Last night, the Aspect Research Centre for Autism Practice (ARCAP) won the Inclusive Research Category in the 2021 Autism CRC Achievement in Autism Spectrum Research Awards for its landmark study to identify research priorities of Australia’s Autistic and autism communities.
The award recognises ARCAP’s outstanding commitment to inclusive autism research practices demonstrated through the Aspect Research Priorities Project, which will inform the future focus of ARCAP’s research.
“Genuinely partnering with Autistic people and their families in the design and implementation of our research and ensuring that we deeply listen to their perspectives is the only way to ensure our future research agenda is respectful and meaningful to people on the spectrum,” says Dr Trevor Clark, National Director of ARCAP.
“We are delighted to have been selected by the Autism CRC as the winner of this Achievement Award. It’s validation that our partnership approach to research is on track to providing the best opportunities for Autistic people and their families.”
Dr Clark received the award together with Krishna Sadhana, an Autistic social worker who is a member of the Aspect Advisory Group that shapes and steers the Research Priorities Project. Autistic adolescents were also consulted during the design and implementation of this project.
“It is not unreasonable to expect that Autistic people be authentically included in research about us, for us. Our expertise and guidance is not only of immense value, but is essential going into the future,” says Krishna.
“This project has set new standards for autism research. Trust Autistic people, we have all got this, together!”
The Research Priorities Project will fill a significant gap in the research literature by asking Autistic people and their families:
- How Autistic people in Australia and their families perceive a good life?
- What services and supports are the most important for a good life?
- What barriers Autistic people face in accessing these services and supports?
Findings from the study will help to direct Aspect’s future research towards services, programs and supports that are respectful and meaningful to people on the spectrum and their families.
The next phase of the Research Priorities Project is underway and researchers will soon be recruiting participants from Aspect services to complete a 10-minute online survey about what they perceive as a good life.
The Inclusive Research Category Achievement Award is the second Autism CRC accolade for ARCAP since its inception two years ago. In 2019, ARCAP was awarded an Autism CRC Award for Best Translation of Autism Research in recognition of research that led to the development of Australia’s first autism training module for police. Aspect was also endorsed in 2019 by the Autism CRC as one of its first Research Co-Production Partners.