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Why

Twice-exceptional individuals include those who are gifted and Autistic.

The gifts and/or exceptional skills and talents of Autistic twice-exceptional students may be overlooked by teachers and therefore not taken into account when devising and delivering educational programs. This may hinder the development of this group of students during their school years and may affect their post-school employment and quality of life outcomes.

How can teachers better identify the gifts and/or exceptional skill and talents of Autistic students? How can educational programs support both the development of gifts and/or exceptional skills and talents, and the challenges faced by Autistic twice-exceptional students?

The research

Interviews with Autistic adults in Australia who display giftedness and/or exceptional skill and talents in at least one domain (intellectual, creative, social, perceptual or physical), will investigate facilitators and barriers to the recognition and inclusion of their gifts and/or exceptional talents across different periods of their lives:

  • Education
  • Employment
  • Home
  • Community

Who can take part?

You are invited to take part in this study if you:

  • Have a diagnosis of autism
  • Have a self-identified area of exceptional strength across the domains of intellectual, creative, social, perceptual or physical, evidenced anecdotally with examples of exceptional performance in skill area such as:
    1. maths/science/technology etc
    2. higher level tertiary and/or specialist vocational qualifications
    3. games of strategy e.g. chess/problem solving etc
    4. creative and performing arts including e.g. visual arts, writing etc
    5. leadership in the workplace or social justice e.g. Greta Thunberg
    6. perceptual e.g. taste or smell
    7. physical ability e.g. athletic prowess
Ainslie Robinson
Ainslie Robinson discusses this study on the exceptional abilities of Autistic adults

What will participants be asked to do?

Participants will be invited to fill out a short survey to collect some basic demographic data as well as information about their autism diagnosis and area of exceptional strength.

Participants will be requested to provide results of any former IQ tests or participate in an online assessment to verify self-identified exceptional ability. We will be as flexible as possible with timing to accommodate the needs of each participant.

Participants will then be invited to take part in a 10–50 minute semi-structured interview aimed at gaining an understanding of the facilitators and barriers across different contexts in their lives to date; education, employment, home and community.

Interviews will be conducted remotely with a member of the Research team by Zoom or telephone depending on participant’s communication preferences.

Register to take part

To take part in this study, you must first register by emailing Ainslie Robinson, arobinson@autismspectrum.org.au You will then be sent information about the study and a consent form to complete and return to ARCAP.

Making a difference

This is the first research study to explore the life experiences of gifted Autistic adults with the aim of providing information to better understand and better support the areas of giftedness and/or talent of Autistic twice-exceptional adults.

Research team

Dr Trevor Clark, ARCAP

Ainslie Robinson, ARCAP

Dr Geraldine Townend, University of New South Wales

Associate Professor Jae Jung, University of New South Wales

Started

2021

Ends

2022

Funding

Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect)

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