Department of Developmental Disability Neuropsychiatry (3DN)
The University of New South Wales (UNSW) aims to improve and transform lives. The Department of Developmental Disability Neuropsychiatry (3DN), located within UNSW’s School of Medicine, has the overarching mission “to improve mental health policy and practice for people with an intellectual or developmental disability”.
Working towards the vision of seeing the highest attainable standard of mental health and wellbeing for people with an intellectual or developmental disability, 3DN has several projects underway that utilise inclusive research or co-production methodologies.
Co-production in action
Researchers at UNSW and Autism CRC are undertaking The Australian Longitudinal Study of Autism in Adulthood (ALSAA), an ongoing program of research with the long term aim to identify and describe the comprehensive and unique profiles of Australian adults on the spectrum over the age of 25. The study utilises a Research Advisory Network (RAN) which includes nine advisors (eight autistic individuals and one carer). A recently published Cohort Profile outlines the ALSAA Inclusive Research Protocol which describes how the ALSAA RAN is engaged in the project. This protocol highlights key considerations, such as the sensory environment, to be aware of when engaging with autistic researchers or advisors.
Consultation, inclusive of autistic adults and autism community members, has occurred in the development of each data-gathering round of the ALSAA study. Autistic adults have guided the content areas of the ALSAA, and provide critique of interpretations arising from the study. The ALSAA has used inclusive approaches since prior to commencing in 2015.
3DN’s experience in co-production ensures inclusion of stakeholders and peer researchers. In all stages, from idea development to outputs, autistic adults or autism community members are engaged or consulted, as peer researchers, advisors, reference group members, co-facilitators, co-presenters or other means appropriate to the research question and design.