"Nothing about us without us" how to include people with autism in research

How researchers can become more inclusive in their research practices will be detailed at the fourth Asia Pacific Autism Conference, APAC15, to be held in Brisbane from 9 to 11 September 2015.

Professor Sylvia Rodger AM, Director of Research and Education at the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism Spectrum Disorders (Autism CRC) in Brisbane, will provide concrete examples of how researchers can include people on the autism spectrum, and their families, in research.

"We know that listening and valuing the perspective of the lived experience of autism throughout the research process will lead to higher quality research practices and outcomes that will truly benefit people on the spectrum," Professor Rodger said.

"However, there is limited practical understanding about how to move beyond tokenism towards peer research. This will ensure that researchers work with people on the spectrum to not only set the research agenda, but take part in all aspects of the research process."

Researchers at Autism CRC have worked with adults on the spectrum to develop a Statement on Inclusive Research Practice as well as a series of Inclusive Research Practice Guides and Checklists.

"A key aim of Autism CRC is to assist researchers to more effectively and meaningfully engage with individuals on the spectrum at different stages of the research process."

The next step for Autism CRC is graduating the first cohort of peer research ready adults on the spectrum through our Research Academy. The Academy, the first of its kind in Australia, will also provide experienced researchers with the skills to work together as peers undertaking research.

"This implies mutual respect and value for each other's skills and expertise, as well as a shared understanding about how they might work together in partnership," said Professor Rodger.

"Putting people with the lived experience at the centre of our research will ensure our outcomes bring practical benefits to those living with autism."

Professor Sylvia Rodger AM will present Incorporating Inclusive Research Practices and Building Research Capacity within the Australian Autism and Research Communities as part of the morning plenary starting at 8:30am on Thursday 10 September 2015.

Early bird registrations close on Wednesday 15 July 2015 with concession rates available for people on the spectrum, parents/siblings/grandparents/foster carers and students as well as concession card holders.