Fears over changes to NDIS funding for autism

Barbara Miller

The Federal Government has announced it's establishing an Autism Advisory Group to provide guidance to the National Disability Insurance Scheme on how to best deliver services to the increasing number of people with autism.

The move is likely to add to growing concern within the autism community, that there's a push on to cut NDIS funding for people with the condition.

The audio is available on the webpage below.

Autism advisory group to help NDIS

Rick Morton

An autism advisory group that will provide feedback to the managers of the $22 billion National Disability Insurance Scheme has been ­established after revelations in this newspaper of a crackdown in support.

Social Services Minister Dan Tehan announced the group yesterday following reports in The Australian that began when the National Disability Insurance Agency accidentally published a new list of conditions that gain automatic entry to the scheme and which excluded level-two autism.

World's largest autism grant will transform research landscape

The largest research grant ever given for neurodevelopmental conditions has been awarded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative to an international consortium academically led by the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King's College London.

The €115 million grant, titled Autism Innovative Medicine Studies-2-Trials (AIMS-2-Trials), will increase our understanding of autism and help develop new therapies to improve health outcomes and quality of life for autistic people.

Boy with autism speaks first sentence after seeing Vivid’s ‘inclusive’ light show

Elizabeth Fortescue

If you bundle a child into a jumper and beanie for a chilly night out at Vivid Sydney, you’ll soon be treated to a stream of chatter about the sparkly blanket of magic cast over the city by the lights and projections.

But when an excited Charlie Isackson turned to his mum at Vivid and told her, “I like it”, it was the only thing he said all night. In fact, it was the only sentence Charlie has ever said in all his seven years.

Autistic people at greater risk of becoming homeless – new research

William Mandy

Tony had lived on the streets for 45 years, and in recent years had become increasingly physically unwell. Despite this he refused all offers of help, and it became clear to his support workers that he found social engagement of any kind very distressing. It was only when it was recognised that he had autism that staff were able to adapt their approach to support him to move off the streets into a hostel.

Autism’s sex ratio, explained

Autism is significantly more common in boys than in girls. This skewed sex ratio has been recognized since the first cases of autism were described in the 1940s. The exact reasons for the ratio remain unclear. It could be rooted in biological differences between the sexes. Or, some experts say, it may be an artifact of the way autism is defined and diagnosed.

Here’s how researchers estimate and explain the sex ratio in autism.

Autistic children aged seven to 14 targeted for NDIS removal

Rick Morton

The managers of the $22 billion National Disability Insurance Scheme are “back-testing” children with autism to make sure they meet eligibility criteria, and ­“reviewing them out” when they don’t.

The Australian has confirmed with senior National Disability Insurance Agency sources that 22,000 autistic children aged seven to 14 are being “function­ally assessed”. Those who fail to meet the criteria are having their support partially or entirely ­removed.

Comedy routine On The Spectrum sees mother of child with autism dumped from roles

George Roberts

Brisbane performer Nikki Osborne has been dumped from speaking at a disability expo because her stand-up comedy routine makes light of what it is like to be a parent of an autistic child.

Ms Osborne faced a backlash even before the act's debut performance.

She said her comedy routine On The Spectrum is about how parents handle children who can be both brilliant and challenged at the same time.

Raising a happy child with autism and staying happy yourself

Lisa Mayoh

When a child is diagnosed with autism, a family is changed forever. Everything is different. Everyone is learning to live a “new normal” that can take years to adjust to, and decades to master.

Careers, relationships, travel, goals: everything is put on hold while the child — their treatment, progress and needs — comes first, as most would agree they should.

But to raise a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), parents too must consider their own happiness.

Victoria: Art Competition

VPSC is holding an art competition for people with disability. We’d love for you to help us promote it.

The winning artwork will feature on the Victorian public sector’s first ever Disability Employment Action Plan. VPSC is developing the action plan in close consultation with government departments, agencies and offices. The plan is a collective commitment by the sector to provide flexible and sustainable employment for people of all abilities, lifting representation to 6% by 2020.

There is ample expertise in autism that is just waiting to be tapped

Judy Bewer

Ill-informed debate over eligibility and arbitrary line-drawing through the autism spectrum is the result of years of neglect of ­autism research and a failure to engage with those who had the ­answers. It was a perfect storm waiting to happen, and the gales have now blown in.

When our son was diagnosed as autistic in 1996, my husband was the deputy prime minister of Australia. Socio-economic privilege? We were definitely at the top of the list. I left the pediatrician’s room with a diagnosis, a screaming three-year-old child, a three-month-old baby and a photo­copied A4 piece of paper with stick figures on it. That was it. I was on my own to negotiate the rest. We are a fortunate family, ­educated and connected, with ­access to support and resources beyond many, and yet it took every ounce of our being to create a pathway for our son to find his place in society. Multiple schools, mental health episodes, hospital stays, bullying and all that goes with being ­extraordinary in a ­society that ­prioritises the ordinary.

How Kaspar the robot is helping autistic students to socialise

Barbara Miller

"My favourite pizza is pepperoni pizza."

Kaspar has introduced himself to nine-year-old Joshua Whelan.

"Mine is cheese, feta and olives," said Joshua, encountering the tiny robot for the first time.

"Sounds yummy."

Kaspar is a moving, talking humanoid developed specifically for children on the autism spectrum, now being trialled for the first time in Australia.

Is the Definition of Autism Too Broad?

John Elder Robison

An answer to the psychologists who suggest it is . . .

Late at night, when I’m alone, I sometimes ponder what it means to be autistic.  Do I experience sounds and smells differently from an allistic (non autistic) person?  Scientific studies suggest I do.  If that is the case, whose perception is correct – mine, theirs, or both?  At one time, doctors assumed the allistic view of the world was the correct one, and autistic perspectives were wrong or delusional.

We can’t guarantee places for autism, says NDIA boss

The man heading the $22 billion National Disability Insurance Scheme “cannot guarantee” that specific levels of autism will remain on a list of conditions that gain automatic entry to the program, just weeks after the agency accidentally published a document that changed access guidelines.

Rob De Luca, the chief executive of the National Disability ­Insurance Agency, was grilled in Senate estimates yesterday about the mistaken update revealing a secret internal strategy codenamed Project Greenlight, which has existed within the organisation for about two months, aimed at eligibility criteria.

Autism: full confusion spectrum

Around the world right now ­researchers are beginning to wonder whether the concept of an ­autism spectrum is a mistake.

The “thought experiment” was floated by renowned developmental psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen ahead of a global ­research conference on autism in The Netherlands last month.

What if, he proposed, intro­ducing the spectrum of disorders under one umbrella in the latest diagnosis bible was a well-­intentioned but ultimately misguided move?

NDIS could tighten access for autism

Work is under way to look at conditions around automatic entry to the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Daniel McCulloch

Senior officials from the National Disability Insurance Scheme are not ruling out tightening access to people with autism trying to access the $22 billion program.

Chief executive of the National Disability Insurance Agency, Robert De Luca, has confirmed work is under way to consider conditions around automatic entry to the scheme.


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