News by Region

Sydney school under investigation for locking child with autism in 'sensory room'

Josh Bavas

An autism awareness advocate is calling on schools across the country to ensure they properly treat children with a disability, after revelations a Sydney school is under investigation for installing locks on rooms for students who misbehave.

Key points:

  • Katerina Ferekos says she alerted the school to locks on the doors of a sensory room
  • The Education Department is investigating Penshurst West Public School over the claims
  • Autism advocates say good practice still has to filter down to schools

The New South Wales Department of Education is investigating a Penshurst West Public School, in Sydney's south, after concerned parents discovered locks were installed on a small "sensory room".

Katerina Ferekos, whose seven-year-old son Yianni is enrolled at the school, raised concerns with the principal earlier this year.

We examined the research evidence on 111 autism early intervention approaches. Here's what we found

David Trembath, Griffith University; Andrew Whitehouse, University of Western Australia; Hannah Waddington, Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington, and Kandice Varcin, Griffith University

Every parent wants the best for their child on the autism spectrum, but navigating the maze of interventions can be tiring, costly and confusing.

The challenge became a lot easier, we hope, with the release of our new landmark report summarising the best evidence for some 111 different intervention approaches.

The Lab supports children with Autism who 'don't have friends' to gain friendships, learn social skills

As far as job descriptions go it doesn't get much better than the role of psychologist Heath Fletcher.

Key points:

  • Founded in Victoria to help children with autism, demand for The Lab classes is growing across Australia
  • The Gold Coast branch has three classes with four mentors every Saturday
  • Participants who have never had a friend before are able to make social connections and improve their social skills

"My job is to make smiles, so it really is the best job in the world," he said.

What's the NDIA Been Hiding?

Have you ever suspected that the NDIA has a secret list of supports they consider ‘controversial’ or simply ‘no-go’ zones? Well, it turns out that up until the middle of this year, you wouldn’t have been too far off the mark. We learnt all this in the latest episode of everyone’s new favourite TV show Senate Estimates. (Just me? Oh, OK.) 

Interventions for children on the autism spectrum: A synthesis of research evidence

Dear person

Based on your previous interest in our publication the National Guideline for the Assessment and Diagnosis of Autism, I am writing to let you know we have just published a new landmark report for families, clinicians, researchers and policy makers, which synthesises the best available high-quality evidence about interventions for children on the autism spectrum aged up to 12 years.

Autism behind bars

Andrew Beasley was quickly losing his cool. It was October 2015, and he was about two years into his sentence at the Federal Correctional Institution, Fort Dix in New Jersey.

Beasley, then 32, had left his MP3 player on a charging station in the facility’s computer room, but when he went to retrieve it, it was gone. He thought he knew who had it and frantically started to look for the man.

“I’m forgetting politics. I’m forgetting everything. I’m just looking for my MP3 player,” says Beasley, who had been diagnosed with autism two years earlier.

Low standards corrode quality of popular autism therapy

Rapid growth and inadequate standards in the ‘applied behavior analysis’ industry may put vulnerable children in the hands of poorly prepared technicians.

When Terra Vance took a course to become a registered behavior technician (RBT) in 2015, she was trying to transition from a career as a teacher to one as a psychologist. To get the supervised hours she needed for her psychology license, she had taken a job working with mentally ill adults for a company in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Coronavirus Australia: Mum’s hotel quarantine struggle with autistic son

Alex Turner-Cohen

An exhausted mum with a child with severe autism is calling on the Australian government to do more for children with special needs while in hotel quarantine.

Brenna Russell, 29, arrived in Sydney four days ago from Los Angeles and has been quarantining in Zetland’s Meriton Suites with her severely autistic son.

She has bruises on her arms from her son’s tantrums and she also fears for his safety.

Five year old Sebastien Russell has autism, ADHD, seizures, and a genetic variation of the NFIX gene that hasn’t been found before.

Autistic Australian left out of mental health supports again

Media Release

While A4 recognises the Health Minister’s “How’s your head today?” effort to support the mental health of Australians through this difficult COVID-19 period, we are concerned that autistic Australians have been left behind again.

Australian governments have a policy to recognise issues relating to the mental health of people with intellectual disability but to ignore the needs of autistic Australians. Minister Hunt and his department officially:

Senators question integrity of pilot for controversial NDIS independent assessment reforms

Evan Young

Officials from the administrator of the NDIS have been grilled in a Senate hearing about the controversial independent assessment reforms set to roll out next year.

The integrity of a pilot program for controversial reforms to the National Disability Insurance Scheme has been called into question by federal senators.

The National Disability Insurance Agency, which runs the NDIS, was grilled about the independent assessment reforms set to roll out next year at a Senate estimates hearing on Thursday.

'I didn't just cry, I sobbed.' A letter to the teacher who failed my son.

Rebecca Zahra

What would you do if your child was ridiculed in front of all their friends and peers and couldn’t do anything about it? Bullied and treated badly by the one person you entrusted with the care of that child?

My son has autism. We have never hid that fact, we have always been very open about it.

Peak psychologists body joins chorus of concern over controversial new NDIS reforms

Another peak medical body has sounded the alarm over the new NDIS independent assessment model set to be rolled out next year.

Evan Young

A peak body for Australian psychologists has lent its voice to a chorus of concern about controversial new National Disability Insurance Scheme reforms and is calling on the government to stop them from being rolled out. 

The Australian Association of Psychologists says the “simplistic” independent assessment process will create greater disadvantage for Australians living with disability.

Finding a job: Meet Canberra-based Autism employment advocate Darien Judge

On ABC Canberra Afternoons with Paula Kruger

Getting your first job out of school is an exciting milestone... but for many people on the Autism spectrum it can be daunting.

23-year-old Canberra man Darien Judge has been working for almost two years in IT at the Australian Bureau of Statistics after joining a specialist recruitment program.

Darien spoke to ABC Radio Canberra's Paula Kruger about his experience to encourage other Autistic jobseekers and potential employers to see the benefits of hiring someone with Autism.

Appeals against government NDIS decisions have spiked by more than 700 per cent since 2016

New figures show NDIS appeals to the Administrative Appeals Tribunal have soared in recent years, as the government comes under fire for disability reforms.

Evan Young

Appeals against National Disability Insurance Scheme decisions have skyrocketed by more than 700 per cent since 2016, as the government concedes parts of the process have been "complex, costly and inconsistent".

Adult autism diagnosis leaves Josh McKeiver relieved but facing work and study hurdles

Melissa Martin

Being diagnosed with autism at the age of 33 was a watershed moment for Josh McKeiver.

Mr McKeiver was in his final semester of a science degree when he read an online story about a woman being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as an adult.

The woman's description of her condition struck a chord with Mr McKeiver, who had suffered through six years of a depressive disorder and severe anxiety.


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