News/Announcements

'It just gets debilitating': The NDIS families desperate for a better scheme

Dan Conifer

Sonya Ludlow is a strong woman. When you're bringing up seven children, resilience and thick skin are almost compulsory.

But the Adelaide mother was left feeling "absolutely awful" after a review of her seven-year-old son Samuel's funding National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) plan.

"[The NDIS representative] more or less said, 'by my sixth child I should know how to be a parent and how to look after my children'," Mrs Ludlow said.

Autistic adults need more help: expert

There is concern older Australians on the autism spectrum are being let down by mental health professionals who lack awareness of the developmental condition.

Researchers are calling for urgent training of psychiatrists on the diagnosis and management of autism in adults, who are at greater risk of suicide.

Older Australians on the autism spectrum are being let down by a gap in mental health services for autistic adults, a gathering of psychiatrists has been told.

NDIS legal bill hitting $10m a year

The agency running the ­$22 billion National Disability ­Insurance Scheme is spending up to $10 million a year on barristers and legal services in a bid to arrest the dramatic rise in the number of people successfully appealing for more money in their support packages or trying to get into the scheme.

The agency has been explicit in its fears over the future of the scheme, saying the risk to its ­financial stability is “extreme” from unfavourable court and tribunal decisions that have the ­potential to “vastly increase the scope of both access and reasonable and necessary supports”.

This is what parents of autistic children want you to know

THE majority of Australians have heard of autism but less than a third actually feel confident interacting with and supporting autistic people and their families.

Ally Foster

“IF YOU’VE met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.”

This well-known quote by Dr Stephen Shore, internationally renowned for his research surrounding autism, shows that living with the condition can mean different things to different people.

Australian Autism Research Council established by Autism CRC

We are pleased to announce we are establishing an Australian Autism Research Council to review and determine national priorities for autism research and address areas of need for the autistic and autism communities

Our vision is that the priorities established by the Australian Autism Research Council will guide the future focus of research activities and research funding by government as well as research and development undertaken by non-government organisations and other industry members who provide programs and services for the autism community.

a report into the National Disability Insurance Agency’s (NDIA) handling of reviews of decisions

Commonwealth Ombudsman Michael Manthorpe today released a report into the National Disability Insurance Agency’s (NDIA) handling of reviews of decisions under the National Disability Insurance Scheme Act 2013. The report discusses systemic issues highlighted by complaints and stakeholder feedback including significant backlogs, delays in decision making and poor communication practices.

'Set up to fail': Canberra's NDIS drop out rate soars as calls grow for overhaul

ACT MLA Michael Pettersson at the first day of the inquiry on Friday. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

Sherryn Groch

Canberrans are leaving the National Disability Insurance Scheme at the highest rate in the country, as services and advocates in the ACT call for an overhaul of the scheme's internal bureaucracy.

Between September and December 2017, 139 people joined the scheme in the ACT but 101 others left. Figures provided by the National Disability Insurance Agency, which runs the scheme, confirmed 381 Canberrans had exited the NDIS since 2013.

NDIS access criteria in chaos

Media Release

Today, the NDIS fell into chaos: it removed its access/eligibility criteria from its website.

Yesterday, the Government excluded most autistic children from direct eligibility to early intervention from the NDIS. At this stage, more than half of the young (under 7 years old) NDIS participants have a primary diagnosis of autism. But the NDIS quietly restricted direct eligibility for autistic children to those with Level 3 Severity. There are three severity levels: only a few of the most severely affect children are rated as Level 3. As a result of this change, most autistic children will now struggle to access the NDIS.

Inclusion is best for people with autism

Professor Rita Jordan

Rhiannon Lucy Cosslett’s article on access for autistic individuals recognised that “autism friendly” sessions are not necessarily a solution, and carry their own dangers (Guess what – people with autism like the cinema too, 2 May).

Many conferences on autism now have modifications such as quiet withdrawal spaces, reduced lighting and “deaf clapping” (silent waving). It is reasonable to meet the needs of known autistic individuals attending an event but not to assume all “autistic” needs are common.

Family targeted by son’s violent outbursts left scared in their own home

Ally Foster

MAX has always been prone to violent outbursts as a result of severe autism, but now he is getting too strong for his parents to control.

IT’S a gut-wrenching choice. Do you risk the safety of your family, or make the heartbreaking decision give up one of your children because of actions that are beyond his control.

Victorian parents Liz and Sean Whelan, both 43, may have to face that dilemma if they can’t find a way to keep the rest of their children safe from one of their son’s violent outbursts.

Teen arrested after spanner attack on 14-year-old with autism

Simone Fox Koob

A 15-year-old boy has been arrested in relation to an attack on a teenager with autism who was beaten with spanners outside a Melbourne high school.

Police are investigating the assault on Quinn Lahiff-Jenkins, 14, after video footage emerged of him being pinned to the ground and repeatedly punched in the head outside Northcote High School on Tuesday afternoon.

The investigation is ongoing, police say, and they are yet to speak to anyone else involved in relation to the incident.

Melbourne boy with autism attacked by spanner-wielding teens outside Northcote school

James Hancock

The mother of a boy with autism who was assaulted with spanners outside a Melbourne school wants police to charge his teenage attackers.

Quinn Lahiff-Jenkins, 14, was attacked outside Northcote High School, in the city's inner-north, on Tuesday afternoon.

They had armed themselves with spanners and turned on another boy when he tried to help the victim.

USA: Raising Connor

Liz Kowalczyk and Photos by Craig F. Walker

He is a boy easy to love, and also a heart-testing puzzle to those who love him. He longs for home, but home has become somewhere hard to thrive. And yet, beset by autism and other issues, aided by family and teachers, Connor Biscan is learning to rise.

This time he had to go. There was no time to think about where.

Is it Time to Give Up on a Single Diagnostic Label for Autism?

Simon Baron-Cohen

That was the ruling by the editors of the authoritative Diagnostic and Statistical Manual in 2013, but it remains controversial

Five years ago, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) established autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as an umbrella term when it published the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5), the primary guide to taxonomy in psychiatry. In creating this single diagnostic category, the APA also removed the subgroup called Asperger syndrome that had been in place since 1994.

Autism surge triggers rationing of NDIS services

Rick Morton

The early-intervention strategy for children with autism in the $22 billion NDIS is in disarray, and ­rationing has been introduced for services worth $300 million a year after 30,000 kids were granted ­access.

Worldwide best practice for autism intervention in young children, known as Applied Behaviour Analysis, requires a minimum of 20 hours of one-on-one therapy a week, but under the ­National Disability Insurance Scheme most of the youngest children receive about half of that, with packages between $10,000 and $15,000 a year.

British Film Institute apologises after woman with Asperger's 'dragged' from cinema for laughing

The British Film Institute has apologised after a woman with Asperger's syndrome was "forcibly dragged out of" their London cinema for "laughing too much".

Key points:

  • Tamsin Parker shouted "I'm sorry I have Asperger's" as security staff removed her
  • Some audience members applauded, while some protested, with many walking out
  • BFI apologised and said it was investigating the incident

Photography helping 4yo with autism socialise with others, communicate with family

Patrick Williams

When Max was diagnosed with high-functioning autism a year ago, it just made sense to mum Danielle Pritchard.

The three-year-old Brisbane boy had been having troubles with his speech, anxiety, and social skills among other small quirks.

Ms Pritchard knew just how important early intervention would be. As a teacher, she's worked with children similar to her own son before.

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