News/Announcements

Joel's journey inspires at living with autism forum

Heidi Kraak

Thirty-two year old Joel Wilson's story is perhaps not very different from a lot of other people, but that, he says, is why it is an important story to tell.

Diagnosed with aspergers, now acknowledged as part of the autism spectrum disorder, as a teenager, Mr Wilson shared his life story at an autism forum in Traralgon recently to show young people with autism in the community and their families that an autism diagnosis does not preclude someone from a "normal life".

Millennials on the autism spectrum plug tech skills gap at DXC

Yolanda Redrup

IT services company DXC Technology is making headway in plugging the tech skills gap by tapping into a talent pool often neglected by employers, hiring people on the autism spectrum.

Since 2015, the New York Stock Exchange-listed company that employs 10,000 people in Australia has been running a three-year training project called the Dandelion Programme and has hired 80 people to take on a variety of tech roles.

DXC Technology Australia and New Zealand managing director Seelan Nayagam told The Australian Financial Review the program had been particularly successful in helping young people on the spectrum take on jobs in cyber security, data analytics and software testing.

Elderly therapy horse helps teen girl with autism

Simon Galletta

An elderly horse is helping a teenage girl in far-west New South Wales overcome her autism.

Rachel Kellie, 15, has been receiving equine therapy at the Murray River border town of Buronga, near Mildura, for more than a year.

"Whenever I'm around Psalm, I'm a lot calmer and a lot more courageous than I would normally be," Rachel said.

"When I'm not around horses, there's just a lot of things I never say."

But after a session with Psalm, Rachel's mother notices the change in her daughter.

Children's book says stop teasing kids with autism

Isabel Bird

A Tasmanian mother is hoping to promote social acceptance of autism with a picture book that teaches children and their parents about autism.

Katt Strachan has written Poppi Lou is Different which features Poppi, her nine-year-old daughter who is on the autism spectrum.

Ms Strachan said she started writing the book after Poppi came home from school sad and upset because other children did not want to play with her. 

New national guideline provides ‘very clear process’ for diagnosis of autism

Amanda Lyons

GP and autism advocate Dr James Best believes the guideline will prove helpful for patients, their families, and the GPs and other clinicians conducting assessments.

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is not uncommon in Australia, and diagnoses are on the rise – about 164,000 people across the country have ASD, a 79% increase* from 2009.

The autistic teenager making video games to show players what Asperger's is really like

Donal Sheil

A young, autistic game developer has showcased his innovative new project at Australia's largest gaming convention, as part of an exhibit putting diversity centre-stage.

Inspired by his experiences living with autism, Bradley Hennessey's experimental game, An Aspie Life allows players to experience life with Asperger's.

In addition to entertainment, Mr Hennessey said the power of video games to enhance empathy with others is undervalued.

"Really, games can do anything," he said.

DAD... a film about autism and fatherhood

Available to watch online now!

DAD... a film about autism and fatherhood is now available to watch online! We're thrilled to share our short documentary with you all! We hope it helps dads (and mums) navigating the world of autism and parenting. Whether you're new to this or have been in it for a while, there are so many powerful messages from these twelve incredible dads that you need to hear. So please watch, share, send us your reviews... and most importantly remember, you are part of a bigger “fraternity of parents who are wonderful”

Bank mistrust runs deep, Autism spectrum applicants plug skills gaps

Four in five Australians believe banks don’t act ethically, the inaugural Deloitte Trust Index – Banking 2018 IPSOS poll (paywall) has found. The poll showed three in four Australians thought banks didn’t keep their promises to customers and found people from different political persuasions, classes and genders all had a similarly dim view of banking ethics.

Expecting autistic people to 'fit in' is cruel and unproductive; value us for our strengths

Peter Sun San Wong

Just 16% of adults with autism are in full-time paid employment, and this situation is not improving. The Economist has described this as “a tragic toll, as millions of people live idle and isolated outside the world of work”.

When people with autism do get a job, they face bullying, discrimination and isolation in the workplace.

I know the harsh reality from personal experience. Who better to research and write about productivity and employment outcomes than someone who has experienced autism and 40 years of competitive employment?

Autism psychologist ‘once ran New Age cult’

Rick Morton

A Queensland psychologist ­accused of once leading a New Age cult which promised paying clients the ability to “move between ­dimensions” has been working as an approved provider of a federal autism program since 2015.

Natasha Lakaev — who ran courses through a program called Universal Knowledge from a Northern NSW property known as Omaroo in the early 2000s — once claimed to be a “metaphysician” who could heal HIV and other diseases and later retrained as a psychologist.

'Getting in early': WA to trial Australian-first autism program

Autism appears in about one per cent of children but because its rarely spotted before the age of three many don't get the early intervention work that could greatly improve their development down the track.

In an Australian first trial to begin next year a team of WA researchers hope to change that and fill a gap for autism early-intervention services.

The natural science behind applied behaviour analysis

While most likely best-known among the public as a treatment for autism, the field of behaviour analysis has far-reaching beneficial applications. Unfortunately, however, it’s often portrayed in the media in a negative light, focusing on inaccurate stereotypes regarding punishment and control.

So, what exactly does it involve?

Behaviour analysis is a natural science approach to understanding behaviour, learning, language and cognition. As a science, it’s conceptually similar to the disciplines of psychology, biology, chemistry and medical science.

New autism guidelines aim to improve diagnostics and access to services

Andrew Whitehouse, University of Western Australia

You can’t test for autism with a simple blood test or scan, which can make the diagnostic process difficult and dependent on the skill and experience of the clinician.

New Australian autism guidelines, released today, aim to provide a nationally consistent and rigorous standard for how children and adults are assessed and diagnosed with autism, bringing to an end the different processes that currently exist across the country.

Coalition says new autism guidelines won't affect NDIS access

Paul Fletcher says guidelines developed in consultation with people living with autism, researchers and doctors

New national guidelines for diagnosing autism announced by the federal government on Tuesday will have no impact on those with autism previously deemed eligible for funding under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the minister for social services, Paul Fletcher, has said.

Autism overhaul amid NDIS cases blowout

Rick Morton

Guidelines for autism cases will be streamlined nationwide and doctor-shopping for diagnoses will be eliminated, under a series of reforms aimed at stemming a blowout in the National Dis­ability Insurance Scheme.

The reforms, to be announced by the Morrison government today, have been heralded as a revolution in the way it would smooth out “significant variabilities” in cases confirmed by ­clinicians.

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