Toward a greater understanding of autism and mental health: Highlighting differences and signposting risk

You’re invited

The Victorian Psychologists Association (VPA) is pleased to invite you to our Professional Development event for 2022 – on Friday 7 October 2022.

The Mental Health and Adult Autism Project (MHAAP) is an initiative that started at Monash Health in March 2021 to improve understanding of mental health needs for autistic people by providing consultation, education, and liaison support to clinicians in the mental health sector.

Dr Aspasia Stacey Rabba, Autism Coordinator & Senior Psychologist, Dr Wenn Lawson, Peer Worker, Dr Umesh Babu, Consultant Psychiatrist and Ms Chantele Edlington, Discipline Senior Speech Pathology will discuss autism in adulthood, the intersection with mental health, communication risks and vulnerabilities, the value of a diagnosis and how to instill strengths-based practice.

We look forward to you joining us

In solidarity
the VPA team

Introducing our speakers

Dr Aspasia Stacey Rabba is a Senior Psychologist in the Mental Health and Intellectual Disability Initiative (MHIDI), and the Lead Clinician and Coordinator of the Mental Health and Adult Autism Project (MHAAP) at Monash Health. Stacey is trained in Educational and Developmental Psychology with a Masters in Disability Studies and a PhD focused on family wellbeing following an autism diagnosis. She is an honorary-adjunct research fellow at La Trobe University and believes strongly in bridging the gap between research and practice and remains actively involved in autism research. Stacey has supported autistic individuals and their families for over 13 years across community, mental health, private and education sectors. She is passionate about improving individual’s quality of life and optimising wellbeing through strengths-based interactions and compassionate care.

Dr Wenn Lawson is an autistic lecturer, British psychologist, researcher, advocate, writer and poet who has passionately shared professional and personal knowledge of autism over the past three decades. He has written/contributed to over 25 books and many papers. Wenn is an Associate Researcher with Curtin University (WA), Macquarie University (NSW), Tutor Practitioner with the University of Birmingham’s (UK) Masters Autism course, member of the autism Co‐operative Research Centre (ACRC), member of the Autism Research Council, Australia, Ambassador for ‘I CAN’, Australia, and on the Editorial Board for the journal ‘Autism in Adulthood’. Dr. Wenn is a family man with autistic offspring and grandchildren. In 2008 Dr. Wenn was awarded 4th. place as Victorian Australian of The Year & in 2017 he presented to the United Nations on matters of Autism and ageing.

Dr S Umesh Babu MBBS MD FRANZCP works as Consultant Psychiatrist with Adult Community Mental Health Services and MHAAP (Mental Health and Adult Autism Project). Prior to joining Monash Health as Unit Head, Dandenong Adult Mental Health Unit in 2018 he worked over 11 years as Senior Staff Specialist with the Neuropsychiatry Services, in Hunter New England Health, Newcastle where he developed an interest in adult neurodevelopmental disorders, particularly autistic adults presenting with neuropsychiatric problems. Working with adults with neurodevelopmental disabilities at the Disability Assessment Services at St George’s Hospital Sydney added to his experience in assessment and treatment of adult autistic individuals with mental health conditions. Through MHAAP he hopes to raise awareness of autism among mental health care providers, and thus optimise treatment and care of autistic persons presenting to tertiary mental health services.

Ms Chantele Edlington is Discipline Senior Speech Pathology at Monash Health. Since graduating as a Speech Pathologist from Latrobe University in 2005 Chantele has worked across education, community health, private and mental health sectors. Chantele has worked as a speech pathologist, care coordinator and mental health clinician at Monash Health since 2010. She has extensive experience assessing and working with infants, children, adolescents, adults and their families and carers and has worked as part of the Early in Life Mental Health Service (ELMHS) management team since 2017. Chantele has a passion for public health, equity, and wellbeing, and completed a Master of Public Health in 2016 at Flinders University. In addition, Chantele is part of the Public Health Association of Australia, Mental Health Special Interest Group Committee and works as an associate teacher with Monash University. Chantele was previously the Senior Advisor of Justice and Mental Health at Speech Pathology Australia and continues to have strong links with the association.

Not already a member of the VPA? Consider joining today

Share This Post On