NSW program aims to bring job seekers with autism into public service

Shannon Jenkins

The New South Wales Public Service Commission has launched a pilot initiative designed to bring autistic and neurodiverse talents into state government agencies.

A partnership between the state government and the not-for-profit enterprise Specialisterne Australia, the Tailored Talent Program aims to address skill shortages in hard-to-fill public service roles such as cyber-security, software testing, data analytics, and coding.

Children's access to disability funding depending on where they live dubbed 'developmental apartheid'

Children with developmental delays such as autism have become the victims of postcode discrimination, with some in poorer suburbs waiting hundreds of days for the crucial diagnosis often needed to access the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).

Key points:

  • ABC investigation finds children with disabilities in poorer areas are facing longer wait times
  • One child waited 697 days to be seen, with another on the list for 640 days before being assessed
  • Parents have described the stress their families have endured while they wait

Hunter's first autism-specific high school offers hope to students and their families

Penelope Green

LARA Cheney was studying early childhood in the late '90s in Newcastle when one of her casual jobs made an impact.

"I was working at Newcastle Temporary Care, at a respite home, supporting children attend social clubs and in their homes, and for a while I had a boy who was about seven stay at my house on a Tuesday night," she recalls.

After 12 months, NDIS commission still hasn't answered family's questions about son's bruises

Sam kisses his mother, Cheryl, on the cheek.

In October 2018, the family of a severely disabled man became so concerned about bruises he was suffering while living in full-time care that they asked for them to be investigated.

Key points:

  • The NDIS Quality and Safeguards Commission is yet to return a finding regarding injuries suffered by a full-time care client in NSW
  • Sam Donaldson's mother has been waiting a year to find out what happened to her non-verbal son and has requested a new care provider
  • Disability advocates say they are "disturbed" by a "lack of accountability" in tracking the investigation, and that lengthy delays are common

Child Development Institute opens in Wollongong to help kids with autism

Lisa Wachsmuth

Just weeks after starting sessions at Wollongong's new early intervention centre, little Samson Howari stretched out his arms, looked his mum in the eye and asked for a cuddle.

For most parents of toddlers that's pretty cute - for the mother of a two-year-old with a severe level of autism, it was monumental.

Staged build will allow new Loftus school for children with autism to open quickly

Murray Trembath

Support is being sought from Sutherland Shire businesses to help equip a new primary school for children with autism at Loftus.

Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) has received conditional development approval for the school on the site that already includes a TAFE college and University of Wollongong campus and the Cook School for children with challenging behaviour.

"Aspect is planning a staged build to allow students to move in, while some building continues," a spokeswoman said.

Mum demands answers after death in care

Perry Duffin

The invitations for Merna Aprem's 21st have been sent out but, instead of celebrating a milestone birthday, the avid Star Wars fan will next week be laid to rest in her party dress.

The autistic and epileptic 20-year-old had lived at a group home in Sydney's west for a few months when she slipped below the water in the bathtub and drowned last Thursday, her mother Tanya Petrus told AAP.

"She'd written all her birthday invitations," the grieving mother said through tears.

Ballarat musician Jack Stacey is breaking the perceived limits of autism

Rochelle Kirkham

Young Ballarat musician Jack Stacey is changing perceptions of autism and setting an example to others to live beyond their 'limits'.

At four-years-old Jack was diagnosed with autism, a lifelong developmental condition that affects how an individual relates to their environment and interacts with other people.


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