Talented Staff from the Autism Association of WA present at Asia Pacific Autism Conference 2017


The Asia Pacific Autism Conference (APAC) was held at the Sydney Convention Centre. The conference provides a tremendous opportunity to bring together members of the international autism community from across Australia, this region and from around the world.

‘Growing with Autism’ was the conference theme, reflecting the shift in Autism research and practice to look beyond the early childhood and school years and focus on the whole lifespan for people on the spectrum.

This year a number of our talented staff presented:

Rebekah Saw – Manager of Outreach Services

You might not know her face, but if you’ve ever needed advice from the Autism Association, you’ll know her voice! Rebekah manages the autism advisory team – your first port of call when you reach out to us with a question.

At APAC 2017, Rebekah did a presentation about the road trip her team took around the Pilbara, training regional indigenous communities about Autism in children.

Mathew Johnson – Manager, Therapy and Clinical Services – School Age

You might recognise Mathew’s face from live feed at the HBF Run for a Reason earlier this year. Not only is he a keen runner, he’s also been working for us for over 5 years, in the School Age Therapy Service (which he now manages).

Whilst at APAC, Mat presented on how we can create Autism Awareness in schools and teach peers to understand Autism Spectrum Disorder. Where there is understanding we hope there is also acceptance.

Russell Thomas – Executive Manager, Employment

If you have Autism and need support to find a job you love, Russell’s team are working hard to achieve that for you.

Russell is the leader of our AIM Employment team who support people with Autism become work-ready, find jobs they enjoy, go through the interview process and provide on-the-job support to employers and employees when needed.

Russell spoke about Autism in the workplace at APAC 2017. We’re hoping there will be some business owners in the audience who will be inspired to employ someone with Autism!

Scott Miller – Research Coordinator, Early Intervention Services

Did you know the Autism Association is involved in research?

As a member of our research team, Scott works with Curtin University and our staff across multiple service areas on a number of research projects. Through our research we hope to learn more about Autism and the best ways to support people. Scott is also working on his PhD in his spare time!

Scott was at APAC 2017, talking about Autism diagnosis in older adults, including what we already know and what we need to consider for the future. 

Candy Payne – Senior Speech Pathologist, Statewide Consultancy

Candy works across multiple teams here at the Autism Association and develops informative and fun team building days for our staff.  Candy is also part of a team of Speech Pathologists who are working on a training resource for support staff to better communicate and support adults with ASD.

Whilst at APAC 2017, Candy spoke about our new Think Beyond Words resource and team building within organisations.

Michele Thomas – Senior Advisor, Community Living

Michele Thomas is a Psychologist and Senior Advisor at the Autism Association. Michele works with adults who live in a home of their own or share a house in our Community Living program. In each of her roles at the Autism Association, people with Autism and their families have been her greatest teachers.

Michele was at the Asia Pacific Autism Conference 2017 in September, presenting on incorporating key concepts from speech pathology, occupational therapy and psychology into a staff development program that is designed to increase the wellbeing and happiness of individuals with Autism.


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