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Our History

Below is a timeline of progression of Autism SA through community engagement over the last fifty years. The organisation is an initiative started by ASD families in 1964; today we remain true to our beginnings and continue to support and empower individuals and families living with ASD.

2014 - Autism SA launches a new website that will enable the community to have a wider access to information and resources.

2013 - Autism SA empowers people living with ASD as it hosts True Colours - Asia Pacific Autism Conference in August 2013 and celebrates 50 years of autism services at the Autism SA International Gala Dinner 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow'.

2009 - A national fundraising campaign Drawtism: Play Pictionary for Autism was launched and use of branded Autism SA merchandise was established for sale in support of the organisation.

2008 - The office location moved from Myrtle Bank to Marion Road, Netley where the office is currently located.

2004 - Autism SA's corporate identity was upgraded to include a new logo and a new name 'Autism SA' that was well received by families, financial members and the wider community.

2000 - Autism SA was leading and coordinating the training of other professionals in the ASD diagnostic process in both regional and local health facilities.

1997 - Through the grant given by the Licensed Clubs' Association, based on evidence based research, a new Sensory Room was established in collaboration with Woodville Special School.

1991 - The organisation's first edition of The Autiser (community newsletter) was published in April to help raise community awareness and educate others in understanding ASD. The Clinic School was closed in preference of more inclusive education options, the Outreach Service - School Program- went from strength to strength. 

1990 - The Early Intervention Team developed the first information pamphlet about autism that was widely used by families, medical centres and other agencies as a means to create awareness.

1987 - The President of the organisation, Mrs. Lurline Tillett, visited Malaysia to provide support to children with autism. The trip was generously sponsored by the Australian Lions Foundation International. There was an opening ceremony in Kuala Lumpur which was televised and helped to increase public awareness of ASD on an international scale.

1980 - Appointment of the first Country Advisor allows for expansion of country services for children and their families living with ASD and established a community based pre-school unit that provided full day structured programs.

1979 - First edition of 'Autism - The Journal of the Autistic Children's Association of SA (Inc)' was published.

1975 - The office location moved from Unley to Fisher Street, Myrtle Bank.

1974 - The Association celebrated its 10th anniversary. The 10th Annual General Meeting was held in the Police Auditorium on Angas Street Friday 28 June. The Association established the states first autism specific 'Clinic School' and outreach service.

1973 - The office location moved from Marion to Greenhill Road, Unley.

1971 - The Association opened its first office along with a bargain centre at 67a Finniss Street, Marion. Mrs Hilary Johnson OAM, the first Director of Programs, would use about two-thirds of the office as a playroom where children and families can visit for an initial diagnostic assessment.

1969 - The Association led the way in forming a federal body of Autistic Children's Association of Australia.

1967 - Autism SA hosted the first national conference on 'Childhood Autism' held at the Adelaide Teachers college from 16 - 18 August, where it was proposed that a federal body of Autistic Children's Association of Australia should be formed.

1964 - Autism SA (then the Autistic Children's Association) was established by parents due to a lack of support and education of children with autism in South Australia.