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This year, two Positive Partnerships team members were invited to present at the Asia Pacific Autism Conference (APAC) in Singapore. The conference theme was “Thriving with Autism” and the organising committee emphasised the importance of maximising all young people on the autism spectrum’s potential, by developing life-long skills and increasing their independence. This sentiment was echoed by many of the Keynote presenters who spoke about the important themes of mental health and wellbeing, transition to adulthood and how we can best support those on the autism spectrum across their lifespan. During his Neuroharmony Across the Lifespan presentation, Peter Vermeulen encouraged the conference delegates to think about; what makes the people they support on the autism spectrum happy? When are they cheerful? What are they good at?

In addition to attending the conference and being inspired by the international speakers, Positive Partnerships presented a paper by Jacqui Borland (Deputy Chief Executive Officer) where she shared the ten year journey of Positive Partnerships. Continuous improvement is a key value of Positive Partnerships and Jacqui was able to share how the program has evolved to further meet the needs of parents and carers and school staff. A second paper was presented by Alison Macrae (Team Leader, Pilot Programs) where she shared some innovative research conducted via our Text2Dads program. The program was aimed primarily at fathers of a child on the autism spectrum and was a collaboration between Positive Partnerships and the University of Newcastle, Family Action Centre.

Throughout the conference, delegates were entertained with the many talents of the students from a local school for students on the autism spectrum in Singapore during the conference opening with traditional drumming and a traditional dance. During each morning tea and lunch break students performed dances and songs to the 1800 conference delegates. The many varied performances of the students certainly showcased their strengths, interests and talents, supporting them to live their life to their fullest potential.