Jen Schwarz is pulling back the covers on a 'topical taboo'.
The PhD candidate from Charles Sturt University has been investigating the experience of people who have received an autism diagnosis in adulthood.
"It's such a common experience and it's being spoken of a lot at the moment with people like Hannah Gadsby and Greta Thunberg," Ms Schwarz said.
"There are a lot of people who are talking about being 'on the spectrum' and what that means, and people are looking at them and saying 'oh, I do that, I'm like them, what does that mean for me?'"
In fact, it was a conversation like that one that started Ms Schwarz toward the research topic.
"I had been speaking to someone I knew who was recently recognised as autistic, and I thought 'gee, I did that as a kid too'," she said.
"I realised I am not autistic but I have a few traits then I saw a lot of people that had gone through that same process, each ending up at a different place, and I realised there's something in that experience that hasn't been explored before."
Interviewing other adults who have been on that journey, Ms Schwarz is attempting to "capture the diverse and complex experience".
"It's not the same for everyone, every person I speak to gives me a new perspective," she said.
Primarily, what Ms Schwarz is hoping to do with her project is re-frame the narrative around what it means to be autistic.
"The people I speak to who describe themselves as 'autistic', as opposed to saying 'having autism' or 'suffering autism', for them it's an explanation and not something that's wrong," she said.
"That's something everyone can do. Saying 'being autistic' moves away from the negative to talking about something that can be challenging but can be a strength if encouraged.
"If everything they've ever been told about autism is negative, then it shapes how they see themselves."
So strong was Ms Schwarz's research idea that she was chosen from literally hundreds to present her topic in the Asia Pacific 3-minute thesis (3MT) contest.
To qualify, the Wagga woman had won the local leg of the competition earlier this year and had also been voted the people's choice.
Only eight candidates from across the Asia Pacific region were chosen for the finals on September 21, and unfortunately, Ms Schwarz was not among them.
But, in helping to formulate her ideas in a coherent way, the competition still proved beneficial.
"The actual competition looks at the ability to present complex information in a short time in a way that is understandable and relatable," Ms Schwarz said.
"So, the opposite of academic talk, this was about putting the research out in a way that people can understand and relate to."