Victorian education department to investigate claims disabled children were locked in cages at schools

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DAVID MARK: Victoria's education department is investigating claims that disabled children have been locked up in cages at special schools.

A school principal in Canberra lost her job for putting a boy with special needs in a cage made from pool fencing.

Disability advocates say the practice of locking up children with behavioural problems is actually commonplace in mainstream schools as well as special schools.

ACT Autism group passes no confidence motion against Joy Burch

Emma Kelly and Henry Belot

A disability support group in the ACT has passed a no confidence motion against Education Minister Joy Burch over her handling of the case of an autistic boy being put in a cage in a Canberra primary school.

The Speaking Out for Autism Spectrum Disorder group has expressed its anger at Ms Burch's treatment of the case as an "isolated incident".

In a letter penned by chairman Bob Buckley, the group has accused the ACT government of fixating on lessening damage to its image and cited concerns over the inquiry.

Autistic kids ‘tied to chairs’ at school, Senate inquiry told

Autistic children are being locked in cages, tied to chairs and shut in storerooms at school, parents have told a Senate inquiry.

One mother has alleged that a teacher at a special school threatened to cut off her son’s fingers, leaving him afraid of going to class.

Children with Disability Australia has told the Senate inquiry into students with disabilities that one unnamed school took no action­ when a boy kicked and knocked over a Year 2 girl with a disability.

NDIS Board must be independent and protect the interests of people with disability and their families

Statement by AFDO, people with disability and family organisations

Today the Federal Government has placed an advertisement in newspapers calling for nominations for the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) Board.

There is currently no more important government appointed role for people with disability and their families than the NDIA Board.

The NDIA Board is responsible for safeguarding the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and ensuring that it is delivered on time and on budget.

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.

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