This Sunday is Curtin University’s Autism Open Day where children and adults with autism, their families, and anyone interested in autism research can speak with researchers from Curtin University and Telethon Kids Institute.
The event will be held at Technology Park in Bentley and visitors will be able to participate in demonstrations of the newest technologies available and hear from parents and individuals with autism.
Professor Torbjorn Falkmer, Dean of Research, Faculty of Health Sciences and Program Director Autism CRC, said the Autism Open Day activities had been driven by the needs of people with autism and their families and this year would include a focus on research related to adults with autism.
“Australia will have 3,000 teenagers with autism turning 18 this year, all of them trying to find their place in society. There will be close to 200,000 adults with autism in Australia in the coming years,” Professor Falkmer said.
“Only one per cent of autism research worldwide focuses on autism in adults, yet the majority of people with autism are adults.”
Professor Falkmer explained Australia was ranked 21 out of 29 OECD countries for employing people with disabilities (53 per cent), but only 42 per cent of adults with autism are employed.
“Unemployed adults with autism are an untapped resource. They make excellent employees and are ideally suited for work in areas such as the ever-demanding software industry. For example, businesses could be utilising their outstanding talents to conduct quality assurance,” Professor Falkmer said.
“People with autism should be seen in Australia not as challenges, but as great opportunities and skilled contributors to the workforce.
“At Curtin’s Autism Open Day, researchers will be available to discuss autism risk factors, early intervention, sleep, emotions, social skills, and verbal or visual thinking. Information on employment, mentors, brain driven computer games, driving and teenagers transitioning to adulthood, will also be available.”
Held for the first time in 2015 and attracting over 350 people from the autism community, organisers this year expect to host between 450 and 500 people from the autism community.
Autism Open Day is on Sunday 17 July 2016 at Technology Park Function Centre, 2 Brodie-Hall Dr, Bentley, from 10:00am – 3:00pm.
More information and the event program and map can be found at https://news.curtin.edu.au/events/autism-open-day/.