Griffith’s Autism Centre of Excellence has welcomed two new members — Dr Dawn Adams and Dr Kate Simpson — expanding itsexpertise in speech and language pathology, clinical and educational psychology and occupational therapy.

“This will provide students in the Graduate Certificate and Master in Autism Studies program with teaching in the variety of professional approaches relevant to autism,’’ says ACE Director Professor Jacqueline Roberts.

Dr Adams, previously with the School of Psychology at the University of Birmingham, is a clinical psychologist. Her research interests focus upon behaviour in young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (including Autism and rare genetic syndromes) and the impact of these behaviours on family members and those working with the young person.

She held more than $1,600,000 of grants within the UK, including a five-year Postdoctoral Fellowship from the National Institute of Health Research. Dr Adams is passionate about translating research into practice and regularly presents research findings to parent groups and clinicians to help promote their understanding.

“I’m excited to be part of a program of teaching that aims to make a difference to the lives of children and young people with autism,’’ she said.

Dr Simpson has more than 20 years of experience as an occupational therapist, teacher and researcher.Her current research focuses on identifying factors which impact on learning outcomes for individual’s on the autism spectrum.

“I am delighted to join the team and look forward to working with such a dynamic group of researchers,’’ she said.

Dr Simpson’s doctoral dissertation considered the effect of music on language learning for young children with ASD and severe language delay. As part of this research, she compared the impact of two intervention contexts on students’ learning and engagement.

Professor Roberts said she was delighted to have such a strong team.

“I can see us building on the solid foundation of ACE and making very exciting progress in both research and teaching as we continue to do all we can to improve the lives of people with autism and their families in the years to come.”

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