Co-production Partner: Curtin University

The Curtin Autism Research Group

The Curtin Autism Research Group (CARG) exists to make tomorrow better for people on the autism spectrum. Working towards this vision CARG supports the unique skills of individuals on the autism spectrum, with research guided by their needs and their experiences. Research programs are designed to facilitate independence, autonomy and engagement of autistic people, their family, peers and the community.

CARG has a number of resources available, including an outreach program developing pathways to employment and programs and tools facilitating the development of communication skills, social awareness and adaptability to social situations.

Since 2012, five autistic researchers (5% of CARG) have produced research driven by the autistic community in Western Australia and across Australia, in line with our philosophy. CARG also has established reference groups, maintains its ongoing commitment to engaging with end-user organisations and has a number of researchers with lived experience and several volunteers on the autism spectrum.

Co-production in action

Together with Telethon Kids Institute and the Autism CRC, every year CARG arranges an Autism Open Day, inviting children and adults on the autism spectrum, their families and extended families to hear about advances in autism research. The originator of it is a well-renowned autism advocate who has been employed by CARG. The day provides an opportunity for the community to meet with researchers and learn more about the latest autism research. This forum also serves to direct the future of CARG research agenda and identify opportunities for co-production. Parents of children on the autism spectrum and autistic individuals also share their stories and experiences. To date, more than 1,000 community members have attended CARG's Open Days.

Curtin Specialist Mentoring Program (CSMP) was initially established by two staff who were mothers of children on the autism spectrum, with support from Autism West. The CSMP is a specialised peer support mentoring program specifically designed for students on the autism spectrum. CSMP mentors help guide and support their mentees to reach their academic and personal goals.

CARG frequently organises free open community lectures at which world leading experts and CARG researchers present contemporary ideas in autism research and service delivery to Western Australia’s living with autism and their families and clinicians. Invited speakers have included world leading experts from Europe and the United States.

Find out more about Curtin University