Parliament: Other Speeches

Autism Spectrum Disorder

The Hon. K.L. VINCENT: I rise to put on the record the support of Dignity for Disability for the Hon. Ms Bressington’s motion. In order to provide people with PDD-NOS with additional resources, as well as an increased sense of inclusion within the disability community, we at Dignity for Disability believe that Pervasive Developmental Disorder—Not Otherwise Specified (more commonly known as PDD-NOS must be recognised throughout all government departments and agencies as one of the many autism spectrum disorders.

In this state people with PDD-NOS have limited access to early intervention services (as provided by Autism SA through commonwealth funding) and are not eligible for any funding from Disability SA. I am told, in fact, that there are many people with PDD-NOS (and, indeed, their parents) who have tried to have their condition rediagnosed as autism in the hope of gaining better access to services. At a personal level, I find this notion highly distressing, as I would consider having to redefine my disability as being no different from being asked to alter my race or gender. While I recognise that this comment may appear somewhat inflammatory, I consider it justified, as I have lived with my disability since my first breath and will live with it until my last, and see it as a major part of who I am—a part of which I am very proud.

To this end, I must also put on the record that having PDD-NOS officially recognised on the autism spectrum will not be a holistic solution, as services available to people with autism are themselves currently far from sufficient. Therefore, whilst having PDD-NOS recognised will be a step in the right direction, until disability services in South Australia are given a complete overhaul, this will be a step that is altogether far too small. In any event, I commend the Hon. Ms Bressington for putting forward this motion.