News by Region

NHS told to improve after ‘potentially avoidable’ death of autistic teenager

Damning report reveals how NHS staff tried to change an earlier investigation

Shaun Lintern

The death of an autistic teenager who was given anti-psychotic medication by NHS staff against his and his parents’ wishes was “potentially avoidable”, a new independent review has concluded.

The decision overturns an earlier investigation labelled as being “mismanaged, poorly monitored” and carried out without “due rigour” by the latest analysis.

Report - Public hearing 4 - Healthcare for people with cognitive disability

The Disability Royal Commission released a report summarising its public hearing #4 that is about Health care for people with cognitive disability. The DRC  includes autistic people among people with cognitive disability.

The report focuses on NSW and  describes many poor experiences of autistic people in the health systems. It says:

Experts and advocates also noted the dearth of initiatives to ensure that people with autism can access and receive appropriate health care.

Student with autism had good, bad and 'horrendous' teachers, disability royal commission told

Nas Campanella, Celina Edmonds

Autistic student Maria Scharnke plans to spend her life fighting for justice for young people with disabilities, after experiencing physical and psychological abuse at schools across two states.

The 17-year-old final year student gave evidence to the Disability Royal Commission's inquiry into the education system.

She told the inquiry she had been excluded from activities, removed from classes as a disciplinary measure and isolated without supervision.

"School has at many times absolutely been a hostile environment that did not understand who I was," Ms Scharnke said.


Nerves That Sense Touch May Play Role in Autism

MINNEAPOLIS – Autism is considered a disorder of the brain. But a new study suggests that the peripheral nervous system, the nerves that control our sense of touch, pain and other sensations, may play a role as well. The exploratory study is published in the October 14, 2020, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

Boy with disabilities was suspended from NSW school seven times

The boy received a warning in his first couple of weeks at school - before being suspended a staggering amount of times over 18 months.

Melissa Iaria



Are big classrooms damaging your child's education?


    With some teachers struggling to juggle 32 children at once, how can we improve our children's learning environment?

    National Disability Insurance Scheme spends $300 million on outsourced staff, lawyers in a single year

    By Rick Morton

    The managers of the National Disability Insurance Scheme spent almost $18 million on lawyers and legal advice in the last financial year, more than double the previous year’s bill, according to new data from the agency.

    Figures contained in the latest senate order contracts report show the National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) outsourced almost $300 million worth of labour hire, consulting, legal fees and training and development for staff in the year ending June 30.

    Hayden McLean kept in 'large caged area' in 'absolutely horrific' group home experience, disability royal commission hears

    Nas Campanella and Celina Edmonds

    Severely autistic man Hayden McLean was kept in a "large caged area" and had an "absolutely horrific" experience adjusting to life in a group home, according to evidence his mother has given at the disability royal commission.

    Disability care watchdog has issued just one fine despite 8000 complaints

    Rob Harris

    Just one fine has been issued and only one provider banned by the disability watchdog despite more than 8000 complaints being lodged in the past two years.

    The scandal-plagued disability sector will get $22 billion from the federal government this financial year, but an independent review found the system left vulnerable people open to harm and neglect.

    Schools must prepare for 50 per cent rise in students with disabilities: report

    Jordan Baker

    The number of students with disabilities in the public education system is predicted to grow by 50 per cent in the decade to 2027, and they will need twice as many specialist teachers and thousands more support classrooms.

    Six new special needs schools will also have to be built every year if diagnosis and enrolment rates continue and policy settings do not change, modelling by Boston Consulting Group (BCG) for the NSW Department of Education found.

    Edith Cowan University study suggests fussy eating could be warning for autism

    Alex Crowe

    A team of researchers in Australia have found a link between children's eating habits and autism.

    The Edith Cowan University study found children who ate a less varied diet between one and three years old were more likely to score higher on a test for autistic traits as adults.

    No next term for nine-year-old autistic boy after school blocks return

    Adam Carey

    At just nine years old, grade 3 student Thomas Brown might be the youngest child ejected from a Victorian school in years.

    Thomas has level-two autism spectrum disorder and has had repeated run-ins with another boy at his school, St Leonard’s College, a non-government school in Brighton East. The school ruled this week that he should not return in term four.

    Concern in Australia's disability community NDIS assessment reforms could lead to self-harm

    Evan Young

    This article contains references to suicide.

    Disability advocates are concerned new reforms announced to NDIS eligibility decision making could have disastrous consequences.

    There is concern in Australia's disability community that an overhaul of the National Disability Insurance Scheme could make it harder for people to access the program and lead to instances of self harm, including suicide.

    changed position on National Autism Plan

    Dear members of the Select Committee on Autism

    When I appeared before you recently, you asked about a National Autism Strategy. Please disregard the answer I provided at the time.

    Since that time, the Department of Social Services (DSS) and Services Australia:

    1. had senior officials appear before the Community Affairs Committee, and
    2. released a Position Paper on its National Disability Strategy.

    These events both show DSS to be no longer fit-for-purpose.


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