News/Announcements

Behind the 'mask': early diagnosis crucial in autistic girls

Miki Perkins

First, it was the clothes Ella's parents noticed. The little girl would tell her parents nothing fitted quite right; she wanted her shoes and clothes to feel "tighter".

For her birthday, the six-year-old asked for Barbie dolls, and pink, sparkly clothing she'd noticed other girls wearing. But the dolls were left in the drawer, and the clothes went unworn. What was going on?  

Disabled boy wins secret payout from Victorian Government

PETER MICKELBUROUGH

A DISABLED boy who claims he was assaulted, locked in a “time-out” room and physically restrained during six years at various state schools has won a “substantial” compensation payout from the government.

But its size will remain hidden from the public, despite a Federal Court judge’s expression of “disquiet” over this policy of secrecy by Victoria’s Department of Education.

The Controversy Around Autism and Neurodiversity

Our community's success with self advocacy raises new issues for all

April is Autism Month, which means many things to the ten-plus million people who make up our community in America.  For some, it’s Autism Awareness.  For others, it’s Autism Acceptance.  And there are those who wish for Autism Cure.   We have yet to agree on what we want, or what to stand for, and that holds us back in terms of advocacy.  We also don’t agree when it comes to who’s part of our community.

Some people see the autism community as exclusively autistic people, while others see the community as consisting of autistic people, family members, close friends, and caregivers.  Personally, I embrace that wider membership, but I understand the thinking of those who wish for a narrower definition.

We Are Autism, Too. Don’t Forget About Us.

My boy, with his classic autism, the kind that used to be the only face of autism half a century ago, is the one who does not belong now.

There is a child at this event, as cute as any Baby Gap model, thick tufts of brown hair sticking out from under his baseball hat.  

“I’m Charlie. I’m 4, ” he says to me and sticks his hand out.  

I smile at him and reach my hand out too, but before he can shake my hand, he runs off to chase the other children.

William Shatner Under Fire for Spreading Autism Awareness

Earlier this week, the White House and autism organizations around the world celebrated the 10th annual World Autism Awareness Day. Actor William Shatner, best known for his role in Star Trek, changed his profile icon and tweeted his support into the related hashtag to draw awareness to the disability. Today, he was inundated with outrage from social justice warriors likened his support for autism awareness to hate speech. They further expressed their anger towards organizations like Autism Speaks, which sponsored the event.

'Un-diagnosing' Autism Spectrum Disorder

The number of Australian children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder may have skyrocketed but many will be "un-diagnosed" in adulthood.

Early diagnosis and programs are helping those with Asperger syndrome - now known as high functioning autism - deal with social deficits and other challenges.

"We are now getting people who become what we technically call sub-clinical," autism guru Dr Tony Attwood told AAP.

This means they've reached a "level of expression" that doesn't need specialist services or support.

Autism spectrum disorder not a deficit, expert says, as she urges schools to embrace autistic children

NADIA ISA

Society needs to stop considering autism spectrum disorder as a deficit and start embracing difference, a South Australian expert in special education says.

Department of Education and Child Development special educator Kathy Kleinschmidt said autism spectrum disorder (ASD) was just that; a spectrum, and many ASD children were highly functioning — if just a little bit quirky.

Ms Kleinschmidt said high-functioning ASD children should be able to attend mainstream schools, but there needed to be education and tools available to staff.

Cambridge professor fears basic human rights of autistic people not being met

Prof Baron-Cohen spoke out about his fears in a speech while in New York

A Cambridge professor fears the basic human rights of autistic people are not being met.

In a speech marking Autism Awareness Week, Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, Director of the Autism Research Centre at the University of Cambridge, told the United Nations in New York today, that even with the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities having been adopted in 2006, people with autism still do not enjoy human rights to the same extent as everyone else.

Data highlights state's highest rate of people living with autism

Tamara McDonald

Tasmania has the highest rate of people living with autism in Australia.

New Australian Bureau of Statistics data for 2015, released on Wednesday, showed an estimated 1 per cent of the population in both Tasmania and South Australia had autism, the country’s highest rate.

The lowest was 0.5 per cent in Western Australia.

Autism unit goes from strength to strength

Hayley Warden

Nowra Public School has doubled their students intake since opening an autism unit only a year ago and that figure looks set to triple in the next 12 months.

There are 14 students enrolled in the unit, with a maximum of seven in each class. 

“Since last year we have had another class start,” Nowra Public School teacher Sue Griffin said. 

School boy with autism stranded in Dural

Warren Thomson

A MOTHER was left “mortified” after her son who has autism was kicked off a bus and left on his own in Dural.

Melissa Hewitson’s 16-year-old son Tyler routinely catches a bus from Old Northern Road, Dural to Pennant Hills Station as part of his morning commute to Hornsby TAFE four times a week.

But on Friday, March 17, Tyler’s Opal card had insufficient funds. Instead of letting him tap on and stay on the bus, the bus driver told him to get off.

“I was mortified that they could chuck a kid off the bus,” Ms Hewitson said.

Why a 42 per cent increase in autism diagnoses is no cause for alarm

Increasing awareness of autism, the promise of the NDIS, and biological factors like older parents are driving the boom in diagnoses, according to experts.

Jackson Gothe-Snape

The number of Australians diagnosed with autism increased by 42 per cent between 2012 and 2015, but research and advocacy groups are adamant it's not a cause for alarm.

Submission on National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Costs

A4 made a submission to the Productivity Commission study of National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Costs

The submission's conclusion says:

Previously, we said that the NDIS has substantial potential to improve the lives of autistic people. They may have access to more services and supports. They have more choice and control of the services and supports they access.

Federal court rules NDIS must fully fund 'necessary' supports and services

Landmark decision comes as court rules transport to and from Victorian man’s disability support program is a ‘reasonable and necessary’ support

The national disability insurance scheme is required to fully fund any supports or services it has deemed “reasonable and necessary”, according to a landmark decision handed down in the federal court on Tuesday.

How our autistic ancestors played an important role in human evolution

When you think of someone with autism, what do you think of? It might be someone with a special set of talents or unique skills – such as natural artistic ability or a remarkable memory. It could also be someone with enhanced abilities in engineering or mathematics, or an increased focus on detail.

Calls for Royal Commission into Abuse of People with Disability

Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4) supports AFDO and others in the disability sector ...

Media Release

The Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) today joined calls from across the disability sector for a Royal Commission into the violence, abuse and neglect experienced by Australians with disability.

Fighting the System

By Linton Besser, Klaus Toft, Jeanavive McGregor at ABC Four Corners

"I brought him into this world, and I love him. I do all I can to help him. I'm 88 soon. I'm still battling." Jean, mother

On Monday night Four Corners exposes what happens behind closed doors in some taxpayer funded group homes for the disabled and talks to the mothers and carers taking on the system.

"It's about time for me to tell this." Maria, mother

People with intellectual disabilities locked away under cloak of suburbia

A hundred years ago people with an intellectual disability were locked up in "lunatic asylums". Today they're still locked away, but it's just behind the walls of suburbia.

This is a story I'm trying to write without being able to give you specific details. It includes allegations of sexual abuse, physical assault and degradation, so people have asked for identities to be protected.

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