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***(Australia) NSW: 'Unprecedented pressure'; "autism increasing almost 15% per year"

Feb 20, 2019, Sydney Morning News: NSW schools face 'unprecedented' levels of disability Schools in NSW are facing "unprecedented pressure" due to soaring disability rates, with the number of students with autism increasing by almost 15 per cent per year and those with mental health needs growing by more than five per cent. … Education Minister Rob Stokes on Thursday released the NSW Education Department's new disability strategy, which responds to a damning 2017 parliamentary report that found an "unacceptable" number of mistreatment allegations. The inquiry heard cases of "blatant abuses suffered by students ... such as 'caging and isolation'", facial and head injuries and unexplained bruising, sexual and physical assault, and use of restraint and seclusion. The strategy found the system faced "unprecedented pressures", with demand for disability support growing at four times the general enrolment growth, while only 9 per cent of teachers were trained to support them. … There was significant growth in students with autism and mental health needs every year between 2013 and 2017. Other categories - physical, sensory, and intellectual - declined slightly, while behavioural disabilities fell by more than 5 per cent. However, intellectually disabled students still made up more than 40 per cent of those with special needs. …


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