News/Announcements

Older parents at higher risk of having children with autism

Jill Margo

Parents who reproduce later in life are more likely to have children who develop autism disorders, according to a large Danish study.

Over the past 30 years numerous studies assessing the effect of late reproduction have produced variable results, often due to substantial differences in study design.

Now researchers from the Copenhagen Centre for Social Evolution have used a very large sample to try to settle the issue.

They conducted a deep analysis of 1.7 million children born in Denmark between 1978 and 2009.

NDIS backs study seeking uniform autism diagnoses

A detailed commentary on this article is provided below ... 

Autism diagnoses will be subject to the first nationally consistent set of standards to iron out “substantial” variability in medical approaches which has contributed to a dramatic increase in the number of people, especially children, being treated for the condition.

The number of people diagnosed with autism in Australia ­almost doubled between 2003 and 2006, and has doubled every three years since, to 115,000 in 2012. New data, when it is finalised, is expected to show that more than 230,000 have autism.

The $22 billion National Disability Insurance Scheme with the Co-operative Research Centre for Living with Autism — a conglomerate of institutions — commissioned a study which will inform new guidelines, led by University of Western Australia professor Andrew Whitehouse.

Australia’s First National Guideline for Autism Diagnosis

A major study has been launched to develop Australia’s first national diagnostic guideline for autism led by The Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC).

There is strong evidence of substantial variability in autism assessment processes between clinicians, between states and between rural and metropolitan areas. This is leading to delays in diagnosis, misdiagnosis, and inequity in access to services.

Commissioned under a collaboration between Autism CRC and the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), a national guideline will ensure that each individual across Australia has knowledge of, and access to, best practice in autism diagnosis.

The project will be led by Professor Andrew Whitehouse (Director of the Autism CRC Diagnosis Research Program), in conjunction with Clinical Associate Professor John Wray, Professor Margot Prior, Professor Valsamma Eapen and Kiah Evans.

'Sex education leaves children with autism open to exploitation', warns Cambridge academic

Children with autism are left vulnerable to exploitation by sex education lessons in schools, a Cambridge specialist has warned.

Psychologist Steven Stagg, of Anglia Ruskin University, has called for specialist sessions for pupils with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), after a study found they were in dire need of extra support.

Paediatrician who hogtied seven-year-old beats assault charge

A GOLD COAST paediatrician who hogtied a seven-year-old patient has been acquitted of assaulting the boy on appeal.

Neville Goodwin Davis was last year found guilty in Southport Magistrates Court of assaulting the child during an October 2012 consultation during which he tied the boy up with rope.

Dr Davis specialised in behavioural conditions and had been consulted by the boy's mother to see if he had Asperger Syndrome.

He said he initially tied the boy to a chair to occupy him so he could talk to the mother

NDIS verdict: daunting but worth it

Rachel Browne 

In most ways, Jordanne Taylor is a typical year 9 student. The 15-year-old loves dancing, cooking and spending time with girls her own age, watching movies and just hanging out.

Until recently, these simple activities were not always easy to organise for Jordanne, who has a mild intellectual disability and is on the autism disorder spectrum.

So when the National Disability Insurance Scheme became available, Jordanne's mother Debra Taylor immediately realised the potential it could unlock for her daughter.

Outrage as autistic boy is chained to a chair using a weighted belt and ankle straps during school lessons to 'keep him under control'

  • Mother claims her autistic son is restrained at NSW Mid North Coast school
  • The mother posted pictures of the chairs and complained on Facebook
  • She said the boy, aged six, is locked into a chair with a weighted seat belt
  • The chair also has ankle straps and a box to restrain his feet
  • He also allegedly is put in a 'weighted vest' during class-time
  • The boy suffers non-verbal autism and intellectual impairment, she said

Mum Julia Coorey on surviving an autism diagnosis and importance of early diagnosis

AN AUTISM diagnosis is not a joyful thing.

I might even go so far as to call it a sad occasion.

If you listen to any autism parent talking about the day they learned what their little one had, crying is definitely mentioned.

It is as if a bird found out that one of its chicks is in fact a fish. Even if, for the sake of argument, we allow this fish the superpower of being able to breathe out of the water, the bird is still justified in being scared.

WA dairy farmers raise awareness of autism at Perth Royal Show

REGINA TITELIUS, Health Reporter, PerthNow

DAIRY farmers Belinda and Wayne Owston have had a long-standing romance with the Perth Royal Show.

They met at the Show in 2005, and when they married four years later, the maid of honour was a prize-winning Jersey cow, alongside a handsome Red Poll bull as the best man.

And now, with two young children, Jake, almost 3, and Bridgette, 5, the Owstons are making their annual trip to the Show to hopefully collect a few more ribbons for their stud beef and dairy cattle property at Whitby, near Mundijong.

Supporting students with autism in the classroom: what teachers need to know

, Senior Lecturer - Education and autism , Queensland University of Technology

In our series, Better Teachers, we’ll explore how to improve teacher education in Australia. We’ll look at what the evidence says on a range of themes including how to raise the status of the profession and measure and improve teacher quality.


Students with autism often present unique challenges to schools, and teachers can often find it difficult to meet their needs effectively.

Aspect chief Adrian Ford should resign over abuse allegations, says Autism Awareness Australia

Rachel Browne, SMH

A leading disability advocacy group has demanded the resignation of the chief executive of the country's largest autism service provider in the wake of a series of allegations about mistreatment of children in its care.

The call for Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) chief executive Adrian Ford to resign comes as state and territory ministers fail to agree on proposed safety and quality measures under the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Boy with autism locked in 'cage', NSW school being investigated

By Louise Milligan

A private school for children with autism is being investigated after allegations a boy at the school was being held unsupervised in a lockable fenced structure he called a "cage".

Key points:

  • Lynda Jordan says she saw her son, Toby, locked in "the cage"
  • School investigation disputes Ms Jordan's interpretation
  • NSW Greens say dozens of parents have similar complaints

Aspect Macarthur School denies locking autistic boy into cage-like structure

Georgina Mitchell, SMH

A school in Sydney's west has denied it repeatedly locked an autistic boy in a cage-like structure and left him there alone, despite the boy's mother saying she witnessed it happen and the boy describing how he tried to climb out.

Lynda Jordan said her son Toby, 13, who has a mild intellectual disability, was locked into the structure at the Aspect Macarthur School in Cobbitty whenever he had a "meltdown", a process which caused him significant distress.

Autism cage details emerge as United Nations investigates abuse of children

Emma Macdonald 

Disturbing new details of a Canberra school placing a 10-year-old boy with autism in a cage have come to light, as the case spearheads an investigation by the United Nations into potential human rights violations of 55 students with disabilities across Australian schools.

While the boy's parents do not wish to make a public statement and do not want their son's identity or school revealed, Fairfax Media can confirm that the boy was forcibly placed in the cage on a handful of occasions early last year.

Autism Asperger ACT merger with Marymead prompted by NDIS funding limbo

A key support service for more than 2000 people affected by autism and Asperger's syndrome has been saved by a last-minute merger after funding changes sparked by the rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme cast doubt over its future.

Autism Asperger ACT services are to be folded into a specialised autism unit run by Canberra-based organisation Marymead under a move hoped to bolster support for children and families. 

NDIS 'a new risk' for disabled kids

Children with disabilities could face new risks under the $22 billion National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), a national inquiry has been told.

Gail Furness, SC, counsel assisting the royal commission into institutional responses to child sex abuse, said greater choice and control under the NDIS, which is being rolled out across the nation, means "the ways in which children with disability are protected in institutions will need to deal with the risks".

10-Year-Old Boy's Moving Poem Gives A Glimpse At Life With Autism

A class assignment turned into something more for one family after their son wrote a touching poem and gave a peek into life with autism. 

Benjamin Giroux, a 10-year-old boy who is on the spectrum, wrote a poem titled “I Am” as an assignment for his fifth grade class. His father, Sonny Giroux, explained to The Huffington Post that every line of the poem already included two words like "I am" and "I wonder" as a prompt for the students to complete. In his poem, Benjamin wrote that he is “odd” and “new” and that he feels “like a castaway.”

Autism is leading disability type for students restrained in Aussie schools

A summary of dozens of cases of students with disability who were restrained in Aussie schools and reported to the United Nations shows autism/ASD was the predominant disability among the students.

The report, entitled Summary: Human Rights Violations of Disabled Children in Australian Education settings, is available from https://www.scribd.com/document/31886457... or the links below. 

UN asked to investigate 'abuses' of disabled students in Australian schools

Henrietta Cook

The United Nations has been asked to investigate dozens of incidents in which children with disabilities were allegedly assaulted, locked in dark rooms and restrained in Australian schools.

The request, which was made on behalf of 55 families by a group of disability organisations, cited "widespread and grave" violations of students' human rights.

The group is seeking international intervention because it claims Australia has failed to act.

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