The Commonwealth Government has just released its final report on Evaluation of the More Support for Students with Disabilities Initiative 2012-2014. Sadly, the report shows that compared to most other states and territories, the ACT did very little to improve education outcomes for autistic students.
The number of Australian children formally diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder is doubling every 5 years: more than 1 in 65 Australian children now has a diagnosis. Autism is the biggest distinct disability group in the NDIS.
Most autistic students experience difficulty at school.
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The report shows that most states took the opportunity to implement a range of programs to help autistic students who are mostly in public schools.
The report does not mention the ACT Government having any projects related specifically to autistic students.
This is consistent with the Minister’s concerns that autism advocates locally do “not speak on behalf or represent the entire autism community and [they are] particularly weathered to [behaviour science]” (link here, CT, 23/9/2015).
Bob Buckley, Chair of Speaking Out for Autism Spectrum Disorder (SOfASD) in the ACT, Convenor of Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4) nationally and proudly “passionate advocate” for autism, said “there is little prospect of improving outcomes for autistic students in the ACT while the Education and Disability Minister keeps getting the same old advice and failing to engage with relevant parts of the autism community”.
“The ACT Government is failing autistic students”, he said.
Chair, Speaking Out for Autism Spectrum Disorder (SOfASD)