News by Region

Man jailed over brutal, sustained attack on victim with Asperger syndrome

Relatives of Timothy Mason depart the County Court of Victoria
after the sentence was handed down.

A man who terrorised and beat a victim with Asperger syndrome for hours in regional Victoria has been jailed for at least eight years and eight months.

Timothy Mason, 27, was today sentenced to a total of 12 years and four months in prison by the County Court over the February 2018 crime at Geelong.

Mason kidnapped, beat and terrorised a man for up to 20 hours, leaving the victim unrecognisable to his mother.

NDIS a two-year 'nightmare' for Border mother

Struggles with NDIS requirements and the lack of support provided pushed a NSW mother to the point of considering foster care for her daughter.

Elizabeth Noone said she no longer wanted this, but described her experience with the National Disability Insurance Scheme over the past two years as "a nightmare".

Her daughter Jasmine, 11, has autism, an intellectual disability, epilepsy, diabetes, is non-verbal and often becomes agitated.

Here's what needs to happen to get the NDIS back on track

Helen Dickinson

More than 277,000 people have already benefited from the NDIS, but there’s room to improve.

In one of his first official public remarks since being re-elected, Prime Minister Scott Morrison pledged that addressing failures in the national disability insurance scheme (NDIS) would be a priority for the new government.

Stuart Robert has assumed the role of minister for the NDIS and will be charged with delivering on this important agenda.

So what does the new minister need to do to get the NDIS back on track?

Conference of States Parties (CoSP) to the CRPD, 11 – 13 June 2019

AFDO is pleased to be participating again this year in the 12th Session of the Conference of States Parties (CoSP) to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD).  CoSP will be held from 11th to 13th June 2019 at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

AFDO and A4 are co-sponsoring a side event, "Leave No Autistic Mother Behind: Autism and Motherhood – Experiences, Challenges and Positive Strategies",  on Thursday 13th June from 3pm – 4:15pm (New York time).

Mum demands answers after death in care

Perry Duffin

The invitations for Merna Aprem's 21st have been sent out but, instead of celebrating a milestone birthday, the avid Star Wars fan will next week be laid to rest in her party dress.

The autistic and epileptic 20-year-old had lived at a group home in Sydney's west for a few months when she slipped below the water in the bathtub and drowned last Thursday, her mother Tanya Petrus told AAP.

"She'd written all her birthday invitations," the grieving mother said through tears.

SA: Family struggling to find carers for autistic daughter despite NDIS funding

Helen Campbell knows the risk her daughter Annie poses. Her needs have been deemed so complex, that the South Australian Government has funded two carers at once to look after her in recent years.

Despite current funding through Disability SA, Ms Campbell and her eldest daughter Lisa have struggled to find agencies or carers willing to take Annie on a long-term basis.

She is worried this will only be more complicated when her daughter transitions to the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) at the end of June.

Waleed Aly speaks about son’s autism diagnosis on The Project

Gold Logie winner Waleed Aly, who rarely speaks publicly about his family, has shared a very personal story about his son.

Waleed Aly has opened up about his son’s autism diagnosis, describing the moment he and his wife found out as a relief.

Discussing a segment about comedian Tom Gleisner’s work with Learning For Life Autism Centre, Aly spoke about how finding out his son Zayd had autism “opened up doors”.

“I know when we got our diagnosis for our son we actually had the opposite reaction to the guy in the package,” Aly said on Monday night.

Teenager with severe disabilities died after choking on latex glove, coronial inquest hears

The mother of a severely disabled teenager who died at an Adelaide care facility after swallowing a latex glove has told a coronial inquest she had warned carers that her daughter was at risk of putting things in her mouth.

Key points:

  • Sophia Nisco was left unattended at her Adelaide care facility
  • She put a latex glove in her mouth and was later found unresponsive
  • An inquest has heard two staff members were looking after four children at the time

Landmark summit on autism health care kicks off

A panel of autism scientists and advocates is charged with a tall order: making recommendations for the care of autistic people worldwide. The panel is slated to meet for the first time today after the 2019 International Society for Autism Research annual meeting in Montreal.

Convened by the journal The Lancet, the group includes more than 20 of the world’s leading autism researchers, clinicians and advocates. Its goal is to review research and make concrete suggestions on health care and health policy.

Autism Scorecard - Federal Election 2019

The Australian Autism Alliance released its 2019 federal election autism scorecard! It helps understand how the major parties will create #Change4Autism if elected to govern on Saturday 18 May.

Download the #Change4Autism campaign from www.australianautismalliance.org.au/election2019!

The four major priorities of the Change4Autism Election Manifesto were:

  1. Urgent action to eliminate NDIS barriers to vital supports for autistic people
  2. A National Autism Strategy
  3. Establish a Royal Commission into violence, abuse and neglect of people with a disability
  4. High-impact, sustainable disability advocacy

Against these priorities the parties fared:

My friend and mentor Les Murray - autistic savant

British-born author Daniel Tammet corresponded with poet Les Murray, who died on April 29 aged 80, and translated his poems into French. In his 2017 book Every Word is a Bird We Teach to Sing, Tammet describes how Murray’s inspiring example helped him come to terms with being autistic. In this edited extract he recounts how he and Murray came to share a stage in Paris in 2015.

Daniel Tammet

The Australian poet Les Murray makes life hard for those who wish to describe him. It isn't only his work, some 30 books over 50 years. It is the man. In PR terms, Murray seems the antipode of Updikean dapperness, cold Coetzee intensity, Zadie Smith's glamour. His author photographs, which appear to be snapshots, can best be described as ordinary. The bald man's hat, the double chin, the plain T-shirt. A photograph, accompanying his New Selected Poems, shows him at a kitchen table, grandfatherly in his glasses. The artlessness is that of an autodidact. Murray has always written as his own man. Fashions, schools, even the occasional dictionary definition, he serenely flouts. To read him is to know him.

Advocates blame NDIS failures as families give up severely disabled children to child protection

Richard Willingham

Children with high-needs disabilities are living in child protection because their parents can no look longer after them, with advocates blaming a lack of support from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) for forcing parents to give up their children.

Key points:

  • The McNeills gave their son up to state care because he needed 24-hour supervision and they did not have enough help from the NDIS
  • Only half of the 48 children living in residential state care in Victoria have some form of NDIS support
  • The situation was labelled "horrendous and appalling" by advocates, who say children have a right to stay in their own home

Loving Lucy

Parenting can be tough—even when your child is considered so-called ‘normal’. Nine-year-old Lucy looks like a curly haired angel, but she's often strangely manipulative and physically violent. Her mum and dad are still searching for a diagnosis which could make sense of her extreme behaviour. But their patience and love for Lucy is extraordinary.

The Concept of Neurodiversity Is Dividing the Autism Community

Simon Baron-Cohen

    It remains controversial—but it doesn't have to be

    At the annual meeting of the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) in Montreal, Canada, this week, one topic likely to be widely debated is the concept of neurodiversity. It is dividing the autism community, but it doesn’t have to.

    The term “neurodiversity” gained popular currency in recent years but was first used by Judy Singer, an Australian social scientist, herself autistic, and first appeared in print in the Atlantic in 1998.

    In search of truce in the autism wars

    The fight between those who define autism as a medical condition and those who see it as a mere difference has reached vitriolic levels. Can the two sides come together to support all autistic people?

    Earlier this year, London’s Southwark Playhouse announced the cast of a new play, “All in a Row.” It was instantly clear this would not be a typical family drama. The play unfolds the night before social services separates a boy named Laurence from his family. Unlike the other three characters, Laurence, a nonverbal autistic and sometimes aggressive 11-year-old, would be portrayed by a child-size puppet.

    Families need guidance before buying a communication app for autism

    Cathy Binger

    Many children with autism have little to no functional speech, and their families are often desperate to help them communicate.

    In today’s connected society, these families are likely to hear about a variety of communication apps — some specifically targeted at children with autism — available for mobile devices, including iPads. Often the advertisement includes a video of a child who starts communicating using the app’s voice output, effortlessly asking for a cup of juice or saying, for the first time, “I love you.”

    Greta Thunberg teaches us about autism as much as climate change

    Greta Thunberg speaking

    The young environmental activist has shown that being different is a gift. But too many people with autism still face cruel treatment

    Greta Thunberg is an impressive individual. Just 16 years old, she has been nominated for the Nobel peace prize after sparking environmental protests around the planet. There is a glorious simplicity to her arguments that makes them hard to refute. What, she asked, was the point of pupils like her learning anything if politicians ignored the glaring facts on climate change? So she sat down outside the Swedish parliament with a hand-painted banner declaring a school strike – and eight months later, is a global icon who has helped to fire up a resurgent green movement.

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