Dr Trevor Clark, National Director, Research for Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect), who has been researching autism-specific programs and practices for over 20 years, said he had seen an explosion internationally in autism research focused on finding a cure for autism or the causes of autism, in the past couple of decades, but there was still much less research into programs and services to support people on the spectrum, their families and carers.
“In my view there is still a significant gap in the research into practices focussed on improving quality of life outcomes for people on the autism spectrum in the here and now, and supporting their families and carers, compared to the research into how and why autism occurs.”
Dr Clark made the comments at the launch of the new Aspect Research Centre for Autism Practice (ARCAP) in Sydney yesterday.
“Aspect has a long history of leading important autism research, and with the launch of our new centre we hope to identify new research opportunities, and translate future findings into programs and services that will actually change the way we work, and create a positive impact on the lives of the people we support.
“As a major service provider, Aspect’s research program helps ensure that our practices, programs and services are truly meeting the needs of people on the autism spectrum – we’re almost uniquely placed in the autism research world to do this, with direct access to the hands-on knowledge of Aspect’s practitioners and lived experience of the individuals who are on the autism spectrum and families who choose Aspect services.”
Dr Clark went on to say that one of the most positive changes in autism research in recent years has been the inclusion of people on the autism spectrum working alongside the research team to inform every stage of the research.
“ARCAP is committed to undertaking our research in partnership with individuals on the autism spectrum, their families and carers - this is referred to as ‘research co-production’. We’re very proud that Aspect was recently named one of the first Research Co-production Partners of Australia’s Co-operative Research Centre for Living with Autism.
“Co-production is at the heart of ARCAP’s first major project, in which we’ll be partnering with Aspect’s autistic and autism communities to seek their input into our future research agenda. This will help us to focus our research on how Aspect can provide services and supports that can make the biggest difference for the people on the autism spectrum and their families.”
To find out more about Aspect’s research work visit - https://www.autismspectrum.org.au/about-autism/our-research