Victoria: Disability Services Act 2006
- Western Australia: Disability Services Act 1993.
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What Support Is Available For People With Autism
The Australian Government funds the costs associated with having a disability through the National Disability Insurance Scheme . These funds enable people with disabilities and their families to have the supports they need.
Funding is given to eligible individuals to help them live to their full potential. Funding is based on individual needs to help people:
- pursue their goals
- improve their social and economic participation
- develop their capacity to take part in the community.
As autism is a permanent disability, the NDIS provides funding for people with the condition. In fact, ASD is the largest primary disability category for the NDIS with 29% of participants having an approved plan for a primary disability of autism.
Helping Children With Autism Treatment Plan
Once your child has been diagnosed with autism, the Helping Children with Autism treatment plan can provide you with Medicare rebates for up to 20 sessions with therapists like psychologists, speech pathologists and occupational therapists.
To be eligible, your childs treatment plan must be in place before their 13th birthday, and the sessions must be used before they turn 15. This referral can be made through a paediatrician or psychiatrist.
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Centrelink Initiative: Health Care Card
When you receive the Carer Allowance, your child will be issued with a Health Care Card. It entitles your child to concession rates for prescription medicines and other concessions like discounted public transport for some cardholders, bulk billing by selected doctors and higher refunds through the Medicare Safety Net.
Web Resources: Disability And Carers
Carers AustraliaCarers Australia is a not for profit, benevolent national peak organisation dedicated to improving the lives of carers. Carers Australia’s highest priority is to promote recognition of the important role that carers have in the community and to empower carers by making them better informed and resourced.
Ministerial Advisory Committee: Students with DisabilitiesTwo resources are available on this site to assist parents and carers of children with disability. The booklets raise awareness about the safety and wellbeing of children with disability and highlight where parents and carers can go for advice. They include information on why children with disability are more vulnerable to abuse and neglect and provide practical help about what parents and carers can do to protect their children.
MyTimeHelps parents of young children with a disability or chronic medical condition by bringing them together with other parents to socialise and share ideas. Groups act as a support network for parents, where they can discuss experiences, thoughts and ideas. Parents will be kept up to date with new information and resources at meetings and can communicate online with other MyTime members throughout Australia.
NABS provides interpreters free of charge to any person who uses sign language, including Aboriginal and Islander Sign Language, to communicate and would like an interpreter for private medical appointments. Services are available to:
Intellectual Disability And Developmental Delays
Intellectual disability can be diagnosed when a child who is six years or older has an below 70 as well as difficulties with daily tasks. In children under six years, the term developmental delay is used when children have significant cognitive and language delays.
Intellectual disability varies from person to person. Autistic children with intellectual disability might have uneven skills, so there might be some things that theyre quite good at and others they find hard.
In most cases, autistic children have more trouble with verbal skills like talking, listening and understanding than with non-verbal skills like doing puzzles or drawing.
How common is intellectual disability in autistic children?In the past, it was thought that 50-60% of autistic children had intellectual disability or developmental delays. But its now thought to be 20-30%, with another 20-25% having borderline intellectual disability with an IQ of 71-85.
This drop might be because IQ testing for autistic children has improved, support and education is better at addressing autistic children’s learning needs, and more children without intellectual disability are being diagnosed with autism.
Some researchers have argued that some childrens developmental delays might be caused by their social learning difficulties, rather than being a separate condition.
Find out moreIntellectual disability