Amaze’s autism information helpline to go national

Amaze is delighted to announce that we have been awarded grant funding through the NDIS Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) National Information Program to deliver a national autism information helpline.

Amaze has been providing information services to the Victorian autism community for more than 50 years. Over the last decade, our Autism Advisor service in particular has become a highly regarded, vital and trusted resource for autistic people and their supporters.

In 2018, with NDIS ILC funding, Amaze piloted an enhanced autism advisor service, upgrading technology, introducing new modes of delivery and extending our service hours to better support the community. These changes have produced positive results, most importantly the doubling of autistic people contacting the service.

We are proud to report that this pilot was a success:

  • 93% of callers felt more NDIS ready, and 82% felt more positive about their issues.
  • 75% of autistic people who contacted the service understood more about their rights, and 75% felt able to access community opportunities.
  • 93% of family members who contacted us felt more able to access services and 69% felt better able to assist their care-recipient to make choices.

These results demonstrate the importance of the Autism Advisor service. Autistic people and their supporters are contacting Amaze at critical times in their lives – often needing advice on many different topics each time they contact us – it is important that they receive expert, reliable and independent information.

The NDIS has recognized this need – the Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) National Information Program funding announced today will enable Amaze to extend our leading helpline service to all Australians seeking information about autism.

Introducing Autism Connect

Our new helpline, Autism Connect, will provide independent, expert information, resources and referral via telephone, email and web to support autistic people, their families and carers, health professionals, researchers, teachers, employers and the broader community.

Amaze CEO Fiona Sharkie says, “People who contact Amaze are seeking trustworthy information at critical times in their lives – Autism Connect is a free, expert and confidential one-stop service, offering independent and evidence-based information across all stages of life and a wide range of issues. 

“The helpline will assist Australians in understanding autism and the types of support services appropriate for their needs, so they can make empowered choices and stronger community connections.”

Launching in 2020, Autism Connect will roll out across the country over two years:

  • Year 1: Victoria, South Australia, Northern Territory, Tasmania and ACT
  • Year 2: New South Wales, Queensland and Western Australia. 

The helpline will be delivered by advisors with autism-specific expertise across the whole of life, from early intervention and assessment to education, employment and NDIS. The service will operate from 8am–7pm, Monday- Friday.

A new online resource, Autism: What Next?, will be developed in partnership with Autism Awareness Australia, in line with Amaze’s autistic-led co-design principles. Amaze will also work with our sector colleagues in other States and Territories to deliver a consistent service, and build local links and connections for autistic people and their families.

Amaze Autism Advisors 

Leading up to the launch of Autism Connect in 2020, the Amaze Autism Advisors will continue to provide advice and information to autistic Victorians and their supporters.

If you are seeking autism information in Victoria, please contact the Amaze Autism Advisors on 1300 308 699, email [email protected] or use the webchat on this site. This service is open from 8am–7pm, Monday to Friday (excluding public holidays).

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