Empowering autism families
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 currently a Director at Neurodevelopment Australia and 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 2 short documentary films ‘What are you doing? – a film about autism” and DAD – a film about autism and fatherhood’ as well as a series of educational workshops and training for parents and professionals.
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 a frequent public speaker on these issues and often appears in the media advocating for families with children on the spectrum.
She has two sons, the eldest of which is 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 were 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.
Sally Collins - Director
Sally is the Chief Operating Officer at VFMC, Victorian Funds Management Corporation. With 22 years experience in financial services she has lead many large functions within VFMC, 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.
Tabitha Pearson - Director
Tabitha is a seasoned executive, with experience across a number of industries, including banking, legal, retail and hospitality. Most notably, she led the people functions for Super Retail Group (BCF, Rays, Supercheap Auto, Rebel, Amart Sports), Tabcorp Casinos QLD (The Star) and RACV. A key advisor to Boards, CEOs and Senior Executive teams.
Tabitha is currently the Chief People Officer at Myer, a department store chain consisting 60 stores across Australia and 11,000 team members. In all of her roles she has focused on the people and building a strong and motivated culture to drive the best results. She is an advocate for change and inclusion and is passionate about providing opportunities for those less able or fortunate. In most of her organisations she has worked closely with disability employment groups to facilitate work experience and employment for young people with special needs.Now as a mother of 2 boys, Tabitha and her husband are striving to raise amazing men, who are not afraid to speak out for others who cannot do so for themselves. Her youngest son is on the spectrum and she understands the daily challenge that families face, and the need for a supportive community of professionals, friends and family to achieve the best results. She is passionate about improving the understanding of our educators, who are the key to successful learning. She is heartened by Companies who are embracing ASD employees and customers, and are making an effort to be more inclusive.
Tabitha is very excited to join the Board for Autism Awareness Australia, so she can further support families and those on the Autism Spectrum through their journey.
Prof. Andrew Whitehouse - Director
Andrew Whitehouse is the Angela Wright Bennett Professor of Autism Research and the Director of CliniKids at the Telethon Kids Institute. He is also Professor of Autism Research at The University of Western Australia, Research Strategy Director of the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC) and the current president of the Australasian Society for Autism Research.
At the Telethon Kids Institute he leads a large team that seeks to find new and innovative ways to help each and every child on the autism spectrum reach their full potential. Andrew has published over 200 peer-reviewed journal articles and attracted over $60 million in competitive research grants. He currently presents an internationally syndicated video series called ’60 Second Science”, which has had over 2 million views. He is an advisor to State and Commonwealth Governments on policies relating to children with Autism Spectrum Conditions, and he chaired the committee that generated Australia’s first national guideline for autism diagnosis.
Andrew has published one edited book with his twin-brother (Ben), and a popular science book that examined the science behind some of the myths of pregnancy and child development (Will Mozart Make My Baby Smart?). He has also been awarded a Eureka Prize for his research. Prior to coming to the Telethon Kids Institute, Andrew was a Junior Research Fellow at the University of Oxford.