Incredible! Autism/ASD diagnosis rates falling in ACT

The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) may be the only place in the world where the diagnosis rate (prevalence) for autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in young children is dropping. SOfASD produced a monograph raising concerns that the autism/ASD diagnosis rate for children under 10 years of age is falling in the ACT when the rate continues to rise in the rest of the country. Current data from a range of sources shows that the number of ASD diagnoses in the ACT are well below the numbers observed elsewhere in Australia.

Submission on health and medical research in Australia

SOfASD and A4 sent a submission to the the Review of Health and Medical Research in Australia (see The submission suggests that research funding has a greater chance of having more impact when it is addresses health issues with higher "burden of disease and injury". It mentions that autism has a high burden for children (highest for boys), based on the available evidence ... yet very little of Australia's health and medical research funding is spent on autism.

Autism Centre for the ACT

The Chronicle reports (Autism school pledged by Naomi Fallon, 2/10/2012) that ACT Labor criticised the Liberal's election promise of “a school for children with autism [to] fulfil an unmet need in the ACT education system”.

The Liberals say families affected by ASD are “crying out for more support”. SOfASD agrees.

Education Minister, Chris Burke MLA, complains, “parents could still expect to pay very high fees”.

ACT election 2012: political parties respond to autism/ASD questions

SOfASD asked a series of questions (see here or click to here to download the question document) about how the different political parties in the ACT election would improve outcomes for people affected by ASD in the ACT if they were elected. We received responses from all the major parties. SOfASD considered the responses and has released its analysis below.

Banana best represents the Australian Capital Territory

The banana has emerged as the fruit that best represents the ACT. Critics of this choice observe that bananas don't grow in Canberra but decision makers regard perceptions  and image as much more important than fact and accuracy.

The banana is a simple fruit: it is bent and it is yellow with frequent black spots. Apparently, these characteristics make the banana the ideal symbol for the ACT.


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