There are many emotional, social, and behavioural challenges involved when looking after a person with autism. Despite the difficulties they face, most individuals with autism want to be as independent as possible and achieve their goals.
Like anyone, individuals with autism desire to build up their network and enrich their lives. Whether they were diagnosed with their condition during childhood or later in life as an adult, they may need some support to manage their daily lives.
Studies have shown that mental health (this link will take you to a page on the Shine SC website about their peer support for mental health services) issues are very prevalent among people with autism, and this may be due to them feeling misunderstood and not getting the same opportunities as people without the condition.
Fortunately, Australia has many autism support services that can help a person with autism under your care improve their quality of life. Depending on your territory’s government or your state, these services may be funded through the National Disability Insurance Scheme (this link will take you to a page on the NDIS website that will show you how to apply for NDIS), or NDIS for short.
Let’s take a look at some autism support services available in Australia and how they can inspire and empower the person under your care.
To help individuals with autism live independently, many support providers offer housing and accommodation support services.
These services are designed to help people with conditions like autism find affordable housing that can be personalised to meet their individual needs and the support provider will even assign a care worker to assist with daily activities if needed.
Here are some of the housing and accommodation options available for an adult with autism:
- Specially adapted homes for people with physical impairments
If the person under your care also has a physical impairment, they can choose to live in a home that is designed to be accessible for them.
- Group accommodation and share homes
The person under your care can live with other individuals with conditions similar to theirs, where each resident contributes to the accommodation.
- Home support
This option is for people with autism who want to continue living with their families but require support for daily activities like grocery shopping.
The person under your care may also be eligible for in-home support services that allow them to receive long-term care to help them live independently. These housing support services can be found across the country and are often funded by the NDIS.
If the person under your care is a young adult, these housing and accommodation services can help prepare them to start living on their own and make their own decisions.
Tertiary education support
For individuals with autism who have finished school and are now seeking higher education, there is tertiary education support available in universities throughout the country that can help them through their academic careers.
The universities often employ support staff to assist students and make the necessary adjustments at the educational institution to help them with their studies.
Also, the support staff can work with the person under your care to make a plan regarding what kinds of learning support their university can provide them. Depending on the university's conditions, this plan may be adjusted at any time.
Many people still underestimate the academic abilities of people with autism, but through these study support services, the person under your care can pursue the same academic goals as any other person without any discrimination.
In most cases, individuals with autism have communication and behavioural difficulties, and this may affect their ability to find a job. This, however, does not mean that they won’t be able to perform well when they secure a job.
Some common characteristics of people with autism are tidiness, attention to detail, good memory, and strong knowledge of industries they’re interested in. All of these are valuable characteristics for a job, but some organisations are still hesitant to hire people with autism.
Fortunately, some organisations offer support services to help people with autism prepare for and find a job that perfectly suits their abilities. They also work with the person under your care to build their capacity and achieve their career goals.
These employment support services allow people with autism to find their ideal career and give them the chance to compete with others in the same industry and access equal opportunities for job growth.
Recreation and group support
Socialising and networking can be difficult for many adults with autism since they sometimes don’t understand social cues and are unsure of how to express themselves.
Despite this, socialising is very important for a person with autism, and there are special group support services that can help them connect with others.
These groups bring together individuals with autism and take them out for activities like nature walks, arts and crafts, yoga, and photography. Joining one of these groups will allow the person under your care to build their social skills and meet new people.
Advocacy services are valuable for people with autism. These services allow them to speak their mind, use certain services, make important decisions, and ensure their rights are being respected.
These advocacy services are extremely helpful when the person under your care is:
- Searching for a job
- Finding a new place to live
- Trying to access healthcare services
You can find out more about advocacy for individuals with autism through Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4), an organisation that represents Australians with autism and their families.
Autism support services can help change lives
For years, people with autism have been underestimated and misunderstood, but we live in a better time now. Today, many autism support services and organisations work hard to help these individuals live their best lives and get the respect they deserve from society.
To learn more about these valuable services and find out more about how you can help a person with autism under your care, get in touch with a well-reputed all-abilities service provider in Australia.
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