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Sense and Sensitivity Exhibition

This exhibition Sense and Sensitivity: Immerse yourself in a sensory world will showcase the work of two neurodiverse artists from 17 November to 15 December 2021 at John Curtin Gallery, Curtin University.  Perth-based landscape photographer Simon Philips and Singapore-based musician and performance artist Dawn-Joy Leong joined creative forces to produce a series of sensory stories for public exhibition. All are welcome.

Date: 17 November – 15  December 2021

Time: Mon – Fri 11am – 5pm, Sun 12pm-4 pm

Venue: John Curtin Gallery, Curtin University, Bentley Campus

More information about the exhibition can be found here.

ExteND Testing: Superior software and data quality engineering through neurodiversity

Neurodiverse individuals, including individuals on the autism spectrum, have unique skills such as extreme attention to detail, increased pattern recognition, sustained concentration, and out-of-the-box thinking that make them very valuable employees.

Founded in 2019,  ExteND Testing based at Curtin University aims to provide superior software and data quality engineering services by harnessing the skills of neurodiverse individuals.

The services of  ExteND Testing is timely given the skills shortage in the technology industry, especially in strategically important and rapidly expanding fields such as software testing and data engineering. More importantly, the consultants at  ExteND Testing excel at and enjoy tasks that most software and data quality engineers find boring.

ExteND Testing is an initiative of the award-winning Autism Academy for Software Quality Assurance (AASQA) founded by Professor Tele Tan that provides individuals on the autism spectrum training, education and mentoring programs to create pathways to valued, long-term employment. Launched four years ago, AASQA has supported over 200 autistic high school autistic students through STEM clubs, placed over 30 high school students on work experiences at 12 companies, helped 17 students complete the International Software Testing Qualifications Board (ISTQB) certification examination, and created over 35 internship scholarships placing students at companies like BHP, Bankwest, Deloitte, Woodside, and Government Departments.

This initiative is financially supported by the Department of Communities Western Australia. Therapy Focus, the premier provider of disability services in Perth, the Curtin Autism Research Group (CARG), the WA Data Science Innovation Hub support this initiative through in-kind contributions.

To discuss your project and how ExteND Testing can support you, please contact Mortaza Rezae.

Strength-based coding clubs benefit autistic teenagers

Recent evidence suggests that strengths-based programs with activities tailored to focus on strengths and interests of autistic students may support them to develop their skills and realise their own potential leading to meaningful employment.

In a recent study, Dr Elinda Lee and her colleagues from the Curtin Autism Research Group have found that autistic teenagers who participated in strengths-based programs such as the computing coding clubs that focus on their strengths, interests and skills show improvement in

  • sense of belonging
  • confidence and self-esteem
  • health and well-being
  • social relationships and interaction
  • activities and participation

The full article can be accessed at this link.

Neurodiverse School Holiday Program

Firetech is launching two school holiday courses this April for neurodiverse students, please use the links below for booking or for more information.

Video Game Design (2 Days)

Coding with Python (2 Days)

View flyer


Support Group for Parents of Young Adults with Autism

This recently formed group is for parents of young people with autism in their final year of school, or those having recently left school, up to age 25.

We meet for an hour once a month at Curtin University to discuss programmed topics centred around how to support our young people during the time of transition to adulthood. Sessions are on an alternating weekday (mostly Tuesday or Thursday) from 5 to 6 pm. Refreshments are provided.

We plan to have occasional guest speakers with knowledge in this area.

For questions, please feel free to email:

Tanya Picen or Bahareh Afsharnejad

Curtin Research Team Award

The Curtin Autism Research Group (CARG) has won the Curtin Research Group of the Year. The Award is given for “Recognition of a team that supports inclusive behaviours, fosters research performance, increases collaboration across Curtin and with external partners and has achieved an exceptional outcome”. Congratulations to all members of CARG for this wonderful achievement!

Strengths-based Policy Brief

Autistica in UK has released the strengths-based action briefing,  a work in partnership with the Curtin Autism Research Group and the Karolinska Institute in Sweden, explaining why both strengths and challenges should be looked at when assessing autistic people’s needs.

View Strengths-based Action Briefing

Autism in the workplace

Professor Sonya Girdler, from the Curtin Autism Research Group, spoke about employment for autistic people and how workplaces can best support them.

Play Podcast

Policy brief on employment

The International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) policy brief on employment has now been endorsed and released.  CARG led this work in Australia in partnership with researchers from the USA and Sweden.

View policy brief

Marita’s sharing on inclusive research

CARG member, Associate Professor Marita Falkmer, gave a lecture on inclusive research related to the autistic community at Jönköping University, Sweden recently.