Adrian Ford (CEO) Announcement
Last week I announced my decision to resign as Chief Executive Officer of Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) in the latter part of this year. This advanced notice will allow the Board the time to undertake the recruitment process for my successor.
By then I will be in my 20th year as Chief Executive Officer of this wonderful organisation dedicated to serving people on the spectrum and their families. It has been an extraordinary journey as together with the Board and my many colleagues we have been able to grow this organisation from a small state-based organisation to a large national organisation with more than 1300 staff and a turnover of over $100m with networks across Australia and international links in the UK, Asia and the US.
Through it all we have remained true to our purpose of being a specialised autism-specific service provider with services across the age span that include diagnosis, therapy, education and services for adults. Each year Aspect works with more than 6,000 people on the spectrum. Aspect has one of the largest autism-specific educational systems in the world comprising nine schools and a network of satellite classes for nearly 1200 students. Our education program is focused on successfully transitioning students to the mainstream. Aspect also has extensive early intervention and therapy services and an expanding service to young people and adults on the spectrum under the NDIS.
Aspect’s commitment is to the best possible autism-specific practice that gives people on the spectrum the best possible outcomes. We have a single approach across all our services - the Aspect Comprehensive Approach. It is based on our ongoing research into autism practice that works and has at its heart the effective working relationship between the person on the spectrum and the staff member.
Aspect’s work is underpinned by its engagement with people on the spectrum at all levels of the organisation. The Aspect Advisory Council, comprising seven autistic people, advises the Board and Executive on matters relating to governance, strategy and risk. Aspect co-produces all its research with people on the spectrum and as well as receiving input into its operations. People on the spectrum are engaged in planning their services with staff and Aspect is committed to growing the number of autistic people it employs.
It has been a privilege to serve Aspect and the autism community for the last two decades and to work with such a dedicated Board and a wonderful team. I have greatly valued the commitment by Aspect’s many supporters and the rich network of connections with colleagues from many organisations across Australia and internationally.
It has been inspiring to have been part of the organisation during such a period of growth both in service provision and, even more importantly, in the much deeper understanding of autism so that the strengths, interests and aspirations of people on the autism spectrum can flourish.
Although I will be stepping down from this role, my plan in the future is to work with organisations in the areas of governance, strategy and risk as well as mentoring senior executives. In the meantime I am looking forward to my remaining period at Aspect.