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At ARCAP, we want our research to focus on identifying the best ways that Aspect can support autistic people and their families/carers to realise their goals and aspirations. To do this, we must first find out what issues matter most to autistic people and their families/carers, and what good autism practice and services look like for them.

What matters most to autistic people in Australia and their families in having a good life? What are their priorities for services and supports that can help them live their good life?

Where are the gaps in what we know about what’s good practice to meet the unmet service needs or autistic people in Australia and their families?

What do the autistic and autism communities in Australia identify as their priorities for research in autism practice about these unmet service needs?

The research

In line with Aspect’s participatory approach, at every stage of this project ARCAP researchers are collaborating alongside with autistic people and their families, to ensure the research is relevant, respectful and can positively impact the lives of autistic people and those who support them. As part of this participatory approach, the project is being shaped and steered by an Advisory Group (pictured) of autistic people, parents of autistic people, Aspect practitioners and researchers. The role of the Group is to:

  • Provide expert advice to inform the design and conduct of the project
  • Assist with the rollout of the project
  • Provide input to the interpretation of findings and the priority setting
  • Assist with the dissemination of results from the project.

The project comprises three consecutive research studies:

  • Study 1 will identify the priorities of autistic people in Australia and their families for autism services and supports.
  • Study 2 is a literature-based study to identify those unmet service and support needs for which there is no evidence or insufficient evidence as to what is good practice.
  • Study 3 will survey the views of the wider autistic and autism communities in Australia, and also Aspect practitioners to identify their priorities for research in autism practice, based on the list identified in Study 2.

Making a difference

We anticipate this project will generate a ranked listing of priority areas for research in autism practice in Australia which is based on the direct input of Australian autistic people and their families and carers. The findings will help ARCAP to direct our research towards the areas of autism practice that are aligned to the priorities of autistic people and their families and carers. The results may also provide valuable information for the future development of Aspect services and thereby inform Aspect’s organisation-wide approach to support − the Aspect Comprehensive Approach (ACA).

Research team

Project Convenor

Dr Trevor Clark, National Director, Research, ARCAP

Lead researcher

Kaaren Haas, Research Officer and Strategy Advisor, ARCAP

Research Advisor

Professor Liz Pellicano, Macquarie University

Research Assistants

Ainslie Robinson, ARCAP






Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect)