Autism Aspergers Advocacy Australia (A4) is a volunteer organisation. This means it relies completely on the efforts of A4 members to conduct its activities.
A4 is governed by its Management Group. The Management Group currently is 6 people comprising autistic people, people who live with ASD (mostly parents) and a few people (a minority) who work in service provision. Members of the Management Group are widely distributed ... so most communication is via email.
Since members are not paid, and have limited time, members will typically be most involved in doing things related to their personal interests. The things A4 does are the things that its active members are most interested in.
A4 formed to represent the views of autistic people, their families, carers and associates with particular focus on issues of federal government. A4 is a grassroot organisation (its members are individuals) that aims to involve members of the ASD community in its activities, organisation and operation. The Management Group developed a Vision and Mission that describe the primary purpose of the organisation. Hopefully, all A4's activities are fall within the bounds of A4's Vision and Mission.
A4's Vision and Mission are ambitious. We are not aware of any other organisation that aims to represent the diverse views found across the whole of the ASD community. To achieve this goal, A4 has at times to represent multiple views that may be conflicting or contradictory. This is challenging. So A4 needs its members, especially its active members, to appreciate and accept this difficulty ... and to respect the needs of the organisation to function despite differences among its members.
A4 operates over the internet. This means anyone who has access to the internet (and most Australians can access the internet) can participate. While it may be easier for organisations where people can meet face-to-face to function, A4 wants to include members who want to be involved, no matter where they live. A4 tries to run effectively over the internet despite the communication difficulties this incurs.
Basically, if A4 member(s) feels A4 should do something, the member(s) should expect to:
- write down how they think they can achieve a particular result
- share their thoughts about how they will do whatever it is with other A4 members, especially those who share their interest
- decide as a group the best way forward
- then implement their plan.
At this stage, A4 has minimal administration ...
- A4 has not endorsed a set of 'Rules' or a constitution.
- A4 has been run by a voluntary Management Group rather than an elected Executive and/or paid staff.
- A4 membership is free and unconditional to people who live in Australia.
- A4 is not a charity (at least, not formally ... since A4 has not got the required formal structure)
The existing situation relates more to the interests and priorities of A4's members rather than a particular philosophy or approach.
A4 Convenor, 2009 (revised 2016)