NSW: ‘Unacceptable’ wait to screen children for developmental delays, autism

By bobb |

Caitlin Fitzsimmons

The average waiting time for a child neurodevelopmental assessment in the public system has blown out beyond two years at several services across Greater Sydney, while other services have slashed their waiting lists by tightening the eligibility criteria.

The long waiting times mean children miss out on crucial early intervention for developmental delays or neurodivergent conditions such as autism, or that paediatricians “fudge” a diagnosis to get the child the help they need.

Expecting Grace Tame To Smile Is Not Only Sexist, It’s Ableist

By bobb |

In late 2019, about a year after I was diagnosed with autism, a media storm descended on then 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg, accusing her of not smiling enough during an impassioned speech at the UN climate action summit. She was there, tirelessly campaigning against fossil fuel profiteers who are actively destroying the planet, which, of course, would’ve been a hoot. Most famously, conservative commentator Andrew Bolt labelled her “mentally ill” and “deeply disturbed”.

COVID vaccinations, PCR and rapid tests particularly challenging for autistic children

By bobb |

Hannah Neale

Myth Busting: NDIS won't fund that

By bobb |

Chris Coombes

When chatting with colleagues, planners, or even looking at NDIS resources such as the “Would we fund it” page, you might come away with the impression that the NDIS doesn’t fund a specific support, that it’s forbidden. For example, someone might tell you, “the NDIS does not fund chiropractic”, or “the NDIS does not fund support worker hours for anyone under seven, or psychology for someone in prison without a release date, or yachts, yoga, spaceships, sex toys,” or… whatever. But the NDIS Act is silent on the specific supports that it won’t fund.

NDIS to fund assistance dog

By bobb |

CYHY is an 8 year old boy who has autism, social communication disorder, generalised anxiety disorder and ADHD.

CYHY’s mother requested that he be provided with an assistance dog from Smart Pups Assistance Dogs for Special Needs Children Inc. in exchange for a “donation” of $20,000 to be funded under the NDIS.

The NDIA rejected this support, and his mother appealed the decision at the AAT.

Preparing kids for life after school is tough. When your child has autism, it can be overwhelming

By bobb |

Damian McIver

Eighteen-year-old Jake Course's life has been built around routines and familiarity.

Every day, it's toasted cheese sandwiches and raisin toast. The Wiggles and Thomas the Tank Engine. Tinkering with his dad's hot rod cars, building with Lego, and attending the Sunshine Special Developmental School in Melbourne's west.

This month, he will complete Year 12, and the school bus which has been picking him up and dropping him home for the last 13 years will come no more.

interim submission on the sustainability of the NDIS

By convenor |

A4's interim submission on the sustainability of the NDIS is available online.

The submission contains some recent data about the number of people diagnosed formally with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and receiving either an NDIS plan or Carer's Allowance (child). These diagnosis rates are often interpreted as indicators of autism prevalence in our community.

The following data is reported in Annex A.

Grace under fire

By bobb |

Grace Tame raised her voice and started a revolution that would change the national conversation. But being Australian of the Year has taken a toll.

Grace Tame has lost track of the number of speeches she’s given since being named Australian of the Year. She just knows she can’t keep up this pace forever.