Media Release: $6 million investment to improve the lives of Australians on the Autism Spectrum

Ahead of World Autism Awareness Day on 2 April, the Morrison Government is granting $6 million to Autism CRC to improve health services and education and employment opportunities for Australians on the autism spectrum.

Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston said the investment would develop supports for mainstream health providers in the assessment and diagnosis of autism, in addition to improving pathways for people with autism from schooling to employment.

'This will develop services to support people on the autism spectrum meet their needs and achieve their goals,' Minister Ruston said.

'The Morrison Government is funding two major projects that will benefit up to 200,000 Australians, their families and carers. From diagnosis through to adulthood, we want to ensure people with autism have the right support to fully participate in the community.

'We are proud to be working with Autism CRC, leaders in autism research and champions of the strengths and diversity of people on the autism spectrum.'

The two Autism CRC projects will be funded over two years and help tackle the difficulties surrounding autism diagnosis and education and employment.

The National Best-Practice Assessment and Diagnosis project will develop resources to provide support for mainstream health providers involved in the assessment and diagnosis of autism. The Success in Learning: Transition to Earning project will support the education and employment sectors to improve the transition from school to further study and/or work.

Autism CRC said the grant would help expand opportunities by improving the capacity of mainstream providers in the health, education and employment sectors.

'Autism CRC welcomes this important investment by the Australian Government,' said CEO Andrew Davis. 'We look forward to working with all stakeholders in building mainstream services' capacity to positively impact the lives of autistic people and other neurodiverse people, across their lifespan and across the spectrum.'

Minister for the National Disability Insurance Scheme Stuart Robert said supporting people to reach their goals is the foundation of the NDIS.

'More than 30 per cent of NDIS participants have a primary diagnosis of autism. Projects like these support the needs and goals of people on the autism spectrum, allowing them to reach their full potential.

'The employment opportunities created will complement goals in the NDIS Participant Employment Strategy which aims to support NDIS participants to find and maintain meaningful employment'.

The Autism CRC projects are funded by the Information, Linkages and Capacity Building (ILC) Mainstream Capacity Building program, which aims to build the capacity, knowledge and skills of mainstream services to meet the needs of people with disability.

The projects build on other important work by Autism CRC. In December 2020, the organisation launched the National Implementation Toolkit, a set of resources to promote the National Guideline for the Assessment and Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Australia.

Minister Ruston said the Morrison Government was committed to improving the lives of people on the autism spectrum.

'By strengthening employment and education opportunities, improving early identification and creating strong guidelines around assessment and diagnosis, we are working to improve the lives of all Australians with disability around the country.'

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