Disabled victims of abuse in school ‘failed’ by education department

Kelly Fellows with daughter Maddison (age 6 years)

Kelly Fellowes from Penrith pictured with daughter Maddison, 6,
who has autism. Picture: David Swift

NSW schools are failing to report horrific cases of abuse against disabled and special needs students, as a parliamentary inquiry yesterday heard the state had “failed these kids”.

One advocacy group has called for a royal commission following the revelation of several shocking alleged incidents­ in which children were tied to chairs by their ankles, locked in cupboards or beaten with sticks by their teachers.

NSW schools using restraints and isolation against guidelines, Ombudsman finds

students at their lockers

A new Ombudsman's report finds that the use of isolation, physical restraints
and suspension or expulsion for students with behavioural problems is
prevalent in NSW schools. Photo: Tamara Voninski TVZ

Pallavi Singhal

A primary school student with autism was restrained by teachers and locked in a time-out room for more than an hour, during which time the student wrapped an electrical cord around their neck, a NSW Ombudsman's report reveals.

A teacher standing outside the room ignored the student during the isolation, despite instructions that the student was not to be restrained and was to be checked on after three minutes if placed in time-out.

Australia's first Men's Shed for dads with children with autism opens in Brisbane

Tucked away on Brisbane's southside, a group of small sheds is giving men with children on the autism spectrum a place to meet, socialise and support each other.

South Brisbane Men's Shed is the first in Australia to have a special interest group for dads, brothers, uncles and grandfathers of children with autism.

In partnership with the Department of Education and Training Autism Hub, the shed allows men to get together once a week to gain information, but also to relax around people experiencing similar circumstances at home.

Canberra teens who threatened, attempted to rob autistic boy get good behaviour orders

Elizabeth Byrne

Two Canberra teenagers are free on good behaviour orders after using a toy gun to try to rob a boy who has autism earlier this year.

During the attack in May the 17-year-olds pushed the boy up against a wall outside a Canberra supermarket using the gun to demand he hand over his wallet.

The pair fled empty-handed when the boy refused to cooperate.

Friends rally to help family living with autistic children

Kristy is the mother of two boys on the autism spectrum.  Kristy came to RIAC in October 2016 for assistance with her son Jackson’s National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) plan and the lack of funded supports provided to him. The NDIS had denied essential funding for Jackson (2years old) to attend Applied Behaviour Analysis therapy (ABA). This therapy was costing the family $75,000; the family had raised this money through spending a lot of their time fundraising.

Internships to help autistic students to explore talents

People on the autism spectrum may be an undervalued resource who get overlooked in the competitive jobs market but they also could be the key to filling unmet demand in vital sectors, including information technology and science-related positions.

Researchers in the US have found that people with autism may have above average systemising skills and naturally gravitate towards jobs in science and technology.

Single mother says she fears ‘institutionalising’ disabled son after NDIS cut financial support

A single mother has called for a re-think of the National Disability Insurance Scheme after she was left without enough support to properly care for her severely disabled son.

Tammie Lansley, a volunteer firefighter from Sydney's west, has struggled every day for the past decade to care for her son Nathan Brincat.

Nathan, 13, has the mind and body of a toddler because of a debilitating genetic condition called mitochondrial disease.

Tammie fears she may have to see Nathan institutionalised.

Autistic teen brothers missing in Melbourne

Ryan Tennison, Shannon Deery

UPDATE: AN autistic teen missing for almost a week has been located safe and well.

Harrison Street, 16, hadn’t been seen since July 10 until he was located by police about 2.30pm today.

His brother Bryce, who was last seen on July 13 and who also has autism, remains missing.

But it is believed the 15-year-old, who has been missing since Thursday, was with his brother today and is safe.

Police launched a public appeal for assistance to help locate the two Sunbury teens.

Disabled student’s family launches human rights complaint against Balnarring Primary School

Balnarring Public School, sign saying "don't forget to nominate BPS on your community benefits card - Thanks Richies"

A VICTORIAN school is facing a human rights complaint for reportedly suggesting an autistic pupil weeds and sweep footpaths as occupation therapy.

The family of Gabriel Eyre have told the Australian Human Rights Commission that Balnarring Primary School discriminated against the five-year-old prep boy.

Mum Mirinda Eyre said the school limited his attendance to less than four hours a day and regularly pulled him from the classroom.

She said the school also suggested he sweep paths and pull weeds as a form of push-pull occupational therapy.

USA: Why model autism programs are rare in public schools

abstract image of teacher and child

John McLaughlin

There’s no single way to teach children with autism. Regardless of which method a school adopts, though, it’s no mystery what helps them to thrive: calm, not chaos, in the classroom; one-on-one attention from teachers, aides and therapists; lessons tailored to the individual child’s needs, whether that means learning not to bite or how to make eye contact while shaking hands; and the opportunity to regroup through soothing activities such as swinging, rolling on mats or listening to music.

Probe ordered into claim primary school held student with autism in small plywood room

portrait of Emily Dive


LAUREN DAY: For Lachlan Murrell's family, every day is a battle. 

EMILY DIVE: Do you want us to wait inside while you head outside? 


LAUREN DAY: But the daily struggles are nothing compared to the bigger fight on his mum's hands. 

How would you describe your experience of trying to get him an education? 

EMILY DIVE: It is the hardest thing that I have done for him and I didn't think that it would be as much of a battle as what it was or still is. 

Inquiry: Provision of services under the NDIS Early Childhood Early Intervention Approach

The Joint Committee on the NDIS has started a new inquiry into the Provision of services under the NDIS Early Childhood Early Intervention Approach.

The Terms of Reference and more information about the inquiry are available at

Submissions to this inquiry are due by the 10th August 2017.

The Committee is due to report by 6th December 2017.

New Maori words for autism, mental health terms

child walking away in tree shadow

There was previously no Māori equivalent for many mental health
and disability terms, such as autism. Photo credit: Getty

Newly created words are among entries in a Māori glossary for use in relation to mental health, addiction and disability issues.

Te Reo Hāpai - The Language of Enrichment - contains more than 200 Māori words, terms and whakatauki (proverbs).

Keri Opai, strategic lead for Te Pou o te Whakaaro Nui - the national centre of mental health research, information and workforce development - headed the development of the glossary.

He says it was evident there was no Māori equivalent for many words, such as autism.


Subscribe to News/Announcements