UOW webinar will explore ways of empowering neurodivergent communities, including ECEC

UOW webinar will explore ways of empowering neurodivergent communities, including ECEC

by Freya Lucas

March 29, 2022

The University of Wollongong will use a webinar to explore ways to empower autistic and neurodivergent communities of all kinds, including early childhood education and care (ECEC) spaces.

 

The one-hour webinar will be held on Thursday 31 March at 12.30 pm AEDT via Zoom and will highlight how community-engaged research, advocacy and partnerships empower autistic and neurodivergent communities and can help lead to wider societal change.

 

Being held ahead of World Autism Day (April 2), the Empowering autistic and neurodivergent communities through research and practice webinar will explore the ways in which neurodivergence (a term which covers a range of conditions including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Autism Spectrum Disorder, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, Dyscalculia, and Tourette syndrome) can offer a broad range of thinking styles and perspectives, provided there is inclusiveness amongst communities.

 

About 15-20 per cent of the global population are neurodiverse. In 2018, 205,200 Australians were living with autism, a 25 per cent increase from the 164,000 living with the condition in 2015.

 

While neurodivergence may present substantial challenges for those affected, their families and friends, it can also have many benefits, which the webinar aims to highlight.

 

Researchers at UOW believe working collaboratively and engaging with autism and neurodivergent communities to support the achievement and self-determination of individuals is key to improving the lives of all Australians on the autism spectrum and their families.

 

While a lot of research is being done focused on autism and autism practice work is needed to change the dynamic and work with  autistic and neurodiverse people on the things that they feel are the most important to making a difference in their lives, UOW’s Dr Amanda Webster explained. 

 

The frontline of autism research takes a whole-of-life approach, from early years, through school years and into adulthood and its success largely hinges on inclusive practises. Dr Webster’s work aims to merge teaching and research for sustainable impact.

 

“It is important that we engage with community partners and community agencies who are committed to ensuring that our society is inclusive to people with all kinds of perspectives including those with neurodivergent thinking and autistic individuals,” she said. 

 

Joining Dr Webster in the webinar will be a panel of experts in autism research and practice are Elizabeth Alyward (UOW) and Professor Sandra Jones (Australian Catholic University), who will discuss how working collaboratively with autistic individuals is an essential part of creating research and teaching initiatives that will lead to societal change and impact that makes a difference in the lives of autistic children, adults and families.

 

The webinar will explore the services, supports and needs of autistic people of all ages in Australia and how by creating inclusive, supportive environments, we can enable people on the spectrum to build their skills and ultimately empower them.

The Empowering autistic and neurodivergent communities through research and practice webinar will be delivered via Zoom, on Thursday 31 March at 12.30 pm AEDT. Attendance is free, and registrations are available here.

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