Art and Asperger's

Dennis Liew between two of his paintings hung on a wall

Living with Asperger’s Syndrome isn’t an easy feat
but it hasn’t stopped aspiring artist Dennis Liew
from soldiering on. (Pictures by Mahzir Mat Isa)

“Mummy, my teacher told me to go to Tanjung Rambutan (the nation’s oldest mental institution and now known as Hospital Bahagia, located in Perak). But I’m not crazy, mummy.” The words uttered to her by her son, Dennis Liew, more than 20 years ago when he was still in primary school continue to haunt Patricia Lim.

‘Prioritise autistic voices’: Bendigo advocates to watch closely as state updates Autism Plan

Susanna Flanagan, with her daughter Alethea, says an inquiry into autism
services heard many stories of experiences in Victoria, but feared they
would not be listened to in the end. Picture: NONI HYETT

BENDIGO autism advocates have urged the state government to listen to their real experiences as it embarks on the first update of Victoria’s Autism Plan since 2009.

They have also called for organisations which use restrictive practices such as restrain and seclusion to be either change their policies, or have no future in the delivery of services for autistic people.

New global diagnostic manual mirrors U.S. autism criteria

parents talking to clinician (in white coat)

Starting next year, clinicians worldwide may be using a new, streamlined set of criteria to diagnose autism.

The criteria are part of a highly anticipated update to the “International Classification of Diseases,” a diagnostic manual produced by the World Health Organization (WHO). The latest draft of the manual, dubbed ICD-11, collapses autism, Asperger syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) into a single diagnosis of ‘autism spectrum disorder.’

Paraquat poisoning: Weedkiller drunk by autistic man meant to be 'under lock and key', chemical company says

An Australian chemical manufacturer has rejected calls for a ban or tightening of restrictions around the use of a highly toxic herbicide which poisoned a young man with autism on the New South Wales Central Coast.

Damien Terry, 21, accidently drank the commercial weedkiller — known as paraquat — from a soft drink bottle he found in a disabled toilet at the Mangrove Mountain sports complex in August.

Shepparton: Autistic school idea

The Hon Suzanna Sheed MP smiling

State Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed
wants to see the government invest in a new
school for autistic children in the Shepparton region.


State Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed believes a new school for autistic children should be considered for the Victorian Government’s Shepparton Education Plan.

Ms Sheed met with Education Minister James Merlino last week following a speech in Parliament during which she asked him to consider providing appropriate services for students with autism spectrum disorder as part of the government’s plan to overhaul education in the region.

Raising children who have autism and ADHD

As a parent what are the tell tale signs your child isn't processing the world like other people?

It could be lack of eye contact, inability to follow instructions, or communicate effectively.

For Dr Rasika Rampithage she already had the training to look for those signs in her profession.

But at home, when her young daughter Amayawas having behavioural issues, Dr Rampithage knew, like other mothers, she needed specialist support.

Don Burke, you owe me, and everybody else with Asperger's, an apology

Daniel Andrusiak

I am a 29-year-old man with Asperger's syndrome. I am independent, live in Caulfield North with a housemate and commute every day to a full-time job in the western suburbs of Melbourne. I am also a keen scriptwriter, football fan, have a girlfriend and speak German and a little bit of French, among other things. This is just to give some background as to who I am.

Doctor denies asking mother and autistic child to leave practice

mother and her son

Samantha Akee with her autistic son Darius, 6,
at their Condon home. Picture: Evan Morgan


A TOWNSVILLE doctor has denied asking a Condon mother to leave his practice with her young autistic son after the boy suffered a “meltdown”.

Samantha Akee visited My Family Doctors at Kirwan for an appointment yesterday with her six-year-old son Darius and her one-year-old daughter.

Ms Akee claimed she was asked to leave the practice after her son suffered the “meltdown”, due to his mental condition, because they were in an unfamiliar section of the surgery.

Toowoomba: Girl heads to NASA after creating robotic dog for autism

ONE of Allora's most inventive young students has been awarded with a trip to NASA and the title of National Winner in Origin's littleBIGidea competition.

 Jasmine Eldridge, 12, from Allora State School was named the national winner in the Year 7 - 8 category from more than 1000 entries received.

Jasmine's littleBIGidea entry, Dog of Technology (D.O.T), is designed as an aid to assist children like herself with autism.

Autistic people aren't really accepted – and it’s impacting their mental health

Up to 70% of autistic people experience mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety, according to some research. Unfortunately, we still don’t know why autistic people are at a higher risk for mental health problems than non-autistic people. But one important factor is whether an individual’s autism is recognised and accepted by those around them.

Carer and 8yo boy killed after being hit by truck on Pacific Motorway near Newcastle

A 27-year-old woman and an eight-year-old boy she was a carer for have died after being hit by a truck on the Pacific Motorway near Newcastle in New South Wales.

Police said the woman's car had stopped in a breakdown bay on the M1 at Cameron Park, near George Booth Drive, on Sunday evening.

"The driver got out of the vehicle and opened the side door," Acting Assistant Commissioner Stuart Smith said.

"At that stage we believe an eight-year-old child has entered the roadway, followed by a 27-year-old carer.

Jemma Lilley and Trudi Lenon found guilty of autistic teen Aaron Pajich’s murder

Jemma Lilley and Trudi Lenon have been found
guilty of murdering teenager Aaron Pajich

Jemma Lilley’s fascination with serial killers goes back at least a decade to the crude online novel she wrote about murder when she was a 16-year-old living in her ­native Stamford, England.

Indeed, she had hoped to ­become a serial killer.

Lilley once boasted that she knew how to commit murder and get away with it.

She wanted to kill and the feeling was getting stronger. And when she finally lived out her fantasy with her obsequious housemate Trudi Lenon in June last year, Lilley gloated that police were too dumb to catch her.

Cessnock's Strive for Autism celebrates tenth anniversary

Alan Baird  and president Maxine Baird facing the camera

HONOURED: Strive for Autism's public officer Alan Baird
and president Maxine Baird with the group's award for
Community Event of the Year
at Cessnock's 2017 Australia Day awards.

Krystal Sellars

Ten years ago this month, a support group for families of people with autism spectrum disorders held its first meeting in Cessnock.

Since then, Strive for Autism has helped to provide support for such families, and raise much-needed awareness of the lifelong developmental condition that can affect communication, sensory perception, social interactions and behaviour.

Strive for Autism president Maxine Baird said the group’s meetings provide information and support, and a forum for families with questions and stories to share.

Push to open Lyrebird College, a school for children with autism

Laura Armitage

A MUM’S dream to get a better education for her son, who has autism, could see a new independent school set up in Lilydale.

Melissa Handbury has been working to open Lyrebird College for two years, and the idea grew after planning for the future of nine-year-old son Logan.

Ms Handbury said the process highlighted to her the need for more tailored teaching and therapy-based learning for children with autism, particularly at secondary-school level.

USA: Autism is not my identity: How a Cave Creek teen lost his diagnosis

Mark Macluskie packed his belongings and left home for the first time to attend college this fall.

The winner of one of 20 coveted Flinn Scholarships, Mark has a full ride to study mechanical engineering with two minors in electrical engineering and mathematics at Arizona State University.

Mark is the consummate scholar: intelligent, charismatic, a whiz at math.


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