Awards celebrate inclusive practices and excellence in translational research with real world outcomes

Awards
Awards

Two projects received recognition at the annual Autism CRC Awards for Achievement in Autism Spectrum Research for their outstanding commitment to inclusive research practices and translation of autism research:

  • Goal Setting Tool for Adolescents and Adults
  • National Guideline for the Assessment and Diagnosis of Autism.   

The awards, which took place at the Australasian Society for Autism Research on the Gold Coast in December 2018, recognise and celebrate research and development initiatives that are exemplary of the Autism CRC’s vision, mission and values.

In the category of inclusive research practice, the winning project involved the development of a goal setting tool that enables autistic adolescents and adults to develop and prioritise their goals in areas including social participation, self-care/home living, study/training, work/employment, health/fitness, community access/participation, communication, financial management, and emotional wellbeing. 

The Goal Setting Tool for Adolescents and Adults gives autistic people a voice when planning their futures by ensuring that the goals they express are genuine reflections of self-determination. This project demonstrated an outstanding commitment to putting people with the lived experience of autism at the centre of the research and involved them in all aspects of the research.

During the first research phase, a list of items was generated in collaboration with autistic people who suggested additions of importance to autistic people, such as disclosure of autistic identity, self-advocacy and networking within the autistic community. The illustrations – which are the creations of David Smith, an autistic adult – were designed to be respectful of diversity in terms of ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation. 

The cards were refined twice in response to the feedback of 45 autistic people and 38 family members. Changes were also made to the manual to enhance the tool’s accessibility to a broad range of autistic people, particularly those with high support needs.

The autistic people who contributed to this recently completed research will be invited to co-author publications about the tool.

The National Guideline for the Assessment and Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Australia was developed in response to the call from the clinical and autism communities for a national and consistent guideline for autism assessment and diagnosis. 

The Guideline received the Research Translation category award in recognition of its outstanding translation of a comprehensive evidence-based review and community consultative research. 

Taking into account the needs of individuals from all age groups, genders, geographical locations and cultural backgrounds, the Guideline has received the highest recognition for both methodology and content. All 70 of its recommendations have been approved by the National Health and Medical Research Council. It was launched by the Ministers for Families and Social Services and Health in 2018 and has received widespread acclaim from the clinical and autism communities.

We congratulate the teams of both Dr Kiah Evans, the Coordinator of the Guideline development project, and Jill Asburner, the Project Leader for the Goal Setting Tool for Adolescent and Adults, for their outstanding work to enhance the lives of people on the spectrum. 

The awards were presented by Rob van Barneveld, Autism CRC Chair. To date Autism CRC has facilitated more than 60 research projects, producing practices, policy, products and programs that benefit autistic people and the autism community.