CRC to improve lives of people with autism

Griffith researchers are working to help improve the lives of people with autism disorders.

Researchers at Griffith University will lead a national eight-year study of children and adults with autism as part of a new Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

“It’s a unique opportunity to research outcomes for children with autism and their families over a long period of time,” says Griffith Chair in Autism Professor Jacqueline Roberts.

“This research has the potential to improve the lives of people with autism and we’re very excited to be involved.”

With $31 million in funding announced by the Federal Government last week, Griffith University is one of seven university partners working to improve diagnosis and treatment of the disorder which affects more than one million Australians.

The Griffith researchers will study developmental progress of children with autism, including outcomes of interventions. Research will focus on transitions at different stages; from early childhood, primary and secondary school and into the workforce.

“It will enable us to better understand the key predictors of long-term outcomes for children and adults with autism including diagnostic stability,’’ Professor Roberts said.

“It also means we will be able to tailor services and programs for individual children with autism to ensure they develop their full potential and can participate in and contribute to society.”

Autism Spectrum Disorder, including Asperger’s Syndrome, is among the most severe, prevalent and heritable of all neuro-developmental disorders affecting one in 100 children.

Other CRC partners include:

  • Autism Queensland Inc
  • University of Queensland
  • Queensland University of Technology
  • Mater Medical Research Institute
  • AEIOU Foundation
  • Department of Education, Training and Employment Queensland
  • La Trobe University
  • University of NSW
  • Curtin University
  • University of Western Australia
  • Autism Spectrum Australia (ASPECT)

Autism Centre of Excellence

Griffith University launched the Autism Centre of Excellence based at its Mt Gravatt campus in 2012. The first of its kind in Australia, ACE is a partnership between the University and industry partners including AEIOU Foundation and the State and Federal Governments.

“The main focus of the centre is the transition of learners with ASDs across the lifespan, from home into schooling through to further education and employment,’’ Professor Roberts said.

Key research includes transitions for learners with ASDs, social learning and relationships, and cross-cultural and Indigenous perceptions and experiences.

The centre also includes the development of undergraduate and postgraduate programs.

“Our vision is to bridge gaps in the knowledge bases of ASDs and raise greater awareness of the importance of an education-centric focus for ASDs research and practice.”