There are many thousands of adults on the autism spectrum in Victoria and across Australia. Because of the nature of the disorder, every person is different, with different abilities, different characteristics and different needs.
Some adults will continue to require support throughout their lives, whilst others will live independent lives. As with everyone, individuals on the autism spectrum need a network of people to enrich their lives and to provide emotional support.
Shared and Supported Accommodation
Shared and supported accommodation (formerly known as Community Residential Unit or CRU) is a group home for individuals with disabilities. These can vary in their level of support. Individuals of similar support needs share a house that usually accommodates 4-6 residents.
Individuals should contact DHS Intake and Response for information about how to access this service. More information
Respite support is provided for carers to have a break. It is designed to give the individual being cared for a positive break too. Respite comes in many forms and the services are provided at local council, state and federal level. Contact the Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centres on 1800 052 222 or visit their website
The Department of Human Service (DHS) provides a range of respite options: in-home, community participation and out-of-home support such as community respite house or holiday. Contact Disability Intake and Response for more information on 1800 783 783.
Sometimes it can be difficult for an individual on the autism spectrum to have their voice when navigating the system. There are many types of advocates that specialise in different fields, such as children, funding, legal and regional. Please contact the InfoLine on 1300 308 699 to find an advocate who can best support your needs.
It can be difficult for individuals on the autism spectrum to find work, given their difficulties with social understanding and communication. On the other hand, some individuals on the autism spectrum display characteristics that make them highly suited to certain types of work.
Characteristics such as a love of order and tidiness, attention to detail, good factual knowledge for concrete concepts, and a good memory, can be viewed very favourably in certain industries. Many individuals on the autism spectrum find success in the fields of banking, engineering, finance and computing. Others enjoy more repetitive tasks such as stacking grocery shelves, factory work, or administrative duties.
There are a number of agencies that assist people with disabilities to find employment.
Contact the InfoLine on 1300 308 699 for employment agencies in your area.
There are various options available to individuals on the autism spectrum, depending on support needs.
Many adults on the autism spectrum requiring a lot of support continue to live with their close family members, predominantly their parents. For others, residential options may be more suitable.
Individual Support Package
An individual support package (ISP) is a flexible funding package for an individual with a disability. It is designed to empower the individual by allowing the options of blocking funding (to a service provider), a financial intermediary to manage the funds or to self-manage.
For further information about ISPs and self-directed funding, contact VALID who run a number of informative information sessions.
If your support needs change, or you don’t like the services you receive, you can request an ISP review. These generally occur every 3 years, but you are entitled to request one earlier.
Individuals on the Autism Spectrum Can Make Friends
Making friends can be challenging for some individuals on the autism spectrum, given that difficulty communicating with others is a core component of the autism spectrum. But that does not make it impossible.
As with other aspects of the autism spectrum, an individual may need to learn something which would be intuitive to someone without autism. Learning to make friends is an important skill to master and one with great benefits. The information below describes what it means to be a “friend”.
Autism affects the individual’s social skills, but this does not mean that the individual cannot learn how to act in social environments.
If you are on the autism spectrum, your family will be familiar with you and your characteristics, but other people, who do not know much about the autism spectrum, often have difficulty relating to people on the spectrum, and you may have difficulty relating to them.
Whilst you may be able to be more relaxed at home and with friends, in the workplace it is important to say and do the “right things” and try to conform to normal social expectations.
In the workplace, there are some basic expectations such as good manners, working with your team, socialising with your colleagues and developing professional relationships. The information below explains these in more detail.
Romance When you are On the Spectrum
All humans need companionship and intimacy – those with and NOT on the autism spectrum. Problems with social interaction can make it difficult for individuals on the autism spectrum to find a partner and to have a romantic relationship – but it is possible.
Individuals on the autism spectrum have some positive characteristics that are important assets in a relationship, such as loyalty, reliability, honesty, commitment and punctuality.
Apart from social difficulties, those characteristics that make romantic relationships difficult include sensory problems, understanding expected behaviour, understanding the other person’s reactions and intentions, controlling anxiety and being flexible.
Individuals on the autism spectrum can improve their abilities in these areas by becoming aware of what is expected of them, although this may not come naturally.
The following information gives more details about romantic relationships for those on the autism spectrum.
Family Planning Australia offer great advice and support to individuals with disabilities, surrounding relationships and sexuality. Visit their website
Where to get more help
If you need assistance with getting in touch with any of this information, contact our InfoLine for individuals, families and professionals or practitioners.
We provide a full range of Information Sheets about all aspects of the autism spectrum – these are updated regularly.
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