Appendix 3: Our engagement approach

The government recognises that autistic people are experts in what is best for them. Many people, including autistic people, their families, supporters and service providers, contributed to developing this plan. We will continue to work with the autism community to implement the actions.

Our approach included working with an advisory group, holding workshops and community consultations and running an online survey (see Appendix 1).

Stakeholder advisory group

The Victorian Autism Plan Advisory Group represents a range of autistic people, their families, supporters and service providers, with representatives from:

  • Amaze
  • Aspergers Victoria
  • Association for Children with a Disability
  • Autism Family Support Association
  • Different Journeys
  • I CAN Network
  • Spectrum Intersections
  • National Disability Services
  • Victorian Advocacy League for Individuals with Disability (VALiD)
  • Victorian Disability Advisory Council
  • Yellow Ladybugs.

The group has provided expert advice on developing the plan, arranged workshops with autistic people and their families, and informed organisations and individuals about the consultation process.

Stakeholder advisory group membership

Karen Dimmock
Chief Executive Officer, Association for Children with a Disability

Tamsin Jowett
President, Aspergers Victoria

Anne Kavanagh
Member, Victorian Disability Advisory Council

Katie Koullas
Founder and Chief Inspiration Officer, Yellow Ladybugs

Dariane McLean
Advocate, Victorian Advocacy League for Individuals with Disability

Sarah Fordydce
Policy Manager – Victoria, National Disability Services

Mellem Rose
Spectrum Intersections

Fiona Sharkie
Chief Executive Officer, Amaze

Michael Tucker
President, Autism Family Support Association Inc.

Chris Varney
Founder and Chief Enabling Officer, I CAN Network

Melinda Spencer
President, Different Journeys


People in the autism community contributed to the plan through an online survey. The 787 participants included 117 autistic Victorians and 598 family members or carers. Regional Victoria was well represented, with almost one in four participants from rural or regional areas.


Between February and April 2018 we held six themed workshops, each covering a topic such as diagnosis, integrated and coordinated services, school education, health and mental health, services for autistic adults, and rural and regional issues.

Participants provided expert advice on what is and is not working for autistic people and their families and how to include and support them. Participants included autistic people, family members, carers and supporters, autism organisations and service providers, disability service providers, health and allied health professionals, education professionals and researchers. A total of 115 people participated in one or more workshops.

Other community consultations

Meetings with organisations and focus group discussions also helped us to develop actions to meet the diverse needs of autistic Victorians. This included organisations representing autistic women and girls, Aboriginal community-controlled organisations, communities from diverse cultural backgrounds, and LGBTI+ communities with autism.

We held focus group discussions with autistic adults at two day-services for people with disability, and with parents of autistic adults with behaviours of concern. These discussions helped us better understand the needs of autistic Victorians with complex needs and their families and carers.