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Some children on the autism spectrum show narrow areas of unusually high ability, while others demonstrate high capability for their age in areas such as intellectual ability, academic performance, art, music and sport. Teachers need specialist curricula and programs so that they can support these children make the most of their exceptional abilities and optimise their learning outcomes.

How do exceptional skills of children on the autism spectrum impact their learning, behaviour and social relationships? How can we design specialist curricula and programs that draw on their strengths?

The research

This research study is surveying parents/carers and teachers of school-aged children on the autism spectrum to gain a broad picture of exceptional skills in school-aged children on the autism spectrum.
In particular, the study is investigating the frequency and type of exceptional skills observed by parents and teachers in school-aged children on the autism spectrum, the relationship between observed exceptional skills and the child’s autism traits, and the alignment between parent and teacher report of these exceptional skills.
The study is being conducted in sites in Australia, the USA and China.

Making a difference

The findings of this study will provide more information about the exceptional skills of school-aged children on the autism spectrum, which can then be used to develop specialist curricula for these students.

Aspect research team

Dr Trevor Clark, ARCAP (Lead researcher)

Vicki Gibbs, ARCAP

Kaaren Haas, ARCAP

Ainslie Robinson, ARCAP






Griffith University, Brisbane

University of New South Wales

Treffert Centre, Wisconsin, USA

South China Normal University Autism Research Center, Guangzhou, China


Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect)
Neil and Norma Hill Foundation