Sharing Stories

Sharing Stories

National Assistance Card – Autism Trial (Tasmania)

Learn more about the National Assistance Card Autism Trial (Tasmania) here.

READ ON FOR STORIES SHARED BY CARDHOLDERS

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 ”.


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