News/Announcements

Therapy for babies showing early signs of autism reduces the chance of clinical diagnosis at age 3

Andrew Whitehouse, The University of Western Australia; Jonathan Green, University of Manchester, and Kristelle Hudry, La Trobe University

A therapy for infants showing early signs of autism reduces the chance of the child meeting diagnostic criteria for autism at three years of age. That’s according to our new research, published today in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

Therapy for children with autism often begins after receiving a diagnosis, which usually doesn’t occur until after the child turns two.

Our findings suggest starting therapy during the first year of life, when the brain and mind are developing rapidly, may provide even greater benefits.

Oliver Hetherington-Page says his experience of autism doesn't fit the pop culture mould

I'm not Sheldon Cooper.

I am, however, autistic, which means I'm constantly compared to him.

This is ironic because according to the producers of The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon Cooper isn't actually autistic.

And yet my autism is constantly compared – and seemingly failing to live up – to this fictional character.

More celebrities are coming out as autistic. That makes a huge difference.

Zack Budryk

Anthony Hopkins, Wentworth Miller and others are showing us that autism is more varied than it once seemed to be.

In late July, actor Wentworth Miller of “Prison Break” and “Legends of Tomorrow” posted an image of a white square to Instagram, accompanied by the revelation that he had been formally diagnosed as autistic a year before.

‘It’s life or death for us’: The struggle for this mother to get her kids with autism vaccinated

By Eden Gillespie

A mother of five autistic children from regional NSW told The Feed she’s struggled immensely with getting them vaccinated. With the children still unvaccinated, and a severe asthmatic herself, she’s fearful about the state’s plans to open up in October.

NSW’s reopening has been described as the ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ but as severe asthmatics and the parents of five children with autism, Casey* and her husband are terrified of where the eased restrictions could leave them.

Submission: Autism, disability, and the National Disability Employment Strategy

derelict boat on sand at low tide

post-school employment boat awaits a rising tide of Autistic school-leavers

A4 made a late submission in response to DSS's consultation on a National Disability Employment Strategy.

Basically, A4 felt that DSS's proposed holistic strategy to address disability employment over the next decade is the same as it was for the last decade: it's the same strategy expecting a different result. Rather thank acting on what they "think" might work, some of the 10 years could be used to determine reliably what does work for the various parts of the disability sector, then implement working approaches more widely.

Are We Giving Autistic Children PTSD From School?

When we don't understand autistic kids we create a toxic environment for them.

Posted August 31, 2021 | Reviewed by Tyler Woods

Key points

  • We must understand the behavior of autistic children to help them.
  • Responding without understanding diminishes the personhood, self-esteem and trust of autistic kids.
  • Providing an environment sensitive to the needs of autistic students benefits all students.

For most autistic children, school can be a toxic environment. Working on the advice of experts, school staff aim to have autistic children’s behavior conform to neurotypical expectations. The more a child is indistinguishable from mainstream peers, the more successful the school intervention is believed to be.

Coalition has made a mess of NDIS, says Judy Fischer

The widow of former deputy prime minister Tim Fischer has accused the Coalition of mismanaging the National Disability ­Insurance Scheme, which she says is shrouded in secrecy and too ­important to fail.

Judy Brewer, a high-profile disability sector advocate whose son Harrison has autism, said she was angry the ­government appeared to be blaming people with disabilities for cost blowouts when it was likely the $24bn scheme’s financial assumptions were wrong.

Sydney's Giant Steps school for students with autism linked to 18 COVID-19 cases

Eighteen people linked to a special needs school in Sydney’s north — including seven students — have tested positive for COVID-19.

Key points:

  • Parents were first notified a staff member tested positive on August 5
  • Seven students, three staff and eight family members are now positive
  • NSW Health says it does not disclose details on venues of concern unless there is a public health risk

The Giant Steps school in Gladesville caters for students with severe autism and has closed its doors after becoming aware of a positive case last week.

Enough ‘autism awareness’. The necessity now is action

Progress has been made, but the release of the profound film, The Reason I Jump, shows how much further we need to go

A film comes out this month that is among the most profound, thought-provoking and moving feats of documentary-making I have ever seen. It is about autism, and a state of being that far too many people either misunderstand or ignore. But as it ranges across lives played out in Japan, Britain, the US, India and Sierra Leone, it also shines a light on parts of the autistic experience millions of us would recognise in ourselves. In doing so, the film shows how little we still know about the human mind, but how much more we understand than we did even a decade ago.

Anxiety, not autism is holding many children back at school, researchers say

Sally Eeles

Queensland researchers say anxiety — not autism — is preventing many children on the spectrum from flourishing at school.

Key points:

  • Anxiety predicts quality of life more than a child's level of autism, researchers say
  • Researchers are hoping to reduce this anxiety by giving parents the skills to give to their children
  • Griffith University is seeking 30 families with an autistic child due to start prep in 2022 for the program

New national hotline to help Australians living with autism

Australians with autism will have access to online, digital and phone-based support services that can offer specific advice through a new national hotline.

The federal government will announce the $8.4 million funding boost to the program, called Autism Connect, on Tuesday.

Following its success, it will now become a national service that will be run by peak autism body, Amaze.

NDIA's secret report on PEDI-CAT (ASD) and NDIA misinformation

On the 12th October 2020, Mr Hoffman, the NDIA CEO, wrote a letter to NDIS participants, their families and carers. In his letter, he claimed that

The tools [for the NDIA's so-called Independent Assessment] have been ... used all over the world for many years.

A4 doubted this was true since no such tool existed for autistic people.

As a mother, senator challenges NDIS reforms

When Liberal Senator Hollie Hughes was elected to Federal Parliament, she paid tribute to her “gorgeous son Fred” who was diagnosed with autism in 2012, and vowed to pour her “blood, sweat and tears” into autism and disability support.

“Fred is the light of our family’s life in so many ways,” Senator Hughes said in her maiden speech in 2019. “Whether it’s all the developmental milestones he’s passed, when doctors said he wouldn’t; his love of Godzilla, New York and San Francisco, old-fashioned media; or just he and I watching David Attenborough specials, there is no one more loved, or who brings more love to this world.”

NDIS changes 'offensive' says NSW Liberal Senator Hollie Hughes

Dan Jervis-Bardy

A Liberal senator has blasted the government's proposed new assessment system for National Disability Insurance Scheme participants as "dehumanising" and "offensive" and said she wouldn't want her autistic child to be subjected to one.

NSW Senator Hollie Hughes has not ruled out voting against her government when legislation to mandate independent assessments is brought to parliament, declaring she's a "mum first, a senator second".

Mother recalls disability home allegations

Ethan James

The mother of a man living at a NSW residential care home for people with a disability has described the shock of listening to evidence about his alleged abuse.

Sophia was sitting in court in October when she heard details for the first time about the alleged treatment of her son Carl, who is now 24.

"Hearing what the witnesses were saying was probably the hardest thing I could have done," she told the disability royal commission on Tuesday.

Anthony Taikato, 19, is breaking down the stigma of autism as he continues to achieve massive personal and professional milestones

Kaitlyn Smith

The teen used to undertake an hours-long commute before the sun had even risen in order to complete his TAFE studies

IPSWICH teen Anthony Taikato has never been one to back down from a challenge.

Diagnosed with a learning difficulty and autism at a young age, the 19-year-old has since gone on to achieve a growing list of both personal and professional milestones.

He recently marked 18 months since joining the ranks at Garstone Design Furniture in Carole Park after taking up work as a labourer on the production line.

Assault and bullying in disabled care home

Aaron Bunch

A supervisor at a NSW residential care home for disabled people was charged with assault, stalking and intimidation over his treatment of a blind and autistic man, an inquiry has heard.

The same carer was also accused of sexual misconduct towards a teenage girl in another facility and supervisory neglect after allegedly falsifying a client's medication chart.

Disability discrimination complaints received by Australian Human Rights Commission on the rise

 

 

Rebecca Puddy

Jessica's son was four years old when she was told he was no longer welcome at his school, and according to some experts, she is not alone in her plight.

Key points:

  • Jessica has told the ABC her son was excluded from a private school because of his disability
  • The Human Rights Commission received 1,006 disability discrimination complaints in 2019-20
  • That number is up 34 per cent from 2015-16

Her son Elliot*, who lives with high-functioning autism, was excluded from his Sydney school just months after being told there would be additional support to accommodate his needs.

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