InterAcT (Accomplish & Thrive) funded by EI and SFI within the ADAPT Centre at Trinity is a technology that aims to empower individuals and families by putting currently distant solutions online and in their hands.
The Oireachtas Committee on Autism recently heard about developments and the impact of assistive technology and other supports for autistic people developed by InterAcT. ADAPT collaborator at Trinity College Dublin’s School of Psychology, Dr Olive Healy, presented the research with Dr Ciarán Seoighe from SFI and Dr Lorna Houlihan from Maynooth University. The aim of the presentation was to provide an overview of research which aims to address individual, family and societal challenges that are experienced by autistic people and their families, many of which echoed submissions made to SFI’s Creating Our Future campaign.
The Joint Committee on Autism was established to consider matters relating to the services and supports provided by the State for autistic people. The Committee has 12 members, seven from the Dáil and five from the Seanad. The Committee Cathaoirleach, Senator Micheál Carrigy, said: “The Committee is interested to hear from Dr Ciarán Seoighe, SFI Deputy Director General, about Creating Our Futures – a forum that asked members of the public to suggest topics for research that could benefit the country. Members are particularly interested in the results relevant to the autistic community.”
Speaking at the event, Dr Healy said: “The theme that emerges involves ‘Science Communication’ whereby knowledge and effective solutions from research are made more understandable and accessible for uptake and use. I am committed to actionable research engaging with the public and involving families to improve person-centred and socially important outcomes.”
“A research to practice gap exists in health and education in Ireland, in relation to strategies for autistic people, to ensure that living a fruitful and satisfying life is a given.”
“Embracing these solutions is a welcome development to inform what will work for real lives. Whilst my research streams cover a wide variety of topics all have an overarching focus on promoting self-determination, empowerment and enabling greater choices.”
Examples of areas Dr Healy’s research team examines include:
Overall research goals are to build skills, minimise barriers, and optimise person-environment fit for supports.