Vic

Letter: Our health: Don't forget low-functioning autistic people, please

Congratulations, Clem Bastow. Finally, at the age of 36, you received a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (The Age, 12/12). You had spent your life wondering why you were the way you were and felt the way you did and, no doubt, were filled with frustrations and other negative feelings.

What I find concerning about autism diagnosis in cases such as yours – and which are currently being talked about so much – is that people in general seem to believe most autistic people are high functioning and can live productive lives.

I was diagnosed as on the spectrum at 36, suddenly things made sense

There have been only a handful of times in my life where I felt truly “seen”: one was my first visit to San Diego Comic-Con, and the other was my diagnosis, at 36, of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

After a lifetime of feeling distinctly different, I was so thrilled to finally have answers that I half hoped the consulting psychologist delivering my results might tack a “congratulations” on to their assessment.

Clem Bastow knew she felt different, but it took until the age of 36 that she got a diagnosis.Credit:Kristoffer Paulsen

Young children with autism can thrive in mainstream childcare

Kristelle Hudry, La Trobe University and Cathy Bent, La Trobe University

Much of the research about including children with autism in mainstream classrooms is focused on school-aged children. Growing numbers of children with autism are diagnosed in toddlerhood, so there is increasing relevance for the early-childhood sector. Our new research shows, with support, educators can effectively include and teach children on the spectrum in mainstream childcare, alongside their non-autistic peers.

Programs to support learning in key areas - language, cognition and independence skills - have been found to be effective for many children with autism. But we need options that are also affordable and accessible within children’s local communities. Many families ferry children around to appointments with different professionals, employ therapists to come into the home, or travel long distances to specialist centres.

Children with autism show improvements in mainstream schooling

Children with autism do just as well in mainstream education as they do in specialised facilities, a new study has found.

In a world first, researchers at La Trobe University found children on the autism spectrum have flourished in mainstream classes and have had no negative impacts on other kids in their learning groups.

Duncan was one of 44 toddlers involved in a study that put children with autism in classes with children who don't to see if they coped better in a tailored facility.

Joel's journey inspires at living with autism forum

Heidi Kraak

Thirty-two year old Joel Wilson's story is perhaps not very different from a lot of other people, but that, he says, is why it is an important story to tell.

Diagnosed with aspergers, now acknowledged as part of the autism spectrum disorder, as a teenager, Mr Wilson shared his life story at an autism forum in Traralgon recently to show young people with autism in the community and their families that an autism diagnosis does not preclude someone from a "normal life".

Flinders Liberal MP Greg Hunt to walk 500km for ‘Walk for Autism’

Christian Tatman

HE’LL have blisters, sore shins and more than the odd cramp.

But when Greg Hunt finishes his 500km ‘Walk for Autism’ fundraiser, the Flinders Liberal MP will also be grinning from ear to ear.

Mr Hunt will be joined by AFL great Kevin Sheedy for part of the walk, which will raise money for autism educational assistance groups — Abacus Learning Centre and the Light up Autism Foundation.

How Keeley’s Cause has brought hope to autistic children through technology

Rochelle Kirkham

Keeley Murphy has always struggled academically at school.

But now the 14-year-old has created an organisation that is improving the lives of children Australia wide.

Ballan-based charity Keeley’s Cause provides iPads for children with autism or an intellectual disability. 

Keeley and her mother Sharon Murphy, with the help of an army of supporters, have presented 37 children with their own iPad in just under nine months. 

Addressing autism support disparity in regional areas

Siobhan Calafiore

Faced with a lack of services in Ballarat, Vicky Robinson has resorted to travelling to Melbourne to ensure her daughter receives the autism support she requires.

Rachel Richards, now eight years old, was diagnosed with autism at four.

“She is on the invisible end of the spectrum,” Ms Robinson said. “To look at, you wouldn’t know, but it was just that social delay, not interacting with peers.

Vic OPA: The Illusion of ‘choice and control’

The difficulties for people with complex and challenging support needs to obtain adequate supports under the NDIS

The purpose of this report is to tell the stories of some of OPA’s clients who have complex and challenging support needs, and who are not seeing the benefits that the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) is intended to deliver.

The human impact and harm experienced by clients when they receive inadequate supports under the NDIS is significant and the costs to them for this failure, and to all of us, have been enormous.

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