Autism Spectrum Australia

Strategic alliance to offer new options for people with a disability

  • Posted: Tue, 22/03/2016 - 11:34am










22 March 2016: 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.

Aspect has been in operation for 50 years and brings to the alliance evidence-informed autism expertise through a world-class practice-based research program. At the forefront of national autism service provision and knowledge leadership, Aspect works alongside many thousands of people on the spectrum each year including through its range of therapy and individualised lifestyle options.

Sunshine, established in 1924, has a long history of providing flexible accommodation options for people with an intellectual disability. Sunshine’s motto is to “live, grow and develop”. Like Aspect, Sunshine are focused on giving people the best opportunities possible to lead the lives they want.

Both organisations are committed to providing the people they support with the opportunity to lead meaningful lives. Aspect CEO, Adrian Ford, says “the strategic alliance is an important step for people on the spectrum to have the best opportunities to lead the lives they want.  I’m delighted to see two such passionate and committed organisations working together to offer flexible and responsive lifestyle options – and greater choice – for people with diverse requirements.”

Sunshine CEO, Rebecca Fletcher agrees saying “both our organisations are so strongly aligned with regard to values and know that with all the change in the disability field due to sector-wide government reform, there is opportunity to change how organsiations collaborate to make sure the people we support can live the lives they want. We are delighted to be working together”

Both organisations plan to grow their capacity to support even more people with diverse requirements as the NDIS is rolled out across NSW from July 2016.












Sunshine CEO, Rebecca Fletcher with Aspect CEO, Adrian Ford.

For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact:

Aspect Fundraising, Communications and Property 
T 1800 277 328 | E

Katrina Jackson, Manager, Communications & Fundraising, Sunshine
T (02) 9496 8704 | M 0413 737 102 | E



The Hunter trial site has been established since 2013. Nepean – Blue Mountains region has been in early transition from this year for people aged 17 years and under, a year ahead of schedule. The full NSW rollout is scheduled to commence from July 2016. More at



  • Autism is a lifelong developmental condition  characterised by differences in social interaction, impaired communication, restricted and repetitive interests as well as sensory sensitivities
  • In Australia, autism is the most commonly reported mental or behavioural condition among children with a disability 1
  • An estimated 1 in 70 Australians are on the autism spectrum, which equates to approximately 240,000 people 



  • Every two hours an Australian child will be diagnosed with an intellectual disability 2
  • There are over 668,000 Australians (2.9%) with an intellectual disability (ABS 2012) 3
  • Two-thirds of people with an intellectual disability need assistance with everyday activities such as preparing meals, transport and communicating(ABS 2012) 4
  • Two-thirds of people aged 75 and over with an intellectual disability have Alzheimer’s disease or dementia(ABS 2012) 4



  1. Australian Bureau of Statistics, Australian Social Trends, Jun 2012
  2. Achieving better outcomes for people with a disability and their families, November 2011 PWC
  3. Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2012, How many people have an intellectual disability, viewed 6 August 2015,
  4. Australian Bureau of Statistics, 2012, Areas and types of assistance needed, viewed 6 August 2015



Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) is Australia’s largest not-for-profit provider of services and supports working with people on the autism spectrum and their families. Knowledge about autism has come a long way since 1966 when six families founded Aspect as the Autistic Children’s Association of NSW to provide schooling and support. Now, 50 years on, Aspect operates one of the world’s largest networks of schools and satellite classes for students on the spectrum and is approved to provide a range of therapy, intervention and lifestyle options under the National Disability Insurance Scheme. We offer evidence-informed services and supports across all life stages and share this evidence-informed Aspect practice and applied research internationally. At Aspect, we believe that people on the autism spectrum are a different brilliant and this shines through in our work with more than 14,000 Australians on the spectrum and their families each year. Call 1800 277 328 for more information.



Since 1924, Sunshine has been supporting people with disability to live their own best life. We are proud to say we are one of NSW’s leading service providers in the disability sector, providing services to people across Sydney, Central Coast and Hunter regions. We are passionate about making a positive difference to the lives of those we support and believe in realising our vision of a world where every person is welcomed, valued and able to seek their own best life. For more information, visit or call 02 9496 8700.


Strategic alliance to offer new options for people with a disability