For the third New Year’s Eve in a row, many of us have been directly impacted by Covid-19 and its variants. This has left many people in our community feeling isolated, worried about their health and their friends and families, and concerned about accessing supports and services. As an Autistic led organisation, we are sharing in these experiences with you. We know that the stress has been ongoing and that the unpredictability and impact on our routines can be very difficult for us to navigate.
The disability community has had great wins in 2021, with the NDIS Individual Assessments being paused and disability leaders across Australia uniting to challenge the provision of resources for people with disability and the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccination and boosters.
Behind the scenes, ASAN AU-NZ staff and Board members have been involved in consultation and advocacy work with:
- Disabled People’s Assembly New Zealand
- Autism Advisory Group for the National Disability Insurance Agency
- Children and Young People’s Reference Group for the NDIA Independent Advisory Council
- CRC Guideline for Early Developmental Support for children and families.
- Disability Royal Commission and Amaze on Royal Commission work
- Implementation group for the National Autism Diagnostic Guideline.
- The NDIA Co-Design working group
We have also participated in forums, presented at National Conferences and Summits, and networked with leaders in the broader disability sector. We will be releasing a newsletter soon highlighting areas of our work.
In 2021 the Information, Linkages and Capacity Building Grant Project Officer and the ASAN AU-NZ User Led Design Group ran two National surveys, held seven focus groups, and engaged with 159 autistic people about topics that they wanted to see resource creation for.
User Led Design Group Members activities included:
- collating work on Augmentative and Alternative and advocacy
- collating work on First Nations Peoples advocacy
- working on relationships and employment resources
- collecting resources on LGBTIQA+ advocacy
- collating content about health supports, especially around mental health
- exploring the CALD community and autism community intersection
- collating resources for intellectual disability and advocacy
- collating resources on human rights and disability discrimination legislation
- reviewing resources as we produce it, to make sure it meets easy read/plain English standards
- The group are working on their first prototype for release in 2022.
In 2022, ASAN AU-NZ remain committed to our mission to amplify autistic voices, encourage broader representation at decision making forums and challenge systemic barriers to autistic people having full control over how they live and are seen in the world. We know the world around us is in a constant state of change and we are here, with our allies and partnered organisations to navigate alongside you.
Wishing you a peaceful and healthy start to 2022.
If you are struggling and need someone to contact over the holiday period, you can contact:
Beyond Blue 1300 22 4636
1800 Respect 1800 737 732
Lifeline 13 11 14
Autism Connect National autism helpline 1300 308 699
Suicide Call Back Service (For ages 15+) 1800 737 732
QLife 1800 184 527
Mens Line Australia 1300 789 978
First nations Peoples
First Nations Dedicated Support Line 1800 959 500
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples Helpline 1300 287 432
Youthline 0800 376 6333
Lifeline Aotearoa 0800 543 354
Suicide Crisis Helpline 0508 828 865
Healthline 0800 611 116
Depression Helpline 0800 111 757