Boy with severe autism 'threatened with fake gun' outside Dickson shops

Two teenagers accused of using a replica pistol to "scare" a boy with severe autism as they tried to rob him outside a north Canberra supermarket went home to watch a television show about serial killer Ivan Milat, court documents allege.

The boys, aged 16 and 17, each faced the ACT Childrens' Court charged with attempted aggravated robbery using an offensive weapon on Monday. Neither has entered pleas.

Court documents said witnesses called police after two teenagers approached the boy outside Woolworths at Dickson shortly before 7pm on Sunday.


AFDO Budget Media Release

 The Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) welcomes the Turnbull Government's commitment in tonight's budget to fully fund the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

"The Government's announcement tonight gives peace of mind to people with disability that funding for the scheme is secure and it will continue to be rolled out as planned," said AFDO CEO, Mr Ross Joyce.

Undiagnosed autism high in older men, says Kathy Lette

Cathy O'Leary

Kathy Lette believes there are a lot of men with undiagnosed autism out there.

The London-based author and feminist, who is in Perth to speak to parents of children with autism, argues that with one in 68 people on the spectrum, autism could be defined as “an extreme form of maleness”.

“Just look at your husbands who are trainspotters or plane spotters, keep their records in alphabetical order and are socially awkward,” she said.

I learned through my son's autism diagnosis when it comes to sex, we all have special needs

Kathy Lette

A mother does many things for her son: running trays up to his bedroom for nothing more serious than a stubbed toe, detecting lost bits of sports kit, secretly completing overdue homework …

But should soliciting a prostitute be one of them? "So, how much to initiate my son sexually?" are just not the words a law-abiding, middle-aged mum ever expects to say to a working girl in thigh-high boots and leather hot-pants in the dead of night in a seedy backstreet. 

'Always performing' – my autism diagnosis helped me accept the person beneath the act

Madeleine Ryan

"Ah, the actress," the psychic said. "Yes, I am an actress," I replied. "Oh, no," she corrected. "You're a writer. But you're an actress in your day-to-day life. Always performing. No one really knows who you are. Not yet, anyway."

Eight years ago, at the time of that reading, I didn't know I was autistic. I had no idea that the way I experienced life was different from the way others did. Nor was I aware that, in order to cope, I had become exceptionally skilled at playing the role of someone else – to the point that I had even fooled myself.

Autism: Beware of Potentially Dangerous Therapies and Products

One thing that is important to know about autism up front: There is no cure for autism. So, products or treatments claiming to “cure” autism do not work as claimed. The same is true of many products claiming to “treat” autism or autism-related symptoms. Some may carry significant health risks.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) plays an important role in warning these companies against making improper claims about their products’ intended use as a treatment or cure for autism or autism-related symptoms.

The Danish beermakers brewing up work for autistic people

With its collection of small vessels and hoses, plain tiled floor and bags of malt, the workplace of People Like Us in Skippinge, Denmark, is a typical brewing scene.

But for Rune Lindgreen, a 39-year-old with Asperger Syndrome, it is much more than that. Lindgreen was out of work for almost a decade before landing a job as a beer developer in this company run by autistic adults.

People Like Us was founded last year by brothers Lars and Jesper Carlsen, owners of LeVas, a provider of education and training for people with autism.

Children on autism spectrum disorder 'cusp' missing out on early intervention, says child psychologist

A Naracoorte child psychologist says children on the cusp of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may be missing out on vital early treatment because parents or educators may not realise a child needs specialist intervention.

"The earlier the detection, the better the outcome," said Lana-Joy Durik, one of only two psychologists who specialise in early childhood intervention operating in South Australia's south-east.

The Dish Shines Blue for Autism

This week, the iconic Parkes Radio Telescope will join a host of significant buildings and landmarks across the world being lit up for 'Light It Up Blue For Autism'.

The Currajong Autism and Special Needs Group (Currajong Disability Services sub-committee), in conjunction with Parkes Shire Council, have worked with CSIRO to light up the local landmark to raise awareness about the condition as part of World Autism Awareness Month.

People with autism have the right to support under the NDIS

“If you walk into our home or Max’s classroom, you couldn’t pick him out as having autism. But then we’ve funded nearly 10 years of support – from speech and occupational therapy to psychology appointments. I can tell you now, he’d be a very different child if we hadn’t been in the position to do so.”

Adeane Tindall’s 13-year-old son, Max, was diagnosed with autism at the age of four, but it was an uphill struggle.

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


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


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.


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