Autism Strategy

Autism Strategy

Have your say on the State's first Autism Strategy

South Australia's first Autism Strategy

The State Government is working with the Autistic and autism communities to co-design the state’s first Autism Strategy (the Strategy) and Charter (the Charter).

The development and creation of the Strategy is an important step towards creating a more inclusive and knowledgeable society where Autistic people can meaningfully participate in the community.

Discussion Paper: Starting the conversation

On 25 November 2022, the South Australian Government launched South Australia’s First Autism Strategy Discussion Paper 2023 (including an Easy English version) to support the consultation process. Autistic people, parents and carers, non-government organisations, public sector agencies, local councils and other interested parties were invited to participate and have their voices heard.  Members of the Autistic and autism communities could provide feedback by:

  • completing a YourSAy survey
  • participating in community forums
  • posting or emailing a written, visual or audio submission.

Who shared their views?

The South Australian Autistic and autism communities responded to the call, submitting over 1,200 responses throughout the consultation period.

We received a total of 1,070 responses via YourSAy, 3541 were from Autistic people and 716 were from non-Autistic people. Many responses represented the views of diverse populations and highlighted the diverse and intersecting experiences of Autistic people and their families.

17 responses from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people

  • 9 – Autistic person
  • 16 – non-Autistic person.

185 responses from LGBTIQA+ people

  • 153 – Autistic person
  • 32 – non-Autistic person.

62 responses from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse people

  • 23 – Autistic person
  • 39 – non-Autistic person.

90 responses from young people

  • 75 – Autistic person
  • 19 – non-Autistic person.

[1] We recognise that there may be people who are currently undiagnosed or do not feel comfortable disclosing their diagnosis and that this number may therefore not be representative of the total number of Autistic people who completed the YourSAy survey.

Total attendance at community engagement activities

Pie chart showing community engagement. 35 people attended JFA Focus Groups, 41 people attended MYSA Interviews and 491 attended various forums.

Consultation Report: What we heard

The Consultation Report, endorsed by the State Autism Strategy Advisory Committee, outlines the consultation process used, feedback received and summarises the key findings from the consultation process held between 25 November 2022 to 20 February 2023.

The Autistic and autism communities shared some ideas about what we should include in the State Autism Strategy and Charter for South Australia.

In preparing this report, the Department of Human Services have consolidated responses received throughout the consultation into key themes, these being:

Improved community attitudes, awareness, and education

Improved community attitudes, awareness, and education

The need for improved knowledge, understanding and acceptance of autism was noted as a key area of need across all areas of the community, including education, employment, health, and government services.

improvements in education settings

improvements in education settings

Improvements in support, attitudes, knowledge, and understanding in education settings are needed.

Knowledge and understanding of autism within preschool, primary, secondary and tertiary education environments was consistently called for, as well as additional support in schools. Negative, and at times traumatic, experiences of bullying and exclusion were shared and highlighted as a key area for change.

Improved employment opportunities and support

Improved employment opportunities and support

Meaningful and adequately paid employment opportunities for Autistic people is essential. Members of the Autistic and autism communities who provided feedback highlighted existing challenges related to current recruitment strategies, and the lack of support and understanding from employers regarding the needs of Autistic applicants and employees.

Improved access and affordability of diagnosis

Improved access and affordability of diagnosis

Members of the Autistic and autism communities called for support and funding to reduce current wait lists and cost for an autism diagnosis. As a diagnostic assessment is required for access to NDIS supports, timely diagnosis is critical, with delays accessing support having a significant impact on the Autistic person and their family.

Support for parents, carers, and guardians for Autistic children and adults

Support for parents, carers, and guardians for Autistic children and adults

Parents and carers of Autistic people highlighted the need for resources, information and services which support family members of Autistic children, young people, and adults. Parents and carers of Autistic people suggested that this should be provided via a centralised service which can assist families to navigate the NDIS and relevant government services.

Safe, sensory friendly spaces and an autism inclusive community

Safe, sensory friendly spaces and an autism inclusive community

Feedback indicated the need for appropriate sensory spaces in the community, which enable Autistic people to regulate their sensory needs. Having appropriate spaces available is a significant factor to increasing the inclusion and participation of Autistic people within our community.

Listening to Autistic voices

Listening to Autistic voices

The importance of listening to Autistic voices and ongoing collaboration and consultation with the Autistic and autism communities was needed.

Members of the Autistic and autism communities called for ongoing collaboration, consultation and engagement with Autistic people and their families throughout the development of the Strategy and Charter.

Recognising individual diversity and the range of Autistic experiences

Recognising individual diversity and the range of Autistic experiences

Recognising individual diversity and the range of Autistic experiences, as well as addressing the needs of Autistic people across the lifespan was addressed.

The importance of considering and reflecting the diverse range of Autistic experiences in the development of the Strategy and Charter was highlighted.

This included ensuring that the Strategy and Charter consider supports and needs of Autistic peoples across the whole lifespan and recognise the needs of non-speaking Autistic people and people with intellectual disability.

Visit YourSAy to view the State's first Autism Strategy - Discussion Paper - Consultation Report in print, accessible and Easy Read formats.

Where to next:

Feedback from the consultation has been reviewed and used to inform this consultation report. It will also be used to support the State Government developing the draft Autism Strategy and Charter.

This consultation report reflects the voices and submissions of the initial public consultation and co-design process in developing the State’s first Autism Strategy and Charter. It is important to recognise that all Autistic people are unique, and each person’s experiences will vary.

The Government will continue to engage with the Autistic and autism communities throughout the development of the Autism Strategy and Charter. Consultation on the Discussion Paper was just the beginning of the co-design process.

The draft Strategy and Charter will be presented for further public consultation throughout 2023 to ensure it accurately reflects the feedback provided, responds to the aspirations of the Autistic and autism communities and that it makes a positive difference to the lives of Autistic people in South Australia.

This site is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Licence. © DHS .

Provided by:
Department of Human Services
URL:
https://inclusive.sa.gov.au/our-work/autismstrategy
Last Updated:
26 Oct 2023
Printed on:
28 Feb 2024
The Autism Strategy website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia Licence. © Copyright 2016