Autism Spectrum Australia

Aspect Research team

Aspect's Research team plans, supports and implements research and evaluation projects to ensure the continuous improvement of Aspect services; collaborates in autism proejcts with other autism researchers; and facilitates external research projects involving Aspect clients, families or staff.

Trevor Clark, Ph.D., National Director Aspect Research and Senior Education Consultant; Adjunct Associate Professor, Griffith Institute for Educational Research, Griffith University

Trevor Clark is a special educator, researcher and author with a comprehensive experience and knowledge of educational programs, service provision and research related to the education of students on the autism spectrum; his career in autism spans three decades and three countries - New Zealand, England and Australia.  He completed his PhD in autism at the University of New South Wales in 2001 which involved a curriculum designed to make functional use of savant and splinter skills in children on the autism spectrum. Trevor is responsible for the Aspect Research program which is currently involved in 29 research and evaluation projects, and includes 18 Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Autism studies. He is also the Senior Education Consultant to the Aspect Schools program (8 schools, 113 satellite classes with student enrolment of 1100 students). Dr Clark resents nationally and internationally on education and research in autism.  He is the co-author of A Practical Guide for Teachers of Students with an Autism Spectrum Disorder in Secondary Education and in 2016 authored a new book published by Routledge UK based on his PhD thesis, Exploring Giftedness and Autism - study of a differentiated program for autistic savants. Trevor is a member of the Australasian Society for Autism Research (ASfAR) Executive Committee and served as the Society's President for 2015-2016.

Vicki Gibbs, National Manager Aspect Research and Assessments

Vicki is a clinical psychologist with specialised training and experience in the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) in children and adults. Vicki has presented at numerous conferences, workshops and training seminars including the Asia Pacific Autism Conferences, the Australian Psychological Association conference, the NSW Annual Local Court Conference and the National Sentencing Conference.  Vicki is the co-author of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians consensus paper for paediatricians in the diagnosis and assessment of ASDs. She has also co-authored a number of published papers into autism assessment practices. Vicki has provided consultation and training in relation to ASD to a range of organisations including health and education departments and universities. Vicki was also involved in the development of Launchpad, Aspect's website aimed at assisting young people with autism to navigate the transition from school to adult life.

Susan Bruck, Ph.D., Aspect Practice Research Officer

Susan is a researcher and educator. Susan has a keen interest in universal accessibility, and has many years of experience in teaching children and adults. At Aspect Susan is involved with many research projects and is a member of the Aspect Research Approvals Committee.

Before joining Aspect, Susan held lecture and research positions at Macquarie University. Her doctoral research provided evidence that watching three-dimensional movement on a computer screen can increase and individual’s anxiety level, under certain conditions. The findings are important for the development of educational applications, therapeutic interventions and entertainment programs.

Emma Fitton, B, Psych (Hons), Research Assistant 

Emma is a Provisional Psychologist with experience in delivering early intervention programs and psychological assessment and intervention to children on the autism spectrum. As a Research Assistant at Aspect, Emma is a member of an Autism CRC project team exploring ways of supporting transitions in middle school for school students on the autism spectrum. Previously, Emma has been involved in a CRC project exploring predictors of early intervention success and transition to school outcomes with AEIOU Foundation.

Emma holds a Bachelor in Psychological Science (Honors) from the University of Queensland, where she completed her honours thesis applying Attachment Theory to conflict in adult relationships. She is a current postgraduate student of the Queensland University of Technology, completing a Master of Psychology (Educational and Developmental). As part of her Masters studies, Emma is conducting research examining the responses of children with behavioural difficulties to alternative day-time napping practices in early childhood education and care settings.

Kaaren Haas, B.Sc., MA, Research Assistant

Kaaren assists with the design, implementation and reporting of research studies undertaken by Aspect, including those within the Autism CRC Programs.

Kaaren completed her Masters in information research at UTS, with majors in qualitative research and information search for the social sciences. Her research interests focus on issues of social, demographic and attitudinal change; social justice, equality and diversity; and behavioural aspects of public and mental health issues. In her studies she has completed original research studies on the non-help seeking behaviour of young people with mental health problems; social media activism for gender equality in Australia; an analysis of the study and work patterns of young Australians on completing Year 12; and has conducted numerous literature reviews. In 2014, Kaaren was the lead author on a report for the Autism CRC identifying what encourages and discourages adults in their participation in autism research and in 2016 co-authored Aspect's book Shining a Light on the Autism Spectrum: Experiences and Aspirations of Adults.

Prior to her work in information research, Kaaren held positions as communication manager for a number of leading Australian corporations and as a policy and research officer with the Australian government. She is the parent of a young adult on the autism spectrum.

Ainslie Robinson, B.Ed. Studies, Research Assistant

As a Research Assistant at Aspect, Ainslie currently works on the Autism CRC project 2.037 Models of Practice, which is  exploring ways of supporting transitions in middle school for school students on the autism spectrum. Ainslie graduated with a Bachelor of Educational Studies majoring in social studies from University of New England, and is currently undertaking a Master of Special Education at Macquarie University. 

 

Aspect Research team