People with intellectual disabilities locked away under cloak of suburbia

A hundred years ago people with an intellectual disability were locked up in "lunatic asylums". Today they're still locked away, but it's just behind the walls of suburbia.

This is a story I'm trying to write without being able to give you specific details. It includes allegations of sexual abuse, physical assault and degradation, so people have asked for identities to be protected.

Autistic children receive one-on-one therapy at only child care centre of its kind on the Gold Coast

Amanda Robbemond

FOUR months ago little Kai Patch wouldn’t turn around when his name was repeatedly called.

Diagnosed with autism in October last year, the two-year-old struggled to talk, make eye contact or interact.

Worried about his future, his parents, Sonya and Ben Patch, decided to move the family north from NSW to enrol at Arundel’s Little Souls Taking Big Steps, one of two autistic centres on the Coast and the only one that provides a one-on-one therapy program.

Why It Took 35 Years To Diagnose My Autism

When I was four-years-old a speech therapist told my mother that my inability to speak would right itself. Her GP told her not to worry about my severe sleep problems and that I was simply a fussy eater for only eating jam sandwiches and yogurt.

The self-harm and eating disorder I developed as a teen was put down to depression and when I tried to end my life aged eighteen, I was called selfish by the nurse who pumped my stomach.

National Disability Insurance Scheme rollout plagued with problems, FOI documents reveal

Dan Conifer and FOI editor Michael McKinnon

VIDEO: Joshua Adam says his experience with the NDIS has been terrible (ABC News)

The National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) stopped processing thousands of applications from service providers, critical staff were untrained and properties were not ready when the scheme's nationwide rollout began, documents have revealed.

A much-publicised IT meltdown saw people with disabilities wait weeks for their care packages to be approved while payments to providers froze.

Children with disabilities 3 times more likely to be maltreated but risk varies by disability type

A Telethon Kids Institute study has found children with disabilities are three times more likely to be maltreated compared to other children but that risk varies by type of disability.

Researchers analysed 524,534 children born in Western Australia between 1990-2010 for the study “Maltreatment Risk among Children with Disabilities”, published in the journal Pediatrics.

Overall, they found 4.6 per cent of all children had a maltreatment allegation.

Disability Groups Slam Govt for Scrapping Royal Commission Into Abuse

Ellie Cooper

The federal government’s decision to rule out a royal commission into violence and abuse against people with disability has been condemned by an alliance of disability advocacy groups.

A Senate committee proposed the royal commission in November 2015, following months of investigations into claims of abuse and neglect of people with disability in institutional and residential settings.

“There were so many accounts of violence, abuse and neglect that it is clear that abuse is widespread and occurring all over Australia, it is clear a royal commission is needed,” committee chair and Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said at the time.

However, the government said it would not follow the committee’s key recommendation.

Dismay at report on locking up children with disabilities

Lauren Martyn-Jones

THE mother of a child who was locked in a cell-like room for time-outs at a Hervey Bay primary school wants a State Government review to ban the practice totally.

The incident involving her autistic son Tate Smith triggered a State Government review and the appointment of a department "watchdog" to oversee the education of children with disabilities in Queensland.

The review has found that the restrictive practice experienced by Tate should be used as a measure of last resort to prevent harm to staff and students.

But Tate's mum Kelly-Ann Brooks said she was disappointed the review did not go further and call for an all-out prohibition on the use of restrictive practices on children with special needs.

Inquiry into the provision of services under the NDIS for people with psychosocial disabilities related to a mental health condition

A4's submission

A4 made a submission to the inquiry by the Joint Standing Committee on the NDIS into the provision of services under the NDIS for people with psychosocial disabilities related to a mental health condition

Assistant Minister for Immigration Alex Hawke intervenes to stop deportation of Sydney girl with autism

Inga Ting

 A teenage girl with autism facing deportation after eight years living in Australia has been granted permanent residency, following an eleventh-hour intervention by the Assistant Immigration Minister.

Sumaya Bhuiyan, 16, had been ordered to book her flight out of the country by Friday, February 24. Her family's application for permanent residency was rejected in 2013 after immigration health checks found Sumaya had a "moderate developmental delay" that would result in significant cost to Australian taxpayers, her mother Nasrin Haque told Fairfax Media on Thursday.

There’s lots about autism to be angry about, but funding models isn’t one of them

Holly Hughes

Note: given the strong pro-government stance in this article, Ms Hughes should have also disclosed her affiliation with the Liberal Party - see

The National Disability Insurance Scheme is a game changer for people with a disability and everyone who loves and supports them. Families will finally have effective choice and control over who provides the services that they actually want and need.

Living with Spiderboy: Raising a child with ASD

When you’re a parent of a child with high-functioning autism, you learn to make allowances. But should borderline arachnophobe Ian Rose allow his son a pet spider for his birthday?

Ian Rose

Spiders. Why did it have to be spiders? The latest in a series of obsessive enthusiasms that have characterised our son’s early childhood, the spider is not a beast to which I’ve ever warmed.

If you don’t vaccinate your kids, Australia won’t pay for your child care

Amanda Erickson 

In Australia, there used to be widespread agreement that vaccinating children against fatal diseases was a good thing. Kids got shots, and the rate of childhood diseases plummeted.

But then things changed. In 1994, a group calling itself the Australian Vaccination Network launched a campaign claiming the risks of vaccines (which are essentially nonexistent). Its core mission: “to ensure that vaccinations are never made compulsory for Australian children." (Years later, the group was forced to change its name to the Australian Vaccination-Skeptics Network, or else be de-registered.) The group seized on a fraudulent, wholly discredited paper linking the MMR vaccine to autism.

Disability inclusion practices failing some families, says experienced WA educator

By Nicolas Perpitch

The Western Australian education system is failing to meet the needs of some highly disabled children because of inflexibility and a lack of expertise, according to an experienced educator.

Stephen Breen, the immediate past-president of the WA Primary Principals Association and a teacher and principal for 42 years, has been joined by disability advocates in criticism of the Education Department's inclusion practices.

Autistic academics give their thoughts on university life

Around 3% of students in higher education are autistic and universities are working hard to listen, understand and meet their needs. But the fact that autistic students can become autistic academics appears to have gone unnoticed.

Autism research is still dominated by approaches which treat it as a “disorder” or a “deficit”. Research funding prioritises this “basic science” over work which approaches autism as a “natural human variation” or just difference.

When a family member has a disability, what happens when the carer doesn't come?

The disability support industry is facing a dramatic shortage of trained carers, leaving thousands of families without regular care and much needed respite.

Lateline spent a day with Fiona Hough and her five-year-old son Charlie, who has autism, to see how they cope when the carer doesn't come.

"Not having that person there, it's amazing how quickly you can get down into really dark territory," Ms Hough said.

Disability agencies say they are struggling to recruit staff and keep up with the demand from families in need.


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