National autism register to be established

Australian Associated Press

"We need to know the extent of autism in Australia so we can properly support people with ASD." Bill Shorten

A national register will be created to track the rising incidence of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in Australia, the federal government has announced.

Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Children's Services Bill Shorten told a regional autism conference in Sydney that a register would help improve government support services.

Autism among USA health issues

Health care in the USA is a major topic of discussion. Recent reports show autism is in the discussion (other than diagnosis, the health care sector in Australia largely ignores autism spectrum disorders).

According to media reports ...

One ad by an autism awareness group urges viewers to tell Congress that any plan that does not prevent autism insurance discrimination “is unacceptable.”

The media reports are:

Community and Disability Services Ministers’ Conference Communique


Disability Services

Ministers agreed to develop a comprehensive implementation plan for the National Disability Agreement (NDA) by July 2009, which identifies the work to be undertaken over the next five years and includes reporting arrangements, details about progress, timelines, milestones and outcomes.

Australia signs UN disability protocol

People with disabilities now have another avenue to complain about being discriminated against under an agreement ratified by 40 nations.

Australia has signed up to the UN's Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Optional Protocol.

The protocol, agreed to by 40 nation's, allows complaints to be lodged to the UN if all domestic remedies have been exhausted.

Disability Discrimination Commissioner Graeme Innes said it was crucial to get a new national disability strategy up and running.

Kevin Rudd taps into concerns on autism

A SMALL centre for autistic children on Brisbane's northside may have won a visit from Kevin Rudd in a charity auction, but the Prime Minister showed yesterday that he is highly sensitive to autism in the broader community.

Mr Rudd yesterday morning met staff and students during a visit to the AEIOU Centre for Children with Autism at Bray Park, which won the prime ministerial visit as a prize at a charity auction.

Studies show increase in Autism cases

Australian officials currently estimate that about one in 160 children are diagnosed with autism, but findings from two new studies suggest it is much more common.

It is not clear whether autism itself is on the rise, or whether better diagnosis is inflating the figures.


Researchers from Melbourne's La Trobe University studied 20,000 children as they grew from infants to toddlers.

They trained baby health nurses to pick up early signs of autism.

Dr Cheryl Dissanayake is one of the lead researchers.

Research suggests children can recover from autism

CHICAGO — Leo Lytel was diagnosed with autism as a toddler. But by age 9 he had overcome the disorder.

His progress is part of a growing body of research that suggests at least 10 percent of children with autism can "recover" from it — most of them after undergoing years of intensive behavioral therapy.

Skeptics question the phenomenon, but University of Connecticut psychology professor Deborah Fein is among those convinced it's real.

Big spend to protect vulnerable

  • Paul Austin
  • May 5, 2009

A $925 million social welfare package to help Victorians hit by the global recession will be a centrepiece of today's state budget.


The program, "A Fairer Victoria", is designed to help the state's most vulnerable citizens — including new migrants, Aborigines, families with disabled children and people with a mental illnesses — who are likely to suffer most as unemployment rises and the economy slows.

Autistic kids 'have enlarged amygdala'

May 7, 2009 - 10:44AM


Young children with autism appear more likely to have enlarged amygdala - the part of the brain associated with registering faces and with expressing key emotions, according to a study released on Monday.

Described in the May issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, the study compared the magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) results of 50 autistic children and 33 control children.

The children's brain scans were taken at age two and again at age four.

No security for teachers of special needs pupils

  • Anna Patty Education Editor
  • April 29, 2009

ELIZABETH GAWTHORNE has spent 11 years working with children at Marrickville High School yet is still classed as a temporary employee.

As a school learning support officer, she works alongside classroom teachers, helping children with special needs.

While satisfying, the job provides no security from one year to the next. Further training opportunities are limited.

"I have 11 years of experience and can be told I'm not wanted next year," she said.

Cuts to specialist services hit hard

from The Age, Letters

ONLY parents of children with disabilities and their advocates would spot the irony in Bronwyn Pike describing students with disabilities with challenging behaviours as being "through no fault of their own" (The Age, 22/4). Ms Pike's descriptions seems to be at odds with typical school responses to these behaviours — detention/ suspension/expulsion.


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