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AFSA AGM 2017 - Sunday 29th October 2:00pm to 4:30pm - Willis Room, Whitehorse Centre, Nunawading.

AFSA is thrilled to welcome Kevin Stone the CEO of VALID (Victorian Advocacy League for Individuals with Disability) as our Guest Speaker.  Kevin is a highly regarded and long time disability advocate who will address the "Changing Disability Environment" - changing attitudes, changing models of service provision, changing funding arrangements ... and much more.

At our AGM you can learn about AFSA activities for the past year and our future plans, hear from our Guest Speaker and join with other families for a casual afternoon tea.

You can download a flier here - please share with your friends, family and colleagues - and we look forward to welcoming you to our AGM.

If you are interested in helping AFSA achieve its objectives on behalf of families and carers why not become a member of AFSA - go to our Membership page for full details - membership is free.

And why not join our committee - we meet monthly in Burwood. We need committee members with an interest in and the capacity to take on specific roles in the organisation and administration of our association. You can download a nomination form here and bring it to the AGM, or email or post it to us. 


The AFSA Parent Carer Forum on the 25th July was a resounding success.  We have added a new page to our website - AFSA Gallery - have a look for some photos of the day. The speakers were generous with their time and expertise and have provided copies of their presentations for us to share.

The following documents are pdf versions of the presenters slides and can be downloaded.

SPEAKER ONE - Julie Phillips - Effective, practical advocacy advice

SPEAKER TWO - Janice O’Connor - Service Providers and the NDIS

SPEAKER FOUR - Jan Ashford - Communication Aids and the NDIS

Jan Ashford also provided an electronic copy of the Communication Rights Australia brochure and a draft copy of their NDIS Planning Meeting Resource which are also attached.

Christine Scott, Speaker Three - Managing the Planning Process, spoke at last years AFSA AGM (November 2016) after which she generously allowed us to upload a comprehensive set of documents to our website -see NDIS Information. Christine indicated that some of these documents are being progressively updated and we will update our web site as they become available.  Christine also suggested the following:

  • - a new website to help families/individuals search for services when preparing for the NDIS.  NB. Another site mentioned by Janice O’Connor was which lists Australian Disability Services that have been rated and reviewed by consumers.
  • Person Centred Planning/preparing for the NDIS - a good planning tool for children is on the Association for Children with a Disability website - and for older teens/adults - the VALID documents which are posted in the AFSA NDIS Information section.  NB from AFSA - Yooralla also has some useful resources on their website and Carers Victoria has information from a carers perspective - start here and have a look around their website.
  • In response to a question, Christine gave the following advice re letters of support to the NDIA from therapy providers - the letter should cover three aspects:
    • A diagnosis of the disability
    • How the therapy is related to the disability and what the therapy is going to do, and
    • What are the outcomes - short, medium and long term.
  • Christine also advised the importance of preparation before your NDIS meeting, but if you are presented with a question that you don’t know the specific answer to, make a note of it and say “I’ll get back to you with an answer.”  Don’t say “I don’t know”!
  • Christine also mentioned  the VALID NDIS Families as Planning Partners sessions and courses - see here for information and here for details of upcoming courses/sessions.

Due to unforseen travel delays Stephanie Gotlib was unable to make our Forum.  We will arrange for her to speak at a future AFSA event.

Committee member Michael Meehan took comprehensive notes of each speaker's presentation - these can be viewed in this pdf document.

AFSA trusts that these documents and links will be helpful - please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any further queries, suggestions or feedback.


The AFSA Committee have prepared two key documents that summarise what we as parents and carers believe is essential government action to ensure a good quality of life for our loved ones with an ASD. These documents have guided our submissions to the Victorian Government during 2016 - the Parliamentary Inquiry into Services for individuals with ASD and the Victorian State Disability Plan.  We have uploaded each of these documents below.

AFSA Agenda of Issues 2016-17

AFSA Agenda of Education Issues 2016-17

AFSA Submission to the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into Services for individuals with ASD

AFSA Submission to the State Disability Plan 2017-20 Discussion Paper


The Committee was pleased to present our 2016 Annual Report to members at the AGM on the 6th November - you can download a copy here.  Our Guest Speaker Christine Scott from VALID and her daughter Leah provided a very helpful array of information and strategies relating to the NDIS rollout. Christine will provide AFSA with electronic copies of the documents she and VALID have developed and we will create a new page on our website for these. A new AFSA Committee was formed and Michael Tucker has taken on the role of AFSA President. Details of the incoming committee can be found here

During the meeting retiring committee member Phil Lipshut was thanked for his 22+ years as a committee member, including several terms as President and Acting President.  We were also saddened to inform the meeting of the recent passing of one of AFSA's founding members and a former President, Gloria Jones.  Gloria was a dynamic advocate for families at a time when there was little understanding of autism and even fewer supports available.


On 4th October 2015 the Autism Family Support Association (AFSA) celebrated its 30th birthday.  In that time the association has witnessed significant changes to the autism landscape both locally and internationally.  The mission of AFSA remains largely unchanged from its formative days – to provide mutual support and a voice for parents of children and adults with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The focus of AFSA activities over the years has varied depending on the interests and expertise of successive committee members.  It is significant that during that time AFSA has been able to provide the voice of parents on many government and sector working groups, reviews and planning committees.

Pictured are founding members, Robin and Bernie Shanahan cutting the Celebration Cake, and the 2015-16 AFSA Committee – from left Kim Woo, Amanda Golding, Tracey Hayes, Catrina Mulderry, Michael Tucker, Phil Lipshut and Ruth Cauchi.  Phil and Amanda, have a combined 54 years membership of AFSA – a perfect illustration of the many enduring friendships formed as a result of being part of the AFSA family.