News/Announcements

Autism psychologist ‘once ran New Age cult’

Rick Morton

A Queensland psychologist ­accused of once leading a New Age cult which promised paying clients the ability to “move between ­dimensions” has been working as an approved provider of a federal autism program since 2015.

Natasha Lakaev — who ran courses through a program called Universal Knowledge from a Northern NSW property known as Omaroo in the early 2000s — once claimed to be a “metaphysician” who could heal HIV and other diseases and later retrained as a psychologist.

'Getting in early': WA to trial Australian-first autism program

Autism appears in about one per cent of children but because its rarely spotted before the age of three many don't get the early intervention work that could greatly improve their development down the track.

In an Australian first trial to begin next year a team of WA researchers hope to change that and fill a gap for autism early-intervention services.

The natural science behind applied behaviour analysis

While most likely best-known among the public as a treatment for autism, the field of behaviour analysis has far-reaching beneficial applications. Unfortunately, however, it’s often portrayed in the media in a negative light, focusing on inaccurate stereotypes regarding punishment and control.

So, what exactly does it involve?

Behaviour analysis is a natural science approach to understanding behaviour, learning, language and cognition. As a science, it’s conceptually similar to the disciplines of psychology, biology, chemistry and medical science.

New autism guidelines aim to improve diagnostics and access to services

Andrew Whitehouse, University of Western Australia

You can’t test for autism with a simple blood test or scan, which can make the diagnostic process difficult and dependent on the skill and experience of the clinician.

New Australian autism guidelines, released today, aim to provide a nationally consistent and rigorous standard for how children and adults are assessed and diagnosed with autism, bringing to an end the different processes that currently exist across the country.

Coalition says new autism guidelines won't affect NDIS access

Paul Fletcher says guidelines developed in consultation with people living with autism, researchers and doctors

New national guidelines for diagnosing autism announced by the federal government on Tuesday will have no impact on those with autism previously deemed eligible for funding under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), the minister for social services, Paul Fletcher, has said.

Autism overhaul amid NDIS cases blowout

Rick Morton

Guidelines for autism cases will be streamlined nationwide and doctor-shopping for diagnoses will be eliminated, under a series of reforms aimed at stemming a blowout in the National Dis­ability Insurance Scheme.

The reforms, to be announced by the Morrison government today, have been heralded as a revolution in the way it would smooth out “significant variabilities” in cases confirmed by ­clinicians.

National Guidelines for Autism Diagnosis

Media Release

The Autism Co-operative Research Centre (CRC) has published Australia's first National Guideline for the assessment and diagnosis of autism.

All Australians who require assessment for autism spectrum conditions are entitled to an early, affordable and comprehensive diagnostic process. The Guideline provides an opportunity to ensure a nationally consistent and equitable experience across the lifespan for families and individuals seeking a diagnosis.

Ministers welcome national guideline for autism assessment and diagnosis

Media Release

The Coalition Government has announced a new national standard for diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), improving diagnostic consistency across Australia.

Minister for Families and Social Services, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, and Minister for Health, the Hon. Greg Hunt MP, today welcomed the release of the national guideline, funded by the National Disability Insurance Agency.

About 164,000 Australians, including 136,000 children and young people under the age of 25, have ASD. That represents a 79 percent increase from 2009.

Primary school for children with autism to be located at Loftus with plans for future high school and college

Murray Trembath

A new education campus at Loftus for children with autism will start with a primary school, with the aim to add a high school and college in the future.

Autism Spectrum Australia is planning the complex to meet “a critical lack of affordable specialist autism-specific education” in Sydney’s south.

The campus is to be located on the Loftus site, which at present houses a TAFE college, University of Wollongong campus and the Cook School for pupils with behavioural problems.

Flinders Liberal MP Greg Hunt to walk 500km for ‘Walk for Autism’

Christian Tatman

HE’LL have blisters, sore shins and more than the odd cramp.

But when Greg Hunt finishes his 500km ‘Walk for Autism’ fundraiser, the Flinders Liberal MP will also be grinning from ear to ear.

Mr Hunt will be joined by AFL great Kevin Sheedy for part of the walk, which will raise money for autism educational assistance groups — Abacus Learning Centre and the Light up Autism Foundation.

Best paw forward for autism

THE DAY is almost here. After months of planning, the Local Paws Walk for Autism is on this Saturday.

The walk, which will raise funds for a local sensory therapy facility for families managing children and young adults with autism, is the brain-child of Veronica Balsamello, whose son has autism.

It al began when she wanted to do something for people with autism in the Clarence Valley and give them the opportunity to live a full life.

How Keeley’s Cause has brought hope to autistic children through technology

Rochelle Kirkham

Keeley Murphy has always struggled academically at school.

But now the 14-year-old has created an organisation that is improving the lives of children Australia wide.

Ballan-based charity Keeley’s Cause provides iPads for children with autism or an intellectual disability. 

Keeley and her mother Sharon Murphy, with the help of an army of supporters, have presented 37 children with their own iPad in just under nine months. 

Addressing autism support disparity in regional areas

Siobhan Calafiore

Faced with a lack of services in Ballarat, Vicky Robinson has resorted to travelling to Melbourne to ensure her daughter receives the autism support she requires.

Rachel Richards, now eight years old, was diagnosed with autism at four.

“She is on the invisible end of the spectrum,” Ms Robinson said. “To look at, you wouldn’t know, but it was just that social delay, not interacting with peers.

report: access to the NDIS for people with impaired decision-making capacity

Here is another report, this time from Queensland, describing some serious inadequacies of the NDIS with particular impact on autistic people ... though the report fails completely to mention autistic people. The report talks about people with impaired decision-making capacity; it mentions intellectual disability and brain injury, but does not mention autism spectrum disorder (ASD, which is the biggest distinct disability type in the NDIS).

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