'It's soul destroying': NDIS teething problems make many feel they're not worth the help

boy lying on floor

"Trying to contain a hurricane," is how Briana Blackett describes life as the sole parent of two boys with autism.

Key points:

  • Complaints that the NDIS is not delivering the help needed by patients
  • NDIS acknowledges teething problems and promises to 'significantly improve'
  • Productivity Commission to hand down NDIS inquiry recommendations

"Max can just out of nowhere start screaming, like horror film screaming, pinching himself, biting himself, throwing himself on the ground," she said.

Lutz-Manrique children's special needs school providing more support for parents one year on

A year on from the murder-suicide of the Lutz-Manrique family in Sydney's north, the children's special needs school is still grappling with the tragic deaths and has formed special support groups for parents.

It was October last year that police made the gruesome discovery of the Lutz-Manrique family, in an elaborate murder suicide in the leafy Sydney suburb of Davidson.

Families ask government to shut down Autism Plus following damning Ombudsman report

Maria Thomas' son Matthew is severely disabled and has autism.
He was sexually abused by another resident at a Autism Plus
group home. Now Ms Thomas is calling on the government
to shut down the facility. Photo: Eddie Jim

The case was later dropped due to fears that the accused's disability was too serious to enable him to comprehend the charges against him.

An investigation by the Victorian Ombudsman, released in September, found that despite ongoing threats to Matthew, the alleged perpetrator continued to live at the Autism Plus facility.

Mum claims she was kept in the dark after out of school hours carer allegedly attacked her autistic son in fast food restaurant

A Woodcroft mum claims a southern suburbs
OSHC worker confessed to repeatedly kicking
her autistic son, but the school has kept her
in the dark. Photo: Thinkstock

Tim Williams

A DISTRESSED mother says she only discovered an out-of-school-hours care worker repeatedly kicked her autistic, intellectually disabled son in a fast-food restaurant because the woman confessed to her – one term later.

Jordy Bonser, of Woodcroft, is furious that the southern suburbs school failed to tell her the worker, who was employed by the governing council, allegedly attacked her son on a vacation-care excursion to the McDonald’s restaurant on South Rd, Darlington, in January.

Davidson murder-suicide: Exhibition featuring autistic children’s art to honour lost family

Maria Lutz and husband Fernando Manrique with children
Martin and Elisa. Picture: SuppliedSource:News Corp Australia

Ava Benny-Morrison

A SYDNEY community was rocked when Fernando Manrique killed himself, his wife and their autistic children. Maria Lutz’s friends have spoken out.

A FEW days before Maria Lutz was killed while sleeping next to her 11-year-old daughter, she told a friend about her husband’s drastic change in behaviour.

It could have been seen as Fernando Manrique’s final desperate attempt to salvage his marriage.

But, to Sarina Marchi, a former community worker, Mr Manrique’s sudden interest in being a model father rang alarm bells.

How do you solve the trickiest problems in the workplace? Employ more autistic people

man behind desk looking into camera

Neurodiversity can be a huge advantage for companies, yet people on the spectrum have often been marginalised. Now some firms are specifically seeking them out. Is this a crucial turning point?

Five minutes from London’s Liverpool Street station is an office that looks like any other office in the tech industry: the decor is 21st century, pristine; takeaway coffee cups are omnipresent; most people under 30 are in casualwear. Just about everyone seems to be either staring at a smartphone, tapping at a laptop, or sprinting to their next appointment.

The company I’ve come to visit is called Auticon, an award-winning IT business. As well as the staff in the office, it employs 15 IT consultants who spend most of their time working elsewhere for companies such as pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, the credit rating agency Experian, and Allianz Insurance. But there is a fascinating twist: all of the 15 are autistic, and have been given their jobs after long spells of unemployment – not out of charity or sympathy, but a deep appreciation of the attributes they bring to their work.

Fears of more abuse to disabled children if NSW Government scrap advocacy funding

Brigid Glanville

Disability groups fear there could be more unreported abuse of children in schools as the New South Wales Government plans to cut funding to advocacy groups.

The plans to cut disability advocacy funding from June 2018 come after ABC's 7.30 program revealed that in the last two years there were 246 reported incidents of abuse or neglect to disabled students in NSW schools.

Government investigates 246 reports of abuse of disabled children in NSW schools

mother, child and father walking down a road

Georgina Marker-North said it appeared her son Thomas was strapped
to restraint chairs at school "probably at least every day, probably for
hours a day". Photo: 7.30/ABC

Andrew Taylor

A leading advocate for children with disabilities has accused the NSW government of failing to properly investigate allegations of child abuse.

David Roy, a lecturer in education at the University of Newcastle, said teachers feared losing their jobs if they report mistreatment, while abusers were protected.

ABC 7.30 Report: Mum 'gobsmacked' at school's response to autistic son being tied to restraining chair

Warning: this is a very distressing story

Brigid Glanville

A mother whose autistic son was strapped to a restraining chair in class was asked if she would prefer a "more aesthetically pleasing chair" when she confronted the school about the seven-year-old's treatment.

The video for this story is at

Key points:

  • Almost 250 reported incidents of abuse or neglect of disabled students in government schools since 2015
  • Complaints include children being strapped into restraining chairs
  • Abuse includes physical abuse and neglect

Anger after police pin young child to ground in arrest

Police have been filmed arresting a young boy while telling him to "shut up" in Victoria.

The video, which was uploaded to Facebook, appears to show at least three officers pinning the 12-year-old boy to the ground at Bendigo Railway Station on Friday.

With his face pressed against the concrete, the boy, who police believed at the time to have autism, is held down by the officers.

"He's got autism so he doesn't understand," one officer can be heard saying.

Champion athlete with autism completes a 4,000km run across Australia

Dane in hi-vis vest after his run


Dane Waites was surrounded by
a throng of local supporters and
media shortly after crossing the
finish line

Bianca Gurra

Running from one side of Australia to the other is a feat most of us would never even dream of attempting, but Dane Waites has done just that.

Mr Waites is an elite athlete who was born with autism spectrum disorder, and developed a passion for running as young child.

As is the case with many people living with autism, Mr Waites has also battled with depression throughout his life.

Two women on trial over autistic teen found murdered and buried under concrete

boy's face

Tim Clarke

A YOUNG man with autism was targeted for murder by two woman who lured him to their home, stabbed and garotted him and then buried his body under a concrete slab and floor tiles in the back garden, a court has been told.

Jemma Victoria Lilley, 26, and Trudi Claire Lenon, 43, today went on trial for the murder of 18 year old Aaron Pajich who went missing from Rockingham in June last year.

Many traits we attribute to autism or Asperger’s were once regarded as eccentricities

WE all know them — the shy schoolboy who sits alone studying maths while the other kids frolic in the playground, the teen girl who simply will not stop talking despite the obvious signs of boredom from her friends, or the majestically gifted musician who fails to pass a single subject at school.

Chances are that if any of these people sought specialist help because they felt they were struggling to “be like everyone else”, they could be diagnosed with a degree of autism or Asperger’s syndrome.

Laser Beak Man: how an artist with autism created his own superhero

 Laser Beak Man is a character that appears in
the vast majority of Sharp’s art.
Photograph: Supplied: Brisbane festival

Art was Tim Sharp’s way of communicating as a child; now it’s inspiration for a joyful 90 minutes of puppetry, live music, animation and dad jokes

 Laser Beak Man is a character that appears in the vast majority of Sharp’s art. Photograph: Supplied: Brisbane festival

Tim Sharp takes things literally. Consider the term “flat white”. Most of us would imagine our morning coffee, perhaps being served to us by a bearded barista. Sharp, however, sees a steamroller and a rather unfortunate Anglo person.

Sharp is an artist with autism, who communicates his unique perspective on the world through quirky, hilarious and colourful drawings. The words “Virgin Mobile”, for example, see cherubic young men and women spinning from a ceiling fan. The hymn Then Sings My Soul translates to a shoe opening like a mouth, spewing forth music. And a figure standing in front of a bright green crop of footballs, soccer balls, tennis balls with a watering can – well, if you have trouble with that one, click here.

Parents take children's disability discrimination claims to court

Disability advocates warn that schools are separating children at public and private schools because of their disability.

A Melbourne mum is suing the Victorian Department of Education and Training over allegations her autistic son was separated from his peers in the classroom and in the playground, and not provided adequate support at school.

sound available at

Why the world expert on Asperger's took 30 years to notice condition in his own son

Tony Attwood speaking

 Prof Tony Attwood describes his 35-year-old son
Will as a hero. Photograph: Mark Graham/AAP

Prof Tony Attwood, an internationally renowned clinical psychologist, was blindsided when he realised his son Will had the syndrome

Will Attwood has been addicted to drugs for the past two decades, an affliction which has seen the 35-year-old jailed multiple times and reliant on support from his family.

Asperger's syndrome: How 'Aspie' diagnosis slipped past world expert Tony Attwood

How did a world expert in autism miss a diagnosis right under his nose?

That's the question that Professor Tony Attwood still mulls over and deeply regrets.

The clinical psychologist is recognised as a leading authority in the diagnosis and management of Asperger's syndrome.

But all his skills and research couldn't help his son Will.

It was only when the 35-year-old ended up with an overwhelming drug addiction and in jail for burglary that Professor Attwood had a sudden insight.

Disability services slammed for Vic rapes

A man accused of raping a fellow resident at a disability group home also sexually assaulted two other people on multiple occasions, the Victorian Ombudsman has found.

Disability services provider Autism Plus and the Department of Health and Human Services put clients at risk by failing to move the man despite repeated warnings, a report published by the ombudsman concluded.

Concerns were raised about "Edward", who cannot be identified, in October 2014, but he was not moved until he allegedly raped another resident six months later, Ombudsman Deborah Glass said.

Damning report into NSW schools finds 'unacceptable' mistreatment

photo of Carlos (neutral expression)

Nicole Lim says her son Carlos Blanch is traumatised
by injuries he allegedly sustained at school. Photo: Supplied

For nearly six months, Nicole Lim says her son Carlos Blanch, who has autism and is non-verbal, came home from school every week with cuts and bruises on his arms and legs.

The first time it happened, in March this year, Ms Lim went straight to the principal to ask for better supervision for Carlos, 11, who is in year 5.

"It was completely disregarded, nothing ever happened," Ms Lim said.


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