News/Announcements

Data highlights state's highest rate of people living with autism

Tamara McDonald

Tasmania has the highest rate of people living with autism in Australia.

New Australian Bureau of Statistics data for 2015, released on Wednesday, showed an estimated 1 per cent of the population in both Tasmania and South Australia had autism, the country’s highest rate.

The lowest was 0.5 per cent in Western Australia.

Autism unit goes from strength to strength

Hayley Warden

Nowra Public School has doubled their students intake since opening an autism unit only a year ago and that figure looks set to triple in the next 12 months.

There are 14 students enrolled in the unit, with a maximum of seven in each class. 

“Since last year we have had another class start,” Nowra Public School teacher Sue Griffin said. 

School boy with autism stranded in Dural

Warren Thomson

A MOTHER was left “mortified” after her son who has autism was kicked off a bus and left on his own in Dural.

Melissa Hewitson’s 16-year-old son Tyler routinely catches a bus from Old Northern Road, Dural to Pennant Hills Station as part of his morning commute to Hornsby TAFE four times a week.

But on Friday, March 17, Tyler’s Opal card had insufficient funds. Instead of letting him tap on and stay on the bus, the bus driver told him to get off.

“I was mortified that they could chuck a kid off the bus,” Ms Hewitson said.

Why a 42 per cent increase in autism diagnoses is no cause for alarm

Increasing awareness of autism, the promise of the NDIS, and biological factors like older parents are driving the boom in diagnoses, according to experts.

Jackson Gothe-Snape

The number of Australians diagnosed with autism increased by 42 per cent between 2012 and 2015, but research and advocacy groups are adamant it's not a cause for alarm.

Submission on National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Costs

A4 made a submission to the Productivity Commission study of National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Costs

The submission's conclusion says:

Previously, we said that the NDIS has substantial potential to improve the lives of autistic people. They may have access to more services and supports. They have more choice and control of the services and supports they access.

Federal court rules NDIS must fully fund 'necessary' supports and services

Landmark decision comes as court rules transport to and from Victorian man’s disability support program is a ‘reasonable and necessary’ support

The national disability insurance scheme is required to fully fund any supports or services it has deemed “reasonable and necessary”, according to a landmark decision handed down in the federal court on Tuesday.

How our autistic ancestors played an important role in human evolution

When you think of someone with autism, what do you think of? It might be someone with a special set of talents or unique skills – such as natural artistic ability or a remarkable memory. It could also be someone with enhanced abilities in engineering or mathematics, or an increased focus on detail.

Calls for Royal Commission into Abuse of People with Disability

Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4) supports AFDO and others in the disability sector ...

Media Release

The Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) today joined calls from across the disability sector for a Royal Commission into the violence, abuse and neglect experienced by Australians with disability.

Fighting the System

By Linton Besser, Klaus Toft, Jeanavive McGregor at ABC Four Corners

"I brought him into this world, and I love him. I do all I can to help him. I'm 88 soon. I'm still battling." Jean, mother

On Monday night Four Corners exposes what happens behind closed doors in some taxpayer funded group homes for the disabled and talks to the mothers and carers taking on the system.

"It's about time for me to tell this." Maria, mother

People with intellectual disabilities locked away under cloak of suburbia

A hundred years ago people with an intellectual disability were locked up in "lunatic asylums". Today they're still locked away, but it's just behind the walls of suburbia.

This is a story I'm trying to write without being able to give you specific details. It includes allegations of sexual abuse, physical assault and degradation, so people have asked for identities to be protected.

Autistic children receive one-on-one therapy at only child care centre of its kind on the Gold Coast

Amanda Robbemond

FOUR months ago little Kai Patch wouldn’t turn around when his name was repeatedly called.

Diagnosed with autism in October last year, the two-year-old struggled to talk, make eye contact or interact.

Worried about his future, his parents, Sonya and Ben Patch, decided to move the family north from NSW to enrol at Arundel’s Little Souls Taking Big Steps, one of two autistic centres on the Coast and the only one that provides a one-on-one therapy program.

Why It Took 35 Years To Diagnose My Autism

When I was four-years-old a speech therapist told my mother that my inability to speak would right itself. Her GP told her not to worry about my severe sleep problems and that I was simply a fussy eater for only eating jam sandwiches and yogurt.

The self-harm and eating disorder I developed as a teen was put down to depression and when I tried to end my life aged eighteen, I was called selfish by the nurse who pumped my stomach.

Disability employment advocates say it's time to raise expectations

 Michael Gorey

The public sector is well suited to employing people with autism but more needs to be done to foster workplace diversity, according to disability employment advocate Bill Gamack.

Mr Gamack's firm EPIC Assist is opening a Canberra office next month in partnership with Danish company Specialisterne.

National Disability Insurance Scheme rollout plagued with problems, FOI documents reveal

Dan Conifer and FOI editor Michael McKinnon

VIDEO: Joshua Adam says his experience with the NDIS has been terrible (ABC News)

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) stopped processing thousands of applications from service providers, critical staff were untrained and properties were not ready when the scheme's nationwide rollout began, documents have revealed.

A much-publicised IT meltdown saw people with disabilities wait weeks for their care packages to be approved while payments to providers froze.

Children with disabilities 3 times more likely to be maltreated but risk varies by disability type

A Telethon Kids Institute study has found children with disabilities are three times more likely to be maltreated compared to other children but that risk varies by type of disability.

Researchers analysed 524,534 children born in Western Australia between 1990-2010 for the study “Maltreatment Risk among Children with Disabilities”, published in the journal Pediatrics.

Overall, they found 4.6 per cent of all children had a maltreatment allegation.

Disability Groups Slam Govt for Scrapping Royal Commission Into Abuse

Ellie Cooper

The federal government’s decision to rule out a royal commission into violence and abuse against people with disability has been condemned by an alliance of disability advocacy groups.

A Senate committee proposed the royal commission in November 2015, following months of investigations into claims of abuse and neglect of people with disability in institutional and residential settings.

“There were so many accounts of violence, abuse and neglect that it is clear that abuse is widespread and occurring all over Australia, it is clear a royal commission is needed,” committee chair and Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said at the time.

However, the government said it would not follow the committee’s key recommendation.

Dismay at report on locking up children with disabilities

Lauren Martyn-Jones

THE mother of a child who was locked in a cell-like room for time-outs at a Hervey Bay primary school wants a State Government review to ban the practice totally.

The incident involving her autistic son Tate Smith triggered a State Government review and the appointment of a department "watchdog" to oversee the education of children with disabilities in Queensland.

The review has found that the restrictive practice experienced by Tate should be used as a measure of last resort to prevent harm to staff and students.

But Tate's mum Kelly-Ann Brooks said she was disappointed the review did not go further and call for an all-out prohibition on the use of restrictive practices on children with special needs.

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