A report on the education of students with a disability in Victorian was released by the Victorian Equal Opportunity & Human Rights Commission.
September 15, 2012 Opinion Sue O'Reilly
Why did government agencies allow Jack Sullivan to be placed in a respite facility - where he later died - which they knew had a questionable history?
Sue O'Reilly reports In early 2008, when Esther Woodbury waved goodbye to her disabled teenage son as he was driven from their Ainslie home for one of his occasional weekends of government-funded respite care in Queanbeyan, she had no idea childcare and disability agencies in NSW and the ACT had recorded numerous allegations of physical, sexual and emotional abuse against the respite facility.
If anyone in authority had bothered to alert her, Woodbury says, she would immediately have withdrawn her 18-year-old son, Jack Sullivan, who as a result of severe autism and epilepsy was particularly vulnerable. But nobody in authority did bother to alert her - and that weekend, in respite care funded by the ACT government agency Disability ACT, Jack Sullivan drowned while having a bath.
A4 wrote to The Hon. Mr. Shorten MP about the especially poor labour force participation (employment) of people with autism spectrum disorders. We referred to the report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics that shows outcomes for people with autism are significantly worse than the outcomes people with a disability generally and Australia's indigenous population experience.
We provided the Minister with a recent example of a person with severe autism trying to access a supported employment service.
As yet there is no sign that governments in Australia even recognise the particularly bad outcomes reported for people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). A4 says, so far the parts of governments in Australia that are responsible for treatment, rehabilitation, education, etc. just ignore reports from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) that people with ASD have especially poor education, employment and disability support outcomes.
The ABS online 4428.0 - Autism in Australia, 2009 report says:
The Australian Government squandered its opportunity to create a Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Living with Autism Spectrum Disorders (see https://www.crc.gov.au/Information/ShowInformation.aspx?Doc=14th_Select… ).
The prestigious science journal, Nature, has an article on the rising prevalence of autism. It says ...
Shifting diagnoses and heightened awareness explain only part of the apparent rise in autism. Scientists are struggling to explain the rest.
... and much more (see more here).
The Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission is conducting research into the experiences of students with disability in Victorian schools.
This follows an increase in complaints to the Commission relating to disability discrimination in education, and concerns raised by parents of children with disability, disability advocacy groups and members of the Commission’s Disability Reference Group about the provision of education services to students with disability.
The Senate Standing Committee on Community Affairs omitted a submission from A4 to its Inquiry into Commonwealth funding and administration of mental health services. The Committee's final report does not mention autism at all ... it does not acknowledge that it received a submission from A4.
Michelle Griffin, August 26, 2011
VICTORIAN education authorities insist they have the right to restrict the number of integration aides and other specialists that they hire - even if it means discriminating against students with disabilities.
And the state says it would cost almost $1 billion if it had to to hire an integration aide for every student with an IQ of 75 or less, which it could not afford.