Busy times at Sylvia Rodger Academy

23 Aug 2022

After so many COVID-19 interruptions, it’s been an exciting time at the Sylvia Rodger Academy, with three successful face-to-face workshops taking place in recent months.

In April, the Sylvia Rodger Academy held a Self-Advocacy@Work three-day workshop involving ten alumni. Working with the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network of Australia and New Zealand (ASAN AU NZ), Autism CRC has developed an inclusive co-design process to ensure effective and appropriate engagement for autistic individuals, many of whom are multiply neurodivergent, have multiple disabilities and represent intersectional communities such as the LGBTQIA+ community.

The Self-Advocacy​@​Work project aims to co-design, develop and disseminate employment self-advocacy resources by, and for, the autistic community. Self-Advocacy@Work upskills members of the autistic community in co-design, product development and inclusive practices.

This project will see a series of accessible multi-media tools and resources to equip and empower autistic individuals to advocate for themselves in the workplace. The group are now moving to content development and user testing ahead of release in 2023.

In June, our very patient 2020 Research Academy cohort finally got to meet in-person at a three-day workshop in Brisbane. Twelve autistic participants and six autism researchers have now completed the program which upskills autistic adults and autism researchers to work together as research co-producers. This ensures that what is being researched, and the way it is being researched is relevant to, and appropriate for, the autistic community.

Feedback from the course was very positive. One participant said, “I just want to thank you all, and say how much I loved this experience. I really enjoyed getting to meet and know you all, and... share our experiences together.”

The 2022 Future Leaders participated in a three-day residential workshop in Brisbane in July. The Future Leaders Program is Australia’s first holistic leadership capacity building program for autistic adults. It empowers autistic adults to explore and develop their leadership skills and networks to positively impact their communities. The 2022 Future Leaders: Community Projects Program is for those who have an idea that will make a positive impact in their community. The Program offers knowledge, skills and access to support and expertise to help participants turn ideas into an achievable project.

Feedback from the workshop was positive, with one participant commenting, “Thank you so much for, I am actually lost for words. Thank you for this program, I learned loads and felt home in my first program among peers. I am excited to see how we all grow and develop as we progress. Plus supporting each other as we need it.”

The Future Leaders Program is delivered in partnership with Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect). The thirteen 2022 Future Leaders are now working on developing and delivering their community projects, while undertaking masterclasses in chosen areas of skill development.

A board with Self Advocacy @ Work written on it, surrounded by sticky notes
A different group posing for a photo
Two people organising text on a board
A group posing for a photo