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Amaze launches Strategic Plan 2018-21: shaping a positive future for autistic people

Posted on 29 March 2018 under News

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Amaze sees its role as facilitating and amplifying the voices of those with lived experience of autism.

In the last two years, Amaze has actively engaged people with lived experience to guide the way our organisation works and how we design our programs and activities.

What we achieved: Amaze Strategic Plan July 2015-June 2017

Some of the highlights in this period included:
• Three short films of a new annual campaign Spectrospective: Stories of Autism that were screened
in Village cinemas in Victoria and Tasmania in 2015, 2016 and 2017 and viewed more than 100,000 times.

• Two Australian-first research studies commissioned: Community attitudes and behaviours towards
autistic people and Experiences of autistic people and their families in the community (2017).

• A number of major submissions to Governments including the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry into
Services for People with autism; Victorian Government review of Program for Students with a Disability and
the Productivity Commission Review of NDIS Costs.

These submissions were all informed by the experience of the Victorian autism community, with
over 1,000 contributors to Amaze’s consultation.

In 2016 Amaze appointed its first autistic board director and three autistic board observers and featured 25 autistic
speakers at the Victorian Autism Conference, shifting the purpose of this conference from being ”about autism” to being “for autism”.

We acknowledge that autistic people and their families are the experts in what they need to live a quality life and it’s a guiding principle in the just-announced Amaze Strategic Plan 2018-21.

We want these voices heard, embraced and action taken to improve the lives of all autistic people.

Amaze proactively engages with the autism community to inform our priorities, build capacity, strengthen relationships and to advocate for change.

By working collaboratively we will maximise Amaze’s impact and reach.

We advocate to governments and work in partnership with the community to build wider understanding, engagement and acceptance of autistic people.

Click here for Amaze’s Strategic Directions to 2040 and Strategic Plan 2018-2021

Click here for Amaze Strategic Plan Summary

Future Aims – Amaze Strategic Plan 2018-2021

Developing a plan and setting goals and targets is just one part of the journey. Tracking our progress and
being accountable to our community is of critical importance to us.

Our future work is presented in this Plan and builds on the first two years’ achievements. The plan’s three outcome areas remain relevant with some slight shift in focus:

1. Increase understanding, engagement and acceptance of autism by the wider community;
2. Influence positive systemic change through governments and the media to improve attitudes and behaviours towards autistic people and their families;
3. Build the skills of private, public and community organisations to create more autism-friendly environments and build the capacity of autistic people and their families to advocate for their needs.

Our research has shown that 85% of the Australian community has a personal connection with autism
and almost one in six people has a close relative who is autistic.

As such, awareness of autism is high; building understanding and acceptance of autistic people’s needs is the higher priority.

Amaze will increase its direct engagement with autistic people to inform our work and encourage the wider community to
do the same.

We will also expand our priority focus areas (access to diagnosis, education, employment, NDIS) to include mental health and women and girls as both of these issues are growing in importance within our community.

We have evolved our position on the way we describe autism which has been informed first by feedback from autistic people as well as research from the UK.

This has shown a preference for identity first language, such as “autistic”, as it places autism as intrinsic to a
person’s identity and as such, we have chosen to adopt the term “autistic person” in place of “people
on the autism spectrum”.

Amaze recognises our position to advance the participation in, and contribution to, society by autistic people. As our new brand position states, together we are shaping a positive future for autistic people.

Chair: Shannon Eeles

CEO: Fiona Sharkie

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