JOINT MEDIA RELEASE
01 August 2010
Vote 4 Autism & Special Needs in 2010
On Friday 21st May 2010, Rainbowland Autism Services initiated the ‘Vote 4 Autism & Special Needs in 2010’ campaign on Facebook with the support of Autism Advisory & Support Service. The cause has exceeded 5,000 members and continues to grow in numbers. Both not-for-profit charity organisations are committed to advocating for the human rights of people with an autism spectrum disorder and special needs.
A recent study undertaken by Melbourne’s LaTrobe University found that 1 in 100 children qualified for a diagnosis of an ASD. This figure is comparable to other nations that have accurate measurements of ASD rates. Based on 2005 ABS population statistics, an estimated 39,782 children are living with an ASD and substantially many more with special needs (SN). Irrespective of these figures, autism and special needs attracts very little funding.
With the current skills shortages and the situation worsening over time, it is ESSENTIAL the Australian Government continues to invest in autism (ASD) & special needs (SN) or there will be generations of people out of work (and their carers) and dependent on the Government for their survival. Australia's economy can't afford for this to happen. The positive announcements regarding funding for disabilities from both major parties over the past week are very much welcomed. It is certainly a step in the right direction, however, is just the tip of the iceberg. Both sides of politics fully understand the crisis of the situation and the implications of inaction, however, fail to commit to the necessary policy that will invest in Australia’s future. Much more must be done.
“With so many children being diagnosed with and autism spectrum disorder in addition to those being diagnosed with other forms of special needs conditions (e.g. dyslexia, ADHD, dyspraxia, developmental delay) and disabilities, it is crucial the Government change the disability landscape and make sweeping changes to government policy to ensure inclusion for ALL children, adults and families. Many children with an ASD/SN are being denied their human right to an education, which is catastrophic for all concerned.” Allison Dix, Director of Rainbowland Autism Services said.
The President of Autism Advisory and Support Service, Ms Grace Fava said “Australia has a long way to go after ratifying the United Nations Convention for People with a Disability. Far too many Australians with a disability and their families and carers are suffering in silence. The lack of disability services and the inhumane way many are treated leaves a lot to be desired. Join with us and together we will form a united voice to tell Politicians what our loved ones with a disability need and deserve.”
The campaign urges all political parties and independents to take seriously the following recommendations outlined in the ‘Vote 4 Autism & Special Needs in 2010’ campaign letter:
1. NATIONAL STANDARDS FOR DISABILITIES AND SPECIAL NEEDS IN EDUCATION
2. IMMEDIATE NATIONAL POLICY FOR EDUCATION
3. IMMEDIATE INCREASE IN HEALTH & SUPPORT SERVICES
4. MANDATORY TRAINING FOR HEALTH PROFESSIONALS IN ASD/SN
5. NATIONAL CONSISTENCY & ACTION ON DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION & VILIFICATION
6. AUTISM ACT and AUTISM STRATEGY FOR AUSTRALIA
Discrimination, vilification and social exclusion against people with a disability/special needs, their carers and families is widespread in Australia and is in many cases a direct result of government policies at all levels. People with disabilities and special needs deserve the same opportunities in life as the average Australian.
For a copy of the ‘Vote 4 Autism & Special Needs in 2010’ letter and more detailed information regarding the campaign, go to http://www.rainbowlandautismservices.com/.