News/Announcements

Children with disability face deep-seated discrimination in Victorian schools, Monash University report shows

Victorian children with disability continue to experience discrimination, exclusion and disadvantage in mainstream government schools, according to a report by the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law at Monash University.

Sarah Joseph, Director of the Castan Centre, said that while the Victorian Government has taken positive steps in recent years to improve educational outcomes for students with disability, shortcomings persist, potentially breaching children’s rights under Victorian and Commonwealth human rights and anti-discrimination laws.

Autistic man's home modified to be 'step down' from prison isolation after trauma

A Melbourne man with a profound intellectual disability and autism, who was accused of assault and then left in a high-security prison because there was nowhere else for him to go, has had his charges dropped by Victorian prosecutors.

Francis was sent to prison because no service provider under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) would take him.

He spent two months behind bars and was granted bail in October last year after the ABC's 7.30 program revealed he was spending 23 hours a day in lockdown at the high-security Melbourne Assessment Prison.

"It's been horrific," said his mother, Janet.

Autistic 15yo's accommodation likened to 'dog kennel'; Government 'comfortable' with standards

Rhiana Whitson

A Hobart grandmother has accused a not-for-profit disability services provider of housing her 15-year-old grandson in substandard conditions, with the organisation telling the ABC people with profound autism can be "volatile and destructive" towards furniture and property.

The grandmother, who the ABC has renamed Kathleen for legal reasons, also alleged the state of the boy's accommodation shocked even an employee of the organisation.

Why do some people with autism have restricted interests and repetitive movements?

Andrew Cashin, Southern Cross University

As a society, we’ve come a long way in our understanding of the challenges people with autism face with social communication. But there is a large gap in our understanding of another cluster of behaviours that form part of an autism diagnosis: restrictive and repetitive behaviours and interests (RRBs).

These behaviours and interests appear to be made up of two dimensions. The first is a pattern of overly regulated thinking: obsessions and intense interests; a strong preference for maintaining sameness; and ritualistic or habitual patterns of behaviour, such as fiddling, or motor tics like blinking or throat clearing.

NSW: Inquiry into the implementation of the NDIS and the provision of disability services in New South Wales

MEDIA RELEASE

An Upper House inquiry has been established to examine the provision of disability services in New South Wales.

The Hon. Greg Donnelly MLC, Chair of the Committee said: 'The disability sector has undergone significant reform in recent years. This inquiry is an opportunity to examine a range of issues effecting the sector. A key area of interest is the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)'.

When carers kill

Note: we apologise that technical issues mean we cannot replicate this story properly on our website. The full story, showing many victims, is available from the source site: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-06-23/when-carers-kill/9894514

Sarah Dingle

One person with disabilities is killed by their carer almost every three months in Australia, but these acts of domestic violence are often excused by the media and judiciary. The focus is too often on the killer. Here, we recognise the victims.

Suspicions Raised Over Autism Advocacy Group Agenda

Luke Michael

The federal government has announced the establishment of an Autism Advisory Group, but suspicions have been raised that the group’s agenda is about excluding people with autism from the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Social Services Minister Dan Tehan announced the formation of an Autism Advisory Group (AAG) on Tuesday, with the group’s purpose to provide advice and feedback to the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).  

Fears over changes to NDIS funding for autism

Barbara Miller

The Federal Government has announced it's establishing an Autism Advisory Group to provide guidance to the National Disability Insurance Scheme on how to best deliver services to the increasing number of people with autism.

The move is likely to add to growing concern within the autism community, that there's a push on to cut NDIS funding for people with the condition.

The audio is available on the webpage below.

Autism advisory group to help NDIS

Rick Morton

An autism advisory group that will provide feedback to the managers of the $22 billion National Disability Insurance Scheme has been ­established after revelations in this newspaper of a crackdown in support.

Social Services Minister Dan Tehan announced the group yesterday following reports in The Australian that began when the National Disability Insurance Agency accidentally published a new list of conditions that gain automatic entry to the scheme and which excluded level-two autism.

World's largest autism grant will transform research landscape

The largest research grant ever given for neurodevelopmental conditions has been awarded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative to an international consortium academically led by the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King's College London.

The €115 million grant, titled Autism Innovative Medicine Studies-2-Trials (AIMS-2-Trials), will increase our understanding of autism and help develop new therapies to improve health outcomes and quality of life for autistic people.

Boy with autism speaks first sentence after seeing Vivid’s ‘inclusive’ light show

Elizabeth Fortescue

If you bundle a child into a jumper and beanie for a chilly night out at Vivid Sydney, you’ll soon be treated to a stream of chatter about the sparkly blanket of magic cast over the city by the lights and projections.

But when an excited Charlie Isackson turned to his mum at Vivid and told her, “I like it”, it was the only thing he said all night. In fact, it was the only sentence Charlie has ever said in all his seven years.

Autistic people at greater risk of becoming homeless – new research

William Mandy

Tony had lived on the streets for 45 years, and in recent years had become increasingly physically unwell. Despite this he refused all offers of help, and it became clear to his support workers that he found social engagement of any kind very distressing. It was only when it was recognised that he had autism that staff were able to adapt their approach to support him to move off the streets into a hostel.

Autism’s sex ratio, explained

Autism is significantly more common in boys than in girls. This skewed sex ratio has been recognized since the first cases of autism were described in the 1940s. The exact reasons for the ratio remain unclear. It could be rooted in biological differences between the sexes. Or, some experts say, it may be an artifact of the way autism is defined and diagnosed.

Here’s how researchers estimate and explain the sex ratio in autism.

Autistic children aged seven to 14 targeted for NDIS removal

Rick Morton

The managers of the $22 billion National Disability Insurance Scheme are “back-testing” children with autism to make sure they meet eligibility criteria, and ­“reviewing them out” when they don’t.

The Australian has confirmed with senior National Disability Insurance Agency sources that 22,000 autistic children aged seven to 14 are being “function­ally assessed”. Those who fail to meet the criteria are having their support partially or entirely ­removed.

Comedy routine On The Spectrum sees mother of child with autism dumped from roles

George Roberts

Brisbane performer Nikki Osborne has been dumped from speaking at a disability expo because her stand-up comedy routine makes light of what it is like to be a parent of an autistic child.

Ms Osborne faced a backlash even before the act's debut performance.

She said her comedy routine On The Spectrum is about how parents handle children who can be both brilliant and challenged at the same time.

Raising a happy child with autism and staying happy yourself

Lisa Mayoh

When a child is diagnosed with autism, a family is changed forever. Everything is different. Everyone is learning to live a “new normal” that can take years to adjust to, and decades to master.

Careers, relationships, travel, goals: everything is put on hold while the child — their treatment, progress and needs — comes first, as most would agree they should.

But to raise a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), parents too must consider their own happiness.

Victoria: Art Competition

VPSC is holding an art competition for people with disability. We’d love for you to help us promote it.

The winning artwork will feature on the Victorian public sector’s first ever Disability Employment Action Plan. VPSC is developing the action plan in close consultation with government departments, agencies and offices. The plan is a collective commitment by the sector to provide flexible and sustainable employment for people of all abilities, lifting representation to 6% by 2020.

There is ample expertise in autism that is just waiting to be tapped

Judy Bewer

Ill-informed debate over eligibility and arbitrary line-drawing through the autism spectrum is the result of years of neglect of ­autism research and a failure to engage with those who had the ­answers. It was a perfect storm waiting to happen, and the gales have now blown in.

When our son was diagnosed as autistic in 1996, my husband was the deputy prime minister of Australia. Socio-economic privilege? We were definitely at the top of the list. I left the pediatrician’s room with a diagnosis, a screaming three-year-old child, a three-month-old baby and a photo­copied A4 piece of paper with stick figures on it. That was it. I was on my own to negotiate the rest. We are a fortunate family, ­educated and connected, with ­access to support and resources beyond many, and yet it took every ounce of our being to create a pathway for our son to find his place in society. Multiple schools, mental health episodes, hospital stays, bullying and all that goes with being ­extraordinary in a ­society that ­prioritises the ordinary.

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