This report, commissioned by Positive Partnerships and supported by First Peoples Disability Network is the first research on autism in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities. As such, it provides a vital starting point for understanding the needs of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander autistic children and those who care for them.
Almost all of what we know and understand about autism has come from a very limited range of viewpoints. We know virtually nothing about how autism is understood by, and how autistic children, young people and adults are supported in, culturally and linguistically diverse communities. This includes Australia’s own First Peoples: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
- Development of a network of currently existing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander parent support groups and the creation of a support process to enable further groups to be created.
- Production of information about autism and autistic life-experience, designed specifically for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, in a variety of accessible formats and, where possible, translated into local languages.
- Development of further communitybased research into the identification and diagnosis of autism in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families.
Participants stressed that they wanted their children to be connected to their traditional culture and for the importance of family and community ties to be recognised and strengthened. They also highlighted the lack of knowledge about autism in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, their frequent sense of social isolation and the need for better supports and services across the lifespan.