Information, Education, Inclusion, Awareness
Our goal is simple: to improve the lives of all Australians on the autism spectrum and the families who love them.
We empower parents and carers with quality information and resources. We provide targeted educational programs to families, professionals and the broader community. We support inclusion for people on the autism spectrum… and we have some fun along the way too.
Our campaigns and events have reached millions of Australians. We are proud to have delivered the majority of our programs free of charge across the country, including rural and regional communities.
Our mission is to spark positive change by increasing education and understanding of autism in Australia. We hope our efforts will lead to earlier diagnosis, access to effective interventions and more meaningful supports to help people on the spectrum reach their full potential.
A member of the United Nations DPI
In 2011, Autism Awareness Australia was welcomed as an NGO member of the United Nations Department of Public Information (UNDPI). We are proud to be the only Australian autism related NGO, and one of only a handful of autism organisations globally, to have been accepted as a member of the UNDPI.
We were invited to present as an inspiring NGO, and leading autism education and advocacy organisation, at the annual NGO Orientation Program in June 2011 at the UN headquarters in New York.
In 2013 we were again invited to the UN headquarters in New York to present our short documentary film ‘What are you doing?’ as part of the World Autism Awareness Day presentation.
Nicole Rogerson - CEO and Director
Nicole Rogerson is the founding Director of Autism Awareness Australia. She volunteers her time as CEO and is one of the nation’s leading advocates for the awareness and understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Nicole has led many campaigns and events that have inspired, touched and educated Australians, including Light It Up Blue for World Autism Awareness Day, production of a short film ‘What are you doing?’ for school children, and three television community service announcements.
Nicole is one of the most passionate voices on the challenges of autism in Australia, having hosted numerous seminars, advised the Federal Government and presented to the United Nations. She is frequently asked to speak about autism, with appearances on 60 Minutes, the 7.30 Report, the Today Show, A Current Affair, Today Tonight and Australian Story as well as The Australian, Fairfax newspapers and The Australian Women’s Weekly.
Nicole was the former founder and Director of the Lizard Centre, Australia’s leading early intervention centre for children with autism and developmental delays.
Stephanie Smith - Director
Stephanie is a partner at PwC, the leading global professional services firm, working with clients in the financial services industry for over 19 years.
In 2012, Stephanie volunteered with Surfers Healing, a US not-for-profit who introduces the unique experience of surfing to children on the autism spectrum. She was impacted by the challenging and positive experiences she witnessed, a therapeutic moment for the kids instilling calm and confidence, and a celebration for the families who see what their kids can do. Stephanie was instrumental in facilitating the partnership of Surfers Healing with Autism Awareness Australia and bringing these experiences to our Aussie kids on the spectrum.
Prior to her involvement with Surfers Healing, Stephanie was completely unaware of the challenges faced by kids on the spectrum and their families. She has now met hundreds of these special kids and families and is passionate about helping Autism Awareness Australia in their goals including educating the broader community and supporting increased understanding and inclusion.
Sally Collins - Director
Sally is a General Manager at NAB leading their business management team for the Business Bank. With 22 years experience in financial services she has lead many large functions within NAB, CBA and AXA Australia.
At work Sally has been a vocal advocate for gender diversity and inclusion and also workplace flexibility. She was recently recognised for this as the 2016 recipient of the Financial Executive Women (FEW) Positive Progression of Women award. She is also an author and her first book, Stepmother Love, is all about the challenges faced by stepmothers in finding their way and building loving families.
It’s this combination of Sally’s corporate skills and advocacy for tough parenting gigs that brought her to Autism Awareness Australia. She’s looking forward to learning more about the challenges faced by children on the autism spectrum, and their families, and can’t wait to help AAA be as successful as possible in their great work.
Prof. Brian Owler - Director
Prof. Brian Owler is a paediatric and adult neurosurgeon based in Sydney. He is a Consultant Neurosurgeon at the Children’s Hospital at Westmead, the Sydney Adventist Hospital, Norwest Private Hospital, Macquarie University Private Hospital and Westmead Private Hospital. He is a Clinical Professor of Neurosurgery at the University of Sydney.
Prof. Owler is a past President of the Federal and NSW Australian Medical Associations. In these roles he has been a public health advocate. This includes the RTA/NSW AMA Road Safety ‘Don’t Rush’ campaign and lobbying to prevent childhood injury. Brian has a daughter with autism. He is an enthusiastic supporter of Autism Awareness Australia having worked closely with us in his previous role with the AMA. He looks forward to contributing to our ongoing efforts to improve the lives of all Australians on the autism spectrum.
Melanie Carrier - Director
An accomplished Director in Marketing and Advertising, Melanie set her career aside to care for her third child who was diagnosed with autism in 2003. At the time, services where scarce and prognosis was grim. Melanie tirelessly researched best practices for her son.
Since moving to Australia in 2011, Melanie and her family have volunteered for events such as Light it up Blue, City2Surf, Surfers Healing and have even held their own fundraising boot camps. It was therefore a natural extension for Melanie to join the Board of Autism Awareness Australia and continue to advocate for families like hers, help increase awareness and build upon the many amazing programs and events.
Her passion has always been to support individuals on the spectrum to become independent, fulfilled, contributing members of society.