autism prevalence continues to rise in Australia - ASfAR Conference 2012 presentation

The number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders continues to grow in Australia.

A presentation at the inaugural ASfAR conference (7/12/2012) shows the national average autism prevalence in school age children exceeded 1.4% (1 in 62.5) by June 2012, based on Centrelink Carer Allowance data. These Centrelink data were described previously as the best available indication of autism prevalence in Australia.

The growth continues a pattern described previously (see

Disabled youth more abused than others

Rachel Browne Sun-Herald journalist

CHILDREN and young adults with disabilities are three times more likely to suffer abuse and neglect than their peers without disabilities, according to a policy paper released on Tuesday.

According to the paper, abuse can often occur in the form of behaviour management.

The paper, prepared by Dr Sally Robinson, of Southern Cross University's Centre for Children and Young People, cited cases of children who had been abused or neglected by school staff.

ABC's Q&A squibs on disability

The ABC's Q&A program squibs on the disability questions that top its list of "most liked" question.

The ABC Q&A website invites people to submit questions online. And it has a list of "most liked" questions (see The extract below (accessed on 1/12/2012) shows questions about disability are at the top of their list of questions. Disability question are:

  1. the top two questions
  2. four of the top six questions

Disabled workers challenge naive employers

A fear of the unknown is deterring Australian employers from hiring more people with disabilities, according to the chief executive of one of Australia's largest companies.

Luke Sayers, chief executive of PriceWaterhouseCoopers, has challenged corporate Australia to increase opportunities for people with disabilities.

About 5 per cent of the PwC 5500-strong workforce has a disability, and Mr Sayers would like to increase the proportion to between 15 to 20 per cent. He believes more employers could do the same.

"It's clearly the right thing to do," he said.

autism gene "discovered": research vs the media

Media reporting of research often has its challenges. An research article1 says:

Autism-Associated Mutations in ProSAP2/Shank3 Impair Synaptic Transmission and Neurexin-Neuroligin-Mediated Transsynaptic Signaling.
Arons MH, Thynne CJ, Grabrucker AM, Li D, Schoen M, Cheyne JE, Boeckers TM, Montgomery JM, Garner CC.


A4 submission on health and medical research in Australia

A4 sent a submission to the the Review of Health and Medical Research in Australia (see

The submission suggests that research funding has a greater chance of having more impact when it is addresses health issues with higher "burden of disease and injury". It mentions that autism has a high burden for children (highest for boys), based on the available evidence ... yet very little of Australia's health and medical research funding is spent on autism.

Disabled need legal protection

Lauren Murada

Jokes about people with disabilities are no laughing matter for Marrickville resident James Eggleton.

Australia has its racial, homosexual and religious hate-crime laws, but Mr Eggleton can't understand why there are non for the disabled.

Mr Eggleton, who has a disabled family member, says he's sick of seeing vilification of the disabled in the community.

Abuse, assault and neglect on the rise in disability housing, report shows

HUNDREDS of disabled Victorians have been assaulted and left languishing in hospitals, with many others suffering unexplained injuries that go unreported.

In one case, a disabled woman who could not speak spent almost three days with broken legs before she received appropriate treatment.

Irate dad says his disabled daughter was bound on a school bus

A FURIOUS father says his disabled daughter, 11, was tied up on a school bus, and is considering legal action.

Michael says Caitlyn was restrained by staff trying to stop unruly behaviour, including scratching at seats.

He said his daughter had told him force was used to bind her wrists with rope.

The principal of the Ballarat Specialist School said he believed shoelaces were used by bus staff to secure Caitlyn to her seat.

Police and the Education Department are investigating an August 29 incident.

A police spokesman said a Ballarat man was interviewed yesterday.

People with a disability and single parents face more legal problems - LAW Survey

Australians with a disability and single parents are twice as likely to experience legal problems, according to a landmark national study.

The LAW Survey (Legal Australia-Wide Survey) published by the Law and Justice Foundation of NSW is described the largest ever survey of legal need conducted anywhere in the world.

It shows that legal problems are widespread and that many disadvantaged people are particularly vulnerable to multiple and substantial legal problems.

The Disability Clothesline

What is the Disability Clothesline?

We started this project because people with disability and their families did not h
ave a voice.

When we tell our stories about abuse, neglect and violence, people do not always listen.

But if lots of us tell our stories, people will listen.

We want to tell our stories to the Australian community.

We are going to do this by using teeshirts to share our stories.

This will spread the message we want people to hear.

'Disability violence and abuse is not okay.'

You can help us by telling your story.

Parents' exhausting battle with education system

Kerrie Curtis with son Harry and daughter Isabelle.
Photo: Simon Schluter

Jewel Topsfield Education Editor for The Age, 24 September 2012

AS THE mother of three children on the autism spectrum, Kerrie Curtis is a veteran of battles with the Victorian education system.

Her latest fight is to get special VCE exam provisions for her oldest son Liam, who has Asperger's, an anxiety disorder and a learning difficulty. Ms Curtis' frustration is not with his school, RMIT, which she says has been absolutely superb.

However she says the Victorian Curriculum and Assessment Authority has been ''extraordinarily inflexible''. Just weeks away from VCE exams she is still trying to apply for him to use a laptop in exams.

Meanwhile, she is fighting to get her son Harry's primary school to pay for the speech therapy and assistance with emotional regulation and social skills that medical experts say he needs.

Searching for honest answers

Jack Sullivan

September 15, 2012 Opinion Sue O'Reilly

Why did government agencies allow Jack Sullivan to be placed in a respite facility - where he later died - which they knew had a questionable history?

Sue O'Reilly reports In early 2008, when Esther Woodbury waved goodbye to her disabled teenage son as he was driven from their Ainslie home for one of his occasional weekends of government-funded respite care in Queanbeyan, she had no idea childcare and disability agencies in NSW and the ACT had recorded numerous allegations of physical, sexual and emotional abuse against the respite facility.

If anyone in authority had bothered to alert her, Woodbury says, she would immediately have withdrawn her 18-year-old son, Jack Sullivan, who as a result of severe autism and epilepsy was particularly vulnerable. But nobody in authority did bother to alert her - and that weekend, in respite care funded by the ACT government agency Disability ACT, Jack Sullivan drowned while having a bath.


DPP drops Sullivan probe

THE NSW Director of Public Prosecutions has dropped investigations into the death of profoundly autistic Canberra teenager Jack Sullivan more than four years ago.

Almost two years since the case was passed to the DPP, the public prosecutor says it does not have enough evidence to press manslaughter charges against a person whose name has been suppressed.

Since Jack's death, his mother, Esther Woodbury, had assumed her son drowned in a bath after an epileptic seizure while in outside care.

The autism generation: Why are so many children born autistic?

By Louise Milligan
Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Why is the number of children with autism doubling every five years? For Louise Milligan, the quest for an answer is deeply personal.

There is no other way to describe the feeling, except to say I felt I had been shot. We were sitting in a psychologist's office, being told that our son, our delicious three-year-old boy, had an autism spectrum disorder.


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