Curtin University staff present autism mentoring program at Malaysian symposium

Theresa Kidd and Jasmine McDonald are giving presentations on Curtin University's mentoring program for students with autism at a Malaysian symposium.
Theresa Kidd and Jasmine McDonald are giving presentations on Curtin University's mentoring program for students with autism at a Malaysian symposium.

PERTH educators are giving presentations on a mentoring program for students on the autism spectrum at the first Autism Initiatives Malaysia symposium this week.

Curtin University’s specialist mentoring program managers Jasmine McDonald and Theresa Kidd are presenting at the symposium in Kuala Lumpur on July 13 and 14.

Dr McDonald said their presentation would outline how the program would meet the complex and individual needs of students on the autism spectrum.

“We know from the success of the Curtin specialist mentoring program that university students with autism consider the support they receive from trained, specialist mentors as an important tool to help them navigate university life,” she said.

“Showcasing programs like Curtin’s to an international audience at the Autism Initiatives Malaysia symposium will help other countries as they search for meaningful ways to support students to complete their university studies.”

Ms Kidd, a clinical psychologist, said she would discuss the link between autism and anxiety with research showing at least 50 per cent of individuals on the spectrum experienced co-occurring anxiety disorders.

“It’s necessary to better understand how anxiety is experienced and expressed by people with autism in order to be able to offer greater support throughout the mentoring process, and this program is a key step in doing that,” she said.

“Through this program, we have found that students not only feel supported but confident in their journey through university and into the workforce beyond that.”

The program has 48 postgraduate students mentoring 67 students with autism.