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TUESDAY 29th MAY - Autism Q&A presented by AFSA - Taking Care of Carers - an opportunity for parents and carers to ask an expert panel questions relating to the issues and situations they face parenting their family member with autism.  Borrowing from the ABC Q&A format, AFSA has assembled a panel of clinicians with expertise in ASD who will address YOUR questions.

This Forum has been arranged and funded by AFSA specifically for Parents and Carers with a family member/s with an Autism Spectrum Disorder of any age.  Registration includes a light lunch. 

Please share details about this unique event with your friends, family and networks - a pdf flyer can be downloaded here.

WHEN:                 Tuesday 29th May 2017

WHERE:               Waratah Room – Whitehorse Centre Theatre Complex, 397 Whitehorse Road Nunawading (there is ample onsite parking - see map) 

TIME:                    9:45 for a 10:00 am start, sessions concluding at 2:00 pm, informal networking time until 3:00 pm


10:00 – Welcome and introduction of each panel member.

10:30 – Panel PART ONE

12:00 – lunch – sandwiches, fruit and beverages provided

12:45 – Panel PART TWO

2:00   – conclusion, opportunity for participants to remain until 3:00 for networking, one to one conversations.



Pre booking is required. This is easily done using a card to pay online via the TryBooking website here.  Bookings close at 5pm on Wednesday 23rd May. If you prefer to register personally and pay on the day, you must contact AFSA by phone or email before the 23rd.

Cost is $30 per person – plus a .30 cent per person booking fee.  Current AFSA members (see note below) can register at the reduced rate of $20 per person – plus a .30 cent per person booking fee.


You can lodge your questions in several ways

Questions need to reach AFSA before 5 pm on Wednesday 23rd May.  There will be the opportunity to lodge questions on the day, but priority will be given to those lodged in advance.

On the day you can either ask your question personally, or have it asked by the MC.  We will notify those chosen to ask their question/s prior to the day.  As there will be sure to be similar questions lodged, we may select one person to ask a ‘merged’ question.


1.   A current member of AFSA is someone who completed an AFSA membership application form after March 2014.  An application to join AFSA can be made via our website here before 10th May to be eligible for the reduced registration fee.

2.   Cancellation Policy – a refund can only be made if you notify AFSA by SMS no later than COB Thursday 24th May. Refunds will be made to your credit card less the .30 cent booking fee.

3.   Registration closes at 5 pm on Wednesday 23rd May or earlier if places are fully booked.

4.   Tea, coffee, water, juice and a sandwich and fruit selection will be provided by the Whitehorse Centre caterers during the lunch break. If you have special dietary requirements we suggest you bring your own supplies as we are unable to cater for the wide range of possible requirements.


If you have any queries, please email AFSA to or contact our mobile by voicemail or SMS – 0421 642 364 – don’t forget your name and contact details so we can get back to you!

AFSA AGM 2018 - Sunday 19th August 2018 - save the date

AFSA is pleased to welcome Stephanie Gotlib the CEO of Children and Young People with Disability Australia as our Guest Speaker.  Following on from the topic at last year's AGM "The Changing Disability Environment", Stephanie will tell us about her work with the CYDA at both federal and state level including the NDIS, Disability Rights, Legislative Frameworks, Education Action - and much more.  The AFSA committee will also present their Annual Report to Members and form the new committee for 2018-19.

The AGM will be held in the Willis Room, Whitehorse Centre (adjacent to the Library) from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.  A flier can be downloaded here with further details.

Further information about the AGM and nominating for the AFSA Committee will be posted after our May 29 Forum.

AFSA AGM 2017 - Sunday 29th October

AFSA was 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.  We took some notes from Kevin's presentation which can be downloaded here.

Have a look at our AFSA Gallery for some images from the day.  A copy of the AFSA 2017 Annual Report can be downloaded here.

Our 2018 committee was confirmed with the same membership as in 2017.  New members to our committee are always welcome - 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 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.