New national hotline to help Australians living with autism

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Australians with autism will have access to online, digital and phone-based support services that can offer specific advice through a new national hotline.

The federal government will announce the $8.4 million funding boost to the program, called Autism Connect, on Tuesday.

It was established with Commonwealth funding in 2018 when it was piloted in Victoria.

Following its success, it will now become a national service that will be run by peak autism body, Amaze.

Those needing information, advice or referrals will be able to call the hotline for free.

Families and Social Services Minister Anne Ruston said the hotline would be a “valuable resource” for families, carers, teachers and employees who support Australians with autism.

“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,” she said.

Amaze CEO Fiona Sharkie said Autism Connect would provide specific guidance and information that was relevant to each person’s circumstances and would clear some confusion about what support was available for autistic Australians.

People on the autism spectrum and experts who work in the field, like special education and early intervention, contributed to the hotline’s development.

To access the Autism Connect, click here or call the helpline on 1300 308 699.

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