News/Announcements

World Autism Awareness Day - United Nations Secretary-General's Message for 2015

I am hugely encouraged by the growing public awareness of autism spectrum disorders and the increase of public services to many of those affected. World Autism Awareness Day not only fosters greater understanding, it empowers parents into seeking early intervention therapies and calls for the full integration of persons with autism into society. It also invites policy-makers to encourage schools to open their doors to students with autism. With adequate support, they can -- and should -- be educated in the heart of their communities.

Discrimination against autistic persons, the rule rather than the exception

Two United Nations human rights experts today called for an end to discrimination against autistic persons and a celebration of diversity. Speaking ahead of World Autism Awareness Day, the Special Rapporteurs on the rights of persons with disabilities, Catalina Devandas Aguilar, and on the right to health, Dainius Pūras, noted that about one per cent of the world’s population -some 70 million people- is estimated to be on the autism spectrum worldwide. “As part of human diversity, autistic persons should be embraced, celebrated and respected.

Submission to UN on Rights or Persons with Disabilities

Autistic Minority International included a section from A4 in its submission to the United Nations Day of General Discussion (DGD) on the right to education for persons with disabilities.

The section from A4 says ...

"While the Australian government readily signs up to many international human rights conventions, it refuses to take the required next step, that is enacting laws that ensure the protection of human rights for its citizens. This lack of legal protection for rights of Australian citizens with a disability results in especially poor outcomes. Australia has the worst poverty of people with disability in the OECD.

Helping Children with Autism extended until the NDIS starts

The Government announced that it will continue the Helping Children with Autism (HCWA) package until the NDIS starts. John Howard created HCWA in 2007 and Bill Shorten implemented it. HCWA funds about 5% of the early intervention that the Government advised a child with autism needs.


Funding extensions for disability and carer programmes

Australian first employment model for people with Autism

This appears to be the Government taking credit for something where it did little or nothing (editor).

03 February 2015

Senator the Hon Marise Payne
Minister for Human Services

In an Australian-first 11 people with Autism Spectrum Disorder have begun traineeships designed to harness their unique abilities at the Department of Human Services in Adelaide.

GREENS DEMAND IMMEDIATE ACTION TO ADDRESS UNEMPLOYMENT RISE FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITY

Friday, Feb 6th, 2015

Australian Greens spokesperson on Disability Senator Rachel Siewert has labelled a decline in work force participation for people with disability over 20 years as ‘a sign that our government is not doing nearly enough to create equity in the workplace for people with disability’.

please support a Senate Inquiry into abuse of people with disability

Dear Senator,

Please vote today for an Inquiry into abuse and neglect of people with a disability when the matter comes before the Senate. Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4) is confident that the community supports having an Inquiry; we are not aware of any opposition in the community to such an Inquiry.

Autism included at last ... but in a de-funded national disability consortium

Media Release

This week saw a major milestone for autism advocacy in Australia. The Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) helped Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4) prepare and distribute a media release. It was the first time ever that the wider disability community in Australia recognised and helped advocate for specific issues/needs of people living with autism.

Open letter about Autism, disability unemployment, etc. to the Minister for Social Security

Media Release

Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (known as A4), the national peak body for autism spectrum disorder (ASD), wrote an open letter to Scott Morrison MP, the new Minister for Social Security. The letter gives essential information about ASD and the impact of Government policy for people living with ASD, and asks for a meeting to discuss ways to improve outcomes.

The Hon Scott Morrison MP: Open letter on people living with autism, and request to meet

The Hon Scott Morrison MP
PO Box 6022
House of Representatives
Parliament House
Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Minister Morrison MP

Subject: Open letter on people living with autism, and request to meet

Your website shows that with new responsibilities in Social Security you have turned your attention to “our welfare system” and “our safety net”. Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4) asks to meet you to discuss the serious issues relating to welfare and supports for people living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Disability employment scheme: sudden exclusion, fish-slapped by Departments and their "systems"

Monty Python fish slapping dancePeople with autism have difficulty getting a job. The letter below describes the experience of one person and his carer on reaching a point just 2 years after leaving school. 

This experience shows that the Commonwealth Government's Disability Employment Scheme (DES) is largely intractable. The Australian Bureau of Statistics describes its abysmal outcomes for people with autism/ASD (link here): 

In 2012, the labour force participation rate for people with autism was 42%. This compares with 53% labour force participation rate for people with disabilities and 83% for people without disabilities.

The 41.2% of people with autism in the labour market in 2012 experienced 23% unemployment (there is improvement since 2009 when labour force participation was just 34% and unemployment was 41%).

‘Greatest area of need for people with disability left unmet by Government’

said Matthew Wright, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) and spokesperson for the disability peaks.

Responding to claims in The Australian newspaper by Minister for Social Services, Scott Morrison that the new peaks funding ‘supports the area of greatest need’, Matthew Wright said “The department has cut or not provided funding to the highest population groups of people with disability in Australia’.

Abbott's Christmas eve cut to disability organisations

Tony Abbott has taken the knife to key disability organisations, just days before Christmas.

A consortium with widespread disability sector support, led by the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO), was told yesterday that they would not be receiving any funding.

This includes organisations like Autism Asperger’s Advocacy Australia, Blind Citizens Australia, Deaf Australia, Down Syndrome Australia and the National Council on Intellectual Disability.

Bleak Xmas: Disability Peaks Forced to Close Doors on People with Disability

For Immediate Release, 23 December 2014

‘Disability Peaks Forced to Close Doors on People with Disability’ said Matthew Wright, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Federation of Disability Organisations and spokesperson for the disability peaks Ten peak organisations run by people with disability will be left with no choice but to either close their doors or reduce services, with seven organisations subject to drastic funding cuts by outgoing Minister for Social Services, Kevin Andrews.

flawed NDIA approach implicitly blames parents for autism

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) adopted a flawed approach that blames parents implicitly for their child's autism and poor long-term outcomes. The NDIA is charged with funding early intervention for children with disability … and “disability” includes autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The NDIA's Operational Guideline – Access – Early Intervention Requirements can be downloaded here.

As well as describing the NDIA's eligibility criteria for ASD as gobbledygook (see here), community members regards the NDIA's approach to Early Intervention for children with ASD as flawed. The NDIA adopted the “Seven Key Principles” approach described in a document from a “Workgroup on Principles and Practices in Natural Environments” (see download page here)

There are strong feelings in the the ASD community that the principles the NDIS suggest/adopted are dangerous, misleading and offensive. The NDIA's early intervention principles ignore the relevant science and deny children effective treatment for their ASD. Clearly, the principles were written by someone/persons who are not informed about intervention, treatment or the science of intervention for ASD. Members of the ASD community are deeply disappointed that this document is used as the NDIA's official position on early intervention related to ASD.

Government reply to letter about 2014 Budget and the DSP

A Government official (signature indecipherable), not the Assistant Minister, replied to A4's letter (see http://a4.org.au/a4/node/819) about Disability Support Pension and measures in the 2014-15 Federal Budget.

The Government's response is disappointing. It ignores the issues that A4 raised.

In its response the Government says that:

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