News by Region

NDIS changes 'offensive' says NSW Liberal Senator Hollie Hughes

Dan Jervis-Bardy

A Liberal senator has blasted the government's proposed new assessment system for National Disability Insurance Scheme participants as "dehumanising" and "offensive" and said she wouldn't want her autistic child to be subjected to one.

NSW Senator Hollie Hughes has not ruled out voting against her government when legislation to mandate independent assessments is brought to parliament, declaring she's a "mum first, a senator second".

Mother recalls disability home allegations

Ethan James

The mother of a man living at a NSW residential care home for people with a disability has described the shock of listening to evidence about his alleged abuse.

Sophia was sitting in court in October when she heard details for the first time about the alleged treatment of her son Carl, who is now 24.

"Hearing what the witnesses were saying was probably the hardest thing I could have done," she told the disability royal commission on Tuesday.

Anthony Taikato, 19, is breaking down the stigma of autism as he continues to achieve massive personal and professional milestones

Kaitlyn Smith

The teen used to undertake an hours-long commute before the sun had even risen in order to complete his TAFE studies

IPSWICH teen Anthony Taikato has never been one to back down from a challenge.

Diagnosed with a learning difficulty and autism at a young age, the 19-year-old has since gone on to achieve a growing list of both personal and professional milestones.

He recently marked 18 months since joining the ranks at Garstone Design Furniture in Carole Park after taking up work as a labourer on the production line.

Assault and bullying in disabled care home

Aaron Bunch

A supervisor at a NSW residential care home for disabled people was charged with assault, stalking and intimidation over his treatment of a blind and autistic man, an inquiry has heard.

The same carer was also accused of sexual misconduct towards a teenage girl in another facility and supervisory neglect after allegedly falsifying a client's medication chart.

Disability discrimination complaints received by Australian Human Rights Commission on the rise



Rebecca Puddy

Jessica's son was four years old when she was told he was no longer welcome at his school, and according to some experts, she is not alone in her plight.

Key points:

  • Jessica has told the ABC her son was excluded from a private school because of his disability
  • The Human Rights Commission received 1,006 disability discrimination complaints in 2019-20
  • That number is up 34 per cent from 2015-16

Her son Elliot*, who lives with high-functioning autism, was excluded from his Sydney school just months after being told there would be additional support to accommodate his needs.

USA: What the Heck Is ABA, Anyway?

Amy S.F. Lutz

How can something be both "torture" and "best practice" in autism intervention?

Key points

  • Applied behavior analysis, or ABA, describes an umbrella of interventions based on the principles of operant conditioning.
  • These principles shape the learning and behavior of all of us, disabled or not.
  • Attacks on ABA as "torture" reflect a deep misunderstanding of what is actually considered best practice by many researchers and clinicians.

Family lose legal battle with Qld government over school ‘jail’

A family who claim their disabled child was discriminated against because he was restrained in a Queensland school have lost their appeal in court.

Steve Zemek

A disabled boy who sued the Queensland government because he was suspended and tied up at school due to his behaviour problems has lost his bitter legal feud with the state after having his appeal dismissed.

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.

NDIS autism assessment pilot leaves young man ‘embarrassed’

The NDIS has resumed its pilot into independent assessments, which aims to improve the “equity and consistency” in the organisation’s decision making.

But Autism Awareness Australia CEO Nicole Rogerson said the assessment for her son Jack - who lives with Autism - "didn't go to plan" and had to be ended early.

“They sat down with a list of things he couldn’t do and asked him to rate his own disability,” Mrs Rogerson told Ali Moore on ABC Radio Melbourne.

“He was embarrassed - he was looking between his dad and I and the assessor.”

Masking when you have autism can help you blend in, but you might not be doing yourself any favours

Nick McAllister

The practice of someone being undiagnosed on the autism spectrum and masking their autism is not as uncommon as you might think.

Key points:

  • Masking can be a way of "camouflaging" your autism
  • People with autism can be motivated to do it fit in
  • But it can be damaging in the long term and exhausting to keep it up

For 40 years, I hid my autism from the world as a way of ensuring those around me would accept me.

I mimicked their social interactions and behaviours and sailed through life.

Opinion: legal representation for people with disabilities is shockingly low when appealing NDIS decisions

Some people with disabilities say the National Disability Insurance Scheme appeals process is “soul-destroying”. An overwhelming number of them are attending hearings at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) without legal representation.

Rachael Thompson, a lawyer from Rights Information Advocacy Centre, a Victorian public legal service for people with disabilities, says many of the centre’s clients have suffered additional mental and physical health issues due to the stress of the appeals process.

Calls for more companies to recruit Australians with autism and embrace neurodiversity

An estimated one in 70 Australians are on the autism spectrum, but many are out of work. They and their advocates say employers need to do more to make workplaces more neurodiverse, and businesses will improve as a result.


Advocates for people with autism have made growing calls for more workplaces in Australia to embrace neurodiversity, in a bid to reverse alarming unemployment rates for people on the spectrum. 

Victorian OPA Position statement: NDIS Independent Assessments

Victorian OPA logo - a simple red diamond and the words - Office of the Punlic ADvocate

The Office of the Public Advocate stands with the disability advocacy sector in requesting that the NDIA reconsider its proposal to introduce independent assessments.

The NDIA has said independent assessments are to be part of the access process in early 2021. The assessments will at first be used to determine the eligibility of people applying for access to the NDIS as well as to determine reasonable and necessary supports to be included in a participant’s plan.

Mandurah residents with autism face many hurdles to find a job

Claire Sadler

"It was a half hour bus to the station, a 15 minute train to Rockingham, a half hour bus to Kwinana bus port, and then another hour bus out to the Rockingham, Fremantle Naval Yard then there was a half hour walk from there."

Those are the words from Alex Hutt, explaining his over two hour journey just to get to his previous unpaid work experience.

School staff accused: ‘Let’s put disabled kids in cage fight’

Two teachers and two support staff discussed putting up to six disabled children in a cage fight at a regional Victorian school ­already facing three investigations after complaints of mistreatment relating to dozens of alleged incidents.

The Weekend Australian has obtained evidence of a shocking online discussion by staff at the Latrobe Special Developmental School in Gippsland, in which they talk about creating a cage fight for up to six children, all of whom had disabilities.


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