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Autism Open Day showcases the talents of people living on the spectrum

Media release

The Perth community will have the opportunity to learn more about the talents that people with autism can bring to workplaces, education and the wider community at the upcoming Autism Open Day, hosted by Curtin University and the Telethon Kids Institute.

The Curtin Autism Research Group (CARG) invites adults and children with autism, their families and the wider community to attend the free annual event, which aims to address the strengths and skills of people with autism that can help support successful employment outcomes.

CARG Director Professor Sonya Girdler, from the School of Occupational Therapy, Social Work and Speech Pathology at Curtin University, said an estimated 230,000 Australians are currently affected by autism with 75 per cent of people diagnosed with autism being 19 years of age or younger.

“People with autism are ambitious and aspirational and possess unique strengths and abilities that can be harnessed in the work environment, often performing well in jobs requiring systematic information processing and a high degree of accuracy, precision and repetition,” Professor Girdler said.

“Employment can help improve the quality of life for people with autism, mainly through financial support, but also by encouraging personal dignity and improving their cognitive abilities. Currently, there is only a small amount of appropriate services available to support these adults, specifically in finding employment.”

Professor Girdler explained that the annual event offered a great opportunity for adults and children with autism to learn more about their skill set that could be utilised by potential employers.

“Autism Open Day provides a space that encourages parents and individuals living on the spectrum to join in on informative discussions about employment, meet autism researchers from Curtin and Telethon Kids Institute, see live demonstrations of the newest technologies available, and learn about engaging programs that support people living with autism,” Professor Girdler said.

“There will also be important information on key areas such as pathway planning for school leavers with autism, social skills training for teenagers with autism, emotion recognition training computer games, and peer mentoring programs for university students with autism.”

Visitors can learn more about the Autism Academy for Software Quality Assurance (AASQA), based at Curtin University, which is a social initiative with the goal of harnessing the strength of individuals on the spectrum and helping them find employment in software testing.

Professor Lyn Beazley, Ambassador of the Autism Academy for Software Assurance (AASQA), will deliver a keynote presentation titled, ‘Tapping the talents of people with autism’.

The Hon Stephen Dawson MLC, Minister for Disability Services, will officially launch the Neurodiversity Hub at Autism Open Day, run by the Autism Academy for Software Quality Assurance (AASQA) in partnership with DXC Technology, the world’s leading independent, end-to-end IT services company.

Autism Open Day, hosted by Curtin University and the Telethon Kids Institute, will be held in the Technology Park Function Centre, 2 Brodie Hall Drive, Bentley, on Sunday, 9 September 2018, from 10am to 3pm.

For further information, visit: https://carg.curtin.edu.au/2018/05/29/autism-open-day/