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Autistic Australian left out of mental health supports again

Media Release

While A4 recognises the Health Minister’s “How’s your head today?” effort to support the mental health of Australians through this difficult COVID-19 period, we are concerned that autistic Australians have been left behind again.

Australian governments have a policy to recognise issues relating to the mental health of people with intellectual disability but to ignore the needs of autistic Australians. Minister Hunt and his department officially:

Senators question integrity of pilot for controversial NDIS independent assessment reforms

Evan Young

Officials from the administrator of the NDIS have been grilled in a Senate hearing about the controversial independent assessment reforms set to roll out next year.

The integrity of a pilot program for controversial reforms to the National Disability Insurance Scheme has been called into question by federal senators.

The National Disability Insurance Agency, which runs the NDIS, was grilled about the independent assessment reforms set to roll out next year at a Senate estimates hearing on Thursday.

'I didn't just cry, I sobbed.' A letter to the teacher who failed my son.

Rebecca Zahra

What would you do if your child was ridiculed in front of all their friends and peers and couldn’t do anything about it? Bullied and treated badly by the one person you entrusted with the care of that child?

My son has autism. We have never hid that fact, we have always been very open about it.

Peak psychologists body joins chorus of concern over controversial new NDIS reforms

Another peak medical body has sounded the alarm over the new NDIS independent assessment model set to be rolled out next year.

Evan Young

A peak body for Australian psychologists has lent its voice to a chorus of concern about controversial new National Disability Insurance Scheme reforms and is calling on the government to stop them from being rolled out. 

The Australian Association of Psychologists says the “simplistic” independent assessment process will create greater disadvantage for Australians living with disability.

Finding a job: Meet Canberra-based Autism employment advocate Darien Judge

On ABC Canberra Afternoons with Paula Kruger

Getting your first job out of school is an exciting milestone... but for many people on the Autism spectrum it can be daunting.

23-year-old Canberra man Darien Judge has been working for almost two years in IT at the Australian Bureau of Statistics after joining a specialist recruitment program.

Darien spoke to ABC Radio Canberra's Paula Kruger about his experience to encourage other Autistic jobseekers and potential employers to see the benefits of hiring someone with Autism.

Appeals against government NDIS decisions have spiked by more than 700 per cent since 2016

New figures show NDIS appeals to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal have soared in recent years, as the government comes under fire for disability reforms.

Evan Young

Appeals against National Disability Insurance Scheme decisions have skyrocketed by more than 700 per cent since 2016, as the government concedes parts of the process have been "complex, costly and inconsistent".

Adult autism diagnosis leaves Josh McKeiver relieved but facing work and study hurdles

Melissa Martin

Being diagnosed with autism at the age of 33 was a watershed moment for Josh McKeiver.

Mr McKeiver was in his final semester of a science degree when he read an online story about a woman being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as an adult.

The woman's description of her condition struck a chord with Mr McKeiver, who had suffered through six years of a depressive disorder and severe anxiety.

NHS told to improve after ‘potentially avoidable’ death of autistic teenager

Damning report reveals how NHS staff tried to change an earlier investigation

Shaun Lintern

The death of an autistic teenager who was given anti-psychotic medication by NHS staff against his and his parents’ wishes was “potentially avoidable”, a new independent review has concluded.

The decision overturns an earlier investigation labelled as being “mismanaged, poorly monitored” and carried out without “due rigour” by the latest analysis.

Report - Public hearing 4 - Healthcare for people with cognitive disability

The Disability Royal Commission released a report summarising its public hearing #4 that is about Health care for people with cognitive disability. The DRC  includes autistic people among people with cognitive disability.

The report focuses on NSW and  describes many poor experiences of autistic people in the health systems. It says:

Experts and advocates also noted the dearth of initiatives to ensure that people with autism can access and receive appropriate health care.

Student with autism had good, bad and 'horrendous' teachers, disability royal commission told

Nas Campanella, Celina Edmonds

Autistic student Maria Scharnke plans to spend her life fighting for justice for young people with disabilities, after experiencing physical and psychological abuse at schools across two states.

The 17-year-old final year student gave evidence to the Disability Royal Commission's inquiry into the education system.

She told the inquiry she had been excluded from activities, removed from classes as a disciplinary measure and isolated without supervision.

"School has at many times absolutely been a hostile environment that did not understand who I was," Ms Scharnke said.


Nerves That Sense Touch May Play Role in Autism

MINNEAPOLIS – Autism is considered a disorder of the brain. But a new study suggests that the peripheral nervous system, the nerves that control our sense of touch, pain and other sensations, may play a role as well. The exploratory study is published in the October 14, 2020, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Boy with disabilities was suspended from NSW school seven times

The boy received a warning in his first couple of weeks at school - before being suspended a staggering amount of times over 18 months.

Melissa Iaria



Are big classrooms damaging your child's education?


    With some teachers struggling to juggle 32 children at once, how can we improve our children's learning environment?

    National Disability Insurance Scheme spends $300 million on outsourced staff, lawyers in a single year

    By Rick Morton

    The managers of the National Disability Insurance Scheme spent almost $18 million on lawyers and legal advice in the last financial year, more than double the previous year’s bill, according to new data from the agency.

    Figures contained in the latest senate order contracts report show the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) outsourced almost $300 million worth of labour hire, consulting, legal fees and training and development for staff in the year ending June 30.

    Hayden McLean kept in 'large caged area' in 'absolutely horrific' group home experience, disability royal commission hears

    Nas Campanella and Celina Edmonds

    Severely autistic man Hayden McLean was kept in a "large caged area" and had an "absolutely horrific" experience adjusting to life in a group home, according to evidence his mother has given at the disability royal commission.


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