The Australasian Autism Research Council is looking for new members for 2022

Expressions of Interest have closed. Next time they will open is late 2022. If you think you will want to apply to join the AARC next time you might want to read the information on this page. Some of the information might change when Expressions of Interest open again.

The AARC is a group of community members who have meetings to talk about what’s important for research about autism. You can read more about how the AARC works and what it does here in this summary.

If you think you would be interested in joining the AARC you will need to complete a form called an Expression of Interest. The current AARC members will read the Expressions of Interest and decide who will be asked to join the AARC. New members will start in January 2022.

The AARC releases a report in November each year to share what it’s learned about what the community thinks is important for autism research.

Who can be part of the AARC?

There are rules about who is on the AARC to make sure different kinds of people have a say. There are both autistic people and people who are not autistic. You can read more about how autistic people are involved in the AARC.

The rules say there has to be at least eight (8) AARC members, and there can’t be more than fifteen (15) members. AARC members have to be adults and live in Australia or New Zealand.

How many people will join the AARC? How long will they be members?

The amount of time people get to be AARC members is called a term. If you are invited to join the AARC your term will be one (1) or two (2) years. There are rules about the terms to help make sure the AARC has a mixture of old and new members. Some AARC members will get to have more than one term.

The AARC has a rule that when we ask people to join the AARC at least half of the people chosen need to be new members. The rules make it hard to know exactly how many new people will be joining the AARC. Last time the AARC had new members, there were five (5) new people.

What rules do AARC members have to follow?

There are 3 to 5 meetings each year. People choose how they want to have their say in the meetings. There is a video call through Zoom which goes for one (1) or one and a half (1.5) hours. There is also a forum where people can write what they think. People can also choose to have their say in other ways like sending an email or making a video. The meetings are open for least a week to give people time to think and have their say.

The meetings don’t happen face to face so people don’t have to travel. AARC members are volunteers. They don’t get paid to be AARC members.

The things that the AARC talks about are private. This means you can’t talk about them with people who are not part of the AARC, not even your family and people you work with. When the AARC finishes its report, the report isn’t private. It’s shared with lots of people so they can hear about what the AARC has been doing.

Sometimes the AARC also decides things between meetings. This can happen using email, a poll or a smaller meeting that not everyone has to go to.

The AARC has a document called a Terms of Reference which explains what the AARC is and the rules it has to follow. Because it’s an official document it isn’t in plain language but if you don’t know what something means you can ask someone or send an email to aarc@autismcrc.com.au. AARC members have to agree to follow the rules in the document. So, it’s important to read it before you complete an Expression of Interest.

Expression of Interest

The Expression of Interest is an online form. You will be asked for details about you like your name, email and postcode. You will be asked what groups in the community you are a part of. This means groups like autistic people or parents, not groups like a football team. You will also be asked why you want to join the AARC.

The AARC members will decide who they want to join the AARC. Their choices will be sent to the Autism CRC Board to approve.

Expressions of Interest have closed. Next time they will open is late 2022. If you expressed interest, we will let you know if you can be part of the AARC by email. The emails will be sent by 5pm (Sydney/Melbourne time) on Friday 12th November 2021.

Accessibility

If you want to share your access needs or questions before completing the Expression of Interest you can send an email to aarc@autismcrc.com.au. You don’t need to tell us the supports you will need before knowing if you will be joining the AARC if you don’t want to.

We try and make sure the AARC includes different kinds of people and lets them have their say in different ways. It’s important for you to know that AARC members need to be able to read and say what they think about written documents like research reports. Some of the reports and documents aren’t in plain language, but you can ask questions if you don’t know what something means. Using a screen reader to read them to you is okay. We also used to have an AARC member who had their support person help them to be part of the meetings. If you want to have a support person we would need to talk about it first and they would need to agree to keep what the AARC talks about private.

Letters of support 

For the first time the AARC is letting organisations write a letter to say that someone would be a good AARC member. Most people won’t need a letter, but it’s likely people will need a letter if they say that they have an important job with an organisation that helps autistic people or the Government.

The letter can be from any group or organisation that works with autistic people. You don’t have to work for them to write you a letter. You might be a volunteer or part of an advisory group. You might have worked or volunteered with them in the past.

Family members, friends and people you work with can’t write you a letter unless they do it as part of their job with a group or organisation.

Don’t worry if you don’t have a letter. It’s very likely that people with and without letters will be invited to join the AARC.

Don’t forget to complete the form even if someone is writing you a letter.

If someone is going to write a letter of support for you they should read this information about letters of support.