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Respect. Accept. Embrace. Empower.

Our mission

At Reframing Autism, we want the Autistic community to be included, embraced and valued.

We want Autistic people to be active citizens.

It is our mission to help our community achieve these goals.

At Reframing Autism, we nurture Autistic identity and culture.

And we celebrate diversity in all its forms.

You can read more about our mission in our visions and values statement.

Our values

  • Reframing is about changing the frame through which we view Autism.
    +- Reframing is about changing the frame through which we view Autism.

    Reframing isn’t about changing Autism. It isn’t about changing Autistic people.
    Reframing is about changing the frame through which we view Autism. It’s about losing the stereotypes. And the stigmas. And the prejudice.
    It’s about changing our lens so that we see the strength in Autism. And the value. And the beauty.
    Reframing means acceptance, inclusion, equity and employment. And that means that we are free to be our Autistic selves.
    It means that people don’t just think that our Autistic way of being is acceptable or tolerable. It means they celebrate it as awesome.

  • The frame we’ve chosen to see Autism through is called neurodiversity.
    +- The frame we’ve chosen to see Autism through is called neurodiversity.

    The infinity symbol that forms our logo is the symbol of neurodiversity.
    Neurodiversity simply means we see Autism as valuable, worthy and natural. It means we think of brain differences as necessary and beneficial.
    We have used a repeated infinity symbol to make our special knotwork icon. The repeated infinity speaks to the infinite diversity of humanity.
    It also speaks to the interconnectedness of that diversity. We rely on diversity to make the world the amazing place it is.
    You’ll also see that we have a kaleidoscope pattern of colours in our infinity logo. When you look through a kaleidoscope, you see gorgeous colours and shifting patterns. What you see might be unexpected. It might be different each time you view it. But it is always beautiful.
    We think that’s a bit like Autism. Unexpected. Different. Beautiful.

  • Reframing Autism is special. We are run by Autistic people, and we employ and contract Autistic people.
    +- Reframing Autism is special. We are run by Autistic people, and we employ and contract Autistic people.

    We also bring Autistic people, and non-autistic families and allies of the Autistic community, together.
    Autistic people lead by sharing their lived experiences and their special knowledge and gifts.
    Together we grow to understand Autism and neurodiversity.
    Together we promote equity and acceptance.

  • We believe that if we have great expectations for a rewarding life, we will build optimism and hope.
    +- We believe that if we have great expectations for a rewarding life, we will build optimism and hope.

    We have great expectations that the Autistic community can be self-determined, resilient, active citizens.
    That Autism will be valued, esteemed and respected.
    That families and allies of the Autistic community will live better lives by embracing the Autistic community.
    And that our families will learn with us to build a supportive world that appreciates Autism in all its guises.

Reframing means acceptance, inclusion, equity and employment.

And that means that we are free to be our Autistic selves.

Our story

Melanie Heyworth began Reframing Autism in 2017. She was working for an organisation called Plumtree Children’s Services that provides early intervention for young children with disability.

She recognised that parents who didn’t know much about Autism could benefit from hearing from an Autistic adult.

Plumtree supported Melanie to start the group by providing financial support. They also provided the workshop venue and free childcare so families could come along easily.

Melanie and the Reframing Autism team are so grateful to Plumtree for believing in Melanie’s vision and supporting it to grow.

Reframing Autism’s first workshop had eight families. It grew quickly to fifty families. Then, in 2019, the NDIS gave Reframing Autism a grant to help it grow more. It allowed us to become an independent organisation. Plumtree has continued to help and guide us through this transition phase to independence by auspicing us for the grant.

We couldn’t do what we do at Reframing Autism without Plumtree’s initial belief and their ongoing support. We are also deeply grateful for the NDIS grant that allowed Reframing Autism to flourish and grow.

Have more questions? They might be answered on our FAQs page.

Meet our team

  • Dr Melanie Heyworth

    Dr Melanie Heyworth

    CEO and Founder
  • Sharon Fraser

    Sharon Fraser

    Business Manager
  • Sophie Ralston

    Sophie Ralston

    Program Manager
  • Ginny Grant

    Ginny Grant

    Communications Manager
  • Emma Marsh

    Emma Marsh

    Content Producer
  • Stacey Kirtley

    Stacey Kirtley

    Administrative Assistant
  • Kathy Isaacs

    Kathy Isaacs

    Chairperson
  • Dr Justine Noble

    Dr Justine Noble

    Director
  • Tim Chan

    Tim Chan

    Director
  • Deborah Boyd

    Deborah Boyd

    Director
  • Dr Erin Bulluss

    Dr Erin Bulluss

    Director
  • Kristen Callow

    Kristen Callow

    Advisor
  • Yenn Purkis

    Yenn Purkis

    Brand Ambassador

Meet our Autistic experts

  • Ally Grace

    Ally Grace

  • Anna Cristina

    Anna Cristina

  • Cadence

    Cadence

  • Dr Emma Goodall

    Dr Emma Goodall

  • Dr Jac den Houting

    Dr Jac den Houting

  • Jessica Harrison

    Jessica Harrison

  • Katy Reid

    Katy Reid

  • Kylieanne Derwent

    Kylieanne Derwent

  • Mandar Nelson

    Mandar Nelson

  • Michelle Swan

    Michelle Swan

  • Shadia Hancock

    Shadia Hancock

  • Dr Wenn Lawson

    Dr Wenn Lawson

  • William

    William

Our collaborations

  • Our Autistic friends

    Our Autistic friends

    Reframing Autism has the pleasure of collaborating with many Autistic individuals. We have a full list of the Autistic people we have worked with at our Autistic friends page.

  • Plumtree Children's Services

    Plumtree Children's Services

    Plumtree is a not-for-profit organisation that provides support for young children aged birth to 8 years old with a developmental delay or disability and their families.

    Plumtree’s vision is a society where children with disabilities and developmental delays, and their families, are supported to have a full life in the community.

    Plumtree believes that every child with a disability or developmental delay has a right to participate in family and community life. The Plumtree culture is truly supportive, based on integrity, respect, flexibility and genuine caring for each other, our communities and the work they do in partnership with families.

  • Reframing Disability

    Reframing Disability

    Reframing Disability was auspiced by Plumtree alongside Reframing Autism.

    Reframing Disability is a social movement of family peer-based leadership, by families for families, that aims to inspire a new generation of parents and carers with children who have developmental delay and disability to change outdated perspectives of disability.

  • Celeste Josephine Art

    Celeste Josephine Art

    Celeste Josephine Art was commissioned to create the stunning watercolour artworks that we use at Reframing Autism.

    A dreamer at heart, Celeste’s pieces are inspired by the thoughts and feelings swirling around inside her. Celeste describes each piece as a cathartic adventure.

    Celeste is a neurodivergent mumma and solo parent of three Autistic sons who are beautifully, unapologetically unique. Her amazing boys have taught her so much about raw, real love and true patience. The flowing colours found throughout Celeste’s work serve as a reminder to stay flexible, allowing life to ebb and flow, whilst staying firmly grounded in mind and body.

    Celeste’s work explores the fragility and breathtaking beauty of life, the loneliness and perpetual searching for a connection, the yearning to feel understood, the overwhelming love of motherhood.

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Whether you are Autistic, you love someone Autistic, or you work with Autistic people, we want to hear from you.

Anyone who is committed to achieving inclusion and acceptance for the Autistic community can take advantage of our educational program by subscribing. Subscription is free and offers you priority access to all Reframing Autism events.

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