News/Announcements

Reconsider your perception of autism, pleads mother of two autistic children

I am a 43-year-old autistic wife and mother to two beautiful autistic children. Our family is what I like to describe as ‘neurodivergent’: our brain and thought process is different to others based on our genetic make up. So it was with shock and disbelief when I learned that four people from the one family had died on Monday 17 October in Davidson, NSW. 

Autism Speaks No Longer Seeking Cure

For the first time, the nation’s largest autism advocacy organization has revamped its agenda and one notable objective is no more.

Autism Speaks’ board of directors voted in late September to modify the organization’s mission statement, marking the first such change since the nonprofit was established in 2005.

The new iteration is shorter and strikes a markedly different tone. Gone are terms like “struggle,” “hardship” and “crisis.” Also absent is any mention of seeking a cure for the developmental disorder.

Stress, despair in care of children with autism

They say that the mother of a child with autism experiences a level of stress comparable to that of a combat soldier.

Grace Fava certainly did.

Her two boys, now aged 15 and 13, were diagnosed with autism at the ages of three and two respectively and the family plunged into near-constant crisis, including a three-year period of faeces smearing and several terrifying occasions when they escaped naked from the windows.

"In the early days it was horrendous," Ms Fava said.

NDIS Board Recruiter must be replaced

Media Release: 19 October 2016

“NDIS Board Recruiter must be replaced after failing to offer up a single candidate with either a disclosed disability or lived experience of disability.” said Trevor Carroll, President of Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) and spokesperson for Disability Australia.

NFPs Demand ACT NDIS Shutdown Be Reversed

Disability advocacy organisations across the country have united to call on the state and federal governments to work together to reverse the “shutdown” of the National Disability Insurance Scheme in the ACT.

The move comes after it emerged more than 1,000 people with a disability in the ACT are at risk of missing out on the scheme after the National Disability Insurance Agency stated there would be no new participants in the territory.

ACT NDIS places assured by Federal Assist Minister Social Services Jane Prentis

Last Friday on Drive ACT (ABC 666 Canberra) Disability advocacy groups expressed concerns about new applicants that are eligible for NDIS support being turned away.

Today (17/10/2016), Adam Shirley spoke with Federal Assistant Social Services Minister Jane Prentice, who sought to assure those who needed the NDIS services would have access.

Davidson deaths: Police confirm murder-suicide after family of four found dead in Sydney home

A family of four, including two children with autism, who were found dead in their northern Sydney home died as a result of a murder-suicide, police say.

Police said it appeared the family died of gas poisoning and are asking the public for help to discover the motive behind the deaths.

Davidson deaths: Family gassed in suspected murder suicide

THE Davidson family found dead in their home yesterday are believed to have been deliberately gassed to death with a poison that was released using devices throughout the house.

Mother Maria Claudia Lutz, 43, was found in one room with one of her children and her other child was found alone in a separate room.

Fernando Manrique’s body was found in another room in the house.

Awards for Achievement in Autism Spectrum Research

Autism CRC is very excited Awards for Achievement in Autism Spectrum Research. The first award is for best inclusive research practice and the second for best translation of autism research.

Winners of the awards will demonstrate a commitment to high quality research practices and outcomes that will truly benefit people on the spectrum.

Support for Carers of Children with Autism 'isn't there': Autism Awareness Australia

A family of four, including two children with "significant disabilities", were found dead in a home in Sydney's northern beaches, in what police have described as a "tragic" and "horrific" event.

Colombian born Maria Claudia Lutz and her husband Fernando Manrique were found dead in their home in the suburb of Davidson, in an apparent murder-suicide.

Also dead were their two children, 11-year old Elisa and 10-year old Martin.

Both suffered from autism.

People with a disability in Canberra left in NDIS limbo as ACT waits for a new deal

More than 1000 Canberrans with a disability are at risk of missing out on National Disability Insurance Scheme support as the Territory and federal governments argue over which government should fund more places after a target of 5075 people was reached last month.

While the scheme was originally promised to be delivered to all Australians with a permanent and severe disability, it seems funding for places was capped at the 5075 "target" built into the original deal between the ACT and federal governments; a figure reached at the end of last month.

2000 sufferers shut out of NDIS in the ACT

, Social Affairs reporter

The future of the $22 billion Nation­al Disability Insurance Scheme has been thrown into ­crisis after as many as 2000 people with serious mental health conditions and disabilities were shut out of the program in the ACT, the first jurisdiction to fully adopt the new model.

The territory scheme reached its “target” of 5075 clients within hours of full rollout on September 30. Newly eligible people have been turned away and told to wait for a vacancy, which is typically only available when someone in the NDIS dies.

The ACT is a test case for what experts say is likely to happen when the scheme in other states reaches maturity in 2019-20.

National Disability Insurance Scheme accused of blocking participants despite being uncapped

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is being accused of blocking people from taking part in the program, despite it being uncapped.

The ACT Government said the Commonwealth agency rolling out the NDIS had told people in Canberra with disabilities it would not meet with them.

It was originally estimated 5,075 people in the territory would eventually be eligible for the scheme. That number has already been reached.

NDIA stopped accepting new NDIS participants in the Australian Capital Territory

The National Disability Insurance Agency has reportedly stopped accepting new NDIS participants on to the Scheme in the Australian Capital Territory. The halt was shared on Facebook by ACT advocacy service ADACAS, which noted it had a number of people impacted by the stop work.

How Shakespeare may help children with autism improve their social skills

Could Shakespeare help children with autism improve their social skills? A new study of a drama-based intervention suggests that this may well be the case.

Researchers from Ohio State University found that a novel method using Shakespeare's The Tempest – which combines recitation of The Bard's language with physical gestures – lead to improvements in communication skills and recognition of facial expressions, in young people with autism.

In care for 17 years, Centrelink still told Andrew to prove he deserved pension

A man with severe disabilities who has been in state care since 1999, was ordered by Centrelink to prove his eligibility for a disability pension.

Andrew Johnson was diagnosed with profound autism when he was four and went into a Department of Human Services-managed group home when he was 13.

The 30-year-old cannot speak, has autism, Tourette syndrome, bipolar disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, epilepsy, and needs a stomach tube to help him feed. 

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