News/Announcements

Why there need to be more autistic characters in children’s books

3 children sitting reading books

The children’s writer Michael Morpurgo has written a new novel inspired by his autistic grandson, which is set to be published later this year. Flamingo Boy is set in the Camargue in the south of France during World War II and features a boy who “sees the world differently”.

Morpurgo explained how it didn’t occur to him to write a book about autism until his grandson was born, which isn’t totally surprising – as autistic characters in books are few and far between.

Fiction plays a significant role in shaping how people understand and respond to autism. And in this way, books are often used by both schools and parents to help children and young people understand more about autism.

WA: Why parents of children with autism are opting for homeschooling

Charlotte and Joseph Dainton

Sarah Collard

Eleven-year-old Charlotte Dainton and her nine-year-old brother Joseph are obsessed with iPads, miniature golf and cartwheels.

They also have speech and developmental problems stemming from autism and both struggled in mainstream education.

Their mother, Sonya Dainton, is now among a growing number of parents who are choosing to homeschool their children, because they say the education system is failing them and not providing the support their children need.

New hub to support students with autism into employment

Students with autism, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder and other neurodiverse needs will soon have greater access to employment opportunities through a new Queensland hub.

The University of Queensland and DXC Technology have partnered to form the Queensland Neurodiversity Hub, which will help students gain work experience with DXC and its partnership organisations.

Bundaberg: AEIOU open day focuses on autism information

FAMILIES and carers of children with autism have the opportunity to learn first-hand how intensive early intervention develops essential life skills and creates lifelong opportunities.

Local specialist autism early intervention provider AEIOU Bundaberg will open its doors to interested families today, to provide information and insight on how the AEIOU program develops functional communication, behaviour, social and independence skills and gives children and their families the best chance to reach their full potential.

'A life-or-death situation': Mum of runaway autistic teen praises good Samaritans for quick action

The mother of a severely autistic teenager who ran onto the road in front of oncoming traffic in Melbourne's west has praised the good Samaritans who stopped and saved her son from the "life-and-death situation".

One of the three men who went to Darcy Mills' aid had his new ute stolen as he was chasing the 14-year-old along busy Rosamund Road in Maidstone on Tuesday.

Alternative health practitioner Elvira Brunt now ‘treating autism’ with belly button massage

Tory Shepherd

A HEALTH practitioner at a popular Adelaide medical clinic is treating children’s autism with belly button massage.

Elvira Brunt, from St Morris’s popular Fravira Clinic, has a long history of charging vulnerable people for false cures.

She has been criticised for giving people false hope and dangerous advice.

The Advertiser has revealed in the past that she has been accused of telling parents to deny their children treatment or even painkillers, in one case suggesting a girl with leukaemia eat KFC instead.

South Barwon MP Andrew Katos calls for dedicated autism school at Oberon site

MP Andrew Katos says the Oberon school site should be retained for education purposes.

Harrison Tippet

A LIBERAL MP has called for a soon-to-be-surplus school site in Belmont to be transformed into Geelong’s first dedicated Autism Spectrum Disorder school.

South Barwon MP Andrew Katos said the site of Oberon High School in Belmont should be retained by the Government if the school is moved to Armstrong Creek as planned — not sold off and subdivided.

“The government shouldn’t be selling off the site, they should be retaining is for education purposes,” the state Liberal MP said.

Children diagnosed with autism early more likely to attend mainstream schools

Lucie van den Berg

MOST Australian children are not diagnosed with ­autism until they are four, but new evidence highlights the importance of an early ­diagnosis.

Findings from two new studies reveal children diagnosed with the neurodevelopmental condition when they were two years old were more likely to attend mainstream primary schools.

They also had better ­cognitive and language skills when they were seven to nine years old than those diagnosed later.

Research to give new insights into autism

boy facing )not looking into) camera

Inspired by his son, Flinders optometry researcher Dr Paul Constable has commenced working with Yale Child Study Center and Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital to research links between autism and the eye’s response to light.

Supported by a $US50,000 donation from the Alan B. Slifka Foundation, the research will look into the incidence of reduced light adapted electro-retinogram (ERG) b-wave amplitude in children diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

2017 was a ‘Dismal’ Year for Human Rights in Australia

Luke Michael

2017 was a “dismal” year for human rights in Australia, according to a report card which found the country significantly lagged behind in areas including disability rights, Indigenous rights and the rights of refugees and people seeking asylum.

The 2017 Human Rights Report Card from Australian Lawyers for Human Rights (ALHR) graded Australia in a number of areas and also graded each state and territory, with mixed results.

Mother tells Trudeau autism care is a 'human rights issue'

Carly Sutherland's son, Callum, suffers from violently aggressive fits. She asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about his government's stance on setting up a national autism strategy during his town hall meeting in Lower Sackville, N.S., Tuesday evening. (Pat Callaghan/CBC)

Prime minister holds town hall meeting with residents in Lower Sackville, N.S.

A Nova Scotia activist and mother of a nine-year-old boy with severe autism asked Prime Minister Justin Trudeau about his government's stance on setting up a national autism strategy during his town hall meeting in Lower Sackville, N.S., Tuesday evening.

Early intervention is key to support students with anxiety about starting university

young woman looking anxious

Learning how to manage anxiety takes time and practice, so it’s not helpful to wait until stress levels are at a peak before seeking help. 

 

Author

Associate Professor of Clinical Psychology, Macquarie University

Editor: this isn't about autism specifically but it may help some people on the spectrum.

Roughly ;one in five students drop out of university in Australia in their first year. Students with prior emotional difficulties, who are doing their degrees part-time, mature age at entry, or from a lower socioeconomic status background are most likely to be in this category.

Autistic boy told to seek 'alternative education' after axing of program

Carla Hildebrandt

An angry Mandurah mother has lashed out at the state government after being told a specialised education program at Halls Head College has been axed.

Late last year, Wannanup resident Sally Finlay said she was told her autistic son who had attended the Halls Head College Targeted Learning program, would have to find alternative education because the program would not be offered in 2018.

Game on in Coffs for people on autism spectrum

room full of young people sitting at tables playing games

GAME ON: Attention to detail is something shared
by gamers and those on the autism spectrum.

A SOCIAL gaming group is being formed on the Coffs Coast for people on the autism spectrum.

Local retailer Good Games Coffs Harbour has formed a partnerships with the Mid Coast Communities' Ability Links to offer the program.

The first gathering will be held from 10am on Saturday, January 13, at the Good Games store on Harbour Drive.

Autistic boy's drowning is now a lesson for first responders

LOUISVILLE — Shalom Lawson, an 8-year-old Louisville boy who loved hugging people he just met, wandered from a relative's home last summer and drowned.  

He had autism, a disorder that causes many children to walk off. "Elopers,"as they are called, are especially drawn to water and are unaware of the risks. 

"Water makes them feel calm, but water is very, very dangerous," said Shalom's mother, Magdalene Lawson, who came to America from West Africa with her husband, Charles. 

She told Courier Journal she tried to protect her son by locking her bathroom to keep him from filling up the bathtub. She feared he would burn himself or drown. And she said she kept an alarm on her front door that would beep if he tried to get out.

Girls' Social Camouflage Skills May Delay or Prevent Autism Diagnosis

Study adds evidence to growing belief that current clinical tools fail to capture unique autism presentations in females

WASHINGTON – On parent-reporting measures, girls with autism seem to struggle more than boys with performing routine tasks like getting up and dressed or making small talk, even when the study group is normalized to meet similar basic clinical diagnostic criteria across sexes. The findings add to the growing evidence that girls with autism may show symptoms differently than boys, and that some of the social difficulties experienced by females with autism may be masked during clinical assessments. 

2017 was a great year for autism-inspired TV

Chris Packham and his black curly-haired dog

 Chris Packham, whose programme Asperger’s and Me
was one of last year’s TV highlights for Ann Hickman.
Photograph: Richard Ansett/BBC

Ann Hickman

As a parent with two out of three children on the autistic spectrum, I nodded with many points by Jem Lester (Seen Rain Man? That doesn’t mean you know my son, Family, 30 December). However, despite the common feelings around having our verbal and non-verbal autistic kids, I feel that actually 2017 provided plenty of great autism-inspired TV.

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