Abi Thirumanickam

Dr Abi Thirumanickam

Lecturer

School of Allied Health Science and Practice

Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.


Dr. Abi Thirumanickam is a certified practicing speech-language pathologist and lecturer in Allied Health at the University of Adelaide. Her research focuses on critical areas within disability and inclusion, specifically Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC), communication access needs, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and the ethical considerations of assistive technologies.

Dr. Thirumanickam's expertise extends beyond academia, encompassing diverse clinical practice settings across public health and education. She demonstrates strong leadership within the University, serving as the Academic Portfolio Lead for Internationalisation and actively participating in the School Internationalisation Leads Network. Externally, she holds a significant executive position within the state branch of Speech Pathology Australia, contributing to clinical practice guidelines and serving on various advisory boards. This dedication ensures the profession remains at the forefront of inclusivity in communication support.

Dr. Thirumanickam's research on accessible gaming, particularly the innovative Minecraft™ project, has garnered significant global interest. Her work has attracted attention from academia, industry, and the broader community, leading to her participation in numerous radio interviews, televised presentations, podcasts, and contributions to scholarly publications. Furthermore, her expertise in AAC has fostered interdisciplinary collaborations and presentations beyond the realm of health sciences.

Dr. Abi Thirumanickam is a leading figure in the field of speech-language pathology, dedicated to advancing communication accessibility for all.

Abi's research interest and expertise are situated in interdisciplinary, community-focused, inclusive research practices. She leads and conducts research co-designed with industry partners and people with lived experiences to ensure that the research outcomes are meaningful in real-world contexts. Her research explores capacity building through accessible, cost-effective means to enhance inclusion and active participation for people with communication difficulties and differences, including those with complex communication needs and people who use augmentative and alternative communication. 

Abi is available to supervise Honours, Masters and Ph.D candidates

She is currently investigating the effectiveness of using off-the-shelf gaming to facilitate social collaboration skills development in autistic youth, in an extended study that is co-designed with autistic Minecraft consumers and industry partners. Her research has garnered intensive interest globally and in media attention. 

  • Journals

    Year Citation
    2024 Thompson, J., Verrall, C., Bogaardt, H., Thirumanickam, A., Marley, C., & Boyle, M. (2024). Responding to the real problem of sustainable resuscitation skills with real assessment. Mixed-methods evaluation of an authentic assessment programme. Journal of Evaluation in Clinical Practice, 11 pages.
    DOI
    2024 Thirumanickam, A., Rillotta, F., Walker, R., Watson, E., Balandin, S., & Raghavendra, P. (2024). Social Media Use Training for Adults with Intellectual Disabilities: A Pilot Study. International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 18 pages.
    DOI
    2023 Trembath, D., Stainer, M., Caithness, T., Dissanayake, C., Eapen, V., Fordyce, K., . . . Tucker, M. (2023). Spoken Language Change in Children on the Autism Spectrum Receiving Community-Based Interventions. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 53(6), 2232-2245.
    DOI Scopus4 WoS3 Europe PMC1
    2022 Trembath, D., Stainer, M., Caithness, T., Dissanayake, C., Eapen, V., Fordyce, K., . . . Tucker, M. (2022). Spoken Language Change in Children on the Autism Spectrum Receiving Community-Based Interventions (Mar, 10.1007/s10803-022-05511-4, 2022). JOURNAL OF AUTISM AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISORDERS, 53(6), 1 page.
    DOI
    2022 Koh, R. T. G., Thirumanickam, A., & Attrill, S. (2022). How are the mealtime experiences of people in residential aged care facilities informed by policy and best practice guidelines? A scoping review. BMC GERIATRICS, 22(1), 18 pages.
    DOI Scopus1 WoS1 Europe PMC1
    2022 Amery, R., Thirumanickam, A., Barker, R., Lowell, A., Theodoros, D., & Raghavendra, P. (2022). Developing Augmentative and Alternative
    Communication Systems in Languages
    Other Than English: A Scoping Review. American Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 31(6), 20 pages.

    DOI
    2021 Trembath, D., Sutherland, R., Caithness, T., Dissanayake, C., Eapen, V., Fordyce, K., . . . Tucker, M. (2021). Clinician proposed predictors of spoken language outcomes for minimally verbal children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 51(2), 564-575.
    DOI Scopus4 WoS3 Europe PMC2
    2019 Trembath, D., Westerveld, M. F., Teppala, S., Thirumanickam, A., Sulek, R., Rose, V., . . . Vivanti, G. (2019). Profiles of vocalization change in children with autism receiving early intervention. Autism Research, 12(5), 830-842.
    DOI Scopus14 WoS9 Europe PMC6
    2018 Thirumanickam, A., Raghavendra, P., McMillan, J. M., & van Steenbrugge, W. (2018). Effectiveness of video-based modelling to facilitate conversational turn taking of adolescents with autism spectrum disorder who use AAC. AAC: Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 34(4), 311-322.
    DOI Scopus12 WoS10 Europe PMC5
    2018 Thirumanickam, A., & Raghavendra, P. (2018). Video self-modeling is most effective when implemented alone, in a positive self-review format. Evidence-Based Communication Assessment and Intervention, 12(1-2), 12-17.
    DOI
    2011 Thirumanickam, A., Raghavendra, P., & Olsson, C. (2011). Participation and social networks of school-age children with complex communication needs: A descriptive study. AAC: Augmentative and Alternative Communication, 27(3), 195-204.
    DOI Scopus44 WoS41 Europe PMC20
  • Conference Papers

    Year Citation
    2024 Thirumanickam, A., Hobbs, D., Attrill, S., & Welz, N. (2024). Thirumanickam, A., (2024). Gaming and LEGO® Robotics with autistic students: Learning and Outcomes. Healthy Development Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia. In Thirumanickam, A., (2024). Gaming and LEGO® Robotics with autistic students: Learning and Outcomes. Healthy Development Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia. Adelaide.
  • Conference Items

    Year Citation
    2023 Thirumanickam, A., Shem, T., McMillan, J., van Steenbrugge, W., & Raghavendra, P. (2023). Thirumanickam, A., Shem, T., McMillan, J., van Steenbrugge, W., & Raghavendra, P. (2023). Developing conversational turn-taking using video-modeling intervention for autistic people: A systematic review. 32nd World Congress of IALP, August 2023, Auckland, New Zealand. Poster session presented at the meeting of 32nd World Congress of IALP, August 2023, Auckland, New Zealand.
    2023 Thirumanickam, A., & Moore, E. (2023). Thirumanickam, A., & Moore, E. (2023). Game-based interventions for children and young people on the Autism Spectrum: a systematized. 32nd World Congress of IALP, August 2023, Auckland, New Zealand. Poster session presented at the meeting of 32nd World Congress of IALP, August 2023, Auckland, New Zealand.
    2023 Thompson, J., Charlton, K., Thirumanickam, A., Prideaux, N., & Chen, K. (2023). Fusing Authentic Learning & Interprofessional Education: Re-imagining human bioscience education through the use of health care HUDDLE's. Poster session presented at the meeting of Abstracts of the Higher Education Research Group Adelaide Conference (HERGA 2023): The Future is Now!. Flinder University Campus, Adelaide: HERGA.
    2023 Thomas, K., Stanhope, J., Thompson, J., & Thirumanickam, A. (2023). Are the most accessible green spaces where they are most needed? A project proposal. Poster session presented at the meeting of International Environmental Physiotherapy Festival.
    2021 Thirumanickam, A., McMillan, J., Raghavendra, P., & van Steenbrugge, W. (2021). Video modelling and video self-modelling: Facilitating reciprocal conversation in adolescents with ASD using AAC. Poster session presented at the meeting of International Society for Augmentative Alternative Communication (ISAAC). Toronto, Canada.
    2019 Raghavendra, P., Rillotta, F., & Thirumanickam, A. (2019). SOCIAL MEDIA USE TRAINING FOR STUDENTS WITH INTELLECTUAL AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISABILITIES: A STEP TOWARDS CONNECTING STUDENTS WITH AND WITHOUT DISABILITY. Poster session presented at the meeting of JOURNAL OF INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY RESEARCH. WILEY.
    WoS1
    2019 Rillotta, F., Raghavendra, P., & Thirumanickam, A. (2019). PROMOTING INCLUSION AND POSITIVE ATTITUDES OF STUDENTS WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY THROUGH DISABILITY AWARENESS AND INCLUSIVE PHYSICAL EDUCATION CLASSES. Poster session presented at the meeting of JOURNAL OF INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY RESEARCH. WILEY.
    2019 Raghavendra, P., Rillotta, F., Walker, R., Thirumanickam, A., & Balandin, S. (2019). IMPACT OF SOCIAL MEDIA USE TRAINING FOR ADULTS WITH INTELLECTUAL DISABILITIES: A PILOT STUDY. Poster session presented at the meeting of JOURNAL OF INTELLECTUAL DISABILITY RESEARCH. WILEY.
    2018 Thomas, V., Thirumanickam, A., & Gunson, J. (2018). What qualitative evidence exists about the sexual health literacy of young women on the autism spectrum? A systematic review. Poster session presented at the meeting of Australian Society for Autism Research (ASfAR). Goldcoast.
    2018 Rillotta, F., Raghavendra, P., & Thirumanickam, A. (2018). Inclusion of students with disability at school: Impact of disability awareness training and physical activity on attitudes of students without disabilities. Poster session presented at the meeting of The Inclusive Education Summit.
    2018 Rillotta, F., Raghavendra, P., Thirumanickam, A., Walker, R., & Balandin, S. (2018). Outcomes of social media use training for adults with intellectual disabilities living in supported accommodation. Poster session presented at the meeting of Australasian Society for Intellectual Disability (ASID) conference:" Let's Shake it Up; Human Rights for Everyone. Goldcoast, Queensland.
    2018 Trembath, D., Westerfeld, M., Teppala, S., Thirumanickam, A., Sulek, R., Rose, V., . . . Vivanti, G. (2018). Vocalisation changes in children with autism receiving early intervention. Poster session presented at the meeting of American Speech Language Hearing Association (ASHA). Boston, Massachusetts.
    2018 Thirumanickam, A., Raghavendra, P., McMillan, J., & van Steenbrugge, W. (2018). Video-based modelling interventions for individuals with autism who use AAC: From research to practice. Poster session presented at the meeting of International Society for Augmentative Alternative Communication (ISAAC).
    2018 Thirumanickam, A., Raghavendra, P., McMillan, J., & van Steenbrugge, W. (2018). Video-based modelling interventions to teach conversation skills to individuals with autism: A systematic review. Poster session presented at the meeting of Speech Pathology Australia National conference.
    2017 Thirumanickam, A., Raghavendra, P., McMillan, J., & van Steenbrugge, W. (2017). Teaching conversational turn-taking to adolescent AAC users with Autism, using Video modelling techniques. Poster session presented at the meeting of Australasian Society for Autism Research (ASfAR). Melbourne.
    2017 Thirumanickam, A., McMillan, J., Raghavendra, P., & van Steenbrugge, W. (2017). Watch & Learn: Video modelling interventions to facilitate conversation skills in adolescents with ASD using AAC. Poster session presented at the meeting of AGOSCI 2017.
    2017 Rillotta, F., Raghavendra, P., Walker, R., Balandin, S., & Thirumanickam, A. (2017). Enhancing social networks of adults with intellectual disabilities with social media use training. Poster session presented at the meeting of International Association for the Scientific Study of Intellectual Disability. Bangkok.
    2015 Thirumanickam, A., Raghavendra, P., McMillan, J., & van Steenbrugge, W. (2015). comparison of video modeling and video self-modeling: Teaching conversation skills to non-verbal adolescents with ASD. Poster session presented at the meeting of Asia Pacific Autism Conference (APAC). Brisbane.
    2015 Thirumanickam, A., McMillan, J., Raghavendra, P., & van Steenbrugge, W. (2015). Video modeling and self-modeling: Facilitating conversation skills in non-verbal adolescents with ASD. Poster session presented at the meeting of Research in Special Education (RISE). Adelaide.
    2013 Thirumanickam, A., Raghavendra, P., van Steenbrugge, W., & McMillan, J. (2013). Effectiveness of video modeling techniques to develop conversation skills of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Poster session presented at the meeting of Asia Pacific Autism Conference (APAC). Adelaide.
    2013 Thirumanickam, A., Raghavendra, P., McMillan, J., & van Steenbrugge, W. (2013). Facilitating conversation skills using video modelling in verbal and non-verbal individuals with ASD: A systematic review. Poster session presented at the meeting of AGOSCI 2013. Sydney.
  • Theses

    Year Citation
    2017 Thirumanickam, A. (2017). The Use of Packaged Video Modelling and Video Self-modelling Techniques to Facilitate Conversational Interactions for Adolescents with Autism, who Use AAC.. (PhD Thesis, Flinders University).
    2008 Thirumanickam, A. (2008). Participation profiles of primary school children with and without physical disability and complex communication needs: The relationship between communication abilities, social networks and involvement in activities. (Undergraduate Dissertation, Flinders University).
  • Internet Publications

    Year Citation
    2024 Thirumanickam, A., Moore, E., Attrill, S., Welz, N., & Hobbs, D. (2024). The MinecraftTM Project: Facilitators and Families edition.
    DOI
  • Preprint

    Year Citation
    2024 Stanhope, J., Foley, K., Butler, M., Boddy, J., Clanchy, K., George, E., . . . Weinstein, P. (2024). “A variety of green spaces available to all”: knowledge of patient and community needs in natural spaces as understood by allied health professionals.
    DOI
    2024 Stanhope, J., Foley, K., Butler, M., Boddy, J., Clanchy, K., George, E., . . . Weinstein, P. (2024). Nature-based allied health: current practice, challenges and opportunities.
    DOI
  • Channel 7 Children's Research Foundation Annual Grant 2024: (39,950)
  • Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences Building Research Leaders Award 2024: ($15,000)
  • Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences Travel Award (2024): International conference ($3000)
  • Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences Travel Award (2023): International conference ($3000)
  • SAHSP Travel grant (2023) ($1000)
  • SAHSP Research Development Grant (2023) ($15000)
  • SAHSP Research Support Grant (2022) ($5000)
  • Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences Emerging Leaders Development Grant (2022) ($38,982)
  • Healthy Development Adelaide Travel Grant (2021/2022) ($1000)
  • SAHSP Conference Support Grant (2021) ($1000)
  • SAHSP Strategic Research Grant (2021) ($2500)
  • AGOSCI Annual Research Grant 2020 (2020) ($1000)   
  • Healthy Development Adelaide Travel Grant (2018) ($1000)
  • Flinders University Research Travel Grant (2016) ($500)
  • Golden Key International Honours Society
  • APEX AUTISM PhD RESEARCH GRANTS (2014)
  • Flinders University Academic Internship 2014 
  • Flinders University Research Scholarship (2012-2015)

2024

  • SPEECH 2000 - Communication and Swallowing across the lifespan (course coordinator & teacher)
  • SPEECH 2004 - Clinical Reasoning in Professional Settings (course coordinator & teacher)
  • SPEECH 3000 - Speech Pathology Assessment and Management A (course coordinator & teacher)
  • SPEECH 3003 - Speech Pathology Assessment and Management B (teacher)
  • HLTH1402- Foundations of Health and Wellbeing (teacher)

2023

  • HLTH SC 1400 - Biosciences in Human Health A (teacher)
  • SPEECH 2000 - Communication and Swallowing across the lifespan (course coordinator & teacher)
  • SPEECH 2004 - Clinical Reasoning in Professional Settings (course coordinator & teacher)
  • SPEECH 3000 - Speech Pathology Assessment and Management A (course coordinator & teacher)
  • SPEECH 3003 - Speech Pathology Assessment and Management B (teacher)

2022

  • HLTH SC 1400 - Biosciences in Human Health A (course coordinator & teacher)
  • SPEECH 1000 - Introduction to Speech Pathology Practice (teacher)
  • SPEECH 2000 - Communication and Swallowing across the lifespan (course coordinator & teacher)
  • SPEECH 2004 - Clinical Reasoning in Professional Settings (course coordinator & teacher)

2021

  • HLTH SC 1400 - Biosciences in Human Health A (course coordinator & teacher)
  • SPEECH 1000 - Introduction to Speech Pathology Practice (co-course coordinator & teacher)
  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2024 Co-Supervisor Is Positive Behaviour Support the most effective behaviour change instrument for NDIS child participants with level 2 Autism Spectrum Disorder? Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Cameron Stott
  • Other Supervision Activities

    Date Role Research Topic Location Program Supervision Type Student Load Student Name
    2024 - ongoing Co-Supervisor Is Positive Behaviour Support the most effective behaviour change instrument for NDIS participants? University of Adelaide Allied Health Science and Practice Doctorate Full Time Cameron Stott
    2022 - ongoing External Supervisor Working title: Self-reporting pain for children with Cerebral Palsy and complex communication needs University of South Australia - Doctorate Full Time Emily Moore
  • Board Memberships

    Date Role Board name Institution name Country
    2021 - ongoing Advisory Board Member Supported Decision-Making in Behaviour Support Flinders University & Council for Intellectual Disability Australia
    2021 - ongoing Advisory Board Member ILC grant - SPA and AGOSCI: Communication Hub Speech Pathology Australia and AGOSCI Australia
    2021 - ongoing Member Working group: Practice Guidelines for Autism Spectrum Disorder Speech Pathology Australia Australia
  • Committee Memberships

    Date Role Committee Institution Country
    2023 - ongoing Member Low Risk Human Research Ethics Committee University of Adelaide Australia
    2022 - ongoing Treasurer Speech Pathology Australia- SA branch Speech Pathology Australia Australia
    2022 - ongoing Representative School Internationalisation Lead Network University of Adelaied Australia
    2021 - ongoing Member Speech Pathology Australia- SA Branch Professional Education Committee Speech Pathology Australia Australia
    2020 - ongoing Member SAHSP Research Committee University of Adelaide Australia
  • Memberships

    Date Role Membership Country
    2021 - ongoing Member American Speech Language Hearing Association - International affiliate United States
    2020 - ongoing Member AGOSCI Australia
    2017 - ongoing Member Healthy Development Adelaide Australia
    2016 - ongoing Member International Society of Augmentative and Alternative Communication Canada
    2016 - ongoing Member Australasian Society for Autism Research Australia
    2009 - ongoing Member Speech Pathology Australia Australia
    2006 - ongoing Member Golden Key International Honour Society Australia
  • Community Engagement

    Date Title Engagement Type Institution Country
    2023 - ongoing Creative mode: Can playing Minecraft help autistic kids build social skills? Public Community Engagement Cosmos Science City Magazine Australia
  • Consulting/Advisories

    Date Institution Department Organisation Type Country
    2024 - ongoing Speech Pathology Australia Speech Pathology Business and professional Australia
  • Event Participation

    Date Event Name Event Type Institution Country
    2023 - ongoing Cosmos Science CIty The Emerging Video Gaming Industry Consumer show Cosmos Science City Australia
  • Presentation

    Date Topic Presented at Institution Country
    2021 - 2021 Video-based intervention: How to use the “seeing is believing” motto to promote accessible intervention Live Online (online webinar) Speech Pathology Australia Australia
    2021 - ongoing Seeing is Believing: Video-based intervention Podcast Speech Pathology Australia Australia
    2021 - ongoing AAC for culturally and linguistically diverse groups New York University - online New York University United States
  • Position: Lecturer
  • Phone: 83132316
  • Email: abi.thirumanickam@adelaide.edu.au
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: Engineering & Maths Sciences, floor 4
  • Org Unit: Speech Pathology

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