This April, central Victorian disability and vulnerable youth service, Amicus, will mark Autism Awareness Week to advocate for a more inclusive community for children and adults living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).
"Despite Autism affecting about one in 70 Australians, many people still know very little about the condition," Amicus NDIS Support Coordinator, Susan Perkins said.
"As a result, many commonly held but untrue beliefs about Autism still persist. This lack of understanding can make it difficult for people on the Autism spectrum to have their condition recognised and to access the support they need."
Amicus delivers NDIS Supported Independent Living (SIL), skill building supports and higher intensity support, working closely with families to provide continuity of support for people with ASD.
Amicus support principles believe that people with ASD and their families are experts in their own lives, and work with families to understand how to support each individual best.
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Ms Perkins said misconceptions about autism can also lead to some people on the spectrum feeling excluded, isolated and alone.
"We believe that our community should be working harder to provide a fully-inclusive everyday environment for all people. Whatever a person's abilities, talents or gifts, everyone has something to offer, and we all have a responsibility to ensure they can thrive, follow their passions, ambitions and make valued contributions."
Many people still know very little about the conditionSusan Perkins, Amicus NDIS Support Coordinator
Amicus supports can assist people with ASD and their families work towards their goals, build capacity by learning new skills or refining skills and accessing respite if required.
Currently receiving national attention for their innovative Self-Directed Teams operation model, Amicus has experienced extremely positive results using flexible supports and self-direction values.
"We have supported a family to go on holidays with their son who has severe ASD, arranging support staff at four different locations in New South Wales and Queensland."
"Another teenager is supported individually to attend school in a different town; we support them to attend functions and training and spend time with their friends"
As a champion for full-inclusion, the Amicus' core values are self-direction, individuality, active participation and capacity building.
7 survival tips for a trying day
1. Take a deep breath
2. Try viewing things from their perspective
3. See the humorous side when things go pear-shaped
4. Reassure yourself that tomorrow is a new day
5. Learn to pick your battles - choose only challenges worth fighting for.
6. See the long term rewards - your happy, accepted child.
7. Praise yourself and your child (reflect high self-worth, self-confidence, and self-esteem - it will rub off)
From 100 kisses of autism by Kelly Andrews