A plea for some real political action for children with disabilities

So many issues haven’t made it on to the election radar. Indigenous health, rural and remote health, preventative health…and the list goes on.

While there has been some talk of improving services for children with a disability, Bob Buckley, Convenor of Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia, would like to see far more action.

He writes:

“Bill Shorten and Tony Abbott raised services for children with a disability in the election campaign but their promises must be practical to win my vote.

MRI scans could diagnose autism

Ten minutes in a brain scanner could be all it takes to diagnose autism. So says Christine Ecker at the Institute of Psychiatry, UK, who has developed software that identifies the anatomical signatures of the condition.

Ecker's team carried out MRI scans on the brains of 20 adult males with autism, 20 with attention-deficit disorder and 20 healthy controls. They used a machine-learning tool called a support vector machine (SVM) – which analyses data and identifies patterns – to identify key differences between the groups, such as in the cortical folding and curvature of the brain.

Ivar Lovaas: pioneer in treatment of autism dies

A respected and revered pioneer in the treatment of autism spectrum disorders has died. Dr. O. Ivar Lovaas passed away in California.

Dr. Lovaas expanded on the use of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) which helps people with autism learn to function in day-to-day society. His work began in the 1960s and helped thousands of children with autism across the globe. ABA is evidence-based treatment that proves successful in about half of the patients treated, and can offer the chance for a more productive life.

In Reno, Deborah Schumacher's son, Cliff, was the first child to receive treatment from Dr. Lovaas. In the early 1990's, Schumacher said she knew "something was clearly not developmentally right" with her little boy, "but i didn't know what was wrong." She learned of Dr. Lovaas's methods and classes at UCLA, and moved to southern California with Cliff when he was three years old.

"He got 42 hours a week of one-on-one work in the beginning," she said. "That only took-- in his case-- about a year and a half and he went from being non-verbal to being able to handle first grade."

"You have Dr. Lovaas a cheerful bouyancy and a dead seriousness about what's at stake here, and that's the life of a child," said Patrick Ghezzi, Ph.D., who uses Dr. Lovaas's treatments to help children with autism in Reno.

Rocketing autism numbers met with education shortfall

HEATH GILMORE, July 26, 2010

AUTISTIC children are being forced into mainstream classes because of a lack of places in specialised learning groups in NSW schools, an inquiry has heard.

The families and teachers of autistic children have complained to the NSW parliamentary inquiry about the failure to provide an adequate number of places, despite a sharp increase in students diagnosed with learning problems.

What foods give kids a healthy start to life?

An international symposium on the role nutrition plays in the prevention and management of pregnancy complications and early childhood diseases such as autism, asthma, obesity and cancer will be held in Adelaide this Friday, 30 July.

"Nutritional genomics is an emerging area of science that is making a significant difference in our approach to enhancing health outcomes by improving our understanding of how to prevent harmful genetic changes that cause developmental defects and degenerative diseases," says Professor Michael Fenech from CSIRO Food and Nutritional Sciences.

Rudd undone by the enemy within

The opposition did not bring down Kevin Rudd, nor the Labor Party's factions. The answer lies within the man's complex personality.


Others say that while Rudd never yelled or became visibly angry in encounters, his displeasure was pretty obvious. Often business people found themselves being lectured by the PM who had a tendency to suck all the oxygen out of the room, ruining any real exchange of views. One chief executive goes as far as saying: "I think he suffered a complete lack of empathy. It was almost like he had a form of Aspergers or autism."

PM's mental health advisor quits

20 June 2010 | 01:05:33 PM | Source: AAP

National Advisory Council on Mental Health chairman John Mendoza tendered his resignation on Friday in a letter to Health Minister Nicola Roxon. (AAP)

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's top mental health adviser has quit accusing the government of a lack of vision and commitment to a problem that affects millions of Australians.
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National Advisory Council on Mental Health chairman John Mendoza tendered his resignation on Friday in a letter to Health Minister Nicola Roxon.

His letter has been obtained by Fairfax newspapers.

'Intolerant' parents push special needs child out of Knox school

A CHILD with Asperger’s syndrome could be forced out of a Wantirna Catholic school by the actions of some parents.

Devout Catholic parents Emily and Mark Jones just wanted to give their son Ed a Catholic education, but are considering removing him from St Luke’s Primary School after what they say has been a campaign of intolerance from some school parents and students.

They will urgently meet with the school this week, but in the meantime are meeting principals of two other schools at which they are considering enrolling him.

Autistic kids under siege

JEAN-Marie Hetu was forced to pull his nine-year-old autistic son out of an eastern suburbs school because his child was being bullied and teachers were struggling to support his disability.
The Mitcham man said his son, Jean-Louis, has now been home-schooled for 12 months.

``He now produces art to the level of his age group, when upon leaving school all he could do is smother paint,’’ Mr Hetu said.

``... It is not blaming the other children, it is not blaming the school staff, but there needs to be more awareness and understanding of autism.’‘

National position: appropriate education for students with ASD

In April 2010, Australia's Autism Month, the Australian Advisory Board on Autism Spectrum Disorders (AAB ASD) launched its position paper on Education and Autism Spectrum Disorders in Australia: The provision of appropriate educational services for school-age students with Autism Spectrum Disorders in Australia.

The Australian Advisory Board on Autism Spectrum Disorders calls for educational services for school-aged Australian children and adolescents with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) that are governed by the following principles:

    Autism rates soaring among Queensland school children

    The Courier-Mail, April 09, 2010

    AUTISM rates are at an all-time high in Queensland schoolchildren, with concerns over higher levels in mining and farming communities.

    More than 2 per cent of state school students – nearly 10,000 – were classified last year as having autism spectrum disorder. Education Queensland believes it is the highest number ever to have been diagnosed with ASD in state schools.

    It follows concerns the disorder is being overdiagnosed to gain funding for students whose real disability does not attract money under departmental guidelines.

    Mum: 'I cured my son's Autism with diet'

    In Australia around 1 in 120 children are diagnosed with Autism.

    It's a condition very little is know about.

    Now, some mothers of autistic children and some doctors say Autism, as well as other disorders such as ADD/ADHD, are treatable through diet, nutritional supplements and the removal of toxins.

    After 3 days without casein (wheat and dairy), gluten, soy and corn, amazing results have been discovered in children previously showing signs of autism.

    Hackers hit charity donation site

    PAUL BIBBY, March 20, 2010

    THE internet services of two autism support organisations have been crashed by computer hackers and a third may also have fallen victim, raising fears of a targeted attack to coincide with autism month.

    Austism Spectrum Australia (ASPECT), the country's autism service provider, is losing hundreds of dollars in online donations each day after its website was hit by hackers early on Sunday.

    The hackers closed web forums, a group email service and registration pages for events.

    Outrage over Seven Hills West Public School putting autistic children in cage

    By Lisa Martin, From: AAP, March 11, 2010 6:01PM

    • Autistic children kept in fenced area
    • Treatment inhumane, says NSW Opposition
    • Matter of safety, says Education Department

    A SYDNEY primary school that pens children with autism in a fenced area at lunchtimes should be investigated for human rights violations, the New South Wales Opposition says.

    Parents with children at Seven Hills West Public School are angry that pupils with special needs are placed inside a fenced enclosure that has one tree, a bench and a dirt floor.

    Court says thimerosal did not cause autism


    WASHINGTON — The vaccine additive thimerosal is not to blame for autism, a special federal court ruled Friday in a long-running battle by parents convinced there is a connection.

    While expressing sympathy for the parents involved in the emotionally charged cases, the court concluded they had failed to show a connection between the mercury-containing preservative and autism.


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