The Alarming Rise of Autism in Australian Children

Written by James Sullivan.

In recent years, Australia has witnessed a staggering increase in the number of young children officially classified as “disabled.” Government statistics reveal that nearly one-quarter of children are now living with disabilities, a figure that is both alarming and perplexing given the nation’s high living standards. From 2017 to now, the number of primary school-age students identified with disabilities has surged by almost 40%, with social disabilities such as autism rising at nearly 10% annually.

Medical professionals are left scratching their heads as mainstream media denies any correlation between these escalating numbers and Australia’s robust vaccination program. Indeed, more than 97.4% of Australians over 16 are vaccinated with at least two doses of Covid-19 vaccines, and a vast majority of children adhere to a stringent vaccination schedule from birth. Officially, 94.6% of children meet the government’s standards for full immunization.

The Classroom Reality: Navigating Unprecedented Challenges

The impact of these rising disability rates extends deeply into the educational system. Amy Harland, an assistant headmaster and teacher in Port Macquarie, New South Wales, speaks to the Guardian about the day-to-day challenges faced in schools. In some classes, over two-thirds of students are registered as having a disability, significantly affecting teaching methods and classroom management. “If you’ve got a class of 30 students and two-thirds of those students have got a disability, teachers are having to adapt and change their routines for every lesson,” Harland explains.

This shift requires teachers to manage a broad spectrum of abilities and disabilities within a single classroom. For example, in a year 6 class, lesson plans may need to be differentiated from kindergarten to year 7 levels to accommodate all students effectively. The situation paints a stark picture of what it means to be a teacher in a fully vaccinated Australia, where educators are expected to juggle multiple roles to cater to the diverse needs of their students.

Our Take

The narrative around Australia’s soaring disability rates among children is complex and multifaceted. While it’s crucial to recognize the strides made in public health with widespread vaccination, it’s equally important to question and critically assess the unintended consequences that may arise. The stark numbers reported from classrooms across the country highlight a need for a reassessment of how these health policies are impacting our younger generation. This isn’t just about health statistics; it’s about real lives affected and the future of our education system. How we respond to and address these challenges will shape the well-being of an entire generation.

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