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Monday, 12 August 2013

Why my advocacy and HFA/Asperger Syndrome Advocacy in general is so important

I have been thinking of the reasons of why I write this blog and look for other ways to raise awareness and advocate for people who have High Functioning Autism(HFA)/Asperger's Syndrome (AS)

I have come across a report titled "We Belong"  done by Aspect (Autism Spectrum Australia). "We Belong" is an Australian first study which investigates the life experiences, aspirations and service and support needs of Australian adults with AS and HFA. Although this survey was done in Australia, the findings are also present in other countries. The facts and statistics I have in this blog entry come for the aforementioned report and can be found here
 autismspectrum.org.au

HFA/Asperger's Syndrome is quiet common in that around 6 in 1000 people have the condition. In Australia alone that equates to approximately 97,000 adults with HFA/AS.

The unfortunate fact that is highlighted by this report is that although adults with AD/HFA have aspirations and goals for their lives that are similar to those held by many other Australians however as a group we want to be better understood and accepted. Sixty percent of the adults in the study need more support to explain the nature of the condition to other people and service providers from across the education, employment and mental health domains who were interviewed for the research frequently commented that one of the greatest challenges for adults with HFA/AS lies in overcoming other peoples ignorance and misunderstanding. (this is why creating awareness and providing accurate clear and concise material on what AS/HFA is, is SO important in advocacy).

The work that I am doing that involves helping myself and other Aspies find employment is long overdue as the Australian employment rate is currently  95% and although more than 80% of these adults have commenced or completed a tertiary qualification only 54% (excluding those still in full-time education) have a paid job.

The report outlines other aspects however I have just prepared a bit of a insight into some of the aspects that need to improve in Australia (and a lot of other countries). As much as this report focuses on the things that need fixing it should be noted that already there is a lot of support for people with HFA/AS (like myself), these services need to expand and improve. It is going to be a long journey however I believe with determination of many people, including governments, schools, people with HFA/AS themselves it will be possible to provide better services and to  make more people aware and change their perception and attitudes towards these conditions.




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