News by Region

Autism rates soaring in NSW public schools

A BLOWOUT in the number of autistic students at NSW public schools may have been triggered by doctors misdiagnosing children to secure extra funding.

Department of Education figures obtained by The Sunday Telegraph show one in 74 students at state schools is autistic despite the accepted Australian prevalence being one in 160.

The state government spends more than $1.1 billion each year on students with disabilities.

Doctors say the only way to secure extra funding for children who are borderline cases or who have learning difficulties is to stretch the diagnosis.

Psychologists call for prompt end to restrictive practices in disability sector

Urgent action must be taken to ensure Australians with disabilities - including children and young people - are protected from unnecessary restrictive practices that put their lives and wellbeing at risk, along with those of the people working with and caring for them, according to the Australian Psychological Society (APS).

The teachers using physical force to manage autistic children.


LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: Psychologists and disability sector experts are worried about what they say is a hidden problem across the country - the physical abuse of autistic children.

It's allegedly occurring in both special and mainstream schools and the experts say it's due to a lack of teacher training.

Mary Gearin reports, and a warning that this story starts with some disturbing images.

(adults wrestle with and pin down a boy, who moans and cries)

Autism prevalence may be higher than previously thought

Jessica Hamzelou, reporter One in every 38 children may have an autism spectrum disorder - more than double the current US estimate. The latest research in a South Korean population suggests that by overlooking children attending regular schools, previous reports wildly underestimated the true prevalence of the disorder.

Budget to provide more support to students with disabilities

TUE 03 MAY 2011

Prime Minister, Minister for School Education

Prime Minister Julia Gillard today announced new budget funding of $200 million to provide extra support for students with disability in Australian schools.

The Prime Minister said that every student in every school deserves a great education and this extra funding will help ensure that students with disability get that same opportunity.

The Prime Minister made the announcement today with the Minister for School Education Peter Garrett at Harrison School in Canberra.

Family to pay discrimination case costs

April 29, 2011

A Victorian family who sued the Department of Education for discriminating against their disabled son have been ordered to pay legal costs after losing their court battle.

Paige Walker claimed her now 16-year-old son Alex, who has Asperger's Syndrome, was not allowed to attend his country Victorian secondary school full-time during 2007.

Budget boost for disabled children

Samantha Maiden, April 24, 2011

FAMILIES caring for disabled children have won access to up to $30,000 a year in next month's Budget to help with early intervention and support.

The $130 million boost to early intervention also includes new support for autism and delivers on an election pledge to offer a $6000-a-year Better Start for Children payment from July.

The Sunday Mail can reveal that 9000 extra families will now be able to secure up to $30,000 a year under the changes.

Disabled children get $130m in Budget

Samantha Maiden, April 24, 2011

FAMILIES caring for disabled children have won access to as much as $30,000 a year in the May Budget to help with early intervention and support.

The $130 million boost to early intervention will also include new support for autism and deliver on an election pledge to offer a $6000-a-year Better Start for Children with Disability Payment from July.

The Sunday Telegraph can reveal that 9000 extra families will now be able to secure up to $30,000 a year in assistance under the changes.

Disabled need legal protection says Marrickville resident

JOKES about people with disabilities are no laughing matter for Marrickville resident James Eggleton.

Australia has its racial, homosexual and religious hate-crime laws, but Mr Eggleton can’t understand why there are none for the disabled.

Mr Eggleton, who has a disabled family member, says he’s sick of seeing vilification of the disabled in the community.

Living with Autism


LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: What would you do if your happy, promising child suddenly turned into a completely different person? A Sydney couple spent the past eight years grappling with exactly that question. When their only son was 18 months old he went into a rapid decline and was diagnosed with severe autism. Now the family's experience is documented in a new book, as Sarah Dingle reports.

KATHY CAHILL, MOTHER: I guess every parent wants to think that their child will be able to exist in the world, um, or have a place in the world.

Report - Economic Costs of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Australia

Key findings 

This review has produced an estimate of the annual economic costs of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Australia, updating a previous study completed in April 2007. 

This review has produced an updated estimate of the annual economic costs of ASD in Australia, including the burden of disease, of between $8.1 billion (low prevalence) and $11.2 billion (high prevalence), with a mid-point of $9.7 billion (all estimates are in December 2010 dollars). 

Couple forced to give up son

Special Investigation Bill Hoffman

A SUNSHINE Coast family has made the heartbreaking decision to give up their disabled 15-year-old son to the state after battling for years to gain the help they need to support him at home.

Garry and Mary Taylor, of Pacific Paradise, refused to take Kenny from Nambour Hospital, where he was admitted on February 22, following his medical discharge on March 16.

They will be the 44th family in Queensland to take that step already this financial year and the 10th on the Sunshine Coast.

Half of All Children with Autism Wander into Danger

Wandering is a critical safety issue for children with ASD.

The Interactive Autism Network (IAN),, the nation's largest online autism research project, reported this week the preliminary results of the first major survey on wandering among individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

Approximately half of 800 parents who completed the survey reported that their child leaves safe places, with the behavior peaking at age four. Among these families, nearly half say that their child has gone missing long enough to cause significant concern about safety.

Autism Now: How Should We Address Deepening 'National Health Emergency'?

The PBS NewsHour is launching a special series of reports, both on-air and online, about a puzzling disorder that touches many lives across the U.S.: Autism Now will take a unique -- and uniquely personal -- look at how the condition impacts families, schools and communities.


Facebook troll Bradley Paul Hampson seeks bail, appeal against jail term

Tony Keim

THE first Australian convicted of "internet trolling" by plastering child pornography on the Facebook tribute pages of two slain Queensland schoolchildren is seeking bail pending an appeal against his three-year jail term

Lawyers for Bradley Paul Hampson, 29, this morning told The Courier-Mail an application had been lodged by their client for Supreme Court bail pending an appeal against his sentence.

'No discrimination' of Asperger's boy

Selma Milovanovic Legal Affairs Reporter
March 25, 2011

A TEENAGE boy with multiple disabilities who was sent home during lunch and banned from school excursions has lost his discrimination claim against the Education Department.

The Victorian boy, whom The Age has chosen not to name, has Asperger's syndrome (an autism spectrum disorder), dyslexia and attention deficit disorder.

Lions support early intervention

Dear Friends of Preschool Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders

I am delighted to advise you that the 59th Multiple District 201 National Convention of Lions Clubs International in Launceston, Tasmania on Sunday 17th April passed the following Motion, NM 10.

“That this Multiple District Convention adopts the Preschool Autism Spectrum Disorders Education and Therapy Project as a Category “B” Project for a term expiring on 30th June 2012”.

This means the following:

Autism and Self Advocacy

By John Elder Robison

What, exactly, is self-advocacy and what is its place in the autism community?

Autism is a communication disorder, with a broad range of affect. Some people's autism makes them eccentric and geeky. Other people can't speak at all, as a result of more severe autistic disability.

World Autism Awareness Day

Today is World Autism Awareness Day, an opportunity to raise community awareness and show support for people with the condition, their families and carers.

Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs Jenny Macklin and Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers Senator Jan McLucas said today was an opportunity to show support for people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs), their families and carers.


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