The International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) unanimously appointed its inaugural Autistic Researchers Committee.
While many autistic persons and allies have been championing research informed by autistic lives, this marks the first organized and recognized effort to directly involve autistic researchers in contributing to the course autism research. in addressing and collaborating on autistic research and the implications for the community.
The aims of the Autistic Researchers Committee is:
To better integrate autistic members into INSAR programs;
To foster scientific career development for autistic autism researchers;
To create opportunities for autistic scientists to offer their insights to allistic researchers and fellow colleagues;
To make INSAR conferences more accommodating and welcoming for autistic and other disabled members and participants;
To promote the inclusion of and consideration for issues important to autistic persons in INSAR meetings and in overall autism research across the sciences, social sciences, humanities, education, and other disciplines; and
To advise the INSAR Board on issues important to autistic people.
INSAR is a scientific and professional organization devoted to advancing knowledge about autism. INSAR was formed in 2001 and is governed by an elected, volunteer Board of Directors who oversee all functions of the Society. Various committees assist the Board in carrying out the mission of the Society. They are known internationally for the international conference that occurs annually, providing opportunities for researchers and stakeholders to examine the newest research, to foster connections and to network with professional from around the world.
The newly appointed members include:
BOARD LIAISON: John Elder Robison (he/him) Neurodiversity Scholar in Residence, William and Mary
CO-CHAIR: Patrick Dwyer (he/him), PhD Student, UC Davis
CO-CHAIR: TC Waisman (she/her) EdD Student, University of Calgary
Dena L. Gassner (she/her), PhD Candidate, Adelphi University; Adjunct Faculty, Towson University; National Board Member for The Arc US
Jac den Houting (they/them), Postdoctoral Research Associate, Macquarie University
Steven Kapp (he/him), Lecturer, University of Portsmouth Brett Ranon Nachman (he/him), PhD Candidate, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Dora M. Raymaker (they/them/any), Research Assistant Professor, Portland State University / Regional Research Institute for Human Services
Stephen Mark Shore (he/him), Clinical Assistant Professor of Special Education, Adelphi University; Adjunct Professor of Occupational Therapy, New York University
Thank you to all who took part in my doctoral research. Your input has been invaluable to understanding how higher education leaders, faculty, and staff can enhance services and outcomes for autistic students in higher education in Canada. A total of 108 interviews and questionnaires were completed by autistic students, Deans, faculty, and accessibility staff across Canadian universities. The next stage is to analyze the data, categorize it, establish themes, and develop theories. Following that will be the writing of the last 3 chapters of my dissertation which will lead to the final defence of my research in 2020.
I am honoured to be invited to sit on the newly formed advisory board of the UCASSP. Looking forward to beginning our work together developing strategies and support for autistic students at the University of Calgary to enhance their educational outcomes.
I am currently conducting doctoral research to explore the ways in which higher education leaders, faculty, and staff can enhance services and outcomes for autistic students in higher education. This study aims to map the effectiveness of current policies and practices available to autistic students in higher education and to identify the ways in which services and outcomes can be improved for autistic students through a better understanding of autistic students’ needs. The research has two components, a quantitative questionnaire and qualitative interview. There are three main groups taking part in this study. The groups are as follows:
1st Group: Autistic adults diagnosed or self-diagnosed, who have attended Canadian universities. This study is limited to Canadian universities only therefore attendance at colleges or trade schools even with university level courses, is not included in this study.
2nd group: Key informants who have experience with day-to-day practices that affect autistic students in roles such as faculty, student accessibility services staff, equity & inclusion services, human rights on campus, student advocacy etc. who work or have worked in universities in Canada. If you are diagnosed or self-identify as autistic, please let the researcher know.
3rd Group: Provosts, Assistant Provosts, Deans and higher education leaders in Canada because they have a unique perspective as leaders who influence and integrate policies that affect autistic students and their educational outcomes. If you are diagnosed of self-identify as autistic, please let the researcher know.
It’s official! Candidacy has been accomplished and the research has officially begun. The purpose of the study is to explore the ways in which higher education leaders, faculty, and staff can enhance services and outcomes for autistic students in Canada. This study aims to map the effectiveness of current policies and practices available to autistic students in higher education and to identify the ways in which services and outcomes can be improved for autistic students in Canada through a better understanding of autistic students’ needs.
Participants are currently being interviewed and data collection continues. I am grateful to all my research participants for their time, wisdom, and courage in speaking up and allowing their voices to make a difference.
Grateful to be one of five people from around the world invited to speak in Montreal for Story Collider…’the TED Talks of science’ & Spectrum News…news and analysis of advances in autism research. We comprised of autistic individuals, autistic researchers carrying out autism research (like myself), and non-autistic scientists who have been affected by autism.