Autism prevalence in Australia 2015

Media Release

The number of people who are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) continues to rise in Australia. Autism, once considered rare, is now 31% of NDIS participants, the largest disability group in the scheme according to recent the NDIS Quarterly Report issued in June 2015.

The number of NDIS participants with autism indicates that growth in autism diagnoses is not, as some commentators suggest, just due to greater autism awareness and diagnosis of milder cases. 

The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported enormous growth in the number of people with autism with data it collected in 2009 and again in 2012 through its Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC).

Steady growth can also be seen in the number of families getting Carer Allowance (child) for children (data from Centrelink) who are  diagnosed formally with Autistic Disorder or Asperger's Disorder, just two of the autism spectrum disorders.

estimating the cost of autism

A research paper has been published estimating the cost of autism in the USA is $268 billion to the USA in 2015.

The US population (~320 million) is about 131/3 times that of Australia (24 million). If we assume an Australian A$1 buys the same in Australia as a US$1 buys in the USA, then on the same basis the annual cost of autism/ASD to the Australian economy is roughly $20 billion in 2015. This is a substantial amount of money in the Australian economy.

A4's submission on National Disability Employment Framework

According to the DSS Engage website ...

The Australian Government wants to get more people with disability into jobs. We see a future where people with disability, like other Australians, can enjoy the economic and social freedom work brings.

Their task force published an Issues Paper and invited submissions. 

A4's sent a submission, available via the link below, that points out that the Australian Bureau of Statistics has repeatedly reported abysmal employment outcomes for people with autism/ASD. A4's submission concludes:

Can inclusive education do more harm than good?

Editor: For most students with ASD, inclusive education is "a better option". But students with ASD, for whom inclusive education is not working, may need alternatives. ABS reports (see here) shows 6% of Australian students with "autism" did not attend school in 2012 - our experience/observation is that much of this is through "school refusal" (see page, report and other). Contrary to persistent misinformation from Inclusion hard-liners, little actual evidence is available supporting inclusive education for children with autism/ASD (see http://a4.org.au/node/458, http://a4.org.au/node/626 and/or http://a4.org.au/node/763​).

    Recently, a teacher expressed his misgivings about the “inclusion at all costs” ideology of modern education. Despite being well supported by his school and hugely in favour of inclusive practice, he outlined his difficulties in managing a young fellow with Down Syndrome whose behaviour in the classroom was extremely difficult, and increasingly dangerous. This resulted in children and staff leaving the school, citing concerns about their safety and psychological health.

    The article attracted derision from many, but also a sigh of relief from other teachers and a surprising number of parents of children with a disability.

    'Padded cells' at Perth schools reports among calls to disability abuse hotline

    By Hayley Roman

    Reports of "padded cells" at two Perth schools were among calls to a confidential "dob-in" hotline set up to address abuse and neglect of people with disabilities.

    The hotline was set up after a Senate inquiry into abuse of people with a disability in residential and institutional settings, which held sittings in Perth in April, heard witnesses recount testimonies of horrific rapes, brutal physical assaults, severe neglect and regular humiliation, where people had been left alone in their own faeces for hours on end.

    NDIS dumps "My Access Checker", adds "Access Checklist"

    After almost 2 years in trial sites, the NDIA replaced it's "NDIS My Access Checker" web page. It has a new page that asks the key questions for NDIS eligibility ... and shows where the trial sites are operating.

    The people currently getting NDIS support are those in NDIS trial sites. Others have to wait for the full roll out (which is getting closer).

    The new web page is called the NDIS Access Checklist. Feel free to take a look.

    2015: National Autism Centre (USA) review of ASD interventions 0-22yo

    People who are prepared to read a "new review and analysis of interventions for autism spectrum disorder (ASD)" can find one to download here: http://www.nationalautismcenter.org/nati...

    This project is designed to give educators, parents, practitioners, and organizations the information and resources they need to make informed choices about effective interventions that will offer children and adults on the spectrum the greatest hope for their future.

    Disability groups back call for inquiry into education of children with a disability

    Disability groups have backed calls for a broad inquiry into the education of children with a disability, following revelations an autistic Canberra school student was confined in a cage-like structure.

    Graeme Innes, who served as the nation's disability discrimination commissioner from 2005 until last year,has called for such an inquiry, warning the ACT case was not an isolated incident and schools across the country lacked adequate resources to support students with disability.

    Opposition Leader Bill Shorten immediately backed Mr Innes' call, declaring: "We cannot assume this is a one-off case."

    Disappointing! Government removed advice on early intervention for autism

    Early in 2015, without consulting or even informing stakeholders and before submissions for the NDIS ILC consultation were due, the Government removed documents and links to them from its websites. These documents contain information that is crucial for families who need to act quickly after their child is diagnosed with autism. Without access to these documents families can miss crucial advice about choosing appropriate early intervention. 

    Since these documents are helpful for people affected by autism spectrum disorder, A4 makes them available for download from its website (see the links below).

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