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Hannah Gadsby on her new show Douglas, autism and life after Nanette

Hannah Gadsby isn't here to teach you about autism, but there are things to learn if you are willing.

"But people don't always want to learn, so screw them," she said this week.

The Australian comedian is back after her barnstorming show Nanette delved into past trauma and rocketed her to international fame.

Her new show, Douglas, is a deliberately lighter touch that draws on her experience living with autism and weaves in anecdotes from her life.

‘It’s been a real rollercoaster’: navigating autism in the Covid-19 chaos


A sense of routine is essential for Morgan Tilly, who has non-verbal autism. So when coronavirus restrictions hit, her family had to create familiarity amid the uncertainty.

Morgan Tilly, 24, loves to swim. She seems to have a physical, sensory need to be in the water.

Test case highlights the need for better school support for children with autism

PIAC has commenced a discrimination test case on behalf of an eight-year old girl who has an autism spectrum disorder, after she was expelled from her primary school in Year 2.

PIAC’s client, Hannah Blundy, says that her daughter, Catherine, was expelled after her school failed to provide a range of supports and adjustments recommended by health professionals in time to keep her educational and social development on track.

Environmental factors unlikely to account for rise in autism prevalence

The relative contributions of genetic and environmental factors to autism and traits of the condition have held steady over multiple decades, according to a large twin study 1.

Among tens of thousands of Swedish twins born over the span of 26 years, genetic factors have consistently had a larger impact on the occurrence of autism and autism traits than environmental factors have. The study suggests that genetics account for about 93 percent of the chance that a person has autism, and 61 to 73 percent of the odds she shows autism traits.

Research on facial expressions challenges the way we think about autism

Autism researchers are starting to think that autistic and non-autistic faces may “speak a different language” when conveying emotion. This could mean the “social difficulties” often associated with autism may, at least partly, result from differences in the facial expressions produced by autistic and non-autistic people. It means we may need to re-think the idea that autistic people have difficulties with expressing their emotions and instead consider that non-autistic people may have trouble reading them.

Woolworths pilots autistic consultants in software assurance

Ry Crozier

Brings five consultants onboard initially.

Woolworths has kicked off a six-month “pilot program” employing five autistic technology consultants to work across several quality assurance and software delivery projects.

The program is enabled through a partnership with auticon, which has been in Australia since November last year, and coincides with World Autism Awareness Month.

Bouvard teen’s great rap for NDIS support

Jake Dietsch

An aspiring Bouvard rapper who has racked up hundreds of followers in the past month says living with autism was a help, rather than a hindrance, to his creativity.

Lachlan Brownlie, 18, always received As in English, despite struggling in other subjects, and started experimenting with poetry at the age of just four.

“I started mixing words together and that’s how I developed my creativity,” he said.

Statement of Concern – COVID-19: Human rights, disability and ethical decision-making

Media Release

Internationally recognised Australian experts in the areas of human rights, bioethics and disability, have today released a Statement of Concern to emphasise key human rights principles and standards that need to underpin ethical decision-making in the context of disability and the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 should not herald rollback in rights for people with autism: UN chief

United Nations logo

The rights of persons with autism must be taken into account in efforts to address the COVID-19 coronavirus: “a public health crisis unlike any other in our lifetimes”, the UN Secretary-General said on Thursday.

António Guterres’s appeal came in his message for World Autism Awareness Day, observed annually on 2 April.

Australian dad begs to have his son returned after child agencies put him in a home when they mistook his autism for signs of abuse

Tita Smith

An Australian dad is pleading for help after his son was taken by child protection services because his autism was mistaken as a sign of psychological abuse.  

Conrad and Katya den Hertog lost their son Martin, now seven, to Dutch authorities during a night-time raid of their home in Amsterdam in February 2018.  

Increase Disability Support Pension now to deal with COVID-19

a jumble of logos from national disability peak bodies

Media Release

People with disability who receive the Disability Support Pension (DSP) urgently need access to the increased Coronavirus Supplement of $550 per fortnight, consistent with the Jobseeker Payment and other payments recently announced.

People with disability who are in receipt of DSP are experiencing and facing additional, unforeseen costs in this time of crisis, which is causing significant levels of distress and anxiety, and only serving to further entrench DSP recipients into poverty.

U.K. government faces lawsuit over mistreatment of autistic people

Following a series of scandals in the United Kingdom over people with autism being held against their will and mistreated in hospitals, a watchdog group has issued a legal challenge to the government.

The incidents highlight that the entire system of care for people on the spectrum is in need of an overhaul, the challengers say.

Kalgoorlie-Boulder mother forced to ‘parade’ daughter for disability support application

Indiana Lysaght

Demeaning, degrading and disgusting is how a Kalgoorlie-Boulder mother has described her recent experience with Centrelink.

Despite a lifetime with a diagnosed disability, Jo Russell said she had to parade her daughter “like a monkey” during a disability support application.

Megan Russell was diagnosed with autism and an intellectual disability when she was two years old, which has left her in the full-time care of her mother

Tasmanian mother of children with autism faces continuing ban from school grounds

Annah Fromberg

One month into the school year, Melinda Walkden's two children, who have autism, are yet to start primary school.

Key points

  • Melinda Walkden was issued with a trespass order in 2018 over claims she abused her daughter's teachers
  • Her autistic daughter had been put in an open cardboard box enclosure in her classroom in 2017
  • The Education Department wants to transfer her two children to a new school but won't lift the trespass order


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