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Coalition says new autism guidelines won't affect NDIS access

Paul Fletcher says guidelines developed in consultation with people living with autism, researchers and doctors

New national guidelines for diagnosing autism announced by the federal government on Tuesday will have no impact on those with autism previously deemed eligible for funding under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the minister for social services, Paul Fletcher, has said.

Autism overhaul amid NDIS cases blowout

Rick Morton

Guidelines for autism cases will be streamlined nationwide and doctor-shopping for diagnoses will be eliminated, under a series of reforms aimed at stemming a blowout in the National Dis­ability Insurance Scheme.

The reforms, to be announced by the Morrison government today, have been heralded as a revolution in the way it would smooth out “significant variabilities” in cases confirmed by ­clinicians.

National Guidelines for Autism Diagnosis

Media Release

The Autism Co-operative Research Centre (CRC) has published Australia's first National Guideline for the assessment and diagnosis of autism.

All Australians who require assessment for autism spectrum conditions are entitled to an early, affordable and comprehensive diagnostic process. The Guideline provides an opportunity to ensure a nationally consistent and equitable experience across the lifespan for families and individuals seeking a diagnosis.

Ministers welcome national guideline for autism assessment and diagnosis

Media Release

The Coalition Government has announced a new national standard for diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), improving diagnostic consistency across Australia.

Minister for Families and Social Services, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, and Minister for Health, the Hon. Greg Hunt MP, today welcomed the release of the national guideline, funded by the National Disability Insurance Agency.

About 164,000 Australians, including 136,000 children and young people under the age of 25, have ASD. That represents a 79 percent increase from 2009.

Primary school for children with autism to be located at Loftus with plans for future high school and college

Murray Trembath

A new education campus at Loftus for children with autism will start with a primary school, with the aim to add a high school and college in the future.

Autism Spectrum Australia is planning the complex to meet “a critical lack of affordable specialist autism-specific education” in Sydney’s south.

The campus is to be located on the Loftus site, which at present houses a TAFE college, University of Wollongong campus and the Cook School for pupils with behavioural problems.

Flinders Liberal MP Greg Hunt to walk 500km for ‘Walk for Autism’

Christian Tatman

HE’LL have blisters, sore shins and more than the odd cramp.

But when Greg Hunt finishes his 500km ‘Walk for Autism’ fundraiser, the Flinders Liberal MP will also be grinning from ear to ear.

Mr Hunt will be joined by AFL great Kevin Sheedy for part of the walk, which will raise money for autism educational assistance groups — Abacus Learning Centre and the Light up Autism Foundation.

Best paw forward for autism

THE DAY is almost here. After months of planning, the Local Paws Walk for Autism is on this Saturday.

The walk, which will raise funds for a local sensory therapy facility for families managing children and young adults with autism, is the brain-child of Veronica Balsamello, whose son has autism.

It al began when she wanted to do something for people with autism in the Clarence Valley and give them the opportunity to live a full life.

How Keeley’s Cause has brought hope to autistic children through technology

Rochelle Kirkham

Keeley Murphy has always struggled academically at school.

But now the 14-year-old has created an organisation that is improving the lives of children Australia wide.

Ballan-based charity Keeley’s Cause provides iPads for children with autism or an intellectual disability. 

Keeley and her mother Sharon Murphy, with the help of an army of supporters, have presented 37 children with their own iPad in just under nine months. 

Addressing autism support disparity in regional areas

Siobhan Calafiore

Faced with a lack of services in Ballarat, Vicky Robinson has resorted to travelling to Melbourne to ensure her daughter receives the autism support she requires.

Rachel Richards, now eight years old, was diagnosed with autism at four.

“She is on the invisible end of the spectrum,” Ms Robinson said. “To look at, you wouldn’t know, but it was just that social delay, not interacting with peers.

report: access to the NDIS for people with impaired decision-making capacity

Here is another report, this time from Queensland, describing some serious inadequacies of the NDIS with particular impact on autistic people ... though the report fails completely to mention autistic people. The report talks about people with impaired decision-making capacity; it mentions intellectual disability and brain injury, but does not mention autism spectrum disorder (ASD, which is the biggest distinct disability type in the NDIS).


The Public Trustee

We recommend that the Public Trustee of Queensland:

How to improve the NDIS for people who have an intellectual disability as well as a mental illness

Karen R Fisher, UNSW; Erin Louise Whittle, UNSW, and Julian Norman Trollor, UNSW

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) began a full national rollout in July, 2016 with a fundamental principle to give those with a disability choice and control over their daily lives. Participants can use funds to purchase services that reflect their lifestyle and aspirations. Two years on, how is the scheme faring?

Full implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) started two years ago, but many people with disability are not receiving the support they need. One such group are people with complex support needs, such as people with intellectual disability who also have mental health needs.

Early interventions, explained

In 1987, psychologist Ole Ivar Lovaas reported that he had created a therapy that would make the behavior of some autistic children indistinguishable from that of typical children by 7 years of age1. His approach, applied behavioral analysis (ABA), involves hours of drills each day, in which children are rewarded for certain behaviors and discouraged from others.

But Lovaas had overstated his case: Of the 19 children in his study who were treated, only 9 went on to meet typical developmental milestones.

Still, given the dearth of treatments for autism, ABA quickly became popular and is now the most common behavioral therapy for autism — but it is not without controversy. ABA also forms the basis for most interventions delivered early in childhood. The accepted wisdom in autism research holds that early intervention offers the best promise for an autistic child’s well-being. But how effective are these therapies?

Here’s what researchers know about early intervention.

NDIS is an illusion for people with Complex Needs

Luke Michael

Many National Disability Insurance Scheme recipients with complex and challenging support needs are not seeing the benefits the NDIS is meant to deliver, Victoria’s Public Advocate says.

A new report from the Office of the Public Advocate said a poor quality of services under the NDIS was impacting on the human rights of people with disability, and significantly compromising their ability to achieve chosen life goals.

Public Advocate Dr Colleen Pearce said for many, the choice and control promised by the NDIS was an illusion.

Disability carer recorded saying 'I just wanna f***ing beat these kids without risk'

Alison Branley

An audio recording has exposed the shocking verbal abuse of a 14-year-old severely autistic boy by the people who were supposed to be caring for him.

Warning: this story contains disturbing content and coarse language

Key points:

  • Two disability carers recorded verbally abusing autistic boy
  • In the recording, one carer tells the young boy "I'm gonna bash you"
  • Greens senator Jordon Steele-John wants aged care royal commission expanded to include abuse of people with disabilities living in group homes


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