My daughter's autism diagnosis at 23 shows how easily girls can mask the warning signs

My daughter came into the world in dramatic fashion in November 1994.

Key points:

  • Tracey Stewart had no idea her daughter was autistic
  • She was not diagnosed until the age of 23
  • Doctors say girls mask symptoms, making diagnosis harder

I had been hospitalised with pre-eclampsia and she was delivered via an unplanned caesarean at very short notice.

Only a few generations back it would have been a pregnancy neither of us would have survived — but the greatest threat to her life was to come more than 20 years later.

SA: NDIS criticised for 'failing to provide second carer' in Nischal Ghimire drowning case

Claire Campbell and Alice Dempster

The drowning of a carer could have been avoided if the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) had responded to requests for a second carer for an autistic boy, a South Australian MP has claimed.

Key points:

  • Labor MP Jayne Stinson has criticised the NDIS after a carer drowned while on shift in Adelaide
  • She said the family requested a second carer for their son's outdoor activities, but one was not provided
  • But the NDIA said it tried to contact the family in mid-December

Teen with autism overcomes job hurdles by cornering market in cleaning smelly bins

Jessica Hinchliffe

Clay Lewis spent two years trying to find part-time work before he decided to start his own business, one that's now so successful he's had to hire extra staff.

"I was trying to get a job at a fast food restaurant but I wasn't successful," the 16-year-old with autism said.

So after some local market research and number crunching, Clay opened a bin-cleaning business with his mother Laura's help.

Caleb has autism, needs dialysis and a new kidney but Canberra Hospital says it can’t help him

Ian Bushnell

A Canberra teenager with one failing kidney is facing a death sentence without dialysis and an eventual transplant but according to his mother, doctors at Canberra Hospital have told him he can’t be treated because of his autism.

Palmerston mother and full-time carer Leanne Browning says she was told on Christmas Eve that her 17-year-old son Caleb, who also has ADHD, only had a few months to live but did not fit the criteria for dialysis because he could not sit still enough and sedation would further damage his kidney.

And without dialysis, he cannot be put on the transplant list.

One of The Most Common Assumptions About Autism May Be a Complete Misunderstanding


Putting yourself in another person's shoes is never easy, and for those with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), the practice is thought to be especially challenging.

But even though this neurological condition is often considered a barrier to understanding complex emotions, recent research suggests this may be nothing more than a simple misunderstanding.

'Massive pressure': special needs classes clustered in Sydney's west

Jordan Baker & Nigel Gladstone

Special needs classes in public schools are heavily concentrated in the most disadvantaged parts of Sydney, with 92 in the Blacktown local government area alone but none in Hunters Hill, Lane Cove or Mosman.

In the Liverpool and Campbelltown council areas there is an average of just over one class for students with disabilities per school, an analysis of NSW Department of Education figures by the Herald shows.

WA: Former Christ Church Grammar school psychologist Agni Angelkovska ‘simply lost the plot’ in attack on autistic student

Shannon Hampton

A senior psychologist at a prestigious Perth school has been fined $2000 for assaulting a 12-year-old autistic boy by throwing a cup of water at him.

But a magistrate today acquitted Agni Angelkovska, 50, of using the boy’s hands to slap himself in the face during a “protracted” struggle at Christ Church Grammar School in November 2014.

During a three-day trial earlier this month, the court was told the boy had to be carried by four staff members at the private school to a sensory room after he had a “meltdown”.

Fighting NDIS planning decisions through tribunal a long, difficult and frustrating process, Hunter families say

Anita Beaumont

THE “exhaustive” process of contesting a National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) plan can eventually work, but only for those who are willing to wait, and able to fight, Hunter families say.

Anna Noon, of Speers Point, said it took 14 months to go through the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) after her son’s plan was slashed by more than 70 per cent without warning.

Her son, Zach, became an NDIS participant during the trial of the scheme in the Hunter.

Autism community hits back at comments from professor Jeremy Nicholson

Kate Campbell

Claims from a world-leading professor, that autism is a silently growing monster and forms of it can be prevented, have prompted outrage within the autism community.

The Fiona Stanley Hospital precinct in Perth's southern suburbs is set to become home to one of the world's leading research laboratories - the Australian National Phenome Centre (ANPC). Harry Perkins Research Institute at Fiona Stanley Hospital to house Australia's first phenome research centre. Phenomics set to revolutionise the way disease is diagnosed and treated.

Claims from a world-leading professor lured to Perth to head up a game-changing research hub, that autism is a silently growing monster and forms of it can be prevented, have prompted outrage within the autism community.

Disability service providers referred to police after Victorian deaths in care

Biwa Kwan

The Victorian Services Commissioner has referred disability service providers to the police for possible criminal investigation over the deaths of people receiving disability care.

The report by the Victorian Disability Services Commissioner found 'significant failures' in the provision of disability services, which resulted in death in 2017-18. 

Restraint of People with Autism and Developmental Disability

John Elder Robison

Some institutions can restrain people against their will. Should it be allowed?

Restraint is emerging as a hot-button topic among autistic self-advocates and some parents.  

People on both sides feel their position is obviously correct: Restraint leads to abuse, and should be banned; or restraint is necessary for the safety of some people, and those who deny it are crazy or idealistic.

Whenever people are restrained against their will there is always a risk of abuse and cruelty. The sad truth is, many staff working with developmentally disabled people are poorly trained and poorly paid – a bad combination that can lead to horrific outcomes. The condemnation those incidents receive is certainly deserved. Unfortunately, it’s just the tip of the iceberg and most abuse involving restraint is never reported.

Rain Man made autistic people visible. But it also entrenched a myth

Thirty years on, the ‘autistic savant’ portrayed by Dustin Hoffman still represents most people’s idea of autism

After Rain Man was released on 16 December 1988, the whole world knew what “autistic savant” meant. Despite spending years in development hell, and test screenings fostering tepid and confused responses, Rain Man was a runaway success. It swept the Oscars, winning best picture, best original screenplay, best director and best actor for Dustin Hoffman’s portrayal of Raymond Babbitt.

With a limited on-screen presence, autistic characters have emerged in another medium: fan fiction

Jonathan Alexander and Rebecca Black

In one Harry Potter fan fiction story, Hermione Granger anxiously awaits the results from a recent test.

It isn’t her performance on an exam in a potions course that she’s concerned about. Instead, the higher-ups at Hogwarts had ordered she undergo some psychological tests. They had noticed how quickly she talked, along with her nervous tics.

Australian National Phenome Centre: new facility could find autism prevention

Kate Campbell

Forms of autism could be “completely prevented” by an “experimental workshop for the world” setting up in Perth’s southern suburbs.

Professor Jeremy Nicholson, new head of the Australian National Phenome Centre at Fiona Stanley Hospital’s Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research, said the revolutionary work could stop some children becoming autistic.


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