Victorian families will be among the first in Australia to have access to a new national autism helpline to provide information, advice and referrals to support autistic people, their families and support networks.
Autism peak body Amaze last week launched Autism Connect in Victoria, and the helpline will be rolled out across the country by May next year.
"Autism presents differently in every person and there are many 'snake oil peddlers' who promise cures and sell unproven treatments that can be emotionally and financially harmful," said Amaze chief executive Fiona Sharkie.
Amaze CEO Fiona Sharkie talks about the launch of Autism Connect: Australia's first national autism helpline. Now in VIC, ACT and Tasmania, we hope to make positive difference to the lives of autistic people across Australia.— Amaze (@autismvictoria) November 19, 2020
View her update here: https://t.co/A3v3jq2QUW
"Autism Connect will make a really positive difference to the lives of autistic people in Victoria and 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."
The free phone helpline, email and webchat service is funded by the NDIS to provide information including guidance on autism assessment and diagnosis, approaching school to provide the right adjustments for students with autism, behaviour strategies, autism-friendly events, support to applying to the NDIS, and more.
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Ms Sharkie said Autism Connect would provide a range of options to callers from which they could make their own decisions to suit their needs.
For the past 12 years Amaze has run the Autism Advisor Helpline for Victorian parents of autistic children but the new service will operate nationally and support autistic people of all ages.
Victorians can call Autism Connect on 1300 308 699 from 8am to 7pm Monday to Friday. Webchat is available at amaze.org.au.