The Victorian Government is developing an autism plan to better support people with autism, which will include short, medium and long-term actions over five years.

The plan is a key commitment from Victoria’s response to the Parliamentary Inquiry into Services for People with Autism Spectrum Disorder, which made 101 recommendations to improve supports, services and inclusion for people with autism.

Terminology and autism

The government recognises the power of language in changing community attitudes and better including Victorians with disability. We understand that there are different views about the best way to describe autism, with an emerging preference for ‘identity first’ language. Individuals with lived experience of autism have a right to choose their preferred description, such as ‘autistic people’, ‘people with autism’, ‘people on the autism spectrum’, or ‘people with Autism Spectrum Disorder’. 

We asked individuals and advocacy bodies which term they thought we should use in the plan. Most people told us they preferred the term ‘autistic people’ so we will be using this wording throughout the plan. The term 'Autism Spectrum Disorder' will be used when referring to the Inquiry recommendations which used this term.

Developing the plan

The Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Education and Training and other Victorian government departments are working together to develop the plan.

A series of consultation workshops was held in February, March and April 2018 to enable organisations and individuals to have their say on the plan. Each workshop covered a specific topic, including:

  • Diagnosis and integrated and coordinated services
  • School education
  • Health and mental health
  • Services for autistic adults 
  • Rural and regional issues.

Over 100 people attended these workshops, including autistic people, their parents and carers, organisations supporting autistic Victorians and representatives from the early years, education, health, employment, housing, justice and disability sectors. 

An online survey was also made available through Advisory Group organisations so that more people in the autism community could inform the plan’s development. A total of 787 people took part in the survey, including 116 autistic Victorians and 598 family members or carers. Regional Victoria was well represented in the survey – just under one in four people who took part were from regional areas.

In addition, targeted consultation meetings have been held to ensure that the Victorian Autism Plan reflects the views of autistic women and girls,  autistic LGBTI people, Aboriginal people with autism, and culturally diverse people with autism.

The Victorian Government is now considering all the feedback from the workshops, meetings and online survey, and preparing the Victorian Autism Plan. Stakeholders will be updated on the progress of the plan.

How to find out more

For more information on the Victorian Autism Plan, email the Victorian Autism Plan team.