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 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.

Autism advocacy and support service launched in Bendigo

PEOPLE with lived experience of autism are driving a new advocacy organisation that has launched in Bendigo.

The Bendigo Autistic Advocacy and Support Service has set up shop in Wills Street, along with disability support provider Distinctive Options.

“This is amazing. We have an amazing network of families and autistic people in this town, and finally we’ve got a place to call home,” founder Beck Kelly said.

Ireland: One in 65 students has autism diagnosis - report

A report into school autism services has found a far higher prevalence of the condition among school students than previously thought.

The study, carried out for the National Council for Special Education, found that one in 65 school students has a diagnosis of autism. That equates to a total of around 14,000.

Previous estimates were of one in every 100 pupils.

Tears as autistic man alleges abuse

People shed tears at a Sydney hearing as they watched a young man with autism become agitated as he slowly typed about being abused at a NSW disability centre.

The royal commission into child sexual abuse showed videotaped evidence from the now 20-year-old on Tuesday during a hearing into how service providers The Disability Trust and Shoalhaven Interchange, both in south Sydney, handled allegations of abuse.

The man, known as CIE, uses a QWERTY keyboard to communicate.

UK: An Inquiry into Access to Healthcare for Autistic People

A Spectrum of Obstacles

It is critical to improve access to healthcare for autistic people of all ages. This population have increased health risks and reduced life expectancy, yet face multiple obstacles to accessing the same healthcare that other population groups enjoy. The knock-on effect of poor access to healthcare on physical and mental health, on employment and the economy, on quality of life and mortality, leads us to request positive action now.

Best Plan For Autism Starts With Behavioral Therapy

Although there is no cure for autism, various interventions can help diminish the symptoms, sometimes profoundly. Since both social and communication differences are part of the diagnosis, behavioral and speech language therapy are typically the foundation of intervention. But one challenge in planning, and a stress for parents, is that no single educational plan works for all children.

From a research point of view, the most proven approach for children with autism remains behavioral therapy. While behavioral intervention sometimes seems meant only for overly rambunctious children who act out, that’s not the case. It’s also the main tool we have to develop social skills. Just as a varsity athlete continues to work to improve even when things are going well, a behavioral therapist acts like an athletic coach in polishing your child’s social abilities.

Understanding the NDIS: will parents of newly diagnosed children with disability be left in the dark?

Alison M Marchbank, Charles Darwin University

On July 1 2016, the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) moved from a trial phase to a full national roll-out. In this series on Understanding the NDIS, we explore how the scheme works, why Australia needs it, and the issues to be addressed before eligible Australians, such as many Indigenous people with disability, can receive the benefits they are entitled to.

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) emphasises a commitment to social justice that values a person’s right to choose and purchase the service they want to support their everyday living.

In the case of infants and young children diagnosed with a disability, the scheme will provide funding for early intervention, therapy and respite services, as required and chosen by their parents.

For new parents with young children diagnosed with developmentally challenging conditions – such as hearing loss, cerebral palsy or autism spectrum disorder – coming to terms with the diagnosis is part of their adjustment journey.

Hanson says vaccines may cause autism

Incoming Queensland Senator Pauline Hanson says parents should think twice before vaccinating their children.

The One Nation leader says public vaccination programs may be to blame for the rising rates of autism and cancer and says the government has failed to screen immigrants posing a threat to public health.

Proponents of the anti-vaccination theories who share unscientific misinformation about the safety of vaccinations online and have long spruiked the discredited link between vaccination and autism.

Disillusioned with politics? Then take heart in July 1

By Annabel Crabb

The very existence of the National Disability Insurance Scheme - to begin national operation this Friday - is a powerful rebuttal to that contemporary whine about big policy reforms being too hard for our short political attention spans, writes Annabel Crabb.

Being sick of this election campaign is now the leading sentiment on which Australians of voting age most fervently agree.

Queensland's first school for autistic children set to open

They say a mother's love knows no bounds and soon Queensland's first school for autistic children will open its doors and it’s all thanks to a Brisbane mum's battle for her son.

Cindy Corrie realised that her beloved son Sam reacted differently, even at a tender age, so when he was eventually diagnosed with autism she wasn’t surprised.

"We had a kid who, you know, was really, really special, he looked at the world differently, he has amazing skills," the proud mother told 7 News.

Study reveals reasons for delays in early autism diagnoses

A new study has found many Australian children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may not be diagnosed until long after initial signs appear, prompting calls for improvements to the diagnostic process.

Researchers from QUT's School of Psychology and Counselling conducted a national study of paediatricians, psychologists and psychiatrists to investigate issues related to ASD assessment and diagnosis in .

emerging description of the new NDIS Early Intervention approach

The NDIA has released some new information  about how it will deliver Early Intervention for children. I surmise that the approach described in the NDIA's Market Position Statement for South Australia (June 2016) will apply pretty generally. This information is aimed at service providers, not at (prospective) NDIS participants, so it does not really explain the new approach for that audience. 

On page 22, the document says:

Autistic Pride Day 2016: Why we are proud to have autism

Hollywood films such as Rain Man and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape have introduced neurotypical audiences to the complex condition that is autism (with the help on non-autistic actors). But on Autistic Pride Day, those living with it speak for themselves, and celebrate the unique way that autism affects each of them.

Jeanette Purkis on autism and empowerment

When Jeanette Purkis was first diagnosed with autism two decades ago, the condition was stigmatised, and poorly understood. From prison to parenthood, she shares her story of surviving, thriving, and learning to accept herself.

As a child, I was very odd. Everyone would say to my mum, 'What's she doing now?' because I was a very energetic child and I was quite naughty, very determined.

When I went to high school, things got very bad. People hated me. People really bullied me and I was the least popular child.

5 Lessons My Autistic Son Taught Me About Fatherhood

Ron Fournier is the author of the upcoming Love That Boy: What Two Presidents, Eight Road Trips, and My Son Taught Me About a Parent’s Expectations.
"Love your child for who he is, not who you want him to be”

Moments after my son was diagnosed with autism, my wife confronted me in the doctor’s parking lot. “It’s time to step up,” Lori said. Be a better father. She told me to take a series of road trips with Tyler—to bond with our 12-year-old boy and teach him to navigate a world that isn’t wired like him.


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