News/Announcements

Family seeks damages amid allegations boy with autism locked in 'cage' at Sydney school

The operator of a private school for children with autism is being sued by a Newcastle family that alleges their autistic son was locked by teachers in a structure akin to a cage.

The family alleges the boy was put in a lockable fenced structure he called a cage at an Aspect-run school in Sydney in 2012.

The family has since relocated to the Hunter Valley and is seeking damages from Aspect in the Newcastle District Court.

The family has alleged negligence, assault and wrongful imprisonment.

Autism Tasmania offers support to Giant Steps

Hayden Johnson

It will be some time before the National Disability Insurance Scheme fully services the needs of Tasmanians living with a disability, the chief executive of Autism Tasmania has declared.

The comments of Terry Burke, head of the state’s peak not-for-profit group for people living with autism, come one day after it was revealed a Giant Steps’ program would close.

Giant Steps autism support scheme for young adults to close after NDIS funding change

Annah Fromberg

Laura Ferris was just six when she moved from interstate to attend Tasmania's Giant Steps school which had a growing reputation for its work with autism disorder.

The not-for-profit independent school was founded in 1995 by a group of dedicated parents and local community supporters who were committed to ensuring specialised education for children on the autism spectrum.

Students grabbed, wrestled to the floor and strapped to chairs three or more times a day

For most of his schooling, Jack* has been locked away from his classmates.

The 15-year-old is confined to his own portable classroom, which opens onto a fenced-off playground.

Meltdowns are only a concern if they persist beyond two-and-a-half years in a child. Photo: Mark Piovesan

The fence has been covered in sheets of plastic, which means Jack – who is autistic, non-verbal and has an intellectual disability – can't see out. It also means no one can look in.

National Disability Insurance Scheme rollout plagued with problems, FOI documents reveal

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) stopped processing thousands of applications from service providers, critical staff were untrained and properties were not ready when the scheme's nationwide rollout began, documents have revealed.

A much-publicised IT meltdown saw people with disabilities wait weeks for their care packages to be approved while payments to providers froze.

Autistic boy being held in adult mental health ward in Launceston

The mother of an autistic teenager who is being held in an adult mental health ward at the Launceston Hospital since March says he has been held with adults at times and that health staff has suggested he could be moved into youth detention.

The parents sought help for the child who was self-harming and the state government is now modifying a group home so that the teenager can he held in care. 

from http://www.abc.net.au/pm/content/2016/s4...

Tasmania: Northside beds closed, autistic teen 'distressed' in adult unit

Carly Dolan

The parents of a severely autistic teenager, who is being housed in Launceston General Hospital’s acute mental health unit, say the experience has been “excruciating” for the family and staff.

The 15-year-old boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been at Northside Mental Health Clinic for nearly 12 weeks, which has resulted in beds being closed to other patients. He is due to be moved into accommodation at Latrobe next week.

Ballarat woman denied face-to-face NDIS meeting

A mother from the Ballarat suburb of Delacombe says National Disability Insurance Scheme planners refused to assess her daughter’s needs in person, citing lack of funds.

Gayle Bird, whose 23-year-old daughter Tori has the mental age of a three to five year-old-child, said planners insisted only her daughter could answer questions about her disability.

Her claims run counter to National Insurance Agency policy which entitles all clients to face-to-face meetings.

Autistic teen found gagged and tied up in toilet block at Croydon Special Developmental School

Suzan Delibasic

An autistic teenager was gagged and tied up with his pants down in a Croydon school toilet block before being discovered by a teacher.

The boy’s distraught grandmother said the 18-year-old, who attends Croydon Special Developmental School and has non-verbal autism, was found with another student in a toilet cubicle about 9.15am on Monday, May 29. He was gagged and had his wrists bound with crepe bandages.

Largest study to date finds autism alone does not increase risk of violent offending

Conditions such as ADHD which co-occur with autism may increase risk

A diagnosis of autism alone does not increase the risk of violent offending suggests a study published in the June 2017 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (JAACAP).

The study analysed data from 295,734 individuals in Stockholm County, Sweden, of whom 5,739 had a diagnosis of autism. The researchers tracked these individuals for violent crime convictions between ages 15 to 27 years using records from the Swedish National Crime Register.

1200 in ‘plan limbo’ as NDIS races to cope

Rick Morton

More than 1200 families have had their National Disability Insurance Scheme packages expire without a further plan in place — many without warning — as the agency responsible scrambles to confront a litany of planning problems at a critical time in its history.

The figure was provided by the National Disability Insurance Agency when questioned. However, the agency, which runs the $22 billion NDIS, suggested every family whose plan had expired had been uncontactable, despite evidence to the contrary.

Report of the Select Committee on access to the South Australian education system for students with a disability

A Select Committee of the South Australian parliament produced this report.

This report has a lot to say about autistic students (students with autism, students with ASD, students on the autism spectrum). It includes a lot of recommendations. A couple of the recommendations are specific to how autistic students are educated.

'It is a lonely experience': the students barred from camps and excursions

Henrietta Cook & Timna Jacks

Sometimes when Angus arrived at school, his classroom was empty.

All the students were on an excursion, except for him.

"They kept the excursions a secret," the 12-year-old says. "I wasn't even told about them. It made me sad, and sometimes I got mad."

Desperate parents in classroom-support fight for children with disabilities

Desperate parents are shopping for a label for their children's disability in a bid to secure vital classroom support.

In order to satisfy rigid funding rules, parents of students with high-functioning autism and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder are seeking a diagnosis of severe behaviour disorder.

Psychiatrists say the latter is a label that applies to students who cause intolerable disturbances in class.

'Mean-minded' NDIS disability scheme a disappointment: advocate

Miki Perkins

"It was supposed to offer hope, but that's just been trashed".

It's not the way you'd expect the head of one of Victoria's peak disability groups to describe Australia's rapidly growing national scheme for people with disabilities. Alexander Curotte, 31, has become withdrawn and depressed since the switch to the NDIS, his parents say. Photo: Justin McManus

But Kevin Stone has had a gutful. At every meeting he goes to, the stories are the same.

New approach for autism

The Hon Jane Prentice MP, Assistant Minister for Social Services and Disability Services has announced a new way to help those with autism access the services they need.

Mrs Prentice said collaboration between the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC) and National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) will help the autism community access more support.

Diagnosing Autism

Are we getting autism diagnosis right?

When a child is slow to walk and talk, alarm bells can start to ring for mums and dads who know instinctively that something is not right.

In many cases, concerned parents are comforted by doctors who say it’s nothing serious and all children develop at different rates.  And perhaps the child goes on to grow up normally.

But for some children, these developmental delays can be the first signs of something that can stay with them for life.

Getting an autism diagnosis can be a confronting experience for a child.

Funding decisions loom as number of autism diagnoses continues to rise

Jeremy Fernandez​

ABC Lateline 22/5/2017

Autism is one of the biggest disabilities among children needing support from the NDIS and how it's diagnosed has big consequences for national disability funding. In September, new guidelines around diagnosis will be released. Jeremy Fernandez spoke to CEO of Autism Awareness Australia Nicole Rogerson, founder of the I CAN Network Chris Varney, and professor of autism with the Autism Cooperative Research Centre Andrew Whitehouse about the complexities around the diagnosis of autism.

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