News and blogs

Disability: We’ve got the Sense, Now for the Dollars

When Jenny Macklin stepped up to the podium at the National Press Club last month to talk up the country’s first national disability insurance scheme, an elephant lurked ominously at the back of the room. The Minister for Disability Reform spoke with genuine passion and excitement about a looming revolution, telling her audience the scheme … Continued

Easing the Burdens on Disabled and the People who Care

There are 410,000 families in Australia for which the introduction of the national disability insurance scheme legislation in Federal Parliament this week will represent a monumental day in their often difficult lives. It is an idea whose time has come, and this legislation should be supported across the house. It is not a time for … Continued

Violent Deaths and Soaring Abuse in Residential Homes

Up to 10 people die violently or through neglect each year in state-monitored homes designed to protect the mentally ill, disabled and elderly, while many vulnerable residents have been sexually assaulted and abused. In the most extreme case this year, a 66-year-old schizophrenic manwas charged with murder over the death of his room-mate at Bellden … Continued

Walk a Mile in my Shoes: A Program Teaching Students how to Relate to People with a Disability

If you have an obvious disability, you’ve probably got used to people’s awkwardness, as they struggle with what to say, how to act, where to look. Often pre-conceived ideas or prejudices about difference have developed without them even realising. A Victorian initiative wants to help confront this awkwardness early on, at school. The Young Ambassadors … Continued

I Refuse to be Disabled by Fear

I’ve been thinking about the Jill Meagher case and feeling sad. Sad for Jill and her family, and sad for all the women out there who remain invisible and unsupported when they experience acts of violence. I live just a couple of kilometres from where Jill was taken. Because I’m a woman who is deafblind, … Continued

Parents’ Exhausting Battle with Education System

As the mother of three children on the autism spectrum, Kerrie Curtis is a veteran of battles with the Victorian education system. Her latest fight is to get special VCE exam provisions for her oldest son Liam, who has Asperger’s, an anxiety disorder and a learning difficulty. Ms Curtis’ frustration is not with his school, … Continued

Genetic Test Could Predict the Risk Of Autism In Infants

A genetic test to predict a baby’s risk of developing autism has been developed by Melbourne researchers, paving the way for earlier intervention to improve behaviour and functioning.

Kevin Stone Interview on ABC News

ABC News Breakfast presenters, Karina Carvalho and Michael Rowland, interviewed Kevin Stone, CEO of VALID, about abuse of people with disabilities in supported accommodation.    

Economics of Getting Disabled Australians into Work

It’s estimated only half of the more than two million Australians with disabilities who are of working age are employed. Disability advocates want to close this gap. And agencies and businesses that employ people with disabilities say the economic benefits are too hard to ignore.

Disability Issue ‘Breaking our Nation’ Heart’

Parties split on disability insurance State Labor and Liberal leaders take opposing stances on the Gillard Government’s planned disability insurance scheme. The Prime Minister has launched a scathing attack on Liberal state governments for playing “cheap politics” in a media blitz this morning as federal Labor tries to break the standoff on disability reforms. But … Continued

What about the Husband and Children I Never Had?’

Having lived for 50 years with deformed legs and without arms, only some fingers attached to her shoulders, Mary Henley-Collopy was incensed to discover yesterday that her disabilities could have been prevented. The Melbourne victim of the side-effects of thalidomide said she was ”infuriated” that German pharmaceutical company Grunenthal ignored and covered up warnings about … Continued

Concern Over Use of Drugs to Restrain Disabled

More than 1800 people with disabilities were drugged to control their behaviour last year, in what advocacy groups say is a widespread and worrying practice. The use of ”chemical restraint” is by far the most commonly used intervention in Victorian disability services, according to a report by the Office of the Senior Practitioner to be … Continued

Down Syndrome, Social Change and the Fragile Nature of Progress

Down syndrome was first described by John Langdon Down 150 years ago. A child either has or has not Down syndrome and a diagnosis is definite soon after birth, but the experience of having Down syndrome is not static. As with prenatal diagnosis, medical progress has significantly affected those with this condition. The same discipline … Continued

Policing the Mentally Ill a ‘Drain on Resources’

VICTORIA Police apprehend a disturbed person in the community on average every two hours and transport them to a hospital emergency department, according to a study into the challenges of policing the mentally ill. Such callouts do not often lead to criminal charges, with the bulk of people having threatened or attempted suicide or other … Continued

Threat to Kill Son Finally Stirs Authorities to Act

Last June Lyn Bicknell went to her local police station and told officers that if they did not help her she would kill her intellectually disabled son. As desperate as she was – having just been pinned to a chair by the knife-wielding 15-year-old – she admits she would never have gone through with it. … Continued