The 2019 Annual Report released this week by Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) highlights a commitment to inclusivity and diversity, and showcases the organisation's partnership with Autistic people.
Aspect CEO, Jacqui Borland said the 2019 year in review was a celebration of the diverse strengths, interests and aspirations of people on the autism spectrum, which was driven by significant input from Autistic people.
“The establishment of the Aspect LGBTQIA+ Committee saw us take part in the 2019 Sydney Mardi Gras Parade for the first time, under the Neurodiversity Rainbow, is a great example of Aspect working with the Autistic community under the banner of inclusion.
“This reasonable small but significant event provided enormously positive benefits and a sense of belonging and pride for those who participated and I really hope to see it become a regular calendar event,” Ms Borland said.
“2019 also saw Aspect commit to developing four inclusion plans, a Disability Access and Inclusion Plan (DAIP), a Reconciliation Action Plan, a Multicultural Engagement Plan and an LGBTQIA+ Engagement Plan.
“All these plans are a positive step in the right direction and will ensure that we continue to promote diversity and inclusion in everything we do.”
Other 2019 highlights include:
- Delivering services, including therapy, adult services, employment services and assessments to more than 5,591 participants and their families
- Providing autism-specific education to more than 1160 students at Aspect schools across NSW and SA
- The opening of the new Aspect Hunter High School to assist high school students on the autism spectrum
- The launch of the Aspect Research Centre for Autism Practice (ARCAP) to help identify new research opportunities, and translate future findings into Aspect’s programs and services
- Raising over $6mil from Aspect’s generous donors and supporters to better support people of all ages on the autism spectrum.
- A partnership with Gold Coast Airport to develop one of the most comprehensive airports hidden disability programs in Australia and assist passengers with hidden disabilities travelling through the terminal.
- An Australian first distance education program allowing primary school students on the autism spectrum living in remote areas to connect to autism-specific education via digital learning tools
“I really want to acknowledge and thank all those who accessed our services in 2019.
“What we do, we do for people of all ages on the spectrum and their families, and we do it proudly,” Ms Borland said.