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2017 WCGTC Biennial World Conference

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3.4.4 ‘Self-propelled learning’: Facilitating talent development in highly able individuals on the autism spectrum

The process of self-propelled learning was identified and investigated as part of a larger grounded theory study to explore talent development in highly able individuals on the autism spectrum. The study design uses grounded theory methodology (GTM) to analyse responses from 156 participants (adults with an autism diagnosis, parents, teachers, psychologists, mentors/coaches) from Australia, North America, and Europe. The results demonstrate that self-propelled learning is the most important process contributing to the outcome of asymmetrical thriving (high levels of achievement alongside coping with challenges associated with an uneven profile of strengths and weaknesses).


Susan Wade
Monash University

Susan Wade is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Education at Monash University. Her research focuses on gifted individuals on the autism spectrum. She has worked as a teaching associate at Monash University in gifted education and is also an experienced secondary teacher. She has given seminars and staff professional development sessions relating to education, giftedness and the autism spectrum. Susan has been awarded the Monash University / Herald Sun Victorian Graduate Teacher of the Year, a Creative Innovation Asia Pacific Innovation Leader scholarship, an ASfAR / APEX Autism Trust Award and the ASfAR Margot Prior Prize.

Leonie Kronborg
Monash University

Dr. Leonie Kronborg, Senior Lecturer and Co-ordinator of Postgraduate Studies in Gifted Education at the Faculty of Education, Monash University teaches gifted education at pre-service and post graduate level, and supervises PhD students with research interests in gifted education and talent development. She is past president of the Australian Association for the Education of Gifted Children and elected Executive Member of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children, 2013-2017. She gained the Vice-Chancellor’s Award for Teaching Excellence in 2013; is Co-Editor of the Gifted and Talented International journal and on the Editorial Board of Australasian Journal of Gifted Education.


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