Autism research embraces inclusive approach – conference 

The latestautism researchwill be showcased attheAustralasian Society for Autism Research (ASfAR) ConferenceatGriffith University’s Gold Coast campus this week.

With more than100 contributors from across Australia and overseas,ASfAR2018 will highlight current advances in the major research disciplines investigating autism and the broader spectrum, including work led by adults on the autism spectrum, research with families, support services and the broader community.

Keynote speakers include

  • Professor HelenTager-FlusbergDeptof Psychological and Brain Sciences, Boston University

“Exploring language and communication in Autism from a developmental perspective’’

  • Professor Chris Oliver —Cerebra Centre for Neurodevelopment Disorders, University of Birmingham

“Autism and severe intellectual disability: Looking beyond the environment to understand behaviour’’

  • Dr Jacqui Rodgers —Institute of Neuroscience, University of Newcastle

Facing the unknown: Intolerance of uncertainty and anxiety in Autism Spectrum Disorder”

ConvenorDrJessica Paynterfrom the School ofApplied Psychologysaysthere havebeen two distinct shifts in autism researchin recent years— a move away frommainlyresearchingmales without intellectual impairments,to focussing on the needs of everyone on the spectrum includingfemales, and individuals across the spectrum of verbal and intellectual abilities.

“The other big shiftwe have seen isaddressing the needs of adults on the autism spectrum. As well as focussing on early interventions and young children and adolescents there is now more research on adults on the spectrum including those who may be diagnosed later in life,’’ she said.

“With the rise of autistic advocacy and a strengths-based approach, it’s a more inclusive approach that doesn’tpathologiseautism but embraces the different facets of everyone’s lives and unique needs.

The Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC) is a platinum sponsor of ASfAR.

Autism CRC Chief Research Officer, Professor Andrew Whitehouse, will be speaking at the conference, along with numerous Autism CRC project leaders and scholars.

“We are pleased to see the breadth of the program reflecting the expanding nature of autism research, in terms of inclusive practice and a whole of life perspective. We look forward to hearing of research that might further contribute to empowering autistic people to discover and use their diverse strengths and interests,” Professor Whitehouse said.