News/Announcements

Vic: Matthew Guy promises 'revolution' for autism support services

Benjamin Preiss

Autism support services would undergo a $50 million “revolution” if the Coalition wins the November election.

The package includes a 24-hour autism helpline and a $4 million increase for early diagnosis services, Opposition Leader Matthew Guy announced on Monday.

The peak autism support group, Amaze, will receive $2.4 million to expand their current hotline to 24 hours. It currently operates during business hours.

Mum full of praise for ‘Quiet Hour’ at Coles stores

A trip to the supermaket often proves traumatic for five-year-old Leo Reseigh.

The Campbelltown boy was diagnosed with level-two autism earlier this year, with a developmental delay and high anxiety.

But a new weekly ‘Quiet Hour’ session offered at Coles has made grocery shopping easier for people, like Leo, who have conditions such as autism.

Quiet Hour promotes reduced noise and lighting in store for 60 minutes from 10.30am each Tuesday morning.

Victorian Coalition pledges $50m in autism ‘revolution’

The Victorian Coalition has promised a “revolution” in the way the state supports families ­living with autism, in a $50 million major pre-election pitch that ­includes a pledge to create a 24-hour autism helpline for parents.

Less than nine weeks out from the Victorian election, Opposition Leader Matthew Guy has unveiled a seven-point plan to spend $50m over four years to boost services and support the 55,000 Victorians living with autism.

Autism learning centre for Nelson Bay

The quest to find a learning, training and respite facility for people with autism in Port Stephens has almost totally consumed the lives of Nelson Bay parents Les and Judy Merrett.

In 2010 the couple, whose 15-year-old son Dylan has autism, established the charity Autism Action with an aim to assist Port Stephens families impacted by autism and other intellectual disabilities.

We've seen autistic doctors and detectives on TV, how about Rain Woman?

Madeleine Ryan

I'm autistic, and I've rarely ever seen myself in the television characters that are supposed to represent me. There seem to be a lot of doctors, detectives – and dudes. It's hard to find stories about openly autistic girls and women navigating life as openly autistic girls and women; and even harder to find ones where autism is treated as more than a freakish gift, or as a disability.

key message - A4 and NDIA meeting, 4 July 2018

Bob Buckley, A4 Convenor, met with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) Chairman, Dr Helen Nugent AO, and NDIA CEO, Robert De Luca, along with Ms Vicki Rundle and Mr Peter De Natris, at the NDIA’s Canberra office on 4th July 2018. Mary Mallet, DANA CEO, also attended.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss how to improve outcomes substantially for autistic people of all ages, including children.

In relation to children, this includes:

The Australian pig farm benefitting from employing people with autism

Cassandra Hough

It is not easy for people on the autism spectrum to find work, but an Australian piggery is trying to change that.

SunPork Farms is part of an initiative called Autism and Agriculture which is aiming to develop career paths for people on the autism spectrum in animal care roles.

In Australia only about 40 per cent of autistic adults have a job.

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.

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