Autism peak body Amaze has this week launched Autism Connect: Australia’s first national autism helpline. Victoria, Tasmania and the ACT are the first states and territories in Australia to have access to Autism Connect, which will be rolled out nationally by May 2021.
It’s estimated that there are over 200,000 autistic Australians; Autism Connect is a free telephone helpline, email and webchat service, developed by Amaze and funded by the NDIS, which provides information, advice, and referrals to support autistic people of all ages, their families and support networks. The service is a one-stop-shop, providing a range of information including guidance on assessment and diagnosis, approaching a school to provide the right adjustments, support to applying to the NDIS, and much more.
Amaze CEO Fiona Sharkie said a key benefit of Autism Connect is its independence and credibility; all information provided is derived from research and the service never promotes a particular service or therapy. Instead, Autism Connect provides options from which people can make their own decisions to suit their needs.
“Autism Connect will make a really positive difference to the lives of autistic people across Australia, in addition to their support networks. It connects them to a deep resource of information and advice on all things autism for all ages.
“Amaze is really excited to be delivering Autism Connect in Victoria and partnering with other organisations to deliver this vital resource across other states and territories. It builds on our strong 53-year heritage of developing and delivering vital information and support to the autistic community.”
Autism Connect has been developed by Amaze, expanding and replacing Amaze’s successful Autism Advisor Helpline. The Autism Advisor Helpline operated for more than 12 years to support parents of autistic children access information and advice after diagnosis. Today, Autism Connect will operate nationally for autistic people of all ages with extended hours, webchat and email options to offer greater access and flexibility.
“It’s wonderful to have developed such an important and innovative service for people in Victoria, build upon it, and now begin rolling it out across all of Australia,” Ms Sharkie added.
Autism Connect is now available in Victoria, Tasmania, and the ACT.
Those in Victoria, Tasmania and the ACT can call Autism Connect now on 1300 308 699, Monday to Friday, from 8am to 7pm (AEDT). Webchat is also available via www.amaze.org.au