Autism in Rural Communities
The Val Lishman Health Research Foundation is working with Curtin University and the South West Autism Network (SWAN) to determine ways to improve quality of life for autistic children and their families.
The project involves obtaining a comprehensive understanding of the impact that an autism diagnosis has on families and trialling an innovative method of delivering potentially life-changing therapy to children on the autism spectrum.
VLHRF research manager Peter Heyworth said it was important people with the disorder received therapy to support their development as early in life as possible.
“Individuals on the spectrum have difficulty processing information and understanding the world in the usual way, and require assistance in developing their social, communication and fine motor abilities,” he said.
“But accessing specialist treatment is not always easy for people living in regional areas, with cost and time pressures associated with travelling away from home for assistance, creating hurdles.
“We hope this research project will lead not only to improved support for autistic children and but also give them more opportunities to live full and rewarding lives, while also easing pressure off their families.”
SWAN president Mark McAuliffe strongly supported the research project, saying he expected significant benefits to flow from it.
“Regional communities have special needs that do not arise in the city making service delivery difficult,” he said.
“We hope this project will raise awareness of the needs of our members.”