ACE is dedicated to providing a social dividend. It

Key AEIOU staff involved in the ACE initiative:
Dr A James P Morton
BSc (Med), Chairman and Founder, AEIOU Foundation
Mr Alan Smith
CEO, AEIOU Foundation
Dr Laurie Sperry
Regional Manager AEIOU Regional Autism Program,
AEIOU Foundation
Key Griffith University staff involved in the ACE
initiative includes:
Professor Jacqueline Roberts
Director, Autism Centre of Excellence
Professor Claire Wyatt-Smith
Dean—Academic (Arts, Education and Law)
Professor Debra Henly
Dean—Academic (Health)
Professor Greer Johnson
Director, Griffith Institute for Educational Research
Professor Donna Pendergast
Dean and Head of School, Education and Professional Studies
Dr Leonie Rowan
Deputy Head of School (HDR & Postgraduate Studies),
Education and Professional Studies
Professor Joy Cumming
Professor, Education and Professional Studies
Dr Amanda Webster
Lecturer, Education and Professional Studies
Dr Wendi Beamish
Lecturer, Education and Professional Studies
Dr Yoon-Suk Hwang
Lecturer, Education and Professional Studies
Dr Barbara Garrick
Lecturer, Education and Professional Studies
Dr Michael Davies
Lecturer, Education and Professional Studies
CRICOS No. 00233E
“ACE is dedicated to providing a social dividend. It is
committed to research and professional practice that makes
a difference for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.”
Professor Claire Wyatt-Smith, Dean—Academic (Arts, Education and Law)
For more information
Autism Centre of Excellence
Telephone: (07) 3735 5640
[email protected]
Discovery Takes Resources,
Expertise and Belief
Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) are lifelong conditions that
affect approximately 1 in 160 children and their families. Over 350
Queensland children are diagnosed with ASDs every year. Autism
Spectrum Disorders affect every part of a person’s life from how they
play and work, to how they learn and interact with family, friends,
and strangers.
Rates of Autism Spectrum Disorders are at an all-time high in
Queensland school children with figures released in April 2010 on
Education Queensland’s website indicating that 9978, or 2.05 per
cent of state school students in 2009, had a verified ASD status. The
incidence of ASDs is clearly increasing.
The majority of research surrounding Autism Spectrum Disorders is
from a health and/or clinical psychology perspective. However, ASDs
have a profound influence on a learner’s ability to positively participate
in educational settings. ASDs shape a learner’s educational experiences
as well as their wellbeing and success throughout their lifespan.
The ACE Partnership
In recognition of the escalating numbers of children diagnosed with
Autism Spectrum Disorders and the emergent education issues,
Griffith University has established the Autism Centre of Excellence
(ACE): a joint initiative with the AEIOU Foundation, Australia’s largest
provider of best-practice early intervention and support services for
children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Griffith University is a university committed to undertaking cutting
edge research to address educational needs. In the field of learning
difficulties, Griffith has a strong track record of successfully delivering
pre-service and postgraduate Education courses. The university also
has an established reputation for quality teaching graduates in the field
of Special Education, making it well placed to work with partners to
address workforce needs in ASDs education.
The AEIOU Foundation is a not for profit organisation dedicated to
providing best-practice, professional, full-time early intervention
programs of the highest quality for children aged 2 ½ to 6 who have
been diagnosed with autism. With a commitment to enhancing the
lives of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and ensuring that
every child is provided with the maximum opportunity to reach their
potential, AEIOU is the perfect partner to contribute to ACE.
Key Staff and Collaborative Strength
The strength of the Autism Centre of Excellence (ACE) lies in the
calibre of staff from both Griffith University and AEIOU Foundation
and the expertise, renowned nationally and internationally, they bring
to the ACE initiative. Along with the expert Griffith University staff
involved with the ACE, AEIOU Foundation brings a number of high level
state, national and international collaborations to the ACE initiative.
In addition to this, Griffith is investing further in the partnership by
funding an academic Chair in Autism Education and has already
recruited academic staff with strength in educational practice and
research in ASDs.
Further evidence of the strength of our partnership is the tripartite
agreement that exists between the Commonwealth Government,
Griffith University and AEIOU Foundation. Commonwealth Government
support of this kind is a clear endorsement of the Griffith/AEIOU
partnership which has informed the ACE initiative.
Our Vision for ACE—Where Do We Need to Go?
ACE brings together researchers, educators, service professionals, and
key opinion leaders in Autism Spectrum Disorders. The central focus
of the Centre will be the transition of learners with ASDs across the
lifespan—from home into schooling through to further education and
employment. ACE will also provide interdisciplinary expertise spanning
the Government’s Education, Health and Communities’ portfolios.
It aims to provide teachers and practitioners in multidisciplinary settings
with knowledge and skills in theory and practice for learners with
ASDs, as well as play an active role in research and the development of
evidence-based practice.
ACE will engage in interdisciplinary research, drawing on the
research and teaching expertise across the university including the
Arts, Education and Law Group and the Health Group. Researchers
and practitioners in education, clinical psychology and nursing will
contribute to ACE initiatives.
The ACE vision is to:
bridge gaps in the knowledge base relating to ASDs
n raise greater awareness of the importance of an education
centric focus for ASDs research and practices
provide specific preparatory training for pre-service teachers
and other professionals in meeting the academic communication
and socio-emotional needs of learners with ASDs
promote and provide capacity building for learning support in
ASDs for practicing teachers and other professionals
provide a platform for addressing ASDs through greater
collaboration and communication between the Department
of Education, the Department of Health and the Department
of Disabilities
The Plan to Success—How We Get There
Outcomes—What Will Success Look Like?
The establishment of the Griffith University ACE provides the
government and education sectors with a unique opportunity to
consolidate and build upon the individual strengths and investments
already made by Griffith and AEIOU in the ASD arena.
Research outcomes and community benefits of the Autism Centre of
Excellence will include:
It is essential that the Government address the educational issues
associated with ASDs via ACE’s pioneering six point plan that will
prepare the next generation of educators and further enhance the skill
set of current educators and practising professionals.
This innovative plan is the first of its kind in Australia and responds to
education workforce and research development needs. It comprises:
1. Bachelor Programs and Clinical Placements
This will be a four year undergraduate teacher preparation program
(Bachelor of Education: Primary and Bachelor of Education: Secondary)
within an education core course and dedicated electives focusing on
ASDs. Griffith is committed to offering the first embedded emphasis
of ASDs in teacher education.
2. Graduate Certificate and Master of Autism Education
The Graduate Certificate in ASDs will articulate into the Master of
Autism Education, both of which will be developed and offered to
graduates, practising educators and practising professionals working
with learners with ASDs.
3. Master of Education (Research)
The Master of Education (Research) offered by Griffith University
allows students the opportunities to undertake specialised research
in areas of their choice. This includes research into the diagnosis of
learning needs of, and interventions for, learners with ASDs.
4. Doctor of Philosophy
This research higher degree offers opportunities for a concentrated
and sustained focus on research into transitions for learners with
ASDs. Central to the research will be the progression of the learner
from home through stages of school learning, and into workplaces and
further education.
5. Doctor of Education
This professional doctorate program provides opportunities for
practising professionals in a range of fields (e.g. psychologists; teachers;
nurses) to undertake research relevant to their area of practice, with a
focus on meeting the needs of learners with ASDs.
6. Research
Some of the key issues being targeted in research intiatives include:
Transitions for learners with ASDs
Facilitating engagement and achievement in curriculum across
educational settings for learners with ASDs.
Experience of people with ASDs
Inclusion and belonging for learners with ASDs
Social learning and relationships of learners with ASDs
Cross cultural and Indigenous perceptions and experiences
with ASDs.
The establishment of a leading research and practice centre
of excellence to inform government policy at state and
national levels
n Research-based evidence into effective practice for improved
outcomes for learners with ASDs
n Enhanced education workforce capabilities to meet the needs
of learners with ASDs in Australian classrooms (P–12)
n Expanded research into effective interventions to meet the
learning, social and developmental needs of learners with ASDs
across the lifespan
n Research into transitions from Prep through to adult and
workplace learning, specifically addressing learning needs and
effective teaching and assessment practices
n Strengthened international networking to support practitioners,
policy officers and teachers
n Concentration of doctoral and post doctoral research and
postgraduate students working collaboratively on issues relating to
learning and ASDs.