Advocacy for ASD in Canberra/ACT

open letter about confidence in the ACT Disability and Education Minister

Dear Chief Minister

I see from the front page of the Canberra Times yesterday (see Farrer Primary School special needs student fencing under question) that some others share my view that there are multiple instances of ACT schools putting autistic students in enclosures/cages. Clearly, there is something of a culture of enclosing/restraining/caging autistic students in ACT schools. This is why we do not believe the Minister's claim that one such event can be described accurately as "an isolated incident".

Nor is the cage practice "unfathomable" as someone from the disability sector suggested in the article.

Parents of autistic children require that their children are safe, so if they believe a cage is the best option for their child then that's what they will choose. It's not hard to understand ... certainly not "unfathomable".

vote of no confidence - Letters to Mr A Barr MLA

Following are several letters/emails to the ACT Chief Minister. His response can be downloaded below.

Ministers Andrew Barr MLA and Joy Burch MLA
ACT Legislative Assembly

Dear Chief Minister and Minister,

This letter is to inform you that the Committee of Speaking Out for Autism Spectrum Disorder (SOfASD) in the ACT passed a motion of no confidence on the 17/9/2015 in:

  • the ACT Minister for Education and for Disability, and

  • the ACT Government

over events relating to the recent boy-in-the-cage “incident”.

Bob Buckley's views?

Dear Minister Burch MLA

I understand from the media that you sent out a media release/statement that said my "views are well known". Would you mind sending me a copy of your media statement? I'd also be interested to see a clear statement of my views; I'm keen to know what they are.


Bob Buckley
Chair, Speaking Out for Autism Spectrum Disorder (SOfASD)
a voice for people affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder in the ACT


SOfASD Submission to Expert Panel on ACT's caged student

SOfASD made a submission to the ACT's Expert Panel on Students with Complex Needs and Challenging Behaviour.

SOfASD's submission has the following conclusions.

We expect a whitewash from the Expert Panel. Given its composition, it seems unlikely that there will be the adverse finding that are needed to drive improvement. But if there are adverse findings, the ACT Government will sweep them under the carpet as soon as it believes it can get away with it.


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