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'Like a jail sentence': Teen with special needs isolated at school

Sherryn Groch

A Canberra student with high needs who wasn't allowed to go to school for more than four months is now facing a "jail sentence" when he returns under restrictive conditions, his family say.

Abdul-Ghani Ferkh, who has complex autism, was suspended from the Woden School in early April after running off campus grounds to the local shops and stealing a toy. Correspondence between the school, the ACT education directorate and the Ferkh family seen by The Canberra Times details how the suspension, originally due to end on April 18, was extended multiple times before his break became indefinite.

SA: Mainstream classes full of students with special needs, union survey finds

Tim Williams

TEACHERS are facing classrooms where the majority of students in front of them have disabilities, learning difficulties or trauma-related conditions, a union survey has found.

More than 100 South Australian teachers, classroom support workers and parents made reports to a one-off Australian Education Union hotline in a single afternoon.

Desperate parents to set up own autism school to help their kids

Jane Hansen

A LACK of options for their severely autistic children has forced a group of desperate parents to open their own school.

Julia Coorey, whose four-year-old son Michael is non-verbal and at the severe end of the spectrum, said her child — and many like him — needed one-on-one teaching if they were ever going to be “functioning human beings”.

“Our kids are all on the severe end of the spectrum,” Ms Coorey told The Sunday Telegraph.

Children with autism showing increasing anxiety through primary school – study

Deborah Marshall

A world-first autism study has found high levels of anxiety in children as young as five years old with autism attending Australian schools, and that levels of generalised anxiety increase as they get older.

Published in the Journal of School Psychology this week, the study surveyed teachers using a standardised ranking method to identify anxiety symptoms of 92 children aged 5-12 years in mainstream and special schools.

Researchers from the Griffith University Autism Centre of Excellence analysed two groups of children – those who had just started school and those about to move from primary to high school.

NDIS Under Attack During Emotional Q&A Debate

Jessica Dunne

"We have to band together and make sure that we get the NDIS that we deserve."

Under-staffing, failing technology and inconsistencies in classifications were the main issues discussed about the National Disability Insurance Scheme on ABC's Q&A.

The emotionally charged episode heard the experiences of those with disabilities and carers, as they battled the system to access funding from the NDIS, which is still being rolled out around the country.

'I rewrote my NDIS letter to give other special needs families some much-needed laughter'

Jo Abi

It's never a good day when my son's NDIS plan comes up for review.

NDIS is the National Disability Insurance Scheme which provides funding for my son with autism's treatment.

Medicare only provides partial funding and my private health insurance gives us a whopping $500 each year to use.

With a weekly occupational therapy session that costs $176, not to mention speech, food and anxiety therapy, making ends meet is virtually impossible for special needs families. And I haven't even factored in the enormous cost of his special needs schooling.

Autistic teen kicked off flight: ‘They refused to listen’

Jo Abi

A furious mum has lashed out at Emirates for forcibly removing her autistic son from a flight.

Euronews journalist Isabelle Kumar boarded the plane with her family, including son Eli, 17, at Dubai airport for the trip to France.

It was during the final leg of the trip from New Zealand to Australia that the incident occurred.

Ms Kumar phoned the airline in advance to ensure they were aware of her son’s needs. She’d requested the seat next to him be vacant, in case he suffered a seizure due to his epilepsy.

'My son with Asperger's received a petition at school telling him he's disgusting'

Kelly Baker

My son is officially on the Autism spectrum. He has Asperger's. It’s not something I generally discuss; it’s his information to do with what he will and I’ve always told him he can tell anyone he pleases, or nobody at all. It’s personal, end of story. And it’s his personal, so he’s in charge.

The dark side of autism pioneer Hans Asperger

by Julia Boyd

To anyone who thought of Hans Asperger as a brilliant doctor whose pioneering work in child psychiatry led to a more enlightened understanding of autism, Edith Sheffer's book, Asperger's Children (WW Norton), will come as a nasty shock. At first, he seems set to emerge a hero. After all, anyone who could write in Vienna in 1938 that doctors had "the right and the duty" to invest "intensively and emotionally" in autistic children because those "who fall out of the norm and are difficult need experience, love, and full commitment from the educator" must surely have been brave as well as humane. Some months before Asperger wrote those words, which express the kind of liberal medical outlook we associate with our own times, the chairman of the Hereditary Health Supreme Court had asked the head of Hitler's SS, Heinrich Himmler, to send him "a hundred classified homosexuals" for experimental purposes.

Family opens up on 60 Minutes about how son’s autism is tearing them apart

THIS family lives in fear because of violent outbursts from their beloved autistic son Max. It meant they faced a heartbreaking decision.

THEY’RE the brave steps of a family desperate to protect themselves and take control of a life being torn apart.

And they’ve seen Liz and Sean Whelan take the most difficult of decisions to look after their 12-year-old son Max, and at the same time protect their family against a condition none of them control.

60 Minutes taken to task for 'undignified' autism segment

Benjamin Millar

The peak body for people on the autism spectrum and their families* has criticised a TV program for airing confronting footage of an autistic boy acting violently towards his mother.

Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes screened a report on Sunday night featuring Max Whelan, a 12-year-old boy with severe non-verbal autism who lives with his family at Mt Martha on the Mornington Peninsula.

The AAT Slams the NDIA's "unsatisfactory state of affairs"

It is not commonplace for public servants or members of the judiciary to publically implore or reprimand government ministers or other public bodies. These are people who take the separation of powers very seriously. This makes the decision of the Deputy President of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT), Gary Humphries to attack the NDIA and urge ministerial intervention even more extraordinary.

Tribunal blasts NDIA over 'haphazard' handling of Canberra woman's case

Doug Dingwall

An appeals tribunal has called for Social Services Minister Dan Tehan to stop "haphazard" decision-making at the National Disability Insurance Agency blamed for delays in reviews involving support for a Canberra woman.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme participant, whose name was suppressed by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, asked the agency to review new plans that reduced her support compared to her first one.

Magnet treatment could improve social skills of young people with autism

Aisha Dow

When she was a little girl, Lydia Zahra wanted to socialise just like everyone else, but she often struggled to understand the unwritten rules of communicating due to her autism.

“I would want to talk and want to talk about myself, but I didn’t really know how to ask people questions,” the 19-year-old said.

“It seemed a bit rude.”

Lydia Zahra was diagnosed with autism as a young child.

Teen 'antagonised' on Instagram before autistic boy bashed, court told

Editorial: in our view, this story is biased against the autistic victims - see below.

Amber Wilson

A teenager accused of bashing an autistic boy alongside two spanner-wielding friends was "antagonised" on Instagram before the fight, a Melbourne court has been told.

The 15-year-old, who is on bail, is likely to avoid a criminal conviction if he is deemed suitable for a diversion program to take his matter out of the court system.

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