Autism in the Australian Workplace: The Employer Perspective
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Autism in the Australian Workplace: The Employer Perspective

Human Research Ethics Approval Number -  H19REA161

Autism in the Australian Workplace: The Employer Perspective.  An Exploratory Sequential Mixed Methods Study.


This project is being undertaken in fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). The purpose of this project is to develop and evaluate the effectiveness of a web-based awareness program for Australian employers of adults with Autism. The research team requests your assistance because you are an employer based in Australia. Whether or not you have an employee with Autism, your generous assistance will help provide important insights from the employer’s perspective and contribute to the development of employer intervention tools to support adults with Autism in the Australian workplace.  


Your participation will initially involve completion of an online questionnaire that will take approximately 15 minutes of your time.  A link will be sent to you via e mail which will take you to the questionnaire. Questions will include the characteristics of Autism, appropriate or constructive workplace adjustments, confidence in providing workplace adjustments and attitudes towards employing a person with Autism.  Following completion of this questionnaire, you will be asked to view a series of online videos regarding Autism.  You will be sent a separate link via e mail which will take you to the videos.  Each video will cover various aspects of Autism in the workplace.  This will take 30 minutes of your time.  After watching these videos, you will be asked to complete the same online questionnaire again which will take 15 minutes of your time.  In total, your participation will take approximately an hour of your time.  You can undertake the questionnaires and videos at any time that is convenient to you.

Your participation in this project is entirely voluntary. If you do not wish to take part, you are not obliged to. If you decide to take part and later change your mind, you are free to withdraw from the project at any stage. If you do wish to withdraw from this project or withdraw data collected, please contact the Research Team (contact details at the top of this form). You have the choice to not participate in the study, particularly if you feel uncomfortable about any power dynamics in your workplace.  No person in your organisational hierarchy should obligate you to participate in any way.  All your responses will be kept confidential and all reasonable steps will be taken to preserve your anonymity. Your decision whether to take part, to not take part, or to take part and then withdraw, will in no way impact your current or future relationship with the University of Southern Queensland.

Expected Benefits

It is expected that this project may be of direct benefit to you if you are employing or may consider employing a person with Autism in the future.  It is anticipated that the research will contribute significantly to the field of Autism and employment.  Specifically, it will provide important insights from the employer’s perspective to support the growing number of children who have become adults with Autism entering the workplace in Australia. As an incentive for your participation in this study, you have the option of being entered into a draw to win a Samsung Galaxy Tablet.  This draw will be undertaken at the completion of the data collection process for the entire project. Should you choose to be entered into the draw, you will be notified of the outcome via your nominated telephone number or e mail address.  


By participating in the questionnaire and viewing the awareness videos, there are no anticipated risks beyond normal day-to-day living.  The researcher has taken all possible steps to minimise any known potential, and any potential, but unknown risks.  You may choose not to answer any questions that you are uncomfortable with. If you are currently employing a person(s) with Autism, you are invited to discuss your participation with this person(s) who can assist you to decide.  While you may choose to advise your employee with Autism of your participation, those employees are not the subject of the research and no specific employees with Autism will need to be identified or consulted.  The research should not affect in any way the employment status of the person with Autism.   

Privacy and Confidentiality

All comments and responses will be treated confidentially unless required by law.  The online questionnaire is completely anonymous.  The names of individual persons are not required in any of the responses and in any written form in the research report.  In the extremely remote case of any person outside the Research Team gaining access to the data, they will not be able to identify you in any way. In accordance with Section 2.5.2 of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, this deidentified research data may be made available for use by other researchers unless this is prevented by ethical, privacy or confidentiality matters.  The data that is gathered may be published as scientific articles, as theses and presented at relevant conferences. Furthermore, in accordance with Section 4.4.3 of the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research, researchers must where feasible provide research participants with an appropriate summary of the research results.  Please advise the research team should you wish a summary of the results and how this should be sent to you. Any data collected as a part of this project will be stored securely as per University of Southern Queensland’s Research Data Management policy. 

Questions or Further Information about the Project

Please refer to the Research Team Contact Details at the top of the form to have any questions answered or to request further information about this project. 

Concerns or Complaints Regarding the Conduct of the Project

If you have any concerns or complaints about the ethical conduct of the project, you may contact the University of Southern Queensland Manager of Research Integrity and Ethics on +61 7 4631 1839 or email The Manager of Research Integrity and Ethics is not connected with the research project and can facilitate a resolution to your concern in an unbiased manner. 

Research Team Contact Details

Principal Investigator Details 

Dr Benjamin Wen
Telephone: 0481818670

Supervisor Details

Associate Professor Henriette van Rensburg
Telephone:  0746311211

Professor Shirley O’Neill
Email: Shirley.O’

Professor Tony Attwood


There are 97 questions in this survey.

Consent to Participate

Statement of Consent includes:

· Have read and understood the information document regarding this project. 

· Have had any questions answered to your satisfaction.

· Understand that if you have any additional questions you can contact the research team. 

· Are over 18 years of age. 

· Understand that any data collected may be used in future research activities related to this field.

· Agree to participate in the project.

Clicking on the ‘Submit’ button at the conclusion of the questionnaire and viewing of the awareness videos is accepted as an indication of your consent to participate in this project.