News/Announcements

Outsourcing NDIS contact centres to Serco 'an accident waiting to happen'

Disability rights campaigners say company’s poor history abroad and lack of experience in disability should have precluded it from role

Disability rights groups, Labor and the Greens have slammed a decision to hire the multinational outsourcing giant Serco in a key role administering the national disability insurance scheme.

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) announced on Friday afternoon that Serco, a company with a chequered corporate history, would help run its contact centres under a two-year contract.

Special needs group pays tribute to 11yo Sydney boy with autism killed by train after escaping from respite care

bunch of flower lying on a cement step

A disability care service provider says it is cooperating with a police investigation into the death of a young boy with severe autism who was hit and killed by a train in Sydney's south.

The 11-year-old boy died after he escaped from a respite care facility at Oatley just after 7:00pm yesterday.

His carers alerted authorities and a police search was set up involving Polair and the dog squad.

The boy's body was found at the Oatley train station two hours later.

Police confirmed on Monday morning that the child, who was non-verbal, was hit by a train.

Can Intervention Change the Brain in Autism?

Katherine K.M. Stavropoulos Ph.D.

Research explores whether intervention can change the brain in autism.

I want to start with blog entry by saying Happy National Autism Awareness Month!

This month, we are going to talk about whether behavioral interventions and/or therapies for autism can change the brain. In 2017, I wrote a review paper (link is external) about this topic and wanted to discuss it here as well. There is a large amount of evidence that behavioral interventions can change behavior in autism. Most interventions focus on social behaviors with the goal of increasing social communication (such as eye contact, initiating social interactions, being responsive to social behaviors from others, following another person’s eye gaze, etc). It’s great that these interventions have been shown to improve behavior, but since the scientific community generally agrees that autism is a brain-based disorder, studies have started measuring whether these interventions can change the brain. 

Natalie Jones is glad to be in Inverell boosting our services in autism care

Natalie Jones, speech pathologist/senior clinician at Autism Australia

I’m very proud to be commencing two new education and healthcare services here in the Inverell area – the first helping individuals with autism under the name Autism Australia, and the other a general speech pathology service – about which I’ll explain further down.

My partner Simon and I recently moved here to take over the running of the family farm. He grew up here, whereas I am new to Inverell, coming  originally from Gippsland in Victoria. So still a rural upbringing, but quite different country. I’m getting used to the less dairy cows and bigger brown snakes!

Graduates with autism recognised for unique skill set, given new opportunities in public sector

A group of graduates from a specialised autism training program have left the dole queue and secured their first jobs inside the department responsible for handing out their disability benefits.

Key points:

  • Graduates of Dandelion Program land full-time jobs in public sector
  • Julie Anderson says program is "best thing that's ever happened" for her son Jack
  • Minister Michael Keenan says program "a win-win"

Hans Asperger 'actively cooperated with Nazi child euthanasia program', study finds

Hans Asperger's name may become "mud" and be scrapped from the medical lexicon following new evidence he was an active Nazi collaborator, an autism history expert says.

Key points:

  • New study finds clinician cooperated with child euthanasia program
  • Finds Asperger benefited from relationship with Nazis
  • Challenges long-running narrative about Asperger

A new study, published in the journal of Molecular Autism this week by medical historian Herwig Czech, was the result of eight years of research and drew on previously unseen documents, including Asperger's personnel files and the clinical assessments he wrote on his patients.

A Look Inside An Autism-Friendly Workplace And Culture

Michael Bernick

"The Seasons or Orchard" tapestry by Morris & Co. 1890. William Morris in the Victorian period sought to create new forms of craft and workplace culture. William Morris Society.

Last week, I was in New York and had the opportunity morning to tour a true “autism-friendly workplace”—one that differs not only from most workplaces today but also from most workplaces that describe themselves as autism-friendly. I think you’ll be interested, whether you have a connection to autism or not.

Nelle's goal to unite autism families

GYMPIE local Nelle Frances did not know where to find support when her son Sam was diagnosed with Autism, but she is hoping to show Gympie community members in similar situations they are not alone.

Ms Frances, a long time disability support worker who travels all over the country as an Autism Education Consultant under the banner of her Asperger Child organisation, is set to host an Autism Awareness High Tea at the Gympie RSL on May 1.

Inside purpose-built school for children with autism

Arial view of a grey colour-bond school

A school purpose-built for children with autism will open on the Gold Coast next week.

Josiah College has been custom-designed to suit the needs of autistic students who may struggle in a mainstream school environment.

Working closely with specialists in autism from the Bond University Centre for Autism Spectrum Disorder, the school's design takes into account everything from the positioning of land to the use of colours and even the movement of the school's fans.

Submission on autism/ASD and the NDIS in the ACT

A4 and SOfASD made a joint submission to the ACT Standing Committee on Health, Ageing and Social Services about the NDIS. It concludes with the following section:

Conclusions and suggestions

The NDIS has enormous potential to improve the lives of Australians with disability and the whole community. But to achieve its goals, the NDIS needs to be so much better than it is now.

The NDIA seems to have issues particularly with autistic participants.

Employable Me has struck a chord but will it change employers' attitudes to disability?

Katie Sutherland, Western Sydney University

“I’m glad you can make use of my weapons grade autism”, laughs Jonathon in the ABC TV series Employable Me. He has landed a competitive paid internship, channelling his passion for accountancy. As well as a love of numbers, he has a wicked sense of humour and a way with words. And his sentiment is in line with the theme of the series, which promotes harnessing the strengths of its participants, rather than focusing on what they cannot do.

France unveils €340m plan to improve rights of people with autism

State’s treatment of autistic people had been denounced by UN and described as being ‘50 years behind’ rest of world

The French government has launched a €340m (£297m) strategy in an effort to make amends for the country’s scandalous state treatment of children and adults with autism, which has been denounced by the United Nations as a “widespread violation” of citizens’ rights.

What An Autism Spectrum Friendly Environment Can Teach Us About Good Management

    Morra Aarons-Mele

    “Why do I have to be in the office when I get more done from home?”

    As an author and speaker on the modern workplace, I hear this a lot. But let me be clear: This is not a question from someone who wants to goof off, hang with their kids, or play video games in between conference calls. That is a toxic stereotype.

    This question comes from a person who needs quiet, peace, different lighting, or time alone. Daily, their ambition clashes with misery created by sitting in a busy office environment for ten hours a day. Though they are great contributors and co-workers, they feel they can’t get their work done in their place of work, because the environment is antithetical to who they are.

    Families get together to fundraise for the Walk for Autism

    RACHEL CHAMBERLAIN

    BATHURST families are half-way to their fundraising target for the Walk for Autism. 

    They gathered on Sunday at the Bathurst Community Op Shop and Bicentennial Park to walk and raise money with a barbecue.

    Funds were also raised on Saturday with a raffle of a gift voucher to the Kelso Hotel.

    Mother Fiona Prosser has been leading the charge for the Walk for Autism in Bathurst, the cause being very close to her heart.

    Community understanding of autism is growing, says Wagga mum

    Jody Lindbeck

    When Jacob Gordon was a baby, he was a noticably poor sleeper, but as many infants are not great with nighttime routines, it was perhaps not so unusual.

    However, as Jacob got older, his sleep patterns did not improve and parents Jacinta and David became increasingly concerned, especially after they began to see other issues.

    “Jacob never slept. He still doesn’t sleep. He’s a very, very poor sleeper,” Mrs Gordon said.

    ANZ and DXC Technology form autism research partnership

    Julia Gabel

    DXC Technology has joined ANZ Banking Group’s Autism@Work partnership with La Trobe University.

    The partnership supports research into helping autistic people succeed at work.

    DXC Technology Australia & New Zealand managing director Seelan Nayagam says the research is aimed at helping people on the spectrum to obtain long-term sustainable employment and to build thriving careers.

    Wearable Art 2018: Mandurah girl shines light on autism

    A 13-year-old Mandurah girl is shining a light on autism in the Wearable Art Mandurah competition, in an effort to remove the social stigma that surrounds the disorder. 

    Kiana Lee Murphy has made a jigsaw puzzle dress which represents autism, her mother Michelle said.

    “It is a metaphor for the coming together of pieces,” she said. 

    “She wants people to know every autistic child is different and they’re not all the same.”

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