Autism prevalence rate up by an estimated 40% to 1 in 70 people

Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) has revised its autism prevalence rates from 1 in 100 to an estimated 1 in 70 people in Australia on the autism spectrum. That is an estimated 40% increase or around 353,880 people.

Aspect CEO, Adrian Ford, said the new number reflects recent changes in diagnostic criteria and new national and international research.

“Aspect has been using the 1 in 100 figure since 2014 based on the best research and information coming from overseas and within Australia at the time.

Tribunal blasts NDIA over 'haphazard' handling of Canberra woman's case

Doug Dingwall

An appeals tribunal has called for Social Services Minister Dan Tehan to stop "haphazard" decision-making at the National Disability Insurance Agency blamed for delays in reviews involving support for a Canberra woman.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme participant, whose name was suppressed by the Administrative Appeals Tribunal, asked the agency to review new plans that reduced her support compared to her first one.

Magnet treatment could improve social skills of young people with autism

Aisha Dow

When she was a little girl, Lydia Zahra wanted to socialise just like everyone else, but she often struggled to understand the unwritten rules of communicating due to her autism.

“I would want to talk and want to talk about myself, but I didn’t really know how to ask people questions,” the 19-year-old said.

“It seemed a bit rude.”

Lydia Zahra was diagnosed with autism as a young child.

Teen 'antagonised' on Instagram before autistic boy bashed, court told

Editorial: in our view, this story is biased against the autistic victims - see below.

Amber Wilson

A teenager accused of bashing an autistic boy alongside two spanner-wielding friends was "antagonised" on Instagram before the fight, a Melbourne court has been told.

The 15-year-old, who is on bail, is likely to avoid a criminal conviction if he is deemed suitable for a diversion program to take his matter out of the court system.

NDIS online blackout as autism diagnosis rejected

Rick Morton

A list of psychologists ­approved by the federal government to offer autism diagnosis and treatment services disappeared from the ­internet around the same time the National Disability Insurance Agency began telling people their diagnoses were invalid unless performed by a clinical psychologist.

The Autism Spectrum Disorder practitioner list, maintained by the Australian Psychological Society as a federal government requirement, included psychologists from a range of fields, not just clinical professionals.

Tribunal lashes National Disability Insurance Agency managers

Rick Morton

The managers of the $22 billion National Disability Insurance Scheme have been excoriated for being “slow”, lacking transparency and being potentially “bloody-minded” in the way they seek to quash appeals by people with disabilities.

In an extraordinary decision, Administrative Appeals Tribunal deputy president Gary Humphries has attacked the National Disability Insurance Agency for tearing through legal resources simply because it has such a “haphazard” approach to making decisions.

NDIS funding slashed when Newcastle teenager with autism and epilepsy needs the support more than ever

Anita Beaumont

IF Luke and Katrina Horn both worked nine-to-five jobs, they say there is “no way” they could cover the care of their 18-year-old son under his latest National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) plan.

Dillon Horn, of Newcastle, has autism and epilepsy, and he is non-verbal.

Until now, Dillon has not needed “a lot” in terms of his NDIS plan because he was attending a special development school, full time.

Children with disability face deep-seated discrimination in Victorian schools, Monash University report shows

Victorian children with disability continue to experience discrimination, exclusion and disadvantage in mainstream government schools, according to a report by the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law at Monash University.

Sarah Joseph, Director of the Castan Centre, said that while the Victorian Government has taken positive steps in recent years to improve educational outcomes for students with disability, shortcomings persist, potentially breaching children’s rights under Victorian and Commonwealth human rights and anti-discrimination laws.

Autistic man's home modified to be 'step down' from prison isolation after trauma

A Melbourne man with a profound intellectual disability and autism, who was accused of assault and then left in a high-security prison because there was nowhere else for him to go, has had his charges dropped by Victorian prosecutors.

Francis was sent to prison because no service provider under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) would take him.

He spent two months behind bars and was granted bail in October last year after the ABC's 7.30 program revealed he was spending 23 hours a day in lockdown at the high-security Melbourne Assessment Prison.

"It's been horrific," said his mother, Janet.

Autistic 15yo's accommodation likened to 'dog kennel'; Government 'comfortable' with standards

Rhiana Whitson

A Hobart grandmother has accused a not-for-profit disability services provider of housing her 15-year-old grandson in substandard conditions, with the organisation telling the ABC people with profound autism can be "volatile and destructive" towards furniture and property.

The grandmother, who the ABC has renamed Kathleen for legal reasons, also alleged the state of the boy's accommodation shocked even an employee of the organisation.

Why do some people with autism have restricted interests and repetitive movements?

Andrew Cashin, Southern Cross University

As a society, we’ve come a long way in our understanding of the challenges people with autism face with social communication. But there is a large gap in our understanding of another cluster of behaviours that form part of an autism diagnosis: restrictive and repetitive behaviours and interests (RRBs).

These behaviours and interests appear to be made up of two dimensions. The first is a pattern of overly regulated thinking: obsessions and intense interests; a strong preference for maintaining sameness; and ritualistic or habitual patterns of behaviour, such as fiddling, or motor tics like blinking or throat clearing.

NSW: Inquiry into the implementation of the NDIS and the provision of disability services in New South Wales


An Upper House inquiry has been established to examine the provision of disability services in New South Wales.

The Hon. Greg Donnelly MLC, Chair of the Committee said: 'The disability sector has undergone significant reform in recent years. This inquiry is an opportunity to examine a range of issues effecting the sector. A key area of interest is the implementation of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS)'.

When carers kill

Note: we apologise that technical issues mean we cannot replicate this story properly on our website. The full story, showing many victims, is available from the source site:

Sarah Dingle

One person with disabilities is killed by their carer almost every three months in Australia, but these acts of domestic violence are often excused by the media and judiciary. The focus is too often on the killer. Here, we recognise the victims.

Suspicions Raised Over Autism Advocacy Group Agenda

Luke Michael

The federal government has announced the establishment of an Autism Advisory Group, but suspicions have been raised that the group’s agenda is about excluding people with autism from the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

Social Services Minister Dan Tehan announced the formation of an Autism Advisory Group (AAG) on Tuesday, with the group’s purpose to provide advice and feedback to the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA).  

Fears over changes to NDIS funding for autism

Barbara Miller

The Federal Government has announced it's establishing an Autism Advisory Group to provide guidance to the National Disability Insurance Scheme on how to best deliver services to the increasing number of people with autism.

The move is likely to add to growing concern within the autism community, that there's a push on to cut NDIS funding for people with the condition.

The audio is available on the webpage below.

Autism advisory group to help NDIS

Rick Morton

An autism advisory group that will provide feedback to the managers of the $22 billion National Disability Insurance Scheme has been ­established after revelations in this newspaper of a crackdown in support.

Social Services Minister Dan Tehan announced the group yesterday following reports in The Australian that began when the National Disability Insurance Agency accidentally published a new list of conditions that gain automatic entry to the scheme and which excluded level-two autism.

World's largest autism grant will transform research landscape

The largest research grant ever given for neurodevelopmental conditions has been awarded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative to an international consortium academically led by the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience (IoPPN) at King's College London.

The €115 million grant, titled Autism Innovative Medicine Studies-2-Trials (AIMS-2-Trials), will increase our understanding of autism and help develop new therapies to improve health outcomes and quality of life for autistic people.


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