News/Announcements

Submission on Draft National Standards for Disability Services

Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4) provided a submission on the Draft National Standards for Disability Services. It says ...

The current National Standards for Disability Services (NSDS) came into effect in 1993. These Standards govern existing disability services nationally. Experience from the existing NSDS teaches crucial lessons.

The annual reports of government departments responsible for existing services and of government-funded service providers proclaim proudly their success, efficiency and compliance with these Standards.

Vic Education says too many donuts cause failure to learn

A court case is running in Victoria (see http://a4.org.au/a4/node/481) about education for a child with a disability. So far the department has said that the reason for the young man’s failure to learn is that, he ate too many donuts.

An expert witness for the Education Department told the court said standardised assessments are not as good as unwritten teacher observations because, teachers have a special gift.

The department lawyers and their expert witness said that people with an intellectual disability don’t learn, so no matter what you do with them they don’t improve.

GPS Personal Locators Provide Parents Peace Of Mind If Family Member Wanders & Becomes Lost

TrackingCentral Pty. Ltd, a Brisbane based company supplies a miniature GPS Personal Location device called CareTracker which is used by carers or family members to locate a loved one in the event they wander off or become lost.

The CareTracker is the size of a match box and can be carried in a pocket or backpack or else securely attached to the wrist / ankle or clothing. The CareTracker has a battery life of up to 20 days.

Teen sues over school failure

Beau Abela. Photo: Craig Abraham
Beau Abela photograph

Maris Beck, May 1, 2012

A TEENAGER is suing the Education Department in Victoria because he cannot read, write or count properly, saying he was silenced with medication and teachers blamed his inability to learn on eating doughnuts.

Beau Abela, now 18, claims he was victimised and discriminated against because of his complex learning disability.

Barrister David Hancock told the Federal Court in Melbourne that his client, Beau, did not have the literacy or numeracy skills to get a job. “Instead he sits at home wondering what to do with his life.”

Mr Hancock said that the department had blamed Beau, his family, “even his diet” and had not provided enough help. Mr Hancock contrasted reports from prep and early school years describing Beau as happy, responsible and friendly with later reports of aggression and disengagement. “The longer Beau has been at school, the more his intellectual functioning has actually declined.”

He told the court, presided over by Justice Richard Tracey, that Beau had passed through the system even though he had failed to meet the required academic levels, and despite his father’s repeated concerns.

Australian icon lights up blue for Autism


2nd April 2012

The Museum of Australian Democracy at Old Parliament House in Canberra will be one of the first landmarks in the world to Light it Up Blue on World Autism Awareness Day.

The United Nations General Assembly declared 2nd April as World Autism Awareness Day (A/RES/62/139) to help improve the lives of children and adults with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) so they can lead full and meaningful lives.

Concern Over Changes to Autism Criteria Unfounded, Says APA

Deborah Brauser

January 25, 2012 — Concerns that proposed changes to autism criteria in the upcoming Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) will exclude many individuals from diagnosis and treatment are unfounded, says the American Psychiatric Association (APA).

Ricky Stuart opens up about autism and his daughter Emma

NOT so long ago Ricky Stuart was in McDonald's with his daughter, who is 14, waiting for her to finish her thickshake. It was time to go and even though she still had a little of the shake left, he told her it was time and got up to leave, and this is where life takes a left-hand turn.

Emma Stuart was nowhere near ready to go so, in protest, she picked up her shake and threw it all over her dad. Imagine the looks the people gave. Milk everywhere, the daughter of a high-profile footballer who is now a high-profile coach.

Report on mental health and autism spectrum disorders

Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4) released a new report on the relationship between autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and mental health.

It deals with a number of perception and outcomes about ASD in the context of mental health.

This report may or may not relate to the Senate Community Affairs Committee Inquiry into mental health and its "omission" of A4's submission to the inquiry (see http://a4.org.au/a4/node/417).

Australian governments ignore bad outcomes for autism/ASD

As yet there is no sign that governments in Australia even recognise the particularly bad outcomes reported for people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). A4 says, so far the parts of governments in Australia that are responsible for treatment, rehabilitation, education, etc. just ignore reports from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) that people with ASD have especially poor education, employment and disability support outcomes.

Wearing autism on the sleeve

By Ursula Skjonnemand

An autism advocate has defended a mum who advertised her a child's disability on a T-shirt.

A newspaper photograph showing a boy in a T-shirt reading 'Don't judge, I have autism' has prompted letters to the editor criticising the mother for labelling her child.

ABC 612's Stacey Milner asked the founder of the AEIOU austism centres, Dr James Morton, is it a good idea to let people know your child has a condition that might affect their behaviour?

Dr Morton says he fully supports the mother's actions.

first report on the National Disability Strategy

It seems the first report on the National Disability Strategy is out. It's the report that purports to 'lay the groundwork' for the Strategy, which covers every area of the lives of people with disability, from education to employment, justice and economic security.

The peaks - ONLY the peaks - have been charged with consulting with PwD and their families over the Christmas break - until Jan 30 - but the first report is 'highly confidential' because it is a 'living document' blah blah.

Bad Santa at Logan Hyperdome taunts family of autistic, Aspergers children

MEETING Santa Claus for the first time was meant to be a jolly experience for Cameron Sleeth, 6.

But the excitement of meeting St Nicholas turned into a nightmare his mother wishes she could forget.

Tammy Sleeth said her two sons, Cameron, who has Asperger's syndrome, and Liam, 7, who has autism, were thrilled to have the chance to hear Santa say "ho, ho, ho, merry Christmas" and tell him what presents they hoped for this year.

Liberals rear up over disability scheme

BY EMMA MACDONALD, 07 Dec, 2011 04:00 AM

Opposition disabilities spokesman Mitch Fifield yesterday abandoned his "bipartisan" support of the Government's National Disability Insurance Scheme to warn that Labor rhetoric is far outweighing its financial commitment to the policy.

Disabilities Minister Jenny Macklin yesterday visited the Pegasus Farm - a horse riding school in Holt for children with disabilities - after Labor adopted the National Disability Insurance Scheme into its party platform at its national conference last weekend.

Heartless theft leaves disabled woman speechless

BY STEPHANIE ANDERSON
05 Dec, 2011 04:00 AM

A severely disabled Canberra woman has been left without any means of communicating after thieves stole specialised equipment worth thousands of dollars last month.

Twenty-one-year-old Perrin Tucker was at a medical appointment with her mother Katrina when thieves broke into their Flynn home, causing thousands of dollars' worth of damage and taking everything electronic in sight.

"The laptop is gone, all our computing equipment is gone," Mrs Tucker said. "They even opened Christmas cards looking for money."

Rise in autism 'may be linked to clever parents'

Scientists are testing the theory that intelligent parents are fuelling the rise in the number of autistic children.

A team of researchers at Cambridge University is exploring the link between high-achieving parents, such as engineers, scientists and computer programmers, and the development of their children.

Professor Simon Baron-Cohen, director of the Autism Research Centre at the university, said there were signs that adults who work in science and maths-based jobs were more likely to have autistic children.

Australia: abysmal ranking on disability employment and poverty

PricewaterhouseCoopers released Disability expectations; Investing in a better life, a stronger Australia; a report on disability (see http://www.pwc.com.au/industry/government/publications/disability-in-aus...) and the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). It says Australia does especially poorly on disability issues when compared with other OECD countries ...

Disability report chronically underestimates ASD diagnoses

A just-released report (see PriceWaterhouseCoopers) presents a range of information supporting the proposed National Disability Insurance Scheme. The paper 'Disability expectations: Investing in a better life, a stronger Australia' is "developed in collaboration with key leaders in the disability care and support field, this PwC report considers: what needs to change if the NDIS is to make a meaningful difference?" The report indicates that:

  • Australia ranks 21st out of 29 OECD countries in employment participation rates for those with a disability … People with a disability in Australia are only half (50%) as likely to be employed as people without a disability.
  • Almost one in two people with a disability in Australia live in or near poverty (45%). This is more than 2.5 times the rate of poverty experienced in the general population and more than double the OECD average of 22%. The OECD average for relative poverty risk is approximately 1.6, which indicates that people with a disability tend to have a poverty risk about 1.6 times higher than people without a disability. Australia is by far the worst performer on this indicator, ranking 27th out of 27 OECD countries, with a relative poverty risk of 2.7.

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