Victoria University & Young And Well Cooperative Research Centre Postgraduate Research Scholarship

This project will examine the psychosocial impacts on participants in a growing network of technology club for young people diagnosed with High Functioning Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome. Outcomes of this doctoral research study will include:

• New knowledge about the innovative deployment of technology (including multi-user computer games) in social contexts with young people diagnosed with High Functioning Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome, and;

• Innovative methodologies that accurately and ethically represent young people’s voices, including methodologies that involve the use of digital technologies.

The Lab ( is a growing network of ‘technology clubs’ for young people diagnosed with High Functioning Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome, as well as their parents and carers. Established in early 2011, The Lab currently caters for 150 families in eight locations in Melbourne, Sydney, Geelong and Darwin, with other locations in the planning stages. The Lab is guided by an incorporated not-for-profit company, The Lab Network Ltd, with a board of directors comprised of Lab and parents representatives.

All Labs offer personal mentoring in technology by programming and design professionals, as well as the chance to meet others and develop social skills in a relaxed and supportive environment.

The focus of the PhD project will be:

• The development of innovative research methodologies, informed or mediated by technology, that respond to the needs of young people diagnosed with High Functioning Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome, and that accurately reflect participants’ ‘voices’;

• The use of these methodologies to (a) better understand how the Lab works, especially in its interaction of the technological and the social; and (b) develop cross-Lab evaluations that accurately capture impact on participants and families; and

• The development of protocols and guidelines for new Labs that are designed to facilitate maximum positive impact, based on evaluation data.

For more details, please download the application form:



Hello. My name's Jon Brock. I'm a Research Fellow and Senior Lecturer at the ARC Centre for Cognition and its Disorders and the Departments of Cognitive Science and Psychology at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. My research focuses on cognitive and neural mechanisms involved in developmental disorders including autism, Williams syndrome, and Down syndrome. Publications can be downloaded here. My CV (pdf) can be downloaded here. As well as this blog, I've also written for the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative, the Thinking Person's Guide to Autism, and The Conversation. Translations of some of my posts can be found on the Spanish-language website Autismo Diario. This blog is for interest only and should not be seen as a substitute for professional advice. Opinions expressed are my own (at the time of writing).

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