Awards highlight best inclusive research practices

16 Dec 2020

Autism CRC is proud to announce the recipients of the 2020 Autism CRC Awards for Achievement in Autism Spectrum Research. This year’s winning project for demonstrating outstanding commitment to inclusive research practices was 'The hidden histories of late-diagnosed autistic adults: An oral history study' (Inclusive Research Award).

The 'Development of an autism specific quality of life assessment for use with autistic adults' project was also recognised in the same category, being highly commended. 

The annual awards recognise and celebrate research and development initiatives that exemplify the Autism CRC’s vision, mission and values. The awardees demonstrated high levels of engagement with autistic individuals and the autism community with projects that have the capacity to realise long term benefits.

The co-produced project, The hidden histories of late-diagnosed autistic adults: An oral history study, sought to preserve the stories of late-diagnosed adults and the lives they led before and after their diagnosis. The project team of autistic and non-autistic researchers co-designed and co-produced a study using oral history methods to investigate the life stories of 28 autistic people, aged between 45 and 72 years from diverse parts of Australia. 

One reviewer said, “The significance of this research is twofold: it is first worthy in and of itself in terms of representing and documenting the stories of a vastly under-represented neurominority (late diagnosed autistic adults).…Secondly, it pioneers a participatory approach to inclusive research that lays the foundation for establishing best practice protocols to achieve authentically co-produced research to benefit the autistic community.”

The project team was led by Professor Liz Pellicano from Macquarie University and Dr Wenn Lawson, and included Gabrielle Hall, Joanne Mahony, Dr Rozanna Lilley, Dr Samuel Arnold, Prof. Julian Trollor and Prof. Michael Yudell. 

View the project page 

The project, Development of an autism specific quality of life assessment for use with autistic adults, was highly commended for its co-production and inclusive research practices. As part of Curtin Autism Research Group (CARG) seeking to understand the quality of life of autistic adults from their perspective, PhD candidate Rebecca Kuzminski, Dr Wenn Lawson, Professor Sonya Girdler and Dr Ben Milbourn undertook a research study where participants were asked to take photographs to represent their quality of life. A selection of 47 photographs was then developed into an online Photovoice Gallery. This gallery, co-produced by autistic photographer Simon Phillips, offers an insight into the lives of autistic adults from their perspective through photography and spoken word.  

A reviewer said, “The project has produced beautiful case study images that capture the essence of individuals well. In addition to this, submissions are in place for two academic journal articles, ensuring impact within the academic field as well. Careful attention appears to have been made to inclusive practices both at the initial design phase, through to data collection and analysis of findings.”

Find out more and view the Photovoice Gallery

No projects were awarded in the Research Translation category in 2020. 

We thank all applicants for their contributions and efforts towards inclusive practices in autism research.