The update is being led by a Guideline Development Group, that includes people with diverse perspectives, experience, and expertise. The group includes autistic adults; parents and other family members of autistic children, including individuals with complex support needs; an Aboriginal person; a person with expertise in ethics and research integrity; practitioners with experience across government and non-government sectors; and researchers with expertise in the guideline development process, including community consultation. Three members of the GDG for this Guideline update were also part of the team that led the development of the Guideline in 2018 (Andrew Whitehouse, Kiah Evans, Valsamma Eapen). Half of the GDG members involved in the update brought both professional and personal expertise relating to autism to the GDG, which was also diverse with respect to age, gender, and culture. Processes were put in place to declare and manage any potential conflicts of interest, consistent with the NHMRC and GRADE methodologies.
The Guideline Development Group is co-chaired by Dr Emma Goodall who brings to the role both professional and personal expertise in autism and Associate Professor David Trembath who co-chaired the development of the Autism CRC's National Guideline for supporting the learning, participation, and wellbeing of autistic children and their families in Australia.
Members of the Guideline Development Group
Mr Gary Allen
Gary Allen is the Senior Policy Officer Human Research Ethics and Research Integrity at Griffith University. Gary has worked in the human research ethics area since 1997, working with a number of research institutions, state and federal departments, private companies and research ethics committees internationally. He also has a degree in education and a professional doctorate in social sciences. Gary brings extensive experience in regards to the national and international governance of ethical conduct in research.
Dr James Best
Dr James Best is a General Practitioner and Chair of the Child and Young Person’s Health, Faculty of Special Interests Group, within the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. He brings experience working with children and families in the areas of behaviour, parenting and autism, and is extensively published in medical and mainstream publications on these and other child health topics.
Dr Nicole Dargue
Dr Nicole Dargue is a Lecturer within the Autism Centre of Excellence, School of Education and Professional Studies at Griffith University. Her research interests include factors impacting learning and communication in autistic individuals, with a focus on nonverbal communication including gestures. She is an accredited Clinical Neuropsychologist who brings experience working with autistic individuals of all ages when navigating the diagnostic process.
Prof Valsamma Eapen
Professor Valsamma Eapen is the Chair of Infant, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of New South Wales. An internationally-recognised child psychiatrist and researcher, Valsamma’s expertise combines extensive experience in childhood mental health and developmental disorders from a clinical and basic science research perspective.
Dr Kiah Evans
Dr Kiah Evans coordinated the development of the first Guideline from 2016 to 2018. She has held leadership roles in multiple research projects over the past six years that have focussed on exploring the perspectives of autistic adults, caregivers, clinicians and other key stakeholders in relation to assessment of functioning and diagnostic processes related to autism and other neurodevelopmental conditions. This included a large program of research to investigate the psychometric properties of existing assessment of functioning measures and supervision of doctoral research projects to develop new measures based on the ICF. Kiah co-led community consultation to evaluate the comparable guideline in New Zealand and was an international consultant for the development of a comparable guideline in Vietnam. She has qualifications and teaching experience in the field of health professions education.
Dr Emma Goodall (Co-chair)
Dr Emma Goodall is an autistic author, advocate, qualified meditation and mindfulness teacher, and adjunct research fellow at the University of Southern Queensland. She is the Manager for Content & Research for Positive Partnerships, Senior Industry Fellow at Griffith University, and also runs Healthy Possibilities, a consultancy offering personal life coaching alongside autism-specific continuing professional development for educators and families and National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) services (many with a link to interoception). Emma speaks widely on the topic of interoception and the role mindful body awareness plays in emotional regulation.
Dr Emma Goodall was Co-chair of the Guideline Development Group for this Guideline.
Ms Emma Hinze
Emma Hinze is a PhD candidate within the School of Applied Psychology at Griffith University. She brings lived experience as a parent and caregiver to her autistic son, as well as knowledge gained through her research and work with autistic adolescents and adults.
Mr Will Foster
Will Foster is an autistic adult who enjoys spending time with family and friends, building various Lego projects, engaging in the community, and enjoys making puppets, cooking, and exercising.
Dr Mandira Hiremath
Dr Mandira Hiremath is a general paediatrician at Western Health, is a board director for the Neurodevelopmental and Behavioural Paediatric Society of Australasia and has also completed further studies in public health. She has extensive clinical experience in the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder in children and additionally supporting children and their families through a range of mental health and developmental concerns.
Dr Wenn Lawson
Dr Wenn Lawson is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Curtin University, WA. Wenn is a Senior Researcher in the area of autism and supports PhD students through supervision, working on various projects, and is a member of the Curtin Autism Research Group (CARG).
Dr Rhylee Sulek
Dr Rhylee Sulek is a Research Fellow within the School of Health Sciences and Social Work, Griffith University. She brings experience in working with young autistic children and their families when receiving early supports and therapies, and the inclusion of key stakeholders in the co-production of research.
Dr Samarra Toby
Dr Samarra Toby is a First Nations Medical Doctor who specialises in General Practice. Dr Toby has an interest in nutritional and environmental medicine, aerospace medicine, medical ecology and First Nations Translational Health Research.
A/Prof David Trembath (Co-chair)
David Trembath is an Associate Professor in Speech Pathology at the Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University and Honorary Research Fellow at CliniKids, Telethon Kids Institute. He brings over 20 years of clinical-research experience working with autistic children and their families. David was Co-chair of the Guideline Development Group responsible for developing the Autism CRC’s National Guideline for supporting the learning, participation, and wellbeing of autistic children and their families in Australia.
David was the Co-chair of the Guideline Development Group for this Guideline update.
Dr Kandice Varcin
Dr Kandice Varcin is a Research Fellow at the Menzies Health Institute Queensland, Griffith University and Honorary Research Associate at CliniKids, Telethon Kids Institute. She is also a registered psychologist who brings experience and expertise in research focused on autism, early development and the evaluation of therapies and supports for young children and their families.
Dr Hannah Waddington
Dr Hannah Waddington is a Senior Lecturer at Victoria University of Wellington and the Clinic Lead of the Victoria University of Wellington Autism clinic. She is also a practicing educational psychologist who brings experience in provision of early support to autistic children and their families.
Prof Andrew Whitehouse (Co-chair)
Andrew Whitehouse is a Speech Pathologist and Angela Wright Bennett Professor of Autism at the Telethon Kids Institute and the University of Western Australia. Andrew is also the Director of CliniKids, a clinical research centre of excellence for autistic children, and is the Autism CRC's Research Strategy Director. He brings over 20 years’ clinical research experience in working with autistic children and their families. He also brings experience in Guideline development, having chaired the development of the original version of the National Guideline for the Assessment and Diagnosis of Autism in Australia, and co-chaired the development of the National Guideline for supporting the learning, participation, and wellbeing of autistic children and their families in Australia.
Dr Rachelle Wicks
Dr Rachelle Wicks is an autistic research fellow within Griffith University’s Autism Centre of Excellence. She brings lived experience as a late-diagnosed woman and professional experience in early literacy and assessment for young autistic children, as well as knowledge of the varied perspectives and needs of individuals within the autistic and autism communities gained through her research and work with autistic children, their families, and service providers.
Guideline Reference Group
A Reference Group has also been formed to support the update of the Guideline, comprising representatives from key stakeholder organisations from the autistic and autism communities. Further information about the Guideline Development Group and Reference Group members is presented in the Draft (updated) Guideline.