News/Announcements

Supporting autistic Australians is a crucial election issue

The next federal election is May 18!

Both A4 and the Australian Autism Alliance have produced material that improves awareness of ASD-related issues ahead of the coming federal election.

A4 encourages autistic people, their families, carers and everyone who wants better outcomes for autistic Australians, to share these documents with candidates in the May 18 federal election.

You can make a difference! The easiest thing to do is write to political parties: send them (electronic) copies of the documents below and ask them to tell you what they are doing to address issues that are crucial for autistic Australians.

‘Ready to try anything’: Parents say education is failing autistic kids

Pippa Bradshaw

Parents of children with autism have called for an overhaul to an education system they say is failing their kids.

Mum Kristy is at her wits' end trying to get help for her 13-year-old daughter.

"She just goes crazy," Kristy said.

"It can start off by just being silly, she gets quite hyper, silly, and then she can get abusive verbally. From there she can get physical."

Mum Kristy is at her wits' end trying to get help for her daughter. (A Current Affair)

Hobart high school 'cage' for teenagers with autism 'akin to Risdon jail'

Rhiana Whitson

A lockable fenced play area for teenagers with autism at a Hobart high school has been described as a "cage" by the parent of one student, who said it risked "taking away from their humanity".

Key points:

  • The play area is part of the Department of Education's flexible learning program
  • A disability advocate says "the system is letting us down"
  • A Government spokesman said medical professionals, "including paediatricians, psychologists" and OTs were consulted about the fenced area

Autistic Australians are being locked out of the workforce, study finds

Of unemployed people with autism, 54% surveyed said they had never held a job despite wanting to

Australians living with autism are being locked out of the workforce, while some of those who found paid employment say they have previously lost a job because they are on the spectrum, new research claims.

A study commissioned by autism peak body Amaze, and described as an Australian-first by its authors, surveyed the employment experiences of those living with autism and their carers, as well as attitudes towards autistic people in the workforce.

NDIS - another massive rort: Bernardi

Editorial: nearly one year ago, the Conservatives claimed the NDIS is a rort. While it may not be what they meant, the Government is rorting the NDIS: instead of providing the support that autistic Australians needs, the Commonwealth Government is sucking revenue back from autistic people on the NDIS into its coffers to fund it's paper-thin budget surplus. Senator Bernardi mentions families of autistic children specifically.

Australian Conservatives leader Cory Bernardi is warning that the National Disability Insurance Scheme is already being rorted.

Keeping autistic children safe around water is vital to saving lives, and we can all help

Fiona Churchman

My son Patch loves water. He races from the edge of the sand straight into the ocean every time we visit the beach. He'll spend hours in the pool, any pool, swimming from side to side or just floating on his back, calm and content. It's a joy to watch.

Patch's love of water is common among children on the autism spectrum. But I recently learnt the stats around childhood drowning and autism, and they're terrifying.

Drowning is the leading cause of death among children with autism spectrum disorder.

Australia adopts standards for autism diagnosis, to mixed reviews

 

Australia has become the latest country to establish guidelines for diagnosing autism, with the goal of making diagnoses consistent nationwide.

Clinicians typically diagnose autism using criteria outlined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or the International Classification of Diseases. The new guidelines do not replace or reform these criteria; rather, they outline a framework for assessing behaviors and determining whether an individual meets the criteria.

Autism Open Day aims to create ‘a better future’ for people on spectrum

Researchers from Curtin University and the Telethon Kids Institute will explore the strengths and skills that can help build a better future for people living on the spectrum at this year’s Autism Open Day.

Adults and children with autism, their families and the wider community are invited to attend the free annual event, which will include presentations from autistic adults and information on current research and programs aiming to support people with autism.

After 25 year the Asperger Centre in Brisbane is Closing

The Centre wishes to advise all its subscribers, supporters, volunteers and friends that the Asperger Centre at Virginia Qld will be closed from 17 May 2019.

Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia appreciates the contribution that the Centre made: the dedication, advancement, information and referrals, support for families and individuals on the spectrum, the conferences they organised providing access to world class presenters and the mothers' weekends away. The Centre was a fabulous bunch of people with Stefanie as its cornerstone. 

 

Latest test of promising autism therapy shows only mild benefits

child seated at a learning table

A much-touted behavioral therapy for autism, the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM), may not be as effective as its creators had hoped1.

In the latest study of the therapy, it did not improve children’s intelligence quotients (IQ) or adaptive behavior any more than other treatments. Children treated with ESDM showed some improvement in their language, but only at two of the three study sites.

Independent experts say the results are disappointing, and they question some of the methods used to generate them.

Draft Terms of Reference for a Royal Commission into Violence, Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of People with Disability

DSS crest: Australian Government Department of Social Security

Have your say!

Finally, progress is being made towards a royal commission into violence, abuse, neglect and exploitation of Australians with disability.

You can provide input to the terms of reference if you are quick (until 28/3/2019): see https://engage.dss.gov.au/royal-commission-into-violence-abuse-neglect-a...

NSW Education: Disability Strategy, A Living Document

The NSW Education department has released its latest "disability strategy" (download here).

In relation to autistic students, it says:

  • autistic students are 33% of "students supported by funded programs distributed by disability type 2017" in NSW (students with intellectual disability make up 40%).
  • "From 2013-17, enrolments of students with autism increased by ~14.5%10 per year" according to the Education Department's own data ... at this rate, the number of autistic students doubles every 5 years.
  • ...

No link between autism and MMR, affirms major study

Danish research again dispels link with vaccine at a time of surging measles cases globally

 

The measles, mumps and rubella vaccine does not cause autism, according to a major study carried out in an attempt to reassure growing numbers of vaccination-doubters, as measles outbreaks surge.

Doubts about MMR were sown by the gastroenterologist Andrew Wakefield, who hypothesised in 1998 that it was linked to autism. The symptoms of the condition often begin to manifest at about the time the jab is given, between 12 and 15 months old.

What's Next for Autistic Adults?

John Elder Robison

We don't know, because most autistic adults are unrecognized and unsupported.

Reading the news, the prognosis for autistic adults looks like a very mixed bag. On one hand are hopeful stories about Project Search, Autism at Work, and Neurodiversity in school. Those accounts portray autistic people as loyal, kind, eager to work, and wanting to make a meaningful contribution. Employers talk about superior attention to detail and exceptional caring about quality and correctness.

Then there are the downsides. One study found that autistic people are nine times more likely to die of suicide. An autism website says 80% of autistic adults are unemployed. Autistics are far more vulnerable to diabetes, anxiety, obesity, depression and a host of other serious medical problems. Most autistic adults never get married, and if they do, it doesn’t last. 

State support grows for disability inquiry

Daniel McCulloch

SCOTT Morrison expects to secure terms of reference and state agreement for a royal commission into the disability sector before the federal election in May.

The prime minister predicts state and territory governments will come on board "within days", saying it is imperative they are involved.

"To not have those jurisdictions subject to the royal commission, I think, would impair it overwhelmingly," he said on Wednesday.

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