Death rates in people on the autism spectrum twice those of the general population: new research

Submitted by bobb on Tue, 26/2/2019 - 17:38

Isabelle Dubach

People on the autism spectrum have elevated mortality across the lifespan – their overall comparative mortality rate is about twice that of the general population, a new study reveals.

The comparative mortality of people with autism spectrum disorder is twice that of the general population, an Australian-first study by a UNSW PhD student and her supervisors has found. The researchers call for a whole of health and disability systems response to this issue to improve outcomes for this group.

Coalition government must commit to a royal commission into violence & abuse of people with disability

Submitted by convenor on Thu, 21/2/2019 - 09:06

Media release

The Australian Federation of Disability Organisations (AFDO) commends the Senate for approving the motion last Thursday, from Green’s Senator Jordon Steele-John, to establish a Royal Commission (RC) into violence, abuse, exploitation and neglect of people with disability in institutional and wider community settings across Australia.

Opposition leader Bill Shorten personally pledged his and the ALP’s commitment to a Royal Commission back in 2017, which we also commend. This has been followed up with an election promise of $26 million to get the Commission going; the ALP also supported the recent Senate motion along with others from the crossbench.

Why schools desperately need a royal commission into the abuse of disabled people

Submitted by bobb on Thu, 21/2/2019 - 09:00

David Roy, University of Newcastle

On Monday, the federal parliament agreed on a motion to support a royal commission into the abuse of disabled people. This is a good thing, but we still need a timeline, terms of reference and a whole lot more detail.

This commission has been a long time coming. The stories we’ve heard over the last few years in the media have been devastating, such as a child with a disability being stripped naked and locked in a closet. We can expect the stories that will be revealed over the course of this royal commission to be similarly hard to hear.

What defines ‘success’ for autism treatments?

Submitted by bobb on Fri, 15/2/2019 - 08:59

What makes a successful autism treatment depends on whom you ask. A researcher may judge a treatment based on the results of a clinical trial or on the outcome measure chosen. For an autistic person, the best measure of success might be an improvement in quality of life. To others, no ‘treatment’ makes sense for autism’s core features.

To get a glimpse of such disparate perspectives, we asked three researchers and two autistic people to tell us what a successful autism therapy looks like to them.

The Experts:

Deborah Fein

Professor, University of Connecticut

letter: NDIS support is inadequate for autistic participants

Submitted by convenor on Sun, 10/2/2019 - 23:27

Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4) wrote to Minister Fletcher and NDIS officials saying A4 is concerned that NDIS support for autistic participants is often inadequate.

Table E.10 in the NDIS Y6Q1 Quarterly Report shows again that close to 29% of NDIS participants are autistic. Figure E-5 from the report and a similar figure from The Australian (see both figures below) indicate to us that for autistic participants:

the NDIS’s target, the “expected average annualised committed support”, is about $37K;

High levels of distress and depression in young people on autism spectrum

Submitted by bobb on Sat, 2/2/2019 - 06:24

About one in every 150 Australian children will be affected by autism [editorial: the diagnosis rate for Australian children was more than 1 in 40 in 2018], with boys more likely to have it than girls.

It's what's called a spectrum disorder, where the symptoms depend on where you sit on the spectrum.

And while we know some things about managing and supporting children with autism spectrum disorder, a lot less is known about how it can affect the mental health of those who have it.

Autism support scaled back as NDIS tries to rein in blowout

Submitted by bobb on Thu, 24/1/2019 - 17:54

Rick Morton

The average NDIS support package for children with developmental delays is now less than half what was budgeted and autistic children are also receiving less than expected, after a cost-cutting drive targeting three conditions.

Autism and developmental ­delays have consistently been ­listed by the agency in charge of the $22 billion scheme as being among the biggest “cost pressures” over the past few years.

Caleb has autism, needs dialysis and a new kidney but Canberra Hospital says it can’t help him

Submitted by bobb on Thu, 10/1/2019 - 11:56

Ian Bushnell

A Canberra teenager with one failing kidney is facing a death sentence without dialysis and an eventual transplant but according to his mother, doctors at Canberra Hospital have told him he can’t be treated because of his autism.

Palmerston mother and full-time carer Leanne Browning says she was told on Christmas Eve that her 17-year-old son Caleb, who also has ADHD, only had a few months to live but did not fit the criteria for dialysis because he could not sit still enough and sedation would further damage his kidney.

'Massive pressure': special needs classes clustered in Sydney's west

Submitted by bobb on Tue, 8/1/2019 - 00:00

Jordan Baker & Nigel Gladstone

Special needs classes in public schools are heavily concentrated in the most disadvantaged parts of Sydney, with 92 in the Blacktown local government area alone but none in Hunters Hill, Lane Cove or Mosman.

In the Liverpool and Campbelltown council areas there is an average of just over one class for students with disabilities per school, an analysis of NSW Department of Education figures by the Herald shows.