News/Announcements

Comment on DSS National Disability Strategy options paper

Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia responded to DSS's Options Paper on continuing the old National Disability Strategy (NDS) which they call a "new" strategy.

DSS's Options Paper shows no evidence of input from the disability community, especially input that says the previous strategy didn't work and substantial change is needed.

It also shows that it does not understand human rights in Australia but still tries to take a human rights perspective.

mental health support for autistic Australians

Minister Greg Hunt in front of Commonwealth Health Department logo

Dear Minister The Hon Greg Hunt MP

While Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4) appreciates the Government's improved provisions for some Australians needing increased support with their mental health, we are concerned that the needs of autistic Australians with mental illness, some those in most need of mental health support, are not being recognised and addressed.

Test case settlement great news for autistic children

Catherine Blundy’s discrimination test case against The Lakes Christian College has settled, with the school agreeing to measures to better support autistic children.

In reaching settlement, Catherine, her mum Hannah, and the College have made the following statement:

Hannah Blundy and The Lakes Christian College have agreed to resolve Catherine Blundy’s claim against the College currently before the Federal Circuit Court.

Training to support people with autism into work

12 June 2020
Minister The Hon. Anne Ruston MP, joint with Senator Hollie Hughes

The Morrison Government is delivering on its election promise to support people with autism into employment.  

Minister for Families and Social Services Anne Ruston today announced two new training projects as part of the Government’s suite of disability employment initiatives. 

Doughnut bakery and social enterprise Krofne, Whitmur Advisors and GenU Training have received $200,000 to work together to develop two accredited training courses for the hospitality industry.

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.

Open Letter: Now is the time to act on pandemic measures for people with disability

Media Release

People with disability, and their organisations, across Australia are calling for urgent action, again, to keep us safe during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Over 70 national, state and territory disability organisations have come together to urge the National Cabinet to take the urgent action we need to keep people with disability free of the COVID-19 virus.

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.

Victoria Launches Australia’s First Autism Campaign

The Andrews Labor Government has established Australia’s first social behaviour change campaign to promote better understanding and inclusion of autistic people.

Minister for Disability, Ageing and Carers Luke Donnellan today launched the new $2.8 million public education campaign Change Your Reactions with Amaze CEO Fiona Sharkie.

Change Your Reactions encourages Victorians to recognise some of the challenges that autistic people face and to understand the impacts of community actions and reactions.

Submission to Disability Royal Commission on Education of autistic students

On 3/2/2020, A4 sent its belated submission responding to the Disability Royal Commission's (DRC) Issues Paper on Education of students with disability. The submission was due in December, but A4 has limited resources to do this type of work. Hopefully, the DRC will consider A4's submission.

The submission makes the following suggestions to the Royal Commission.

NDIA FoI response: "the NDIS does not fund ABA"

The NDIS responded to A4's FoI request (20/12/2019). The two document can be downloaded from the links below.

A4 had some follow up correspondence with the NDIA about the NDIA's response to A4's email to the Ministers. That correspondence is available at http://a4.org.au/node/1588 and http://a4.org.au/node/1654. The NDIA omits this correspondence from its FoI documents below.

Severity of autism symptoms varies greatly among identical twins

Findings from NIH-funded study could inform treatment strategies.

WHAT:

Identical twins with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) often experience large differences in symptom severity even though they share the same DNA, according to an analysis funded by the National Institutes of Health. The findings suggest that identifying the causes of this variability may inform the treatment of ASD-related symptoms. The study was conducted by John Constantino, M.D., of Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, and colleagues. Funding was provided by NIH’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD). The study appears in Behavior Genetics.

Response to DSS FoI: the NDIS does not fund ABA

A4 received this response (link to download and accompanying email below) to our DSS FoI request - see https://a4.org.au/node/2155.

Basically, DSS's response below says it has no record of anyone passing A4's letter to the Department (which should mean DSS, the NDIA is "the Agency"), as Assistant Minister Prentice's Office told A4 in an email on 4/12/2017. A Department representative suggested (on the telephone) that A4's letter was sent to the NDIA, not to the Department.

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