News/Announcements

Construction starts for Canberra’s first autism hub

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CONSTRUCTION begins this week for a $3.5 million world-class autism hub in Garran.

The sod turning ceremony for the AEIOU Garran Centre for Autism will be held tomorrow (February 26) to mark the beginning of construction for the early intervention facility supported, through capital funding, by the John James Foundation.

The centre will be the first of its kind in Canberra and will provide early intervention for about 40 children per year. It will also have the capacity for research and training.

Anxiety in autistic children – why rates are so high

Keren MacLennan, University of Reading

Many aspects of the world can be overwhelming for autistic children, so it is unsurprising that dealing with the challenging impact of anxiety has become a daily struggle for many autistic children and their families. In fact, autistic children are twice as likely to develop anxiety than non-autistic children. Not only this, but around 40% are diagnosed with at least one anxiety disorder, with the most common being specific phobia, which is an extreme fear of a particular place, object, animal, person or situation.

Many autistic people carry this disabling anxiety into adulthood, which can negatively affect their future prospects and quality of life. Because of this, autism researchers have made it a priority to understand why autistic children are much more at risk of developing anxiety and what can be done to prevent it.

NSW program aims to bring job seekers with autism into public service

Shannon Jenkins

The New South Wales Public Service Commission has launched a pilot initiative designed to bring autistic and neurodiverse talents into state government agencies.

A partnership between the state government and the not-for-profit enterprise Specialisterne Australia, the Tailored Talent Program aims to address skill shortages in hard-to-fill public service roles such as cyber-security, software testing, data analytics, and coding.

What People Think They Know About Autism Bears Little Relation To Their Actual Knowledge

Dan Carney

One of the most well-known psychological biases is the Dunning-Kruger effect: the tendency for individuals less skilled or knowledgeable in a particular area to overestimate their own performance. Now, a team of researchers from Miami University, Ohio, have offered the most robust evidence yet that this may apply to knowledge about autism — that what people think they know about the condition may not be that closely related to what they actually know.

Victoria Launches Australia’s First Autism Campaign

The Andrews Labor Government has established Australia’s first social behaviour change campaign to promote better understanding and inclusion of autistic people.

Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers Luke Donnellan today launched the new $2.8 million public education campaign Change Your Reactions with Amaze CEO Fiona Sharkie.

Change Your Reactions encourages Victorians to recognise some of the challenges that autistic people face and to understand the impacts of community actions and reactions.

Report: We look after our own mob

World first research report on Australia's First Peoples experiences of autism

Positive Partnerships is proud to have collaborated with Macquarie University on a new research report titled 'We Look After Our Own Mob: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Experiences of Autism'. On Tuesday 18th February this report was launched at the State Library of New South Wales by the Honourable Linda Burney MP, NSW Shadow Minister for Families and Social Services, Shadow Minister for Indigenous Australians.

The report shares dialogue and insights from Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander families on how they feel about the state of autism-related services in their communities, as well as what changes are needed to enable autistic children to feel secure, safe and supported at school. Focus too is placed on how we can all best honour the rights of autistic children to maintain authentic connection to their culture and community.

Submission to Disability Royal Commission on Education of autistic students

On 3/2/2020, A4 sent its belated submission responding to the Disability Royal Commission's (DRC) Issues Paper on Education of students with disability. The submission was due in December, but A4 has limited resources to do this type of work. Hopefully, the DRC will consider A4's submission.

The submission makes the following suggestions to the Royal Commission.

Repetitive behaviors and ‘stimming’ in autism, explained

 

Restricted interests and repetitive behaviors constitute one of two criteria that define autism in the diagnostic manual for psychiatry.

But this domain encompasses a wide range of traits that may appear in a variety of combinations, and with different severity, among people with autism. Here, we describe the changing understanding of the importance of repetitive behaviors in autism, and the movement for their acceptance.

Intelligence, behavior shape adulthood for people with autism

Just two factors assessed in childhood predict how well people with autism will function as adults, according to a new study: intelligence quotient (IQ) and behavioral problems such as hyperactivity1.

The ability to predict adult outcomes could enable clinicians to offer autistic children targeted treatments early in life and improve their chances of a better life — to a point.

Children's access to disability funding depending on where they live dubbed 'developmental apartheid'

Children with developmental delays such as autism have become the victims of postcode discrimination, with some in poorer suburbs waiting hundreds of days for the crucial diagnosis often needed to access the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Key points:

  • ABC investigation finds children with disabilities in poorer areas are facing longer wait times
  • One child waited 697 days to be seen, with another on the list for 640 days before being assessed
  • Parents have described the stress their families have endured while they wait

Unlike 'Atypical' and 'The Good Doctor,' 'Everything's Gonna Be Okay' Actually Cast an Autistic Actor

From the moment the trailer for Freeform's newest show, Everything's Gonna Be Okay, dropped, viewers were wondering whether actress Kayla Cromer was really autistic.

That's because the trailer for the show, which premiered Jan. 16, opens with a little girl taking the podium at her father's funeral. "Hello, I will be doing dad's eulogy," begins this glasses-wearing blonde's endearingly humorous speech. "I have autism."

Netflix show Atypical and Rain Man don't tell the real story of living with autism

Australian society seems to be afraid of telling stories about people with disabilities that show the truth of what it really is: difficult, challenging, exhausting and sometimes painful.

Authentic representation matters and when creators, writers and the TV networks get these stories wrong, it distorts how society views people with a disability.

Severity of autism symptoms varies greatly among identical twins

Findings from NIH-funded study could inform treatment strategies.

WHAT:

Identical twins with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often experience large differences in symptom severity even though they share the same DNA, according to an analysis funded by the National Institutes of Health. The findings suggest that identifying the causes of this variability may inform the treatment of ASD-related symptoms. The study was conducted by John Constantino, M.D., of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and colleagues. Funding was provided by NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). The study appears in Behavior Genetics.

Autism and Bushfire Emergencies

Bushfire season is a stressful time for all of us, including children on the autism spectrum. Children on the autism spectrum can sense that adults around them are anxious, fearful and overwhelmed. Additionally, their anxiety increases as their routines, schedules and living situations are disrupted during the fires.

We would like to offer some suggestions for you to help your child adjust to the changes and the stresses related to the fires.

Children with autism in WA 'languishing' in mental health wards, youth advocates say

Rhiannon Shine

Children with autism are languishing in mental health wards for "months", leaving others stuck on emergency departments for days waiting for an admission, according to Western Australia's chief mental health advocate.

Key points:

  • Ms Colvin has written to the State Government calling for urgent action
  • She says one child had to wait up to five days to access urgent mental health care
  • The Government says hospital discharge delays are due to the transition to the NDIS

Early Treatment for Autism Is Critical, New Report Says

Perri Klass, M.D.

Experts urge early identification and referral for treatment, even if a formal diagnosis has not been confirmed.

In December, the American Academy of Pediatrics put out a new clinical report on autism, an extensive document with an enormous list of references, summarizing 12 years of intense research and clinical activity. During this time, the diagnostic categories changed — Asperger’s syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder, diagnostic categories that once included many children, are no longer used, and we now consider all these children (and adults) to have autism spectrum disorder, or A.S.D.

Australians with autism are getting support to start their own businesses

Sandra Fulloon

Many people with autism have never held a paid job, but at an innovative program is helping some young entrepreneurs break the cycle.

Of the 250,000 Australians diagnosed with autism, fewer than half have ever held paid work, despite having the skills and qualifications.

That was the finding of a new study commissioned by autism body AMAZE.

Of those who do gain work, more than 20 per cent say they have lost a job due to their symptoms.

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