News/Announcements

Support in short supply for disabled

Bruce Bonyhady | May 07, 2009

The Australian (see http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,,25439463-32542,00.html)

AUSTRALIA'S disability support system is inequitable, fractured, under-resourced and slowly collapsing under the weight of its own inadequacies, while sub-optimally consuming billions of dollars of taxpayers' money each year.

Big spend to protect vulnerable

  • Paul Austin
  • May 5, 2009

A $925 million social welfare package to help Victorians hit by the global recession will be a centrepiece of today's state budget.

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The program, "A Fairer Victoria", is designed to help the state's most vulnerable citizens — including new migrants, Aborigines, families with disabled children and people with a mental illnesses — who are likely to suffer most as unemployment rises and the economy slows.

Autistic kids 'have enlarged amygdala'

May 7, 2009 - 10:44AM

 

Young children with autism appear more likely to have enlarged amygdala - the part of the brain associated with registering faces and with expressing key emotions, according to a study released on Monday.

Described in the May issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, the study compared the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) results of 50 autistic children and 33 control children.

The children's brain scans were taken at age two and again at age four.

No security for teachers of special needs pupils

  • Anna Patty Education Editor
  • April 29, 2009

ELIZABETH GAWTHORNE has spent 11 years working with children at Marrickville High School yet is still classed as a temporary employee.

As a school learning support officer, she works alongside classroom teachers, helping children with special needs.

While satisfying, the job provides no security from one year to the next. Further training opportunities are limited.

"I have 11 years of experience and can be told I'm not wanted next year," she said.

Cuts to specialist services hit hard

from The Age, Letters

ONLY parents of children with disabilities and their advocates would spot the irony in Bronwyn Pike describing students with disabilities with challenging behaviours as being "through no fault of their own" (The Age, 22/4). Ms Pike's descriptions seems to be at odds with typical school responses to these behaviours — detention/ suspension/expulsion.

Right to an Ordinary Life - National Press Club

Hon Bill Shorten MP

Member for Maribyrnong
Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children's Services

Bill Shorten spoke on the 01/04/2009 at the National Press Club. The publicity (see http://www.npc.org.au/speakerArchive/bshort.html) said:

The Rudd Government has put the social inclusion of disadvantaged groups – including people with disability – at the core of its vision for Australia.

British boy 'too scared to travel to UK'

April 20, 2009

 

A teenage British boy with a form of autism is stranded in Australia because he is too scared to travel by air or sea home to England.

Thomas Hill's family moved to Sydney in January 2008 to start a new life but decided to return recently because they were homesick.

But 16-year-old Thomas, who has been diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, is still in Sydney with his mum Lisa because he has panic attacks about travelling.

Have bike - and Asperger's - will travel to show bullies he's no idiot

April 15, 2009


Ethan Johnson ... cycled from Brisbane to Sydney over two weeks.

A 15-year-old Brisbane boy with Asperger's syndrome who disappeared for two weeks and rode his bike more than 950 kilometres to Sydney did it to prove to "bullies'' he wasn't an idiot, his mother says.

During his six-day, dawn-to-dusk haul down the east coast, Ethan Johnson slept at truck stops, under bridges and ate at fast-food restaurants.

Anti-vaccination 'diatribe' ill-informed and factually wrong

9/03/2009 12:00:00 AM

I am not anti-vaccination but I am in favour of parents being given factual information regarding vaccinations so they can make informed decisions as to what they have their children vaccinated against and when they do it.

Jack Waterford's diatribe in Times 2 (March 5, p2) against people who decide not to vaccinate their children is both ill-informed and, in some cases, factually wrong.

I will restrict my response to just one area the link between autism and certain vaccines.

Researchers floored after study links autism to vinyl

LONDON
6/04/2009 12:00:00 AM

Children who live in homes with vinyl flooring have double the chance of being autistic, research has discovered.

The finding which amazed even the scientists conducting the study provides one of the first clues as to a possible cause of the condition.

The study, by scientists in Sweden, Denmark and the United States, stumbled across the connection almost by accident.

It is being taken seriously because autism has long been thought to result from environmental factors.

Sensory play 'key to beating autism'

Danny Rose
April 6, 2009

 

A visiting US autism expert says that while the disorder has no cure, many children with it can be taught to be so "functional" they overcome its most incapacitating features.

The key, says Dr Richard Solomon, is for parents of autistic children to intervene early with sensory-focused play which, he adds, may at first feel counter-intuitive.

Big pay day for top private schools in cash handout

DEBORAH SNOW
6/04/2009 12:23:30 AM

SOME of Sydney's wealthiest private schools will receive handouts of up to $200,000 each to refurbish already lavish sporting and arts facilities, under the first leg of the Federal Government's National School Pride program unveiled yesterday.

The federal Education Minister, Julia Gillard, said more than 2000 NSW schools would receive grants totalling $277.5 million to be spent on "maintenance and minor building works".

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