Welcome to the inaugural Chair Person’s Report for the Autistic Self Advocacy Network of Australia and New Zealand. I am pleased to bring you this report regarding our first 18 months of operation.

As a fledgling organisation much of our initial activity was focused on getting our structure in place.

Our inaugural Board consisted of the following people:

Katharine Annear – Chair
Geraldine Robertson – Secretary
Tony Langdon
Jarad McLoughlin – Treasurer
Leeanne Marshall
John Greally

To these people we owe a lot of thanks in terms of setting up ASAN AUNZ.

During the first period of operation we also co-opted Joel Wilson and saw John Greally take leave because of ill health. John’s replacement Emma Goodall was a welcome co-option to the Board. We thank John for his service.

Activities:

Despite our beginning stages we were involved in a lot of activity during our first period.

The Future Leaders Program
ASAN AUNZ was on the organising committee of the inaugural Future Leaders program run as part of the Asia Pacific Autism Conference held in Adelaide SA. We were pleased to be able to provide input for such a groundbreaking program and look forward to an ongoing association with the Future Leaders Program.

Face to Face Board Meeting with Ari Ne’eman
During the Asia Pacific Autism Conference we were supported by the Federal Government through FaHCSIA to meet face to face which included the opportunity to meet with Ari Ne’eman founder of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network in the USA. We were happy to achieve a sense of common goals and discuss potential future projects with Ari.

The Research Agenda
ASAN AUNZ has taken a particular focus on addressing the lack of representation of Autistics in the research pertaining to them. To this end we have actively pursued a campaign of writing to researchers and research cooperatives to raise our concerns. In particular we have focussed on the establishment of the Autism Cooperative Research Centre. We are pleased to have been able to get our message across but await formal involvement in the CRC itself. However I am pleased that two ASAN AUNZ members are on separate CRC advisory committees.

Systemic Advocacy
During this period we have also taken a systemic approach to advocacy and made several submissions to government enquiries including individual submissions to the Inquiry into Forced Sterilisation of Women and Girl with Disability and a submission on the terms of reference for an enquiry into equality under law for persons with disability. The Chair also attended the meeting of Peak Disabled Peoples Organisations in Canberra.

Establishing an Online Presence
We have been very fortunate over the last 12 months to have Joel Wilson as volunteer web intern. Joel has focussed on keeping the website and Facebook presence ticking over and has helped us utilise technology for our meetings. A big thank you to Joel for his support.

The following people will stand down from the Board at this meeting so I would like to take the opportunity to thank them for their invaluable input.

Leeanne Marshall – not renominating
Joel Wilson – not renominating
Emma Goodall
Geraldine Wilson

All of you have been part of the inaugural operations of ASAN AUNZ and as such have an important place in our history.

On a personal note I would like to thank Tony Langdon and Geraldine Robertson whom I have known for getting close to 15 years. Together we kept the dream alive and here we are. Much Solidarity!!

As a Board we have set the following Strategic Priorities for the future period:

Strategic priority one: Autistic inclusion in research.
Strategic priority two: Increase social media presence.
Strategic priority three: Support the Future Leaders Program 2015.
Strategic priority four: Lobby for wage equality and increased employment participation for people with disability.

We hope you will join us in steering our future course.

Sincerely

Katharine Annear

Chair Person
ASAN AUNZ