There is ample expertise in autism that is just waiting to be tapped

Judy Bewer

Ill-informed debate over eligibility and arbitrary line-drawing through the autism spectrum is the result of years of neglect of ­autism research and a failure to engage with those who had the ­answers. It was a perfect storm waiting to happen, and the gales have now blown in.

When our son was diagnosed as autistic in 1996, my husband was the deputy prime minister of Australia. Socio-economic privilege? We were definitely at the top of the list. I left the pediatrician’s room with a diagnosis, a screaming three-year-old child, a three-month-old baby and a photo­copied A4 piece of paper with stick figures on it. That was it. I was on my own to negotiate the rest. We are a fortunate family, ­educated and connected, with ­access to support and resources beyond many, and yet it took every ounce of our being to create a pathway for our son to find his place in society. Multiple schools, mental health episodes, hospital stays, bullying and all that goes with being ­extraordinary in a ­society that ­prioritises the ordinary.

We can’t guarantee places for autism, says NDIA boss

The man heading the $22 billion National Disability Insurance Scheme “cannot guarantee” that specific levels of autism will remain on a list of conditions that gain automatic entry to the program, just weeks after the agency accidentally published a document that changed access guidelines.

Rob De Luca, the chief executive of the National Disability ­Insurance Agency, was grilled in Senate estimates yesterday about the mistaken update revealing a secret internal strategy codenamed Project Greenlight, which has existed within the organisation for about two months, aimed at eligibility criteria.

NDIS introduces onerous and inequitable eligibility requirements for autistic children

On the 23/5/2018, the Minister for Social Security wrote to autism organisations to "assure" them that there would be "extensive consultation with stakeholders and the community" before making any changes to NDIS eligibility (see http://a4.org.au/node/1761).

Three days later, on the 26/5/2018, the NDIS tweeted that it "updated our website" and provided a link to https://ndis.gov.au/people-with-disability/access-requirements/completing-your-access-request-form/evidence-of-disability. The web page has new eligibility requirements. Autism stakeholders were not consulted about the changes to the NDIS eligibility process that appeared on that webpage.

NDIS bid to restrict access by rewriting rules on autism

A radical plan to alter the definition of autism will be the cornerstone of a push to restrict access to the $22 billion National Disability Insurance Scheme, which could see thousands of people with substantial support needs removed from the system entirely.

The agency in charge says the proposed redesign will dismantle the idea of an autism “spectrum” — an idea coming back in vogue globally — and place people into specific “subtypes” based on individual characteristics.

Autism to face cutbacks in NDIS as secret plan revealed

Rick Morton

A secret plan to restrict the access of autistic people to the $22 billion National Disability Insurance Scheme would prevent them from qualifying “automatically” for taxpayer-funded support as part of a sweeping overhaul to rein in costs.

The Weekend Australian has confirmed bureaucrats have been working on a strategy since late last year to pare back the number of people with autism receiving funding packages.

to NDIA CEO & Chair

Dr Helen Nugent
Chairman

Mr Robert De Luca
Chief Executive Officer

Thank you for you letter, 18 May 2018 in response to A4's media release.

Mr Peter de Natris did not "advise [me] by phone on 15 May 2018" of anything. He did not call me. I note that a spokesperson for your organisation told The Guardian (see https://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2018/may/18/ndis-mistakenly-posts-changes-restricting-access-for-autistic-children) that someone from the NDIA called me ... but that is not true.

Autistic adults need more help: expert

There is concern older Australians on the autism spectrum are being let down by mental health professionals who lack awareness of the developmental condition.

Researchers are calling for urgent training of psychiatrists on the diagnosis and management of autism in adults, who are at greater risk of suicide.

Older Australians on the autism spectrum are being let down by a gap in mental health services for autistic adults, a gathering of psychiatrists has been told.

NDIS legal bill hitting $10m a year

The agency running the ­$22 billion National Disability ­Insurance Scheme is spending up to $10 million a year on barristers and legal services in a bid to arrest the dramatic rise in the number of people successfully appealing for more money in their support packages or trying to get into the scheme.

The agency has been explicit in its fears over the future of the scheme, saying the risk to its ­financial stability is “extreme” from unfavourable court and tribunal decisions that have the ­potential to “vastly increase the scope of both access and reasonable and necessary supports”.

'Set up to fail': Canberra's NDIS drop out rate soars as calls grow for overhaul

ACT MLA Michael Pettersson at the first day of the inquiry on Friday. Photo: Dion Georgopoulos

Sherryn Groch

Canberrans are leaving the National Disability Insurance Scheme at the highest rate in the country, as services and advocates in the ACT call for an overhaul of the scheme's internal bureaucracy.

Between September and December 2017, 139 people joined the scheme in the ACT but 101 others left. Figures provided by the National Disability Insurance Agency, which runs the scheme, confirmed 381 Canberrans had exited the NDIS since 2013.

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