News by Region

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.

What we wished we'd known when our son was diagnosed on the autism spectrum

Travis, Fiona and their son Patch outside the White House (USA)

Michael Dulaney for The Parenting Spectrum

As he has grown, Fiona Churchman and Travis Saunders have learned so much about their nine-year-old son, Patch.

They know that Patch loves exploring, that he is always on the move, and that music, swimming and bushwalking are his favourite things.

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...

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, ... everyone who wants better outcomes for autistic Australians, to share these documents with candidates in the coming 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.

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% 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.

NDIS on agenda at disability inquiry

Max Koslowski

The National Disability Insurance Scheme is likely to be scrutinised by a sweeping royal commission into the abuse of people with disabilities, with Prime Minister Scott Morrison hinting the probe could be as big as the landmark $373 million inquiry into child sex abuse.

The Age revealed yesterday that Mr Morrison had written to state and territory leaders calling for a joint royal commission in what will be the sixth judicial probe in Australia in as many years.

Scott Morrison poised to order royal commission into abuse of people with a disability

Amy Greenbank

Prime Minister Scott Morrison has written to the states and territories asking for their support in establishing a joint inquiry into abuse in the disabled sector.

New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia have confirmed they are behind the probe, but a formal announcement is not expected until Mr Morrison hears back from the other leaders.

Federal Cabinet discussed establishing a royal commission on Tuesday night.

Toxic parenting myths make life harder for people with autism. That must change.

Sara Luterman

This summer, my parents celebrated their 33rd anniversary at Chef’s Restaurant in Buffalo with pasta doused in marinara sauce. Over a plastic gingham tablecloth, they quietly reaffirmed their commitment. Their relationship is remarkable and inspiring by any standard. But according to many in the autism world, including professionals who should know better, its endurance marks it as some sort of mythical unicorn, made all the more inspiring by the fact that it survived me. 

Death rates in people on the autism spectrum twice those of the general population: new research

Isabelle Dubach

People on the autism spectrum have elevated mortality across the lifespan – their overall comparative mortality rate is about twice that of the general population, a new study reveals.

The comparative mortality of people with autism spectrum disorder is twice that of the general population, an Australian-first study by a UNSW PhD student and her supervisors has found. The researchers call for a whole of health and disability systems response to this issue to improve outcomes for this group.

People with autism dying at twice rate of general population: new study

Kate Aubusson

People with autism spectrum disorder are dying at twice the rate of the general population, a landmark Australian study published on Tuesday has found.

The biggest cause of death is injury or poisoning from suicide, self-harm or accident, the University of NSW analysis involving the records of almost 36,000 people with the disorder in NSW showed.

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