September 11, 2023, by Communications

University of Nottingham Malaysia Partners with AIDA to Advance Autism Research and Advocacy in Malaysia

The University of Nottingham Malaysia (UNM) and Autism Inclusiveness Direct Action Group (AIDA), an autistic-led non-profit advocacy group has entered a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to advance autism research and advocacy in Malaysia.   

The partnership which was spearheaded by the university’s Mind and Neurodevelopment (MiND) research cluster under the Research and Knowledge Exchange Hub, aims to promote and encourage collaborative research, engage in joint activities, and enhance professional growth for both staff and students. The MOU signed on 16 August 2023 was represented by Prof Chris Gibbins, UNM’s Interim Vice Provost for Research and Knowledge Exchange, and Aida Othman, Chairperson and Co-Founder of AIDA. 

MiND is an interdisciplinary research cluster under UNM’s Research and Knowledge Exchange that is focused on conducting research to understand how conditions that arise from neurodiversity such as Autism, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Tic Disorder, Intellectual Disability and learning disorders or brain injury, affect children, young people, and adults. 

AIDA is an autistic-led non-profit advocacy group dedicated to promoting inclusion and self-representation of the autistic community across all levels of society and policymaking. Founded by Beatrice Leong, a late diagnosed autistic female, AIDA contributes from a diverse background of experiences and expertise and is committed to using its platform and expertise to make a positive impact in building a world that’s inclusive and supportive of autistic people, in Malaysia and internationally. 

A current project undertaken in this partnership is an opinion paper that will explore the state of the literature about autism research in Malaysia. Specifically, with this paper we aim to communicate to the public, academics, and policymakers in Malaysia, what shall be the priorities to focus on when working with autistic individuals and the community. We hope through this study, we can identify these priorities which will be led by the autistic community and serve as recognition of their lived experiences. Both MiND and AIDA aim to submit the research findings by early 2024, to “Autism”, a world-leading journal in the field.  

Apart from this, MiND and AIDA will work together in the future on other projects and expand the field of autism research in this region through the cross-collaboration of autistic individuals within AIDA’s network. These projects include: 

  • The implementation of communication boards in public spaces in Malaysia. 
  • The development of Media and Language Guidelines for Disability and a specific Autism chapter (with Content Forum). 

MiND and AIDA are excited to work together to advance autism research and advocacy in Malaysia. This partnership will help to ensure that the voices of autistic individuals are heard and that their needs are met.

Posted in Campus news