My son shines in the dark

ONE grey, rainy London day, my 11-year-old son arrived home from school with his shirt torn and hair matted. There was a sign sticky-taped to his back. It read: "Kick me, I'm a retard." I ripped it off in fury as a tidal wave of frustration and pity surged through me. "The other kids called me a moron," he whispered, his wide blue eyes filling with tears. "What does that mean? Am I a moron, Mum?"

Trying to protect a child with special needs from being bullied is like trying to stop ice melting in the desert. There were calls to the school, meetings, promises of closer scrutiny in the playground. But basically, when it comes to defeating bullying -- particularly when your child is an obvious target -- a parent might as well be standing up to Voldemort with a butter knife.

Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Living with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Prime Minister Gillard announced $31 million for a CRC for Living with Autism Spectrum Disorders (see This is a welcome move from the Gillard Government.

"The implementation of a highly innovative 'whole-of-life' research portfolio will deliver a continuum of support required for people with Autism to participate successfully in education, employment and all facets of the community."

Australia: at last, a Co-operative Research Centre (CRC) for Autism

At last! The Australian Government decided to fund a Co-operative Research Centres (CRC) for Autism Spectrum Disorders.

"The CRC for Living with Autism Spectrum Disorders will receive $31 million to enhance the lives of individuals with lifelong development disabilities arising from an autism spectrum disorder." (see

Students with disabilities subjected to 'harmful' control measures at schools

From: The Daily Telegraph
December 24, 2012 12:00AM

SCHOOL teachers are training in martial arts to control disabled children who become violent under a raft of controversial behaviour management techniques slammed by disability groups as "abuse and neglect".

Children with disabilities are also being locked in small rooms or in "fenced areas" as punishment for bad behaviour at school while others are banned from classes unless they have taken "psychotropic medication", researchers claim.

children who "no longer have significant autistic impairments"

Several media outlets report the publication of research that examines a number of children who "recovered" from autism. The research is published at

The researchers say that the data clearly support the existence of a cohort who had clear autism at a young age and no longer demonstrated any significant autistic impairments.

Unanimous UN autism resolution

UN text on Addressing Socioeconomic Dimensions of Autism, ...

... the Assembly addressed the socio-economic needs related to autism and developmental disorders by adopting a relevant resolution without a vote. By the text, the Assembly called on all States to enable persons with autism, developmental disorders and associated disabilities to learn life and social development skills to facilitate their full and equal participation in education and as members of the community.

Schools quicker to suspend autistic children, says report

Anna Patty, State Political Reporter

CHILDREN with autism are being inappropriately suspended from school, forcing their parents to abandon their jobs to care for them, research has found.

Karen Bevan, the director of social justice at UnitingCare, whose research found school long-term suspensions have increased by more than a third over the past six years, said children with autism are among those being suspended.

autism prevalence continues to rise in Australia - ASfAR Conference 2012 presentation

The number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders continues to grow in Australia.

A presentation at the inaugural ASfAR conference (7/12/2012) shows the national average autism prevalence in school age children exceeded 1.4% (1 in 62.5) by June 2012, based on Centrelink Carer Allowance data. These Centrelink data were described previously as the best available indication of autism prevalence in Australia.

The growth continues a pattern described previously (see

Disabled youth more abused than others

Rachel Browne Sun-Herald journalist

CHILDREN and young adults with disabilities are three times more likely to suffer abuse and neglect than their peers without disabilities, according to a policy paper released on Tuesday.

According to the paper, abuse can often occur in the form of behaviour management.

The paper, prepared by Dr Sally Robinson, of Southern Cross University's Centre for Children and Young People, cited cases of children who had been abused or neglected by school staff.

ABC's Q&A squibs on disability

The ABC's Q&A program squibs on the disability questions that top its list of "most liked" question.

The ABC Q&A website invites people to submit questions online. And it has a list of "most liked" questions (see The extract below (accessed on 1/12/2012) shows questions about disability are at the top of their list of questions. Disability question are:

  1. the top two questions
  2. four of the top six questions

Disabled workers challenge naive employers

A fear of the unknown is deterring Australian employers from hiring more people with disabilities, according to the chief executive of one of Australia's largest companies.

Luke Sayers, chief executive of PriceWaterhouseCoopers, has challenged corporate Australia to increase opportunities for people with disabilities.

About 5 per cent of the PwC 5500-strong workforce has a disability, and Mr Sayers would like to increase the proportion to between 15 to 20 per cent. He believes more employers could do the same.

"It's clearly the right thing to do," he said.


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