Aspect engages in strategic alliances with a number of not-for-profit organisations to offer better options for people on the spectrum.
People with disability in NSW will benefit from a strategic alliance between two leading not-for-profit organisations.
The Boards of Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) and Sunshine announced the formation of a strategic alliance to develop new opportunities and programs for the people they support as a result of the continued rollout of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in New South Wales (NSW) on July 1, 2016.
The alliance brings together two complementary specialist disability organisations – one focusing on people on the autism spectrum and the other on people with intellectual disability. Both are organisations with strong values and practices that put the person with the disability and their family first.
Based on the principles of person-centredness, flexibility and evidence-informed practice, the Aspect – Sunshine alliance will initially focus on strengthening the quality of support available to people as they transition into the workforce. In the longer term, the alliance will aim to offer greater choice in supported living and group home accommodation options.
Autism CRC is a unique, world-first collaboration that has brought together key people, data and research facilities across Australia – including Aspect with its particular expertise in evidence-informed educational practice – and enabled large scale projects such as the Biobank to become a reality.
The Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC) have officially launched Australia’s first Autism Biobank. The Australian Autism Biobank will contain a detailed phenotypic and genotypic profile of each donor providing a rich and unique dataset of almost 5,000 individuals, developing a valuable asset for Australian researchers and their international collaborators.
Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) is an Essential Participant of the Autism CRC. Aspect CEO and Autism CRC Board Director, Adrian Ford, welcomed the announcement saying, “This is yet another example of the world-class work being done through the Autism CRC to improve knowledge through inclusive, end-user driven research initiatives.”
Autism CRC Chair and former Aspect Patron, Ms Judy Brewer AO, said in her statement on the Autism CRC website that the Biobank is a highly valuable resource for Australian researchers which has the potential to put them at the forefront of biological discoveries related to autism.
“Autism CRC researchers will use Biobank data to pursue our goal of earlier and more accurate diagnosis of autism. Currently the majority of children are diagnosed after the age of four. We aim to dramatically reduce the age of diagnosis to under two years of age,” said Ms Brewer.
According to the Autism CRC, a greater awareness of autism and changes in the diagnostic criteria have led to increasing numbers of children diagnosed with autism in the past 10 years. However, with no established biomarker for autism, diagnosis relies solely on behavioural profiling.
The Australian Advisory Board on Autism Spectrum Disorders is the national peak body representing people who have an autism spectrum disorder, their families, carers and helpers. Through its members, the Advisory Board represents over 12,000 people who live with an autism spectrum disorder and who are members of, or who obtain services from, the Advisory Board’s member organisations. There are many more people who have an autism spectrum disorder (often accompanying other conditions) but whose needs are met either privately or through other disability programs.
The focus of the Advisory Board is working with governments to develop appropriate policies for people who have an autism spectrum condition, their families and carers, disseminating information about ASDs and working with the Australian ASD community to build skills.