CHAMPION COLUMN | Our families need help and support

Reaching out: Families with children on the autism spectrum need community support, Chris Hayes says.
Reaching out: Families with children on the autism spectrum need community support, Chris Hayes says.

April is World Autism Month. Autism affects one in 58 children. That's why it's important that as a society we understand and encourage those diagnosed with autism and give them all the help they need to reach their potential.

The electorate of Fowler is incredibly diverse. But it's also over-represented with people with a disability. More than half of all families living in NSW with autism live within a 20-kilometre radius of the Liverpool CBD.

Being one of the most multicultural communities in Australia means that families in my community often struggle to access and fully understand the services available to them. Raising a child with autism certainly requires incredible patience and persistence.

Sadly, 80 per cent of families living with autism are single-parent families. Clearly the impact of raising a child with autism undoubtedly adds incredible stress to relationships.

My grandson Nathaniel is on the spectrum and I very much understand the challenges faced by these families. I'm proud to say the Autism Advisory and Support Service in Liverpool is a great source of comfort to families not only in my community but across the state. It operates a 24/7 service and supports families in desperate need.

CHRIS HAYES

Fowler MP, Cabramatta

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