Autism Connect: Australia’s first national autism now live
A free national autism helpline, Autism Connect (1300 308 699), is now available across every state and territory in Australia. Developed by Amaze, an autism peak body which has been supporting autistic people and their families for over 50 years, Autism Connect is Australia’s first national autism helpline.
Amaze’s Autism Connect is a first step and a one-stop-shop for anyone seeking information, support and guidance about autism, and can be accessed by phone, email, and webchat service.
As a free and confidential service, Autism Connect is available to autistic people of all ages, their family and friends, and anyone supporting an autistic adult or child in education, health settings, or workplaces. While a national service, the information and guidance provided can be localised by state and territory.
Fiona Sharkie, CEO of Amaze, said the Autism Connect helpline is a free, evidence-based, and confidential service for all autistic Australians and the broader community.
“There are many myths and misconceptions about autism and confusion about what support is available for autistic Australians. Amaze’s Autism Connect is here for anyone in Australia who needs guidance, information and support on all things autism,” Sharkie said.
An estimated 200,000 Australians have been diagnosed as autistic making it a one of the most prevalent disabilities in the country. But autism presents differently and uniquely in every single autistic person.
“Every autistic person is an individual with unique needs for support. The friendly team at Autism Connect understands this and provides confidential and specific guidance and information relevant to each person’s situation, query, and location,” Sharkie said.
“Amaze has worked collaboratively with the autistic community and stakeholders to develop Autism Connect. Importantly, Autism Connect provides information and guidance based on evidence and research,” she said.
People who contact Autism Connect will be welcomed and supported by the wonderful team of expert advisors. Many of Autism Connect’s advisors have lived experience of autism, are parents of autistic children, or have experience providing professional support.
In addition to individual support accessed by phone, webchat or email, the program Autism Connect: Search is also available. It is a resource hub of online resources, available for those who want to search for information about autism themselves. This online hub is a comprehensive, self-serve repository of information such as fact sheets, tools, and a local directory of services so people can find services and community activities in their location.
Autism Connect is also committed to making information and support accessible and inclusive for everyone. Autism Connect can be accessed using the Translating and Interpreting Service allowing callers to speak to an Autism Connect advisor in over 160 languages. In addition, Autism Connect provides printed information resources in other languages.
Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston said the Morrison Government provided $8.4 million to expand Autism Connect into a national support service.
“From diagnosis through to adulthood, we want to ensure the more than 200,000 Australian people with autism have the right support to meet their needs and participate fully in the community,” Minister Ruston said.