We had the opportunity to meet with the assistant minister to the premier of South Australia and the assistant minister for autism, the Hon. Emily Bourke, MLC, and her team members Lydia and Ella today.
Because of this meeting we were had the opportunity to share how Living on the spectrum assists the South Australian community. We were even more pleased to hear about the ministry’s fantastic plans. This includes making autism and inclusion a priority in South Australia.
Here is what we learned –
- South Australia will have an Autism teacher in every state primary school by 2023, a total of 445 specialised teachers. The teachers will work collaboratively to ensure the school’s inclusive and accepting culture.
- 100 additional allied health experts will be available for public primary schools. This includes Occupational therapists—speech therapists, and psychologists. The 50 Millon dollar commitment is a first of its kind nationally.
- An indigenous advisor is one of the members of the ministry advisory board. This is to ensure that all practices implemented are inclusive and culturally diverse.
- All aspects of decision making are guided by autistic voices. Because of this the assistant minister makes time to listen to and ensure that these voices are heard and respected.
- Carers South Australia, along with parents of autistic children, are part of the advisory board. This ensures parents and carers of autistic students are supported and represented.
- All new buildings in South Australia must be inclusive and include inclusive spaces for autistic and disabled students requiring support.
- The South Australian ministry will work with providers, including Autism SA, to implement a state autism strategy, including early intervention for children’s centres.
- A best practice guide will be available across all South Australian public schools, outlining 16 key areas. 5 of these will be autism-specific. While this will be available to public schools, all South Australian schools may access this best practice guide.
I am autistic
Autism and Autistic community forum
Last week the Minister and her team hosted an Autism and Autistic community forum. It was an opportunity to learn more about the new autism policy and meet organisations making a difference in the South Australian autism community.