Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) and Beyond Bank Australia today announced a new collaborative project to better understand the issues faced by people on the autism spectrum in accessing everyday financial products and services, such as banking.
Adrian Ford, CEO of Aspect, said the project represented an important step in encouraging an inclusive autism-friendly Australia across all sectors of the community.
“Having access to everyday products and services, such as banking is an essential part of being independent and being able to participate fully in the community,” Mr Ford said.
“However, for many people on the autism spectrum, navigating the world of banking can be overwhelming and intimidating.
“Understanding what it is that banks can do to help make their products and services more accessible is an important step towards further inclusivity and financial independence for people on the autism spectrum.”
The Inclusive Banking Research Project will be funded by Beyond Bank and undertaken independently by researchers from the Aspect Research Centre for Autism Practice (ARCAP).
The first stage of the research is expected to take 12 months to complete and will involve working with people on the autism spectrum to understand their experiences of banking services and products and what makes it easier and/or more difficult to achieve a level of financial independence. The aim of the project is to identify what constitutes an autism-friendly banking experience.
“Managing your own money is important to everyone as it creates financial independence and the freedom to make your own decisions,” said Robert Keogh, CEO Beyond Bank Australia.
“People with autism, despite the challenges they may face, need and deserve the same access to their money as everyone else and that’s why we are delighted to support research that helps make this happen.”
Facts about autism
Autism can affect the way a person communicates and interacts with other people and his or her environment. Some people on the autism spectrum can have social communication difficulties, strong interests, sensory sensitivities and repetitive behaviour. Autism is completely unique to each individual. A person on the autism spectrum can have many strengths, talents and interests.
An estimated 1 in 70 people in Australia is on the autism spectrum.