Autism research tackling anxiety – ‘critical’ to quality of life

Endeavour Foundation Chief Executive, Andrew Donne, has said that the charity is proud to support research into anxiety treatment for adults on the autism spectrum.

“Anxiety disorder can affect up to 84% of individuals on the autism spectrum, significantly impacting upon quality of life - above and beyond the effect of autism spectrum disorder itself,” Mr Donne said.

“We’re pleased that, through Endeavour Foundation’s Endowment Challenge Fund, we can support research which will make a practical difference in the lives of those on the spectrum.”

The grant will fund a series of animation videos, which will be employed within an anxiety intervention program for adults using Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT). This project is part of a wider Autism CRC research program to empower adults on the autism spectrum to improve their health and wellbeing.

Cindy Nicollet, lead researcher and Student Award recipient, said that this program is unique in targeting adults.

“Managing anxiety is part of everyday lives for many autistic people as the neurotypical world is filled with implicit social contracts and norms that can be very difficult to navigate. This can lead to increased anxiety and potentially social isolation,” Ms Nicollet said.

“A pilot program will run as a free anxiety intervention for autistic adults and we will be asking participants to provide feedback on its acceptability and appropriateness.”

Information gathered through the pilot program will be used to refine the anxiety program which can then be rolled out nationally to support thousands of autistic adults to manage their anxiety.

For more information visit www.autismcrc.com.au/adult-anxiety-program or contact Cindy Nicollet directly on 07 3163 2496 or c.nicollet@uq.edu.au .

For further details on Endeavour Foundation’s Endowment Challenge Fund go to www.endowmentchallengefund.com.au .