News/Announcements

Kimono Lounge exhibits works by autistic artist Damian Colpo

Frances Vinall

A new exhibition at Kimono Lounge showcases the works of Launceston artist Damian Colpo. 

The Kimono Lounge, a former church, is a gallery and shop in the home of Sarah Trousdale. She doubles as an art therapy teacher, and her gallery is a space for people of all abilities.

Colpo, who has autism, is a student of Trousdale’s, and has found art as a way to show his creativity, unique worldview, and love of animals. 

Watchdog looking into fenced-off classroom used to isolate teen

By Sherryn Groch

The ACT's new watchdog for restrictive practices is investigating a fenced-off facility used to isolate a Canberra student with special needs from his peers.

Following a report in The Canberra Times and calls from disability advocacy groups for an investigation, senior practitioner Mandy Donley confirmed she was looking into the case.

A spokeswoman said Ms Donley had visited the school and was working with those involved.

Advisory group plans to improve NDIS outcomes for Australians with autism

Amanda Lyons

The Autism Advisory Group, established as a voice for people with autism participating in the National Disability Insurance Scheme, announced its four key issues of focus for the next 12 months.

The Autism Advisory Group (AAG) was established by the Federal Government to advise the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) on issues faced by people with autism in relation to accessing the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Australian Psychological Society Medicare review submission betrays members and clients

The Australian Psychological Society’s (APS) submission to the Commonwealth Government’s Medicare Benefit Scheme (MBS) review is an astonishing attempt to restrict access to psychology services for the most vulnerable of Australians. The submission, which was only made available to APS members on Friday, 17 August 2018, represents a kick in the guts to over 60% of Australian psychologists, who may have their ability to provide affordable and accessible services to clients with complex mental health needs significantly reduced.

The submission preferences psychologists who have been “endorsed” by the APS above all other psychologists, for treating clients with “Severe and Chronic/Unremitting Disorders” and “Moderate – Severe Disorders and more Complex Disorders”. This includes disorders ranging from bipolar, autism and ADHD, to obsessive compulsive disorders, trauma disorders, eating disorders or anything else a referring practitioner thinks is “moderate/severe”.

'Like a jail sentence': Teen with special needs isolated at school

Sherryn Groch

A Canberra student with high needs who wasn't allowed to go to school for more than four months is now facing a "jail sentence" when he returns under restrictive conditions, his family say.

Abdul-Ghani Ferkh, who has complex autism, was suspended from the Woden School in early April after running off campus grounds to the local shops and stealing a toy. Correspondence between the school, the ACT education directorate and the Ferkh family seen by The Canberra Times details how the suspension, originally due to end on April 18, was extended multiple times before his break became indefinite.

SA: Mainstream classes full of students with special needs, union survey finds

Tim Williams

TEACHERS are facing classrooms where the majority of students in front of them have disabilities, learning difficulties or trauma-related conditions, a union survey has found.

More than 100 South Australian teachers, classroom support workers and parents made reports to a one-off Australian Education Union hotline in a single afternoon.

Desperate parents to set up own autism school to help their kids

Jane Hansen

A LACK of options for their severely autistic children has forced a group of desperate parents to open their own school.

Julia Coorey, whose four-year-old son Michael is non-verbal and at the severe end of the spectrum, said her child — and many like him — needed one-on-one teaching if they were ever going to be “functioning human beings”.

“Our kids are all on the severe end of the spectrum,” Ms Coorey told The Sunday Telegraph.

Children with autism showing increasing anxiety through primary school – study

Deborah Marshall

A world-first autism study has found high levels of anxiety in children as young as five years old with autism attending Australian schools, and that levels of generalised anxiety increase as they get older.

Published in the Journal of School Psychology this week, the study surveyed teachers using a standardised ranking method to identify anxiety symptoms of 92 children aged 5-12 years in mainstream and special schools.

Researchers from the Griffith University Autism Centre of Excellence analysed two groups of children – those who had just started school and those about to move from primary to high school.

NDIS Under Attack During Emotional Q&A Debate

Jessica Dunne

"We have to band together and make sure that we get the NDIS that we deserve."

Under-staffing, failing technology and inconsistencies in classifications were the main issues discussed about the National Disability Insurance Scheme on ABC's Q&A.

The emotionally charged episode heard the experiences of those with disabilities and carers, as they battled the system to access funding from the NDIS, which is still being rolled out around the country.

'I rewrote my NDIS letter to give other special needs families some much-needed laughter'

Jo Abi

It's never a good day when my son's NDIS plan comes up for review.

NDIS is the National Disability Insurance Scheme which provides funding for my son with autism's treatment.

Medicare only provides partial funding and my private health insurance gives us a whopping $500 each year to use.

With a weekly occupational therapy session that costs $176, not to mention speech, food and anxiety therapy, making ends meet is virtually impossible for special needs families. And I haven't even factored in the enormous cost of his special needs schooling.

Autistic teen kicked off flight: ‘They refused to listen’

Jo Abi

A furious mum has lashed out at Emirates for forcibly removing her autistic son from a flight.

Euronews journalist Isabelle Kumar boarded the plane with her family, including son Eli, 17, at Dubai airport for the trip to France.

It was during the final leg of the trip from New Zealand to Australia that the incident occurred.

Ms Kumar phoned the airline in advance to ensure they were aware of her son’s needs. She’d requested the seat next to him be vacant, in case he suffered a seizure due to his epilepsy.

'My son with Asperger's received a petition at school telling him he's disgusting'

Kelly Baker

My son is officially on the Autism spectrum. He has Asperger's. It’s not something I generally discuss; it’s his information to do with what he will and I’ve always told him he can tell anyone he pleases, or nobody at all. It’s personal, end of story. And it’s his personal, so he’s in charge.

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