Developing the unique skills of people with autism and improving pathways to further education and employment will be explored in an autism seminar at Griffith University’s Mt Gravatt campus on Friday, April 21.
Emeritus Professor Patricia Howlin from the King’s College London, said most follow-up studies of adults with autism found that outcomes are poor with the majority of people unemployed and socially isolated.
She said studies of adults in Europe and the US indicate that employment rates, at best, are around 30 per cent and even among those who do find work jobs are mainly low level and poorly paid.
“But we now realise that many individuals with autism are of average or above-average intelligence and that a substantial minority also possess special skills or patterns of abilities that exceed those of the general population,’’ she said.
“How to make best use of such skills to enhance educational progress and facilitate entry into the job market remains a considerable challenge.
“In this presentation, I will review studies that have explored the prevalence of special skills and interests in individuals with autism and discuss how these can be developed in ways that improve educational, social and employment prospects.”
As an example, Professor Howlin said one of her young male patients had been fascinated by trains and planes from a young age and knew all their names and numbers, maintenance records and routes,’’ she said.
“He now works in the information office of one of the busiest stations in London, advising passengers about their train travel.
“So it’s capitalising on individual and valuable strengths like these that will enable people with autism to find employment and lead lives to their full capacity.”
Patricia Howlin is Emeritus Professor of Clinical Child Psychology at the Institute of Psychiatry, London and Professor of Developmental Disorders at the University of Sydney. She is a chartered clinical psychologist with a PhD in Psychology and a Fellow of the British Psychological Society. Her principal research interests focus on autism and other developmental disorders.
This seminar is the first in a 2017 series presented in collaboration between Griffith’s Autism Centre of Excellence and the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC) .
WHEN: Friday, April 21 – 9.30am-4pm
WHERE: M10_Room 5.02, 176 Messines Ridge Road, Mt Gravatt campus