South Australia has led the way for disability advocacy by appointing Emily Bourke as Australia’s first Autism Minister.
South Australian Premier Peter Malinauskas said he had heard from many constituents that it was time for a dedicated effort from the government to make autism a priority.
"We have made major commitments with the aim of implementing a whole-of-government autism inclusion strategy, starting with our schools,” he said.
Along with the appointment of Ms Bourke, the state aims to work with providers on early intervention services, invest funds for additional Allied Health professionals, and increase the number of autism-qualified teachers in preschools and public primary schools.
In her new role, Ms Bourke, who is also the Assistant Minister to the Premier, will establish the Autism Education Advisory Group, involving people with autism, parents with lived experience, experts, community stakeholders and unions to ensure policies are supported by consultation.
“Autism is a developmental disorder with symptoms that appear within the first three years of life. Its formal diagnostic name is autism spectrum disorder. The word “spectrum” indicates that autism appears in different forms with varying levels of severity. That means that each individual with autism experiences their own unique strengths, symptoms, and challenges"
– Autism Research Institute.
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