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.

Coalition government’s ongoing war on autistic Australians

Dear Senator the Hon Linda Reynolds,

Subject: Government’s ongoing war on autistic Australian

Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4) deplores media reports (see Annex below) saying that “The Minister responsible for the National Disability Insurance Scheme has blamed an uptick of Australia’s aged, autistic and obese people for the ‘unsustainable’ rising costs of the service”. Your government’s war on autism is unacceptable. We complained about it before and were ignored

Aged autistic people are one of the smallest subgroups in the NDIS: there were just 125 of them in June 2021, just 0.8% of 14K+ NDIS participants in that age group. While their funding level is higher than average for the NDIS, we doubt the numbers in this very small group will increase significantly for some time. We have not found NDIA reporting on obesity; we doubt the NDIS even has reliable data on obesity of NDIS participants. 

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.

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.”

NDIA early intervention funding models: just make it up

A4 received the following response to a Freedom of Information request. This response is alarming because it shows the NDIA just made up the criteria and amounts for its 4 levels of early intervention support for autistic children in its consultation paper (see links below).

It says "the research and evidence used to calculate funding amounts listed in the consultation paper were informed by the Autism CRC early intervention report", but the Autism CRC's early intervention report contains none of that information. There are no severity levels or funding amounts mentioned ... unless the NDIA also inserted sections in to a copy of the report (as they apparently did with the Tune Review).

Mental Health Issues Affect 3 In 4 Kids With Autism

Shaun Heasley

The vast majority of children with autism have at least one mental health condition too, new research suggests.

Almost 78% of kids on the spectrum are diagnosed with some type of mental health condition and almost half have two or more. Even among preschool-age children with autism, 44.8% have such conditions.

By contrast, just 14.1% of young people without autism have mental health conditions.

Autism advocate withdraws from NDIS contacted assessment pilot

Comments on twitter indicate that an NDIS "independent assessment", part of its pilot, did not go well.

This is hardly surprising. The NDIA's CEO sent a letter to all NDIS participants claiming "The [NDIA's assessment] tools have been ... used all over the world for many years". There is no such tool for assessing the capability, and more importantly the support needs, of autistic people. There most certainly is no assessment tool for ASD that has been used, and shown to be accurate, "all over the world for many years".

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