TIME 2019 Person of the Year: Greta Thunberg

Charlotte Alter, Suyin Haynes and Justin Worland

Greta Thunberg sits in silence in the cabin of the boat that will take her across the Atlantic Ocean. Inside, there’s a cow skull hanging on the wall, a faded globe, a child’s yellow raincoat. Outside, it’s a tempest: rain pelts the boat, ice coats the decks, and the sea batters the vessel that will take this slight girl, her father and a few companions from Virginia to Portugal. For a moment, it’s as if Thunberg were the eye of a hurricane, a pool of resolve at the center of swirling chaos. In here, she speaks quietly. Out there, the entire natural world seems to amplify her small voice, screaming along with her.

“We can’t just continue living as if there was no tomorrow, because there is a tomorrow,” she says, tugging on the sleeve of her blue sweatshirt. “That is all we are saying.”

The Senate: Select Committee on Autism

Media Release

5 December 2019

A new Senate Select Committee on Autism has been established. The committee is made up of politicians who will look into the services, support and life outcomes for autistic people in Australia.

What will the committee look into?

The committee will look at a wide range of issues relating to autism – including diagnosis, education, health including mental health, employment, justice and rights, and housing.

New Plan To Support Victoria’s Autism Community

The Andrews Labor Government has released a five-year plan to provide autistic Victorians greater opportunities for choice and community participation.

Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers Luke Donnellan today launched the Victorian Autism Plan with representatives of the Autism Plan Advisory Group who contributed to the plan’s development.

The Victorian Autism Plan sets out actions to improve the lives of autistic Victorians and their families and carers, backed by $7.1 million in funding.

ABS autism data 2018

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) released data about autism from its 2018 Survey of Disability, Ageing and Carers (SDAC) - see https://www.abs.gov.au/AUSSTATS/abs@...

The ABS reports that in 2018:

  • there were 205,200 autistic Australians (estimated), a 25.1% increase from 164,000 in 2015
  • over 3% of children aged 5-14 years are diagnosed autistic.
  • "males were 3.5 times more likely than females to [be autistic]".
  • the number of autistic Australians with severe of profound disability was 68.9% in 2018
  • outcomes for autistic people in education and employment remain abysmal
  • and much more.

Major parliamentary inquiry into autism

Matt Coughlan

Autism will be the subject of a wide-ranging parliamentary inquiry looking at services, support and life outcomes for people on the spectrum.

The Senate on Wednesday established a select committee on autism which will look at the need for a national strategy.

Liberal senator and committee chair Hollie Hughes, whose 10-year-old son Fred has autism, said the inquiry would be the first of its kind.

'It doesn't make sense': More than 600 kindy kids suspended last year

Jordan Baker

More than 600 kindergarten students were suspended from NSW primary schools last year, raising concerns small children are being sent home as punishment for undiagnosed disorders such as autism or ADHD.

Figures from the NSW Department of Education show the number of kindy students suspended rose from 398 in 2014 to 435 in 2016, then jumped to 514 in 2017. Last year, the figure reached 626.

'Minimal progress': State sued for 'abandoning' autistic boy's education

The mother of a 17-year-old autistic boy has sued the state of Victoria over a government school’s alleged "abandonment" of her son’s education and failure to teach him the curriculum.

The case, which could have implications for thousands of families who believe their child has been excluded from learning due to a disability, is listed for a three-week hearing in the Federal Court next year.

The mother, whom The Age has chosen not to name, argues the school’s failure “to put intensive effort into his education” and instead fill her son's school days with “non-academic activities” has left him effectively illiterate, innumerate and unemployable.

'It was nasty': Children with disability bullied, belittled at school

Judith Ireland

A mother of five children with disabilities has told the disability abuse royal commission that one of her sons took a knife to school because he was so scared of bullies, while her daughter was belittled by a teacher for needing extra toilet breaks.

The woman told a hearing in Townsville on Tuesday that it was "absolutely exhausting and frustrating" trying to get schools to make changes so children with disability could be included.

Disability royal commission: girl with Asperger's hid in garbage bin to avoid bullying

First day of hearings told multiple instances of violence led to anxiety that affected 10-year-old’s walking and speech

A 10-year-old girl who lives with Asperger syndrome was hit over the head, pushed from a pier and began hiding in a garbage bin to avoid further bullying, the disability royal commission has been told.

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