Open letter about Autism, disability unemployment, etc. to the Minister for Social Security

By convenor |

Media Release

Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (known as A4), the national peak body for autism spectrum disorder (ASD), wrote an open letter to Scott Morrison MP, the new Minister for Social Security. The letter gives essential information about ASD and the impact of Government policy for people living with ASD, and asks for a meeting to discuss ways to improve outcomes.

Disability employment scheme: sudden exclusion, fish-slapped by Departments and their "systems"

By bobb |

Monty Python fish slapping dancePeople with autism have difficulty getting a job. The letter below describes the experience of one person and his carer on reaching a point just 2 years after leaving school. 

This experience shows that the Commonwealth Government's Disability Employment Scheme (DES) is largely intractable. The Australian Bureau of Statistics describes its abysmal outcomes for people with autism/ASD (link here): 

In 2012, the labour force participation rate for people with autism was 42%. This compares with 53% labour force participation rate for people with disabilities and 83% for people without disabilities.

The 41.2% of people with autism in the labour market in 2012 experienced 23% unemployment (there is improvement since 2009 when labour force participation was just 34% and unemployment was 41%).

Merry F#*king Xmas

By bobb |

My friend is the mother of a child who is deaf and also has autism. She has been forced on to Newstart. My friend already works five days a week but with limited hours. Luckily she works at her son’s school but must be on call to deal with any adverse behaviors that might happen. Last week, as an example, her son head-butted a glass pane door of his classroom because he could not get in. It smashed and he cut his face all over. Said my friend, “ He was damn lucky not to have cut his eyes or a major blood vessel. Bled like a stuck pig. Added 20 years and too many grey hairs to count.”


At home she also has to deal with meltdowns. ...

My friend does not get carers payment from the Government because –  I don’t provide constant care in the home because he goes to school” ...

AND to top this off, because she has been shafted to Newstart, she is expected to apply for ten jobs per week. This single mother who can be called from work at any time to care for her child, who has the sole care of a child who is both deaf and autistic, a child that has challenging behaviour at home and school that requires her constant vigilance, who also has the sole care of another child … This mother is expected to look for ten jobs per week! Why? Because the Government thinks she is a LEANER and somehow has the capacity to not only look for ten jobs a week but also work full time. As she so eloquently put it – “How f#*ked is that?”

unacceptable political games over early intervention for children with disability

By bobb |

Federal and state Ministers are playing politics to delay reasonable and necessary early intervention services for children with disability.

The NDIA was advised from the outset that their estimates of the number of people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) was seriously wrong (see /node/425 and the footnote on /node/695). 

NDIS funding model ‘fails autistic children’

By bobb |

Sarah Martin, Political Reporter

Jedd (3) with behaviour therapist Stephanie Miller at the AEIOU Foundation, Huntfield Heights Centre

Jedd (3) with behaviour therapist Stephanie Miller at the AEIOU Foundation, Huntfield Heights Centre.Source: News Corp Australia

SEVERELY autistic children are receiving less funding in trials of the National Disability Insurance Scheme than they were under previous funding arrangements.

Early intervention service provider the AEIOU Foundation, which set up in South Australia to test its viability under trials of the new national disability funding model, says it cannot operate effectively under the scheme.

AEIOU chief executive Alan Smith said it was able to provide only five days a fortnight of intensive therapy under the NDIS, compared with 10 days where the scheme was not yet in effect, in Queensland.

Programs for the 0.1 per cent of children with autism disorder require about $45,000 for each child, but the NDIS has set a benchmark payment of $16,000.

flawed NDIA approach implicitly blames parents for autism

By bobb |

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) adopted a flawed approach that blames parents implicitly for their child's autism and poor long-term outcomes. The NDIA is charged with funding early intervention for children with disability … and “disability” includes autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The NDIA's Operational Guideline – Access – Early Intervention Requirements can be downloaded here.

As well as describing the NDIA's eligibility criteria for ASD as gobbledygook (see here), community members regards the NDIA's approach to Early Intervention for children with ASD as flawed. The NDIA adopted the “Seven Key Principles” approach described in a document from a “Workgroup on Principles and Practices in Natural Environments” (see download page here)

There are strong feelings in the the ASD community that the principles the NDIS suggest/adopted are dangerous, misleading and offensive. The NDIA's early intervention principles ignore the relevant science and deny children effective treatment for their ASD. Clearly, the principles were written by someone/persons who are not informed about intervention, treatment or the science of intervention for ASD. Members of the ASD community are deeply disappointed that this document is used as the NDIA's official position on early intervention related to ASD.

Online video: NDIS planning for adults with severe autism/ASD in the ACT

By bobb |

In this video Bob Buckley describes his recent experiences with National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) planning. His advice tries to help others prepare for their transition to the NDIS. He suggests that people can reduce their stress over NDIS planning if they better understand the processes and likely outcomes.

Bob Buckley's son (who is 23yo with severe autism) has one of the earlier NDIS plans approved in the ACT. The process took 11 days and delivered substantially more support/resources than was previously provided. The plan is much more flexible than the previous arrangement.

Australia lags USA health sector on autism/ASD

By bobb |

For children with autism/ASD, Australia lags far behind the USA. Australians like to think their health system is superior to the US health system ... but not so for the growing number of children diagnosed with ASD in Australia.

The US Government made it clear that US "states must cover all medically necessary services for children, including services to address ASD" (see 

WA study finds Autism sets back families $35,000 per year

By bobb |

Families of children with autism are facing tens of thousands of dollars in costs and lost income, a Western Australian researcher has found.

The study — thought to be the first of its kind in WA — set out to measure whether a delayed diagnosis increased long-term costs for families.

But the paper, published in this month's edition of journal PLOS ONE, also established the median cost of a child being diagnosed with autism as $34,900 per annum.

Curtin professor and joint author Torbjorn Falkmer said the findings, drawn from the responses of 317 Western Australian families, had huge implications for parents.

"The majority of that cost, 90 per cent of it ... is because of the lack of the chance to have employment because parents have to stay home and take care of the children with autism, because they don't get the support they need," Dr Falkmer said.

"I think the system we have right now is showing us that parents are being forced to stay home, because they can't take a job because someone's got to take care of the kids.

Strapped in and locked up: Shocking photos reveal how autistic children are treated in Australian schools

By bobb |
  • Tracey Hayes has photos of her twin boys strapped to chairs at Monash Special Developmental School in Melbourne
  • Other parents of autistic children have also made complaints about how their children have been treated in Victorian schools
  • Rebecca Cobb claims she was forced to pull her autistic son Tristan out of Marnebek school, in Cranbourne, because he was repeatedly locked in a small dark room