News/Announcements

DisabilityCare (NDIS) start: with serious initial concerns relating to people with autism/ASD

DisabilityCare, the renamed and emerging NDIS, "launched" in a number of locations (states?). Now we start to see how it is being implemented. Our hope is that the scheme will be genuinely person-centred: that is, it will focus on identifying and meeting the needs of each person (individual) with a disability. Our particular concerns relate to people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Access to justice in the criminal justice system for people with disability

A4's submission/feedback on the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) Issues Paper on "Access to justice in the criminal justice system for people with disability" (see https://www.humanrights.gov.au/access-justice-criminal-justice-system-pe...) can be downloaded below.

A4 highlights that for people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), Australia does not have a "justice system", what it has is a legal system; a system of legal processes that rarely delivers justice for people with ASD.

feedback on Restrictive Practices in the Disability Service Sector

Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4) sent feedback on FaHCSIA's Draft Proposed National Framework for Reducing the Use of Restrictive Practices in the Disability Service Sector (see http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/our-responsibilities/disability-and-carers/pub...).

The main points in A4's feedback were:

    Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Living with Autism Spectrum Disorders

    Prime Minister Gillard announced $31 million for a CRC for Living with Autism Spectrum Disorders (see http://www.pm.gov.au/press-office/70-million-boost-world-class-research). This is a welcome move from the Gillard Government.

    "The implementation of a highly innovative 'whole-of-life' research portfolio will deliver a continuum of support required for people with Autism to participate successfully in education, employment and all facets of the community."

    Human rights, legislation and a letter to yet another Attorney-General

    Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4) sent yet another letter to Australia's latest Attorney-General. The letter raises concerns about proposed changes to disability discrimination law, and the lack of acknowledgement or response to concerns raised with previous Attorneys General.

    Attorney-General "file and ignore" on disability issues

    Previously, Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4) wrote to Attorneys-General about the rights of people with a disability (see http://a4.org.au/a4/node/438). The letter was emailed twice (once each on 4/1/2012 and 5/1/2012) and there was no indication that it did not arrive at its destination.

    There was absolutely no response to the letter, so we put in a request using the Freedom of Information process. The response says:

    A4 submission on health and medical research in Australia

    A4 sent a submission to the the Review of Health and Medical Research in Australia (see http://www.mckeonreview.org.au/).

    The submission suggests that research funding has a greater chance of having more impact when it is addresses health issues with higher "burden of disease and injury". It mentions that autism has a high burden for children (highest for boys), based on the available evidence ... yet very little of Australia's health and medical research funding is spent on autism.

    The Disability Clothesline

    What is the Disability Clothesline?

    We started this project because people with disability and their families did not h
    ave a voice.

    When we tell our stories about abuse, neglect and violence, people do not always listen.

    But if lots of us tell our stories, people will listen.

    We want to tell our stories to the Australian community.

    We are going to do this by using teeshirts to share our stories.

    This will spread the message we want people to hear.

    'Disability violence and abuse is not okay.'

    You can help us by telling your story.

    a message from Minister Macklin MP and Ms Collins MP

    A4's Convenor received the following message from the Government on 25/9/2012 ...

    Dear Friend

    We believe that an independent and innovative Not-For-Profit sector is essential to building a fair community.

    The past few weeks in Queensland have reminded us how Liberal governments treat community organisations.

    Premier Newman has introduced gag clauses into community services contracts which prevent funded organisations from advocating for the most vulnerable in our community. The Howard Government gagged the community sector too.

    New website for supporting tertiary students with ASD

    The Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre, La Trobe University, has developed an online resource for ASD students, parents, and tertiary staff. The website development was part of a larger project which aims to support tertiary students diagnosed with ASD.

    Here’s the link: http://www.latrobe.edu.au/otarc/info/support

    Briefly, each section contains the following information:
    • Students: transition and orientation, disclosure, what to expect at university and TAFE, learning at university and TAFE.

    Question about autism/ASD for candidates in the 2012 ACT election

    The autism/ASD advocacy group, Speaking Out for Autism Spectrum Disorders in the Australian Capital Territory (SOfASD ACT) wrote to ACT political candidates asking about their policies and plans for people affected by autism. There is an election in the ACT in October and the group feels the ASD community in the ACT need to know what prospective governments plan to do to improve outcomes for people with ASD and their associates.

    SOfASD asked specific questions about policy and plans for:

    • diagnosis
    • early intervention
    • school age: education and other needs

    Letter to Government about labour force participation for people with autism

    A4 wrote to The Hon. Mr. Shorten MP about the especially poor labour force participation (employment) of people with autism spectrum disorders. We referred to the report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics that shows outcomes for people with autism are significantly worse than the outcomes people with a disability generally and Australia's indigenous population experience.

    We provided the Minister with a recent example of a person with severe autism trying to access a supported employment service.

    Health-care disparities exist for children with autism spectrum disorders

    June 11, 2012 in Autism spectrum disorders

    Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) require an array of specialized health care services. With these services come higher costs for parents and insurance providers. University of Missouri researchers compared costs and types of services for children with ASD to costs and services for children with other conditions like asthma or diabetes. The researchers found children with ASD paid more for health care than children with other conditions. In addition, children with ASD used more services yet had less access to specialized care.

    Submission on Draft National Standards for Disability Services

    Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4) provided a submission on the Draft National Standards for Disability Services. It says ...

    The current National Standards for Disability Services (NSDS) came into effect in 1993. These Standards govern existing disability services nationally. Experience from the existing NSDS teaches crucial lessons.

    The annual reports of government departments responsible for existing services and of government-funded service providers proclaim proudly their success, efficiency and compliance with these Standards.

    Vic Education says too many donuts cause failure to learn

    A court case is running in Victoria (see http://a4.org.au/a4/node/481) about education for a child with a disability. So far the department has said that the reason for the young man’s failure to learn is that, he ate too many donuts.

    An expert witness for the Education Department told the court said standardised assessments are not as good as unwritten teacher observations because, teachers have a special gift.

    The department lawyers and their expert witness said that people with an intellectual disability don’t learn, so no matter what you do with them they don’t improve.

    Australian icon lights up blue for Autism


    2nd April 2012

    The Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House in Canberra will be one of the first landmarks in the world to Light it Up Blue on World Autism Awareness Day.

    The United Nations General Assembly declared 2nd April as World Autism Awareness Day (A/RES/62/139) to help improve the lives of children and adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) so they can lead full and meaningful lives.

    Minister: gap, not just autism, for a whole range of disabilities?

    The Hon. Ms Jenny Macklin MP
    Minister for Disability Reform

    Dear The Hon. Ms Macklin MP

    I saw your short video on the episode of A Current Affair on 19/3/2012. Your message started “We do recognise that there is a real gap for not just children with autism but children with a whole range of disabilities … ”.

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