News by Region

Landmark summit on autism health care kicks off

A panel of autism scientists and advocates is charged with a tall order: making recommendations for the care of autistic people worldwide. The panel is slated to meet for the first time today after the 2019 International Society for Autism Research annual meeting in Montreal.

Convened by the journal The Lancet, the group includes more than 20 of the world’s leading autism researchers, clinicians and advocates. Its goal is to review research and make concrete suggestions on health care and health policy.

Autism Scorecard - Federal Election 2019

The Australian Autism Alliance released its 2019 federal election autism scorecard! It helps understand how the major parties will create #Change4Autism if elected to govern on Saturday 18 May.

Download the #Change4Autism campaign from www.australianautismalliance.org.au/election2019!

The four major priorities of the Change4Autism Election Manifesto were:

  1. Urgent action to eliminate NDIS barriers to vital supports for autistic people
  2. A National Autism Strategy
  3. Establish a Royal Commission into violence, abuse and neglect of people with a disability
  4. High-impact, sustainable disability advocacy

Against these priorities the parties fared:

My friend and mentor Les Murray - autistic savant

British-born author Daniel Tammet corresponded with poet Les Murray, who died on April 29 aged 80, and translated his poems into French. In his 2017 book Every Word is a Bird We Teach to Sing, Tammet describes how Murray’s inspiring example helped him come to terms with being autistic. In this edited extract he recounts how he and Murray came to share a stage in Paris in 2015.

Daniel Tammet

The Australian poet Les Murray makes life hard for those who wish to describe him. It isn't only his work, some 30 books over 50 years. It is the man. In PR terms, Murray seems the antipode of Updikean dapperness, cold Coetzee intensity, Zadie Smith's glamour. His author photographs, which appear to be snapshots, can best be described as ordinary. The bald man's hat, the double chin, the plain T-shirt. A photograph, accompanying his New Selected Poems, shows him at a kitchen table, grandfatherly in his glasses. The artlessness is that of an autodidact. Murray has always written as his own man. Fashions, schools, even the occasional dictionary definition, he serenely flouts. To read him is to know him.

Advocates blame NDIS failures as families give up severely disabled children to child protection

Richard Willingham

Children with high-needs disabilities are living in child protection because their parents can no look longer after them, with advocates blaming a lack of support from the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) for forcing parents to give up their children.

Key points:

  • The McNeills gave their son up to state care because he needed 24-hour supervision and they did not have enough help from the NDIS
  • Only half of the 48 children living in residential state care in Victoria have some form of NDIS support
  • The situation was labelled "horrendous and appalling" by advocates, who say children have a right to stay in their own home

Loving Lucy

Parenting can be tough—even when your child is considered so-called ‘normal’. Nine-year-old Lucy looks like a curly haired angel, but she's often strangely manipulative and physically violent. Her mum and dad are still searching for a diagnosis which could make sense of her extreme behaviour. But their patience and love for Lucy is extraordinary.

The Concept of Neurodiversity Is Dividing the Autism Community

Simon Baron-Cohen

    It remains controversial—but it doesn't have to be

    At the annual meeting of the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) in Montreal, Canada, this week, one topic likely to be widely debated is the concept of neurodiversity. It is dividing the autism community, but it doesn’t have to.

    The term “neurodiversity” gained popular currency in recent years but was first used by Judy Singer, an Australian social scientist, herself autistic, and first appeared in print in the Atlantic in 1998.

    In search of truce in the autism wars

    The fight between those who define autism as a medical condition and those who see it as a mere difference has reached vitriolic levels. Can the two sides come together to support all autistic people?

    Earlier this year, London’s Southwark Playhouse announced the cast of a new play, “All in a Row.” It was instantly clear this would not be a typical family drama. The play unfolds the night before social services separates a boy named Laurence from his family. Unlike the other three characters, Laurence, a nonverbal autistic and sometimes aggressive 11-year-old, would be portrayed by a child-size puppet.

    Families need guidance before buying a communication app for autism

    Cathy Binger

    Many children with autism have little to no functional speech, and their families are often desperate to help them communicate.

    In today’s connected society, these families are likely to hear about a variety of communication apps — some specifically targeted at children with autism — available for mobile devices, including iPads. Often the advertisement includes a video of a child who starts communicating using the app’s voice output, effortlessly asking for a cup of juice or saying, for the first time, “I love you.”

    Greta Thunberg teaches us about autism as much as climate change

    Greta Thunberg speaking

    The young environmental activist has shown that being different is a gift. But too many people with autism still face cruel treatment

    Greta Thunberg is an impressive individual. Just 16 years old, she has been nominated for the Nobel peace prize after sparking environmental protests around the planet. There is a glorious simplicity to her arguments that makes them hard to refute. What, she asked, was the point of pupils like her learning anything if politicians ignored the glaring facts on climate change? So she sat down outside the Swedish parliament with a hand-painted banner declaring a school strike – and eight months later, is a global icon who has helped to fire up a resurgent green movement.

    New autism prevalence stats spotlight challenge of early diagnosis

    The prevalence of autism in 4-year-old children in the United States has increased — from about 1 in 75 children in 2010 to 1 in 59 in 2014 — to match a previously reported rise in 8-year-old children, according to data released last week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)1.

    But children are still being evaluated for autism or other developmental conditions later than is ideal, the data suggest.

    The trend highlights how difficult it is to diagnose autism in young children, experts say; early diagnosis is important so that children can be treated early.

    Study identifies predictors of early death among autistic people

     

    People with autism who avoid social interactions or have troubles with daily living skills — from using a toilet to preparing meals — are at increased risk of an early death, a new study suggests1.

    Autistic people are more than twice as likely as those in the general population to die prematurely. They are also at increased risk for a range of health conditions, such as diabetes and cancer, that can be fatal.

    The new study is the first to identify the specific factors that forecast mortality in autism. The researchers followed 406 autistic people in the United States over a 20-year period. They found that the 26 people who died during the study tended to have poor scores on measures of social ability or daily-living skills at the start of the study irrespective of age or health.

    ‘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.

    Senate motion for a National Disability Strategy

    Following representation by the Australian Autism Alliance, Senators Griff (Centre Alliance) and Brown (Labor) moved the following motion in the Australian Senate. Hansard records that the Senate passed the motion on 2/4/2019.

    Senator GRIFF (South Australia) (16:44): I wish to inform the chamber that Senator Brown will also sponsor this motion. I, and also on behalf of Senator Brown, move:

    That the Senate—

    (a) notes that:

       (i) in 2015, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that there were 164,000 Australians with an autism diagnosis and a prevalence rate of 2.8% for those aged between 5-14 years (around 81,000 children), though this does not reflect the large numbers of autistic adults who remain undiagnosed,

    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.

    Pages

    Subscribe to News by Region