Page 1364 - Week 04 - Tuesday, 5 April 2011

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Autism Awareness Month

MS BURCH (Brindabella—Minister for Disability, Housing and Community Services, Minister for Children and Young People, Minister for Ageing, Minister for Multicultural Affairs and Minister for Women) (4.09): I move:

That the Assembly do now adjourn.

I would like to take the opportunity to bring to the attention of the Assembly that April is Autism Awareness Month. Here in the ACT we know that autism affects around one in 100 people and is one of the fastest-growing developmental disabilities across the world. Currently, there are no known cures for the condition of autism spectrum. The condition can take many forms but often impairs a person’s ability to communicate and makes social interaction difficult. It can also include restricted and repetitive interest and unpredictable behaviours.

The everyday challenges faced by people on the autistic spectrum and their carers can be considerable. The community at large is generally ill-informed about autism and this compounds a sense of isolation felt particularly by young people with autism. Autism Awareness Month seeks to address these issues by increasing community understanding of autism whilst also celebrating some of the unique talents that people on the autistic spectrum bring to the world.

On 15 April, Autism Asperger ACT are marking the month with a third annual Bubble Day, a day on which they invite the whole Canberra community to burst the bubble on autism. The symbolism of bubbles also is used to help children burst out of their bubbles of isolation. To help celebrate the day, a professional bubble-maker will be performing an exciting bubble show to entertain the pupils, teachers and parents at Cranleigh school.

In the past, this event has helped schools in their efforts to increase understanding of autistic spectrum disorders in the school community and integrate children with ASDs into the classroom and playground environment. Many schools and community groups within Canberra have previously taken part in a variety of Bubble Day activities. I would like to congratulate Autism Asperger ACT on their ongoing work. I understand that their new ACT government-funded family support officer is doing some great work. I wish them every success, as they support Canberra families, but I particularly hope for a very successful Bubble Day on 15 April.

Youth Week

MS HUNTER (Ginninderra—Parliamentary Convenor, ACT Greens) (4.11): I am using the adjournment today to talk about the launch of Youth Week. Last Friday it was the usual launch at Garema Place with the Youth Expo and it was pleasing to see so many youth services out there promoting their services, promoting issues that affect young people, and of course hundreds and hundreds of young people also who were participating in the event and also enjoying the stalls and activities that were

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