News by Region

Telstra offshoot hires notorious teen hacker 'Akill'

24/03/2009 12:53:00 PM
TelstraClear, Telstra's New Zealand subsidiary, has hired one of the worlds best known hackers - a teenager known as "Akill".

Nineteen-year-old Owen Thor Walker became the subject of a US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) cyber crime investigation spanning the United States, Europe and New Zealand and dubbed "Bot Roast".

New Zealand police finally caught him last year and he admitted to being the ring-leader, code-named Akill, of a group known as the A-Team.

Bill Shorten launched a new information website

The media release (see says ...

Parents and carers of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) will benefit from a new information website created as part of the $190 million Helping Children with Autism package.


The website was launched today at Parliament House by the Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children's Services Bill Shorten.


Proposal for a National Disability Insurance Scheme

There is growing support for a National Disability Insurance Scheme (see A paper on the full proposal can be downloaded from members are encouraged to consider the proposal as tell us what they think about how such a scheme would affect people with ASD and their families.

National Disability Strategy: discussion paper and response

The Australian Federal Government is creating another National Disability Strategy (see

The consultation was spectacularly short … about 6 weeks. The government launched its discussion paper on 17th October 2008. The closing date for comments was 1st December.

Mental Health system denies mental health services to youth with Asperger's Disorder

A Coroner's report details massive systemic failure in the mental health system.

The mental health system denied services for, Rowan Wheaton, a young man with fatal mental health issues, because he was also diagnosed with Asperger's Disorder. The Coroner's report can be downloaded here.

Media reports can be found at:

    Why don't you understand?

    A new report on educating autistic children finds schools unable to cope and parents frustrated. ...

    Teachers' tolerance levels were never very high where John Davis was concerned. The boy, who has autism and dyspraxia, was noisier than many other children with his condition and would become frustrated easily, especially in a confined space. ...

    Autism on ABC News website

    Autism gets much more coverage in the media in USA compared to Australia.

    If you would like to see some of the coverage, especially the TV coverage, check out these web pages ...

    A4 has not reviewed the content of these webpages so it has no opinion about the content and does not endorse anything on those websites.

    Trying to Solve Autism's Mysteries

    When Preston Brown was a young child, doctors diagnosed him with autism. Now they say he doesn't have it anymore.

    "He's very aware of his surroundings," said his mother, Jamie Brown, who added that the changes in recent months have been drastic and that doctors have dropped his autism diagnosis.

    "He communicates, he has favorites, he has opinions, he has humor," she said. "He makes friends, he is learning at warp speed, he's intelligent. He's happy, he's not sick anymore."

    Forum sheds light on new methods in autism care

    JEDDAH: To help the growing number of autistic children in the Arab world, the first scientific forum of autism centers in the Arab world began on Sunday night at the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

    The event — entitled “Autism, Reality and Future” — was held under the support of Prince Talal, president of the Arab Gulf Program for United Nations Development Organizations (AGFUND), and was organized by the Al-Faisalya Women Welfare Society and the Jeddah Autism Center.

    Experts call for disability register

    Angela Harper-Erini
    November 12, 2008


    Queensland health experts are seeking a national register of children with disabilities after claims that children have been wrongly diagnosed as autistic to secure disability funding.

    Labor backbencher Dean Wells tabled figures in the Queensland parliament on Tuesday indicating that one in every 50 children in the state was diagnosed as autistic.

    The figure, obtained from parliamentary library research of government records, was three times the international average.

    The Dangers of Autism

    Here is a very disturbing story from the media in the USA.

    Autism in America: A Perilous Diagnosis
    ABC News Medical Unit
    Nov. 6, 2008

    Liane Willey's father always told her that, if she was ever in trouble, she should find a policeman and ask for help.

    In college, Willey befriended a young campus policeman. Recalling her father's advice, she asked him to escort her home late one evening rather than walk alone. Instead, the officer drove away from campus, took her to his trailer home, and raped her.

    Does rain cause autism?

    Uncertainty over what causes the syndrome has become a trigger for wild speculation, says Mark Henderson

    Autism is a highly heritable disorder, which is strongly influenced by genes. But it is not a genetic condition in the same way as Huntington's disease or cystic fibrosis, in which mutated DNA is the one and only cause. It is influenced by environmental factors, but what they are we do not yet know.

    The nature and impact of caring for family members with a disability in Australia

    by Ben Edwards, Daryl J. Higgins, Matthew Gray, Norbert Zmijewski, Marcia Kingston

    Australian Institute of Family Studies, 2008.
    ISBN 978-1-921414-02-2. ISSN 1447-1469 (Print); 1477-1477 (Online).

    Full Report - The nature and impact of caring for family members with a disability in Australia (PDF 3.3 MB)

    Senate Inquiry into Special Disability Trusts - final report

    The Senate Inquiry into Special Disability Trusts published its report entitled Building trust: Supporting families through Disability Trusts (see The report is quite short (56 pages). It provides 14 recommendations.

    Unlocking The Inner-Savant In All Of Us

    We are all capable of the extraordinary savant skills displayed by people with autism according to Professor Allan Snyder, speaking at the Royal Society today. Snyder argues that it is our inbuilt expectations of the world that stop us from using them.

    Prof Snyder spoke on the savant syndrome and his efforts to 'turn on' autistic savant skills in people who don't have autism at a discussion meeting jointly organised by the Royal Society and the British Academy. Snyder is director of the Centre for the Mind at the University of Sydney, Australia.

    the Bercow Review: NAS response

    The Bercow review, published today, has confirmed what many parents of children with autism have been telling us: provision for children with speech, language and communication needs is inadequate and must improve.

    We strongly welcome Bercow's crucial emphasis on early identification and intervention and support his call for an assessment process and better speech and language services. It is also imperative that parents get the right support to understand both the needs of their child and what help is available to them.

    UN co-chairs autism awareness campaign

    The United Nations today co-launched a conference on autism designed to promote quicker intervention, more compassion and greater acceptance of those afflicted.

    “Not too long ago, those affected by autism-related disorders were set aside: placed in institutions or dismissed as untreatable ‘lost cases’,” said Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s wife, Ban Soon-taek, who co-sponsored the event with First Ladies Laura Bush of the United States and Dorrit Moussaieff of Iceland.

    Helping Children with Autism - frequently asked questions

    • Who will the initiatives help?
    • My child is over six years old, can I still access the services under the Helping Children with Autism package?
    • What other support is available to families and carers of children with an Autism Specific Disorder?
    • When will the services be available?


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