Autism Connect: Stories of change

Thanks to the support of the autism community and our partners, our free Autism helpline Autism Connect has gone from strength to strength, becoming a vital tool in helping Autistic people, their families and supporters live their best lives.

Autism Connect makes a real and meaningful difference to the people who use the service, with the feedback we receive demonstrating the huge impact the service has.

To celebrate our one-year milestone, we’d love to share with you a few of our favourite stories from the people it helps the most – people we’ve supported.

James —A life changing experience

James has two Autistic daughters, and suspects he may be Autistic himself. He was having trouble getting his oldest daughter to school and she was becoming very isolated.

As someone who has always had trouble communicating with people, he liked how well he had been able to communicate with the Autism Connect Advisor when he called, and felt particularly comforted that she was Autistic.

“The thing about Autism Connect and Amaze is I’m able to communicate with them and they understand what I’m saying, and as a result they’re able to communicate much more effectively. The person I spoke to was Autistic herself, so I was really able to talk to her and not worry that what I was saying was correct.”

“The advice provided me with information and tools to bring about that positive change.”

“[Autism Connect] completely changed our life… It’s incalculable. I am convinced that if it wasn’t for this service, [my daughter] wouldn’t be going to school at all and I would still be futilely trying to get her there. The impact is lifelong and that’s just from a few calls.”

Jac —adult diagnosis

Jac, in her mid-20s, contacted Autism Connect feeling extremely overwhelmed. Jac manages complex health issues, including multiple chemical allergies that present similarly to chronic fatigue. Jacinta inquired about how she could receive an assessment for autism diagnosis and had concerns her father is also Autistic. Both Jac and her father are isolated, with little other informal or formal supports due to difficulties maintaining relationships, despite being on full Disability Pension.

For eight months, eleven sessions with an Autism Connect advisor were required to support Jac, who was eventually successful in obtaining a diagnosis of autism late in 2021.

Autism Connect is now supporting Jacinta in applying for the NDIS so she can access therapy supports. Due to the supports she needs to access, Jac is easily fatigued and overwhelmed and manages one step at a time. She looks forward to understanding more about her autism and how it impacts her, with a view to being able to manage this more effectively.

Alice —Empowered to support an Autistic son

Before contacting Amaze, Alice felt frustrated when trying to find information for her son. Living in a rural area, Alice found it extremely difficult to get support. Alice’s GP referred her to a paediatrician and counsellor, neither of whom were taking on new clients. Alice also reached out to several psychologists and organisations supporting twice-exceptional children and their families, and while she found some information useful, they didn’t give her the information and support she was searching for, until she came across Autism Connect.

The Advisor Alice spoke to provided her with all the relevant information, and she felt went ‘above and beyond’ answering questions she didn’t know she had.

“I rang a lot of places, [they were] just not very useful – [they] didn’t pick up phone. It wasn’t what I needed and I had no hope, then I rang up [Autism Connect] and it was awesome, such a good experience. I never give feedback, but this was above and beyond brilliant.”

“I feel empowered. I have the knowledge I need to fight this fight.”

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