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At Aspect, we’re continually working to improve our services and approaches to supporting people on the autism spectrum and their families, by applying the latest knowledge and evidence available and evaluating our services and programs for best practice.

To help us do this, we have our own dedicated team of researchers at the Aspect Research Centre for Autism Practice. The team works with Autistic people and their families as well as practitioners to identify real-world issues and conduct research to accelerate timely solutions that improve the everyday lives of people on the autism spectrum.

Latest projects

Parent participating in online workshop
Does participating in a self-compassion workshop improve the well-being of parents of Autistic children? Does the well-being of their children improve?
Graph 40
What are the experiences of Autistic women during pregnancy and in early parenthood? How can healthcare practitioners provide more effective support to women during this time?
Young children playing
Are there differences in the characteristics and behaviours of Autistic boys and girls in the early years? Could these differences account for missed or late diagnosis of girls? What could help or hinder early diagnosis of autism?
Group of adolescents
What are the post-school experiences and support requirements of Autistic students and their parents/caregivers in the year following graduation from an autism-specific school in Australia?
Autism assessment
What is the impact of newly diagnosed Autistic adults receiving post-diagnostic support?
Student and teacher at Aspect South Coast School
What are the experiences and support needs of Autistic students and their parents moving from Aspect primary schools to mainstream or other special education schools?
Uni life
How does the Uni Life program impact the lives of Autistic youth with an intellectual disability?
What are the travel experiences of Autistic individuals? How can we make airports a more welcoming space for everyone?
Autism alert card
How is the Aspect Autism Alert Card used in everyday life? What are the impacts of using the card?
Online learning 2 with screen sml
Would you like to learn how to be kinder toward yourself? We’ve developed the first online self-guided self-compassion program for Autistic adults. Complete the program for free!
Zones of Regulation
How is The Zones used in Aspect classrooms? What accommodations are teachers making? What are teachers' perspectives on the feasibility and usefulness of The Zones?
I Stock 172515725
How can we measure loneliness of Autistic people? What influences loneliness in Autistic adults? What can be done to support Autistic adults in reducing their loneliness levels?
Teachers and children in school classroom
What impact does training in trauma-informed positive education have on staff knowledge, confidence, well- being and practice? Are there any facilitators or barriers to implementing a trauma-informed approach?

Self-compassion programs

Output and impact

ARCAP’s research delivers impact across a broad range of services including autism assessment, autism therapy, childhood supports, schools, transition to adulthood, employment, community engagement and ageing

We partner with Autistic people and their families and autism practitioners to conduct research that informs Aspect’s work and aligns with the research priorities of Autistic people. Our work is published in peer-reviewed journals and disseminated widely through our networks. Our research is translated into evidence-informed practices that are respectful and meaningful to Autistic people.

Better education for Autistic students

Models of Practice video screenshot
Video: Models of Practice help teachers better support diverse learners (2:15 min)

School can be challenging for Autistic students and their families. Researchers at ARCAP help create better learning environments for students attending autism schools, mainstream schools and Australia’s first autism-specific distance education program. We find out what practices work and partner with educators to design programs that help students fulfil their own individual learning goals.


Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) strategies that are adopted school wide help educators set clear expectations that support students to learn and thrive at school. We surveyed educators from Australian autism-specific schools to find out their views and experiences of school-wide PBS and identify areas for improvement. Read more

Distance education

Traditional schooling is not always the best fit for Autistic students and their families. Some parents opt for distance education. We asked students, parents and teachers involved in Aspect’s distance education program what is working and what can be improved. Read more

Two boys in a classroom

Autistic adults have poorer educational, employment and quality of life outcomes than non-Autistic adults. A strengths-based approach to education may better equip Autistic students to transition into adult life. Our research is helping educators develop programs that take into consideration the strengths of Autistic students. Read more

interview between teacher and parent and child

COMPASS is a model widely used in the USA to develop individualised learning objectives and evidence-based teaching plans to help Autistic students reach their full potential. Our research found that adopting the COMPASS program resulted in students making greater progress towards achieving their learning goals. Read more

Rural school

Teachers often do not have time to explore new teaching practices. This Autism CRC flagship project developed a suite of teaching resources and strategies for educators who teach diverse learners. All the resources can be easily accessed via the online platform, inclusionED. Teachers who participated in the project reported improved confidence in teaching Autistic children. Read more

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Google Classroom was the primary tool used in Aspect schools to support remote learning. Our research showed teachers and parents of students were extremely positive and in support of Google Classroom. However, participants also said it is important to provide training, support and an alternative for those students and families who are not able to use Google Classroom effectively. Read more

remote learning

Aspect often receives requests from parents who are educating their child on the autism spectrum at home about where to access appropriate educational resources and supports. We surveyed families to find out more about their experiences of home education. The findings informed the development and delivery of Aspect services and resources. Read more

Teacher with students in classroom

In collaboration with the Children’s Hospital Westmead, we are investigating whether the Westmead Feelings Program – a therapy program to teach social and emotional skills to children – is an effective and feasible way to help children in specialist autism schools to improve their emotional competence, social skills, and mental health symptoms. Read more

Empowering and supporting Autistic people to thrive

TelePBS video screenshot
Tele-PBS resources support therapists (video: 1:40 mins)

To thrive in life, we need to feel positive, embrace learning, connect in meaningful ways and be resilient.

Our research helps build evidence-informed foundations and supports for Autistic people of all ages to develop the skills and capacities to thrive in life.

Self compassion

Self-compassion is being kind and gentle to ourselves. Our research found Autistic adults experience lower self-compassion than non-Autistic adults. ARCAP has developed the Aspect Self-compassion Program for Autistic Adults (ASPAA) to help Autistic people improve their self-compassion, emotion regulation and mental health. We conducted a pilot study involving 39 Autistic adults and found that after completing ASPAA the overall self-compassion of participants improved. A clinician version of ASPAA has also been developed for therapists and mental health workers to support Autistic clients on their self-compassion journey.

I am Autistic sign

Deciding whether or not to tell someone you are Autistic is a complex decision. ARCAP’s world-first study investigated the real-time disclosure experiences of Autistic adults. We used this information to design guides to help Autistic people make informed decisions about whether or not to disclose. Read more

People talking

To ensure we provide the best opportunities for people on the autism spectrum, we asked Autistic people and their families about what matters most to them to have a good life, and the issues that may prevent them from having a good life. We identified eight research priorities that are being used to underpin ARCAP’s research agenda and ensure that our work is respectful and relevant to Autistic people. Read more

Lived experiences of twice-exceptional adults

The strengths and abilities of Autistic students may be overlooked by teachers. This can hinder students during their school years and may affect their quality of life as adults. We asked Autistic adults who are also gifted and /or talented about what helped and hindered the development of their skills. This study will inform autism programs that focus on the inclusion of strengths. Read more


Positive Behaviour Support delivered using video conference technology or telepractice (tele-PBS) can support Autistic children in remote locations. Our research compares the experiences and outcomes of children using tele-PBS and face-to-face PBS. Findings from this study also informed the development of resources for behavioural therapist who deliver PBS via telepractice. Read more

Two people cooking

Only one in six Autistic adults live independently– a rate lower than adults with other disabilities. Autistic adults told us that living independently is important to them, however they require support to develop daily living skills, choose the right place to live and manage the organisational requirements of living independently. Read more


In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, Aspect introduced an online telehealth delivery model to conduct diagnostic assessments for autism. The project provided information about the suitability of telehealth assessments from the perspectives of Aspect clinicians, Autistic adults and parents of Autistic children. Read more

father and daughter on computer

ARCAP joined an international collaboration of more than 60 researchers in a project to investigate how Autistic people, people with special needs and their families across the world coped with the COVID-19 pandemic. The findings helped build an evidence base of the needs of Autistic children and their families during crises. Read more

Young adults on bus

Understanding and giving voice to people on the autism spectrum about their everyday life experiences is key to Aspect’s work. These studies gave adults and adolescents on the autism spectrum an opportunity to have their say about the awareness, services and support they need to achieve their goals and aspirations, and have since informed the development of Aspect’s services. The project was extended with the publication of the book Shining a Light on the Autism Spectrum: Experiences and Aspirations of Adults. Read more


Autism services are very limited in rural and remote areas of Australia. We investigated whether teletherapy could be an effective way to provide support and professional development for therapists in hard to reach locations, and to deliver autism therapy services to children living in these locations. Read more


This research study, led by Positive Partnerships, investigated if it is feasible and acceptable to engage fathers of children on the autism spectrum in a text-based intervention that is designed to reduce parenting stress, enhance parenting self-efficacy and enhance co-parenting competence. Positive Partnerships used the findings from this project to inform how we interact and engage with fathers. Read more

Creating a more inclusive world

For Autistic people, performing daily tasks and taking part in the community can be challenging. By carefully listening to the experiences and perceptions of Autistic people and their families, researchers at ARCAP find new ways to increase community understanding of autism and create a more inclusive world.

Collage of sporting icons

This study found a glaring unmet need and a strong desire within the Autistic community for more accessible and inclusive opportunities for physical activities. New insights about the barriers and facilitators will be used by Aspect Autism Friendly to help sporting organisations and groups create better opportunities for Autistic individuals to enjoy the benefits of physical activity. Read more

Social media icons

More than 3100 online posts about autism disclosure were analysed to find out people's perspectives and experiences. The findings emphasise the dire need to increase autism knowledge across employers, healthcare, and the general population. The study also highlighted Autistic people's need for more support in navigating potentially life-changing disclosure decisions. Read more


Autistic people are more likely to interact with police than non-Autistic people. We asked Autistic adults and parents of Autistic children to share their lived experiences so we could learn more about when, why and how interactions with police occur. ARCAP’s research led to the development of an autism training module that is being used by a number of police forces across Australia. Read more

Inclusive banking

There are low rates of bank use among Autistic youth, which indicates low levels of financial independence. We asked Autistic adults what helps and hinders their use of financial services. This information can assist banks to create more autism-friendly services and products. Read more

Inclusive beaches

Children on the autism spectrum are less physically active and have lower rates of community participation than non-Autistic children. Our research identified what made it easier and harder for Autistic children to be included in Nippers, an Australian-wide beach education program. Read more

Australian police

Little is known about Autistic people’s interactions with criminal justice professionals on a global scale. The Global Autism and Criminal Justice Consortium, conducted the largest research study to explore Autistic people’s perceptions of their interactions with the criminal justice system. A policy brief was devised to guide criminal justice agencies worldwide in making adaptations for Autistic people. Analysis of the research data will inform policy, strategies and future research directions. Read more

Shoe shopping

Autistic children can experience difficulties with wearing and shopping for shoes. We asked parents of Autistic children about their child’s experiences with shoes. The research findings indicated that an ongoing program of autism awareness training for shoe shop staff and a range of adaptations to services could improve the in-store experience for Autistic children and their families. Read more

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