Autistic boy's drowning is now a lesson for first responders

LOUISVILLE — Shalom Lawson, an 8-year-old Louisville boy who loved hugging people he just met, wandered from a relative's home last summer and drowned.  

He had autism, a disorder that causes many children to walk off. "Elopers,"as they are called, are especially drawn to water and are unaware of the risks. 

"Water makes them feel calm, but water is very, very dangerous," said Shalom's mother, Magdalene Lawson, who came to America from West Africa with her husband, Charles. 

She told Courier Journal she tried to protect her son by locking her bathroom to keep him from filling up the bathtub. She feared he would burn himself or drown. And she said she kept an alarm on her front door that would beep if he tried to get out.

Girls' Social Camouflage Skills May Delay or Prevent Autism Diagnosis

Study adds evidence to growing belief that current clinical tools fail to capture unique autism presentations in females

WASHINGTON – On parent-reporting measures, girls with autism seem to struggle more than boys with performing routine tasks like getting up and dressed or making small talk, even when the study group is normalized to meet similar basic clinical diagnostic criteria across sexes. The findings add to the growing evidence that girls with autism may show symptoms differently than boys, and that some of the social difficulties experienced by females with autism may be masked during clinical assessments. 

2017 was a great year for autism-inspired TV

Chris Packham and his black curly-haired dog

 Chris Packham, whose programme Asperger’s and Me
was one of last year’s TV highlights for Ann Hickman.
Photograph: Richard Ansett/BBC

Ann Hickman

As a parent with two out of three children on the autistic spectrum, I nodded with many points by Jem Lester (Seen Rain Man? That doesn’t mean you know my son, Family, 30 December). However, despite the common feelings around having our verbal and non-verbal autistic kids, I feel that actually 2017 provided plenty of great autism-inspired TV.

What dating an autistic man is like

drawing: man with glasses

A portrait of the author. (Credit: Salon/Flora Thevoux)

I’ve written before about autism and dating from my own perspective. This time I asked my girlfriend to weigh in


When you have an invisible disability, the first challenge is getting other people to believe you — to encourage them to express empathy for someone else. After that, though, you need to learn to listen to how your disability may negatively impact them — that is, to show the very empathy for others that you insist on receiving.

Why a Wollongong mum would like more people like her to have input in more projects in public spaces

Cassandra Kavanagh

Cassandra Kavanagh

Greg Ellis

A Wollongong mother of two children on the Autism spectrum who has Asperger’s herself is calling for more opportunities for people like her to have input in community initiatives.

After being invited to be part of the new committee to make Corrimal the first "Autism Friendly Community" local resident Cassandra Kavanagh wants more people like her to have involvement in more public spaces becoming autism friendly.

Warrawong mother’s angst after government denies autistic boy pension

mother and autistic son

Agron Latifi

Warrawong mother Louise Jane Maffullo is at her wits end.

Her year long efforts to secure a Disability Support Pension (DSP) for her 17-year-old autistic son Bryce Maffullo have proved fruitless.

And this has frustrated Mrs Maffullo, who can’t fathom how Bryce is eligible for special needs assistance at Warrawong High School but the Department of Social Services won’t offer similar help.

Art and Asperger's

Dennis Liew between two of his paintings hung on a wall

Living with Asperger’s Syndrome isn’t an easy feat
but it hasn’t stopped aspiring artist Dennis Liew
from soldiering on. (Pictures by Mahzir Mat Isa)

“Mummy, my teacher told me to go to Tanjung Rambutan (the nation’s oldest mental institution and now known as Hospital Bahagia, located in Perak). But I’m not crazy, mummy.” The words uttered to her by her son, Dennis Liew, more than 20 years ago when he was still in primary school continue to haunt Patricia Lim.

‘Prioritise autistic voices’: Bendigo advocates to watch closely as state updates Autism Plan

Susanna Flanagan, with her daughter Alethea, says an inquiry into autism
services heard many stories of experiences in Victoria, but feared they
would not be listened to in the end. Picture: NONI HYETT

BENDIGO autism advocates have urged the state government to listen to their real experiences as it embarks on the first update of Victoria’s Autism Plan since 2009.

They have also called for organisations which use restrictive practices such as restrain and seclusion to be either change their policies, or have no future in the delivery of services for autistic people.

New global diagnostic manual mirrors U.S. autism criteria

parents talking to clinician (in white coat)

Starting next year, clinicians worldwide may be using a new, streamlined set of criteria to diagnose autism.

The criteria are part of a highly anticipated update to the “International Classification of Diseases,” a diagnostic manual produced by the World Health Organization (WHO). The latest draft of the manual, dubbed ICD-11, collapses autism, Asperger syndrome and pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) into a single diagnosis of ‘autism spectrum disorder.’

Paraquat poisoning: Weedkiller drunk by autistic man meant to be 'under lock and key', chemical company says

An Australian chemical manufacturer has rejected calls for a ban or tightening of restrictions around the use of a highly toxic herbicide which poisoned a young man with autism on the New South Wales Central Coast.

Damien Terry, 21, accidently drank the commercial weedkiller — known as paraquat — from a soft drink bottle he found in a disabled toilet at the Mangrove Mountain sports complex in August.

Shepparton: Autistic school idea

The Hon Suzanna Sheed MP smiling

State Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed
wants to see the government invest in a new
school for autistic children in the Shepparton region.


State Member for Shepparton Suzanna Sheed believes a new school for autistic children should be considered for the Victorian Government’s Shepparton Education Plan.

Ms Sheed met with Education Minister James Merlino last week following a speech in Parliament during which she asked him to consider providing appropriate services for students with autism spectrum disorder as part of the government’s plan to overhaul education in the region.

Raising children who have autism and ADHD

As a parent what are the tell tale signs your child isn't processing the world like other people?

It could be lack of eye contact, inability to follow instructions, or communicate effectively.

For Dr Rasika Rampithage she already had the training to look for those signs in her profession.

But at home, when her young daughter Amayawas having behavioural issues, Dr Rampithage knew, like other mothers, she needed specialist support.

Mum acted 'in love, not in anger' in attempt to kill herself and disabled son

A loving Melbourne mother who was "at the end of her tether" when she tried to kill herself and her disabled adult son has been spared jail.

Yvette Nichol, 63, had been the primary carer for her autistic and epileptic son Brett, 34, for all his life until she tried to kill him and herself at their Eltham North home on May 27.

The court heard Yvette Nichol (left) was a loving mother who reached the end of her tether as sole carer of her disabled son.

Photo: Mal Fairclough

Don Burke, you owe me, and everybody else with Asperger's, an apology

Daniel Andrusiak

I am a 29-year-old man with Asperger's syndrome. I am independent, live in Caulfield North with a housemate and commute every day to a full-time job in the western suburbs of Melbourne. I am also a keen scriptwriter, football fan, have a girlfriend and speak German and a little bit of French, among other things. This is just to give some background as to who I am.

Doctor denies asking mother and autistic child to leave practice

mother and her son

Samantha Akee with her autistic son Darius, 6,
at their Condon home. Picture: Evan Morgan


A TOWNSVILLE doctor has denied asking a Condon mother to leave his practice with her young autistic son after the boy suffered a “meltdown”.

Samantha Akee visited My Family Doctors at Kirwan for an appointment yesterday with her six-year-old son Darius and her one-year-old daughter.

Ms Akee claimed she was asked to leave the practice after her son suffered the “meltdown”, due to his mental condition, because they were in an unfamiliar section of the surgery.

Toowoomba: Girl heads to NASA after creating robotic dog for autism

ONE of Allora's most inventive young students has been awarded with a trip to NASA and the title of National Winner in Origin's littleBIGidea competition.

 Jasmine Eldridge, 12, from Allora State School was named the national winner in the Year 7 - 8 category from more than 1000 entries received.

Jasmine's littleBIGidea entry, Dog of Technology (D.O.T), is designed as an aid to assist children like herself with autism.


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