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.

congratulating the Castledines on their win against the NDIS at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal

On Wednesday 16 October 2019, Jake Castledine, and his mother, Janice Castledine, received the news that they won their three-year-long battle with the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT).

Jake, who is in his late twenties and has multiple disabilities including intellectual disability and autism, needs funded support 24/7. He didn’t have enough funding in his package before the NDIS, and despite promises from both the state government and the NDIA that he would finally get what he needed, his first NDIS plan left him worse off. VALID’s advocacy team assisted with organising a plan review, but again, the NDIS denied almost all the supports Jake required. So, Jake’s family asked for legal help from Villamanta Disability Rights Legal Service and Legal Aid Victoria to have his case heard at the AAT.

Excluded and refused enrolment: report shows illegal practices against students with disabilities in Australian schools

Kathy Cologon, Macquarie University

More than 12% of students with disability are being refused school enrolment, and over 40% are being excluded from school events and activities.

These are some of the findings from a survey published today by the national organisation Children and Young People with Disability Australia (CYDA). More than 500 young people with disability, and families of students with disability, shared their experiences with the education system over the past year.

The system of both mainstream and segregated schooling is often claimed to be a result of parent choice. But families in the survey said students were denied enrolment for reasons including schools advising they lack the necessary resources.

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