Associate Professor Beth Saggers

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PhD (University of Queensland), MEd (University of Queensland), BEd (Queensland University of Technology), Diploma of Teaching (Queensland University of Technology)

Dr Saggers originally trained as a primary and special education teacher. During her thirty years of teaching experience she has worked across all educational age groups in a diverse range of educational contexts. A focus of her teaching has always been developing supportive educational environments for students on the autism spectrum (ASD) and for many years she worked across a range of educational contexts as an Advisory Teacher for ASD. As a result, much of her experience lies with working to support success for staff, parents and students with ASD of all ages within inclusive settings. Beth’s Master of Education Research focused on functional communication training for challenging behaviours in students with a diagnosis of ASD who were nonverbal. In contrast, her Ph D investigated supporting social skills and theory of mind in students diagnosed with ASD.  In her research, Beth has a strong interest in the educational perspectives of key stakeholders including students with a diagnosis of ASD. While a key focus is best practices for supporting students with ASD in schools, she also has a particular interest in:

  • supporting social emotional wellbeing and positive mental health
  • working with students with challenging and complex needs
  • providing supportive learning environments for ALL students, and
  • Supporting education stakeholders to implement best practices

Previously, Beth has led research projects on:

  • Perceptions of Secondary School Experiences by Students with a Pervasive Development Disorder (PDD): A Qualitative Study
  • Experiencing Bullying: Young People with Autism Spectrum Disorders and their Families

Beth is currently an active research participant in the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC) which is the world’s first national cooperative research centre focused on autism and takes a whole-of-life approach to autism focusing on diagnosis, education and adult life. As a key researcher in Program 2 of the Autism CRC which focuses on supporting students with an autism spectrum during the school years, Beth previously lead the development and implementation of the Autism CRC Australian Educational Needs Analysis (ASD-ENA). A project which produced the first Australian-wide needs analysis of autistic students (aged 5-16 years) and their educational needs from different stakeholders’ perspectives including the perspectives of students on the autism spectrum. She was also a key researcher in the Autism CRC Robotics Social Clubs in Mainstream Schools Project.

Currently, Beth is involved in a range of Autism CRC research activities and is project lead for the Autism CRC Early Years Behaviour Support Project (EYBSP) which is being implemented in a range of rural and remote settings with the explicit aim of developing a model (which incorporates a Teleconsultation (TCC) approach) to support the needs of young children with ASD and complex needs and their school communities. She also co-leads the Autism CRC School Connectedness Project (SCP) which aims to explore experiences and perspectives of autistic students, their parents and teachers in urban, rural and remote schools and implements a school connectedness program to support an inclusive school culture at an individual student, family and school level. Since the beginning of 2014 Beth has undertaken the role of Chair of the AEIOU Foundation for Children with Autism Research and Innovation Advisory Committee.

Projects (Chief investigator)