The Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism Spectrum Disorders (Autism CRC) is the world’s first national, cooperative research effort focussed on Autism. This successful bid for $31m was led by Prof Sylvia Rodger from UQ and also involves QUT, Griffith University, Curtin University, UNSW, La Trobe University, UWA and many NGOs across Australia, including Autism Queensland. It will take a "whole-of-life" approach to autism focussing on diagnosis, education and adult life. The goals are to:

  1. Harness existing knowledge of ASD to ensure early and accurate diagnosis, and use breakthroughs in biological research to identify subtypes of ASD and the most effective interventions for these;
  2. Provide ASD appropriate educational environments and programs that optimise students’ social, behavioural and academic success, and equip teachers to manage even the most complex behaviours; and
  3. Improve opportunities for people with ASD to successfully transition to post school life, participate in higher education and employment, and identify best practice in physical and mental health management.

QCIDD forms part of Program 3, which aims to support adults to find a place in society. Prof Nick Lennox is leading a project to develop online tools and resources to improve health and wellbeing among adults with ASD.This project aims focus on the identification and management by general practitioners, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals, of the physical and mental health issues frequently associated with ASD.

Currently our research team is developing and trialling two evidence-based interventions for adults on the spectrum and the health professionals who support them. The first, led by Post-Doctoral Research Fellow Anna Urbanowicz is an adapted Comprehensive Health Assessment Program (CHAP) for adults and adolescents with intellectual disability who are on the autism spectrum (Autism CHAP). Second is an anxiety program led by PhD scholar, Cindy Nicollet, for adults on the spectrum without an intellectual disability.

Every year the Autism CRC put a call out for Innovation and Utilisation Projects. Our team was successful in receiving funding for one of the projects we submitted that involved the utilisation of health hub resources by adults on the spectrum with intellectual disability and their caregivers and successful in two other projects in which we are team members but not leaders, designing a 'health passport' for children, adolescents and adults with disability for use in the hospital setting and the development of 'health pathways' for children, adolescents and adults on the autism spectrum.

We continue to regularly update the ‘health hub’ on the Autism CRC website at www.autismcrc.com.au