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autism Research Council, said things have changed a lot in the 24 years he’s been involved in autism research. As a person with autism himself, “I loved being part of the process. I loved being asked. I loved being visible. At no time did I ever feel I was a token autistic person. It was a true collaboration." his initial experience with the research world was very difficult. “I had all these academic ‘Financial Wellbeing of Autistic felt that before from any organisation Individuals Report’. Financial or group of professionals,” she said. qualifications but I was often the last independence and literacy is an person to be told anything – a box to area she feels strongly about, having influence how people with autism be ticked. My autism coloured what I seen first hand the impact financial are diagnosed, understood and was being asked, how I answered and hardship can put on a person’s supported. If you want this knowledge how I was being seen as a researcher,” mental and physical health. As part to reflect an authentic and accurate Dr Lawson said. of these research projects Gabrielle voice, then trust your own insights and has reviewed questionnaires, been expertise. Use this established avenue capacities with Autism CRC in the past involved in focus groups and in the to share your hard-earned wisdom.” four years, Dr Lawson is heartened by writing up of results. Since working in a number of the changes he has seen. “Working together with other “I loved being part of the process. “Academics have the power to The Autism CRC regularly recruits community members to participate in I loved being asked. I loved being coproduced research. If you would like people with autism, and with non- visible. At no time did I ever feel I was to get involved, visit the Autism CRC autistic people, valuing what is being a token autistic person. It was a true website and subscribe to their eNews. brought to a situation, listening collaboration. It’s the first time I ever www.autismcrc.com.au mutually to one another, is very, very beneficial and you can see the results,” he said. Gabrielle Hall at Autism@work; and opposite page, Dr Wenn Lawson. Trained nurse and naturopath, Gabrielle Hall, agrees. She took a leap of faith in 2017 and joined the Autism CRC Academy (now Sylvia Rodger Academy), which was established to provide skills development and experiential learning for adults with autism in a range of fields, including research coproduction, leadership and governance. That has led to her becoming confident, as a researcher, and in working with people with autism to produce guidelines for accommodating the needs of people with autism at events. Gabrielle also feels great reward from her involvement in ANZ’s linkonline.com.au autism 33