World Autism Awareness Day 2020


02 April 2020

Autism is a lifelong neurological condition that manifests during early childhood, irrespective of gender, race or socio-economic status. The condition is characterised by its unique social interactions, non-standard ways of learning, keen interests in specific subjects, inclination to routines, challenges in typical communications and particular ways of processing sensory information.

In 2008, the United Nations activated the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. To mark the occasion the UN General Assembly unanimously declared 2 April as a day to highlight the need to help improve the quality of life of those with autism, so they can lead full and meaningful lives as an integral part of society.

According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), in 2018 more than 106,000 young people with autism attended school or another form of educational institution in Australia.

Schools provide an essential learning environment for students with autism, including opportunities to develop important social and life skills. Many children on the autism spectrum need to access additional support throughout their education..

According to the ABS, two in five young people with autism needed additional learning tuition, while 32% worked with a counsellor or disability support person.

Meanwhile, almost half the young people with autism aged 5 to 20 years (45.9%) indicated they needed more support or assistance at school than they were currently receiving.

Every child has a right to a high quality education and fair funding for public schools is the best way to help them achieve that. However the school funding policies of the Morrison Government widen the disadvantage gap and particularly impact on students with disability.

Almost 75 per cent of students with disabilities attend public schools, yet the Morrison Government’s school funding legislation does not make adequate allocation for their needs at school

Public schools work hard to ensure that issues such as access, specialist support, staffing and health and wellbeing are appropriate for their students so that they can learn in a safe environment. However, this comes with extra costs for schools and must be fully resourced by the Commonwealth and State and Territory governments.

Additional funding will help ensure that schools can provide more individualised learning for additional teachers, education support staff, ongoing professional development, updated technology, and upgrades to school facilities.