The team at the Aspect Research Centre for Autism Practice (ARCAP) plans, supports and implements research projects, including evaluations, to ensure the continuous improvement of Aspect services. ARCAP researchers also collaborate in autism research studies with other autism researchers across Australia and internationally, and share the findings of their research through publications and presentations. The expertise of our research team encompasses autism specific education, interventions, assessment and inclusive practices.
Trevor Clark, PhD, National Director, Aspect Research Centre for Autism Practice
Adjunct Associate Professor, Griffith Institute for Educational Research, Griffith University
Trevor is a researcher with a comprehensive experience and knowledge of educational programs, service provision and research related to the field of autism; his experience and knowledge is the result of 32 years in the field in New Zealand, England and Australia.
Trevor is a former recipient of the international Hollingsworth Award (Excellence in the Psychology & Education of Gifted students) for his doctoral thesis in 2001 (UNSW), which involved the trial of a differentiated educational curriculum for school-aged students on the autism spectrum who present with twice-exceptional (2e) savant skills.
He presents nationally and internationally on ARCAP’s translational research that is directed towards improving outcomes for Autistic people, and on ‘exceptional skills’ and autism. Major publications include:
(i) Exploring Giftedness and Autism – A study of a differentiated program for autistic savants. London. Routledge (2016)
(ii) co-authored Gifted Students with disability: twice-exceptional learners in Exploring Gifted Education. Australian & New Zealand Perspectives. London. Routledge (2018)
(iii) the chapter, A Curriculum to Support Students with Autism and Special Talents and Abilities in The SAGE Handbook of Autism and Education. SAGE (2019).
Trevor is an Executive Committee Member of the Australasian Society for Autism Research (ASfAR) and was the past President (2015–2016).
Vicki Gibbs, M Clin Psych, National Manager, Research and Assessments
Vicki is a clinical psychologist with specialised training and experience in the diagnosis and treatment of autism in children and adults.
Vicki is the co-author of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians’ consensus paper for paediatricians in the diagnosis and assessment of autism and numerous papers into autism assessment practices. She has provided consultation and training in relation to autism to a range of organisations including health and education departments and universities and was key to the development of Launchpad, Aspect's website assisting young people on the autism spectrum to navigate the transition from school to adult life.
Vicki is also currently undertaking doctoral studies in autism at Macquarie University, under the supervision of Dr Liz Pellicano. She is also the parent of a young adult on the autism spectrum.
Kaaren Haas, BSc, MA, Research Officer and Strategy Advisor
Kaaren is responsible for the design, implementation and reporting of numerous research studies for the Aspect Research Centre for Autism Practice. She also assists the team with strategy and planning, including communications with our communities about ARCAP’s research.
Kaaren holds a Masters in information research from University of Technology Sydney, majoring in qualitative research and information search. Her research interests focus on the experiences, aspirations and support needs of people on the autism spectrum, and strategies to enable participation in the community. Kaaren has authored journal articles in the field of autism and is a co-author of Aspect’s 2017 book Shining a Light on the Autism Spectrum: Experiences and aspirations of adults.
Kaaren was previously communication manager for a number of leading Australian corporations and a policy and research officer with the Australian government. She is also the parent of a young adult on the autism spectrum.
Ru Ying Cai, BSc, BIS, GradCertEval, PhD Postdoctoral Researcher
Ru has recently completed her PhD at La Trobe University with the Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre, examining emotion regulation and mental health in youth and adults on the autism spectrum. Ru has also conducted research in autism on the topics of tertiary education, employment and financial wellbeing, presenting the findings from this research at national and international conferences and publishing in various international journals. At the Aspect Research Centre for Autism Practice, Ru's research is currently focussed on the Inclusive Banking project for Beyond Bank. Before her career in research, Ru worked in information technology as a project manager and IT auditor.
Abigail Love, B.S., M.S., PhD Postdoctoral Researcher
Abigail (Abbey) is an educational psychologist with experience working as a teacher, advocate, and researcher. She completed her PhD at the University of Kentucky where her dissertation and advocacy work centred on educating first responders to better support their autistic community members. She has worked as a lecturer in inclusion in the international context, and has experience teaching school-aged students. In Australia, Abbey has most recently worked in education as a learning specialist focused on SWPBS and the education of students with challenging behaviour.
Genevieve Johnsson, PhD, Practice Leader (Innovation)
Genevieve joined Aspect in 2008 as a psychologist and has worked across home, centre and school based programs providing support to individuals on the autism spectrum and their families. Genevieve is currently employed in the role of Practice Leader (Innovation) and has overseen the research and implementation of Aspect’s tele-practice programs. This includes webinar training and online consultation programs for service providers, as well as tele-therapy for families in rural and remote areas.
Genevieve completed her PhD at the University of Sydney investigating models of technology-based training and support for rural and remote professionals. Genevieve is passionate about bringing services to underserved areas, and will be continuing her research with the University of Sydney Centre for Disability Research and Policy focusing on the delivery of Positive Behaviour Support via tele-practice.
Ainslie Robinson, BEd Studies, Research Assistant
Ainslie joined Aspect in 2015 as an autistic researcher for the Autism CRC project 2.037 Models of Practice, which has investigated and developed ways of supporting transitions in middle school for autistic school students. Her current work for ARCAP includes supporting the development and implementation of ARCAP's Exceptional Abilities studies in Australia, China and the USA.
Ainslie is also a member of the Aspect Advisory Council, a formal body in Aspect’s governance framework. Comprised of seven members of the autistic community, the Council provides advice to the Board and the senior management of Aspect on its strategy and operations.
Ainslie graduated with a Bachelor of Educational Studies majoring in social studies from University of New England, and is currently undertaking a Master of Arts (Sociology).
Ainslie is also the parent of a school-aged child on the autism spectrum.