UK: Airports urged to do more to assist travellers with autism, dementia and mental health issues

 Soo Kim, travel writer 

Airports in Britain are being urged to provide better support for passengers with “hidden disabilities” under new guidelines issued by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

The new guidance, developed in collaboration with various disability organisations, was issued last week in a bid to help reduce stress and anxiety for passengers with conditions including dementia, autism, mental health problems, hearing loss, visual impairment and mobility issues when travelling through an airport or onboard an aircraft.

The controversy over autism’s most common therapy

Applied behavioral analysis is the most widely used therapy for autism, but some people say its drills and routines are cruel, and its aims misguided.


When Lisa Quinones-Fontanez’s son Norrin was diagnosed with autism at age 2, she and her husband did what most parents in their position do — they scrambled to form a plan to help their child.

Autism diagnosis in Australia lagging years behind other countries


Australian children are missing out on vital early treatment for autism spectrum disorder because of a lag in diagnosis, according to the Australian Medical Association.

Key points:

  • Autism diagnosis in Australia often occurs three to four years later than recommended
  • The AMA say slow diagnosis means Australian children are missing out on vital early treatment
  • Part of the problem comes down to a lack of specialists

The AMA said the ideal age for diagnosing children with the disorder is two but in Australia it often does not occur until a child is five or six years old.

AMA: Early diagnosis and intervention essential for children with ASD

The AMA today called for coordinated action to speed up the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in children, and to provide early intervention therapies to give children with ASD the best outcomes possible.

AMA President, Dr Michael Gannon, also called on the Federal Government to rule out any future narrowing of the eligibility requirements for people with ASD to access the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Formation of the Australian Autism Alliance Announced

Media Release

The enormous potential of autistic Australians is not being realised.

On the eve of International Day of People with a Disability (3 December), a pioneering network of organisations have come together to announce the formation of the Australian Autism Alliance. It brings together autistic people, their parents and carers, service providers and researchers.

As the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) rolls out across Australia, "autism and related conditions" is the most common primary disability across the NDIS. The Quarterly Report to the Council Of Australian Governments (COAG) by the Disability Reform Council in June 2016 reports that "autism and related conditions" account for 31% of NDIS participants across the country.

NDIS funding decision challenged in Federal Court by Liam McGarrigle

Rick Morton, The Australian

The $22 billion National Disability Insurance Scheme is being tested in the federal court on the “opacity” of its funding decisions in a key case that could have significant implications for the support provided to disabled people and the financial sustainability of the entire project.

Carers falling through the cracks under NDIS

Rachel Browne

Cheryl Paradella​ was only just keeping her head above water, managing a demanding full-time teaching job while caring for two children with multiple disabilities.

"It's like walking on eggshells, you just don't want to upset the applecart," she said.

"How do you try to keep the peace and lead a normal life, whatever normal is? I only managed because I had good support from respite services."

UK: Autistic boy disqualified from competition ‘for swimming too fast’

The mother of a boy with autism was left heartbroken after she claimed her son was disqualified from a swimming final because he “swam too fast”.

Rory Logan, 9, was competing in the Special Olympics regional finals in Bangor, north Wales, when he won the 50m race in 53.15 seconds.

The time was a personal best for the Irish boy who smashed his previous heat time of one minute and three seconds.

The gender bias leaving young girls with autism undiagnosed

Henrietta Cook

For years, they were told nothing was wrong with their daughter.

Grace – or Poss as she is known – slept for only a few hours a night, refused to eat, struggled to follow instructions and took everything literally.

When a friend jokingly said "what are you going to do, hit me?", Poss responded with exactly that, striking her in the face. And when she was asked to hop to the dinner table, she bounded through the house on one foot. 

Autism diagnoses leap 10pct in a year


A jump in the number of children with autism has sparked concerns about whether the National Disability Insurance Scheme can keep up with the growing demand for support services.

Federal government data obtained by Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia shows the number of children with autism spectrum disorder rose 9.4 per cent to 78,951 in the year to June 30.

More than 6,000 children were diagnosed during the year, at an average rate of 16.5 each day.

Surging autism a headache for NDIS

Rick Morton

The number of children with ­autism has jumped almost 10 per cent in the past year alone, adding to a surge of diagnoses which have left families and government scrambling for answers.

Unpublished data from the ­Department of Social Services shows there are almost 80,000 children aged 15 and under with a primary disability of autism who qualify their parents for the Carer Allowance (child), with slightly more than 6000 diagnosed in the year to June.

But there appears to have been a marginal slowdown in the rate of increase, with diagnoses growing at an average 18.3 per cent a year between 2004 and 2011 but 10.9 per cent since 2011.

Autism diagnoses in Australia continue to grow in 2016

Media Release

The latest national data shows the number of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) continues to grow at a substantial rate. In June 2016, there were 78,951 autistic children getting Carer Allowance (child) which is an increase of 9.4% from 2015. Another 2,000 children listed autism in their next three disabilities. In June 2015 there were 72,184 children and in June 2004, there were 14,495 children aged 0-15 years getting Carer Allowance (child) with ASD as their first-listed disability.

Just over 6,000 children were diagnosed with autism in the 2015-16 financial year; an average of 16.5 new autistic children each day. Over 2.46% of children aged 10-14 years are autistic.

In 2016, there are 62,609 boys and 16,342 girls. The male to female ratio is 3.8:1. There is serious concern that many girls miss out on diagnoses and on the services and supports that they need.

'All my life suddenly made sense': how it feels to be diagnosed with autism late in life

John Harris

Jon Adams was 52 when he learned he had Asperger syndrome. As adult referrals rise, he and others explain the impact – good and bad – of a late diagnosis

One day during his last year at primary school, Jon Adams drew a picture of a street in Portsmouth, the city where he still lives. The scene he drew had no people in it, but its representation of everything else suggested a talent beyond his years.

Missing autistic man Damien Ezzy found alive in Canberra

The aunt of Damien Ezzy says his family has been touched and moved by the community's efforts to find him after he was discovered safe and well on Saturday.

Australian Federal Police search and rescue patrols found Mr Ezzy, who has autism, near the side of Woodcock Drive, Gordon, about 9.30am after a woman reported seeing him near a pond.

Police said Mr Ezzy was found with another woman, who did not have a phone and decided to walk with him until she could get help because "he seemed vulnerable".

Talks continue after ACT, federal NDIS stalemate

Stephen Jeffery​ 

The ACT government and the federal agency overseeing the National Disability Insurance Scheme rollout have resumed planning meetings to cope with increased demand.

Negotiations between the territory and Commonwealth over which government would provide more funding to participants beyond the initial target of 5075 stalled during caretaker mode prior to the ACT election.

How should we teach autistic kids?

Cathy O'Leary

Like any mother, Christina Holly wants her daughters to do their best at school.

The fact that 12-year-old Jasmine has autism does not change that but it means she needs extra help, and sometimes that is not possible in a regular classroom.

The Year 6 student struggles with literacy and numeracy, and that is when her teachers make the call she is better off in the nearby special education unit.

Constantly suspended autistic children being ‘denied an education’

ASHLEIGH GLEESON, The Daily Telegraph

AUTISTIC students are being forced to miss huge amounts of class time with hundreds of suspensions dished out at NSW schools every day, according to several mothers of autistic children.

The mother of an eight-year-old autistic boy in Western Sydney missed a whopping 43 days of school in the first half of this year, while another mum said her six-year-old received a 15-day suspension when he reacted to a teacher wrongly restraining him.


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