Right now there is a lot of uncertainty, disruption and anxiety across Australia and the world. We know that many people are concerned about how coronavirus (COVID-19) will affect them and the people they care about.
Amaze works every day of the year to support the autism community, and in difficult times we will do everything we can to deliver extra help and information. The wellbeing of autistic people and their supporters is our number one priority.
Amaze will continue to provide relevant updates and share information so that you stay informed. Just like all Amaze information, the information we share on coronavirus is carefully chosen to ensure it is accurate, reliable and evidence-based.
We will share this information on our website, social media channels and through our e-Spectrum newsletter. We will update this page with new information as it comes. This page is the key source of coronavirus information from Amaze.
Below are links to the most important information for the autism community. It includes links to government health authorities – where you can read about coronavirus symptoms, and how to take care of yourself and lower your chance of getting sick. While most people who get COVID-19 will only get mild symptoms, it is important to monitor your own health and ensure you stay away from vulnerable individuals if you are sick.
There are also links to the NDIS information about coronavirus, and tips on how to take care of yourself during this time.
If you need support please contact the Amaze Autism Connect advisors. They are available to support the autism community, especially through stressful times. You can contact them from 8am-7pm weekdays:
Phone: 1300 308 699
These resources were developed by Amaze in response to requests from families and carers of autistic school children returning to school. They provide an overview of the potential changes at school and supports autistic students may need.
Changes have been made to rules about wearing masks:
Metropolitan Melbourne has moved into Third Step restrictions joining Regional Victoria with further easing of restrictions. The following changes were made to restrictions:
See the metropolitan Melbourne roadmap summary for more details.
An Easy English version of statewide changes to restrictions is available here.
Metropolitan Melbourne will move from Second Step to Third Step. Regional Victoria continues in Third Step with further easing of restrictions. See the metropolitan Melbourne roadmap summary and the regional Victoria roadmap summary for details.
From Sunday 11:59pm 18 October 2020 changes are being made to restrictions in both metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria.
Visit the DHHS website for up to date information regarding restriction changes.
Amaze has an article with tips on making and wearing masks for autistic people and their families.
A person with disability visiting a relative for care: a person with disability is allowed to go to a relative’s house for care, including for overnight care. Such arrangements would not be subject to Stage 4 curfew or distance restrictions and are able to continue.
A relative or friend caring for a person with disability: A relative or friend can come to your home to help care for a person with disability (although use of elderly or at-risk people discouraged). They can provide support even during the curfew and they can travel more than 5km to get to your home. There is no permit for this but they should carry ID and be able to explain why they need to visit your home to assist in providing care. Link to announcement
Babysitting: People working in jobs on the permitted worker list can have a babysitter come to the home (paid or unpaid). This includes if the permitted workers are working from home.
Support Workers: Support Workers are an essential service where they provide support that ensures health, safety and wellbeing. They need a permit, and can travel more than 5km, and can provide support around the clock – including during curfew hours.
Support workers and babysitters will need a permit – visit the Business Victoria website for permit information.
For more information contact the Department of Education.
Disability Support Workers can be used to assist the needs of children and young people who are learning from home.
The Prime Minister in a press conference on 6 August
I also can confirm that families will be able to use their NDIS plans flexibly to support access workers in their homes, particularly in instances where children with a disability can no longer attend education or other day programs. Families should discuss their needs with their provider or contact the NDIA to seek assistance. What this means is if a family normally had a child attend a day program or special school and those facilities are not open, the family can use their existing plans flexibly to get disability support workers into their home to assist. Disability support workers are considered essential workers in Victoria.
For further information:
Flexibility in NDIS Plans introduced during the first lockdown continues – there has been a lot of changes, and you can keep up to date on the NDIS website – or speak to your LAC or service coordinator for advice.
To better support NDIS participants during the extended coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we have made a temporary change to funding arrangements for personal protective equipment (PPE).
These changes apply where coronavirus (COVID-19) is active your community, and the use of PPE is consistent with current health advice.
You can now recover the costs to purchase PPE items using your NDIS funds, if you;
Plan and self-managed participants can purchase PPE and record and claim their purchases in the usual way. Agency-managed participants can purchase PPE through registered providers.
If you need PPE items like face masks, face shields and gloves, and the use of these items is directly related to your face-to-face daily living supports, you can use your core supports budget to purchase these items.
Previously only participants who used PPE as a regular part of their support arrangements were able to access PPE through their NDIS funds.
For more information visit the NDIS website.
The NDIS is making it easier for people to apply for the NDIS. You can now download the NDIS Access Request Form (ARF) and Supporting Evidence Form (SEF) online to apply for the NDIS. Click here
Up to date information on getting tested for coronavirus in Victoria including eligibility criteria, where to get tested and what happens during and after you get tested.
The new Call-to-Test service will enable some of our most vulnerable to get tested for coronavirus (COVID-19) at home with a qualified health clinician. The service will provide access for people who cannot leave home due to injury, mobility or other eligible reasons.
Access to the Call-to-Test service will be available to individuals who have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms and meet the following criteria:
People without symptoms may be eligible if they have been identified by the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) as being a close contact, have received direction from DHHS to be tested, and meet any of the criteria detailed above.
You will need to a General Practitioner (GP) referral for a coronavirus (COVID-19) test to access the service, unless you have been directed by DHHS to get a test, as well as demonstrate you are not able to access existing testing sites through family or community supports. The operator will discuss options available to you and support you through the process.
Call the coronavirus (COVID-19) hotline on 1800 675 398 and select option 9 to find out if you are eligible for this service.
This Chief Health Officer daily update is intended to provide clinicians and the Victorian public with information about the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Victoria, as well as relevant public health response activities in Victoria.
Premier Dan Andrews is providing regular statements on the situation in Victoria, including key information on shutdowns, Victorian Government support, and other important information. There isn’t one link for these statements, so please look for the most up to date “Statement from the Premier” links on the Premier’s website.
If you suspect you may have the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) call the dedicated hotline – open 24 hours, 7 days. 1800 675 398. The hotline is now also open for general information on coronavirus, including rules on staying at home.
Please keep Triple Zero (000) for emergencies only.
The World Health Organisation has announced that COVID-19 is a pandemic. Find out how the Australian Government is monitoring and responding to the outbreak, how you can help slow the spread of COVID-19 in Australia, and what to do if you have symptoms. There is also reports on the latest official medical advice and case numbers.
The Victorian Government has announced a one-off payment of $1,500 is available to workers who are unable to work during their isolation, have no income during this period, and are not entitled to any paid sick leave, special pandemic leave or other income support.
The Government will now extend the scheme to ensure that as soon as a person is tested, they will be eligible for a $300 support payment as long as they meet the eligibility of the existing scheme.
More information here
Access information on eligibility for the Economic Support Payment, other Centrelink services, and the changes to Newstart and Sickness Allowances here
As the coronavirus outbreak progresses and countries do their best to slow the spread of COVID-19, it’s a topic we can’t avoid. With constant updates about coronavirus (COVID-19) from the news, social media and daily conversations, your child or someone you support may be feeling anxious about the situation and have a lot of questions. Here are some tips on how to tackle the topic and ease their worries about the coronavirus.
Our Amaze Autism Connect advisors provide trusted and accurate information about autism and supports to Victorians.
Open from 8am to 7pm, Monday to Friday
Parentline is a phone service for parents and carers of children from birth to 18 years old. We offer confidential and anonymous counselling and support on parenting issues.
Kids Helpline is Australia’s only free, private and confidential 24/7 phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25.
Lifeline is a national charity providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24 hour crisis support.
Beyond Blue recognises and understands the feelings of anxiety, distress and concern many people may be experiencing in relation to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and offers wellbeing advice here.