Autistic people are an important part of the Australasian Autism Research Council (AARC). Some autistic people are AARC members, and lots more autistic people have had their say when the AARC has asked the autism community what’s important for research.
The ‘autism community’ means different kinds of people who care about or work with autistic people. Some of the kinds of people who belong to the autism community are autistic people, families, the Government, researchers and people who help autistic people to have a say or have a good life.
Autistic people are an important part of the autism community. They also belong to their own community called the ‘autistic community’.
Autistic people as AARC members
The AARC has rules to make sure that important groups in the autism community are included as members. This means there are both autistic people and people who are not autistic working together. The AARC has a rule that at least three (3) members have to be autistic. One of the leaders of the AARC has to be autistic too.
The number of autistic people who are AARC members changes. When this webpage was written (August 2021), half of the members of the AARC were autistic people. Lots of AARC members are part of more than one important group in the autism community.
Autistic people telling the AARC members what’s important
Autistic people also have their say when the AARC asks the community what’s important for research.
The AARC is interested in what different groups in the autism community thinks is important. This means it listens to more than one group. Not everyone agrees on what is the most important. That’s one of the reasons the AARC tries to bring together lots of different kinds of people.
The AARC had a survey in 2019 and 247 autistic people took part as well as lots of people who weren’t autistic.
In 2020 the AARC invited groups of community members to come together and talk about important research questions. Some groups had more autistic people than others, but if you look at all the people in all the groups more than half of them were autistic. You can read more about the AARC and the focus groups project in this plain language summary or on the main page for the AARC.