Parliamentary Inquiry into services for autistic people: what you need to know
Today the Victorian Parliamentary Family and Community Development Committee tabled its report into services for autistic people in Victoria.
The report is the culmination of a 18 month long inquiry, with the Committee receiving over 150 submissions, 11 hearings with over 120 witnesses, a number of site visits and an overseas study tour.
The report contains 101 recommendations across many areas including; Living with autism, Government funded services, Early Years – diagnosis and intervention, School years, National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), Gender and autism, Health and Mental Health services, services in rural and remote Victoria and social inclusion and community participation.
Committee recommends National Autism Strategy
Underpinning the majority of the recommendations is the need to update the State Autism Plan, developed in 2009 and subsequently disappeared. The Committee also recommends a National Autism Strategy.
Amaze is delighted with the Committee’s report and its recommendations – especially its detail and breadth.
Almost all of the 55 recommendations made by Amaze to the Inquiry have been adopted – but most importantly, and the first recommendation in today’s Report is the need to include autistic people, their families and advocates in the development of any and all policies, programs, services and supports for autistic people.
There is significant detail in the areas outlined above, but some highlights include:
- Redevelopment of the State Autism Plan and a National Autism Strategy;
- Investment to ensure equitable access to diagnosis, regardless of age, gender and location;
- Development of strategies to ensure access to supports and interventions, including training more skilled staff, access to funded services if not provided by the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), and greater access to independent information to support decision making;
- A strategy for the inclusive education of autistic students, including ensuring access to schooling, capacity building for staff, more funding for students and greater accountability;
- A comprehensive employment strategy for autistic adults including education campaigns, training for employers and greater autistic employment in state government;
- Addressing housing issues for autistic adults;
- Urging the NDIS to have more clear and understandable information, more training for NDIS Planners, the NDIS to fund travel adequately, ensure the Early Childhood Early Intervention gateway works effectively for autistic children and measures are taken to ensure the Quality and Safeguard framework meets the needs of autistic people;
- Funding training and service to cater for the needs of autistic women and girls;
- Needing to train and educate healthcare professionals, including GPs, dentists and all hospital staff in autism – and the provision of quiet rooms in all hospitals and ERs.
- A comprehensive approach to ensure the same services and supports are accessible in regional and remote Victoria;
- Funding a broad and extensive public education campaign to raise awareness about autism and inclusion of autistic people;
- Greater sporting and recreation opportunities for autistic people; and
- Funding community engagement and social inclusion activates in local council areas.
Amaze will be developing a campaign to ensure that the Government responds appropriately to all these recommendations – and we will need your help. We will have more in the coming weeks about how you can get involved.