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National Assistance Card, Autism Trial (Tasmania)

Autism Tasmania invites members of the Tasmanian autistic community to participate in the National Assistance Card Autism Trial (Tasmania).

We are excited about this opportunity because the National Assistance Card is designed to make it much easier for people to communicate their unique needs for understanding and / or assistance. It is also an important step toward fostering greater community awareness and acceptance of autism.

Across Australia, the National Assistance Card is available for people living with brain injury.
In Tasmania only, the National Assistance Card is now available for autistic people too.

The Autism Trial has been developed with and for the autistic community.
A team of 12 autistic community members, family members and carers formed the Autism trial Advisory Group and together tailored the National Assistance Card to meet the needs of the Autistic community and developed:
– the set of standardised wording of the most common autistic traits
– the communication resources for their community and the broader community

What is the National Assistance Card?

The National Assistance Card is a personalised Card designed to:

  • Help cardholders communicate their unique challenges and the assistance
    they may need.
  • Help cardholders communicate their strengths.
  • Give cardholders greater independence.
  • Assist cardholders to feel more confident in everyday social situations.
  • Enhance community understanding of autism.
  • Support positive community interaction with cardholders.
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The trial commences from 1 September 2022 and will be evaluated for further development after 6 months.
The evaluation will find out how to improve the benefits of the National Assistance Card for autistic people and importantly inform decisions on future funding and expansion to others. The National Assistance Card Service hope that, in the future, the Card will be available to all people in Australia with disability and health conditions.

View our National Assistance Card Workshop Calendar here

What information does the National Assistance Card include?

The cardholder chooses the information on their card.
The Card includes a cardholder’s:

  • First and last name
  • Photo and date of birth
  • Nominated contact person’s name and phone number
    (A cardholder can choose if this person is contacted).

Also printed on the Card:

  • Up to five areas of difficulty chosen by the cardholder
    (for example: communication, sensory overload, processing information)
  • A QR code providing access to additional information (written or personalised video)
    that the cardholder has chosen to include
  • The Police Assistance Line phone number.

What does the Card look like?

NAC example NAC example

Where can a person use their card?

The National Assistance Card can be used in everyday or emergency situations.
Examples of where a cardholder may choose to use their Card include:

  • Shops, cafes, hotels and cinemas
  • Banks, Centrelink and other Government departments
  • Transport, such as airports, buses, trains, trams, taxis and Ubers
  • With family, friends and work colleagues
  • With first responders, such as police, ambulance or fire

People who are shown the Card can read the Card and scan the QR code to learn more
about how they can assist the cardholder.

There are many reasons why a cardholder may choose to show their Card:

  • To communicate their challenges, strengths and needs (for example needing extra time to complete
    an activity or task).
  • To communicate their strengths.
  • Because they are feeling overwhelmed, confused, disorientated or unsafe.

A cardholder may choose to show other people:

  • The front of their Card only.
    This means they would appreciate understanding and patience while they
    communicate the assistance they require.
  • Both the front and back of their Card.
    The back of the Card includes some of the areas where they have difficulty, and a QR
    code which, when scanned with a mobile phone, may link to additional information
    about the cardholder.

How can autistic people design their personal card?

Pen Brake is a member of the National Assistance Card Autism Trial Advisory Group and is the first person to receive their card. Pen has kindly agreed to be a champion to help others and shares why she believes the National Assistance Card is important for the autistic community.

“While I was in high school I was struggling immensely with depression and coming to terms with my autism diagnosis. The school gave me a card I could show to teachers when I was in class and felt I needed to have a time out or seek support outside the classroom. The beauty of that card was that it came with the recognition of my disability in an official way, and it meant I did not have to explain myself and my autism every time I needed help. I see the National Assistance Card as similar to that card I was given in high school, but with much more scope.”

“The National Assistance Card will mean that in times I may not be able to articulate my need for assistance I will be able to present the card to any trusted stranger and potentially get help and even understanding without having to explain what autism is and why I am behaving a certain way. I have used my QR code on the back of my card to explain to anyone who scans it how I act if I’m anxious, overwhelmed, or depressed, and what they can do to aid me in each of these circumstances. I could have chosen to explain more about my autism, but for me these three emotions reflect the most probable times when I will be unlikely to communicate my needs and so I elected to highlight these.”

“I foresee that giving someone a card that explains why I need help and how will give me the confidence to be part of the community more actively. The card will help eliminate barriers to asking for assistance, and so give me the courage to step out of the safe space I have built for myself”.

Donna Kenny expresses her view on the benefits of the National Assistance Card.

“The card is a vital resource that makes it easier for everyone in the community to have an immediate and positive connection with an autistic person – in a way that person chooses! I also like the way it helps an autistic person to think about the type of understanding and assistance they might need in a number of different settings and to design their card to include the information they wish to share”.

“Autism is not invisible, we are out there and a part of the community ”.

View more shared experiences on our sharing stories page

Information for the autistic community

Visit the National Assistance Card website:

Autistic Community Brochure, PDF download:
Options to learn more about how to apply and how to design your personal card include:

View our National Assistance Card Workshop Calendar here

Information for the general community

We need everyone in the community to help by being open to learn more and connect with the Autistic community.

Learn what to do when a person shares their card with you:
Options to learn more about what to do when a person shares their card with you include:

View our National Assistance Card Workshop Calendar here

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