New autism care centre to open at Griffith

A new autism-specific early learning and care centre based at Griffith University’s Nathan campus will provide young Brisbane children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) access to specialist early childhood services.

With $4 million in funding from the Australian Government, AEIOU for Children with Autism, in partnership with Griffith, will deliver an Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centre for children up to six years old.

Associate Professor Deb Keen from the Griffith Institute of Educational Research said the centre would increase practical opportunities for undergraduate and postgraduate students to learn how to teach children with ASD.

“Griffith students can study special education at undergraduate level as well as at a graduate certificate or masters level,” she said.

“As AEIOU is a child-care based autism-specific centre, our students will be able to develop relationships with centre staff, children and families.”

Professor Keen is the lead researcher on an Australian Research Council project which focuses on early intervention and ways to engage children with ASD in learning.

She said the new centre would provide many opportunities for further research including more effective ways to enhance learning and the learning environment.

“It is important evidence-based practice is carried out to give children the skills they need to transition to school.”

The centre, one of six autism-specific centres to be established around Australia, will open early next year.