Watch this overview of the Victorian Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centre (ASELCC). The Victorian ASELCC at La Trobe University is committed to addressing the needs of families of children with autism. At the same time, we are dedicated to follow up-to-date and evidence-based science in the treatment of autism, as well as undertake rigorous research into its effectiveness. . The early intervention program being researched and implemented is the Early Start Denver Model.
Given that most of the intervention approaches for ASD especially are educational, Dr Giacomo Vivanti outlines why it is critical to undertake research into Learning and Teaching.
By Kristelle Hudry, La Trobe University
Since the condition was first recognised in the 1940s, parents have been and felt blamed for their children’s autism. Today, most people no longer believe this, but a lingering doubt continues to niggle many parents.
Dr Giacomo Vivanti & Professor Cheryl Dissanayake
Research underway for many years at La Trobe University has been supporting the very early identification of Autism Spectrum Disorders in infancy and toddlerhood with the view of promoting optimal development by access to early intervention. Recent research by Sally Rogers and her colleagues of the MIND Institute, published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders this week describes the first controlled study documenting outcomes of infants with signs of autism who received treatment in their first year of life, well before the age at which autism is usually diagnosed.
Report by Dr Kristelle Hudry
August 2013 saw the beginning of a very exciting new development. Drawing on the expertise of OTARC researchers, PSY3ASD: Understanding and Treating Autism Spectrum Disorders was launched through La Trobe University’s School of Psychological Science. This is the first, undergraduate semester-long subject dedicated to ASD in Australia. The vision of Prof. Cheryl Dissanayake, PSY3ASD was developed and coordinated by Dr Kristelle Hudry. Lectures were taught by various members of our team of OTARC researchers and staff – Dr Josephine Barbaro, Dr Giacomo Vivanti, Dr Cherie Green, Associate Professor Amanda Richdale, and Dr Nancy Sadka, as well as Professor Dissanayake and Dr Hudry – with support from other La Trobe staff and postgraduate students with interest and expertise in ASDs. Lectures were delivered to 340 students. These originated from La Trobe’s Bundoora campus in Melbourne, with video-conferencing to students at La Trobe’s Bendigo and Albury-Wodonga campuses. Fortnightly tutorials were facilitated by OTARC postgraduate students Lisa Rumney and Heather Nuske in Melbourne, by Tim Godber in Bendigo, and by Dr Sharon Hanna in Albury-Wodonga. Students from various disciplines, including Psychological Science, Occupational Therapy, Health Science, Law and education, were enrolled in this new subject.
By Dr Giacomo Vivanti
Since its publication our paper “Intellectual Development in Autism” has been subject to debate and discussion. In the paper, we advance the thesis that symptoms of autism, by precluding children to fully take advantage of the social input from the environment during early critical periods, might negatively affect their intellectual development. Therefore, children who have severe symptoms of ASD may be at increased risk of developing intellectual disability, as a consequence of more severe “virtual deprivation” from environmental input.
The Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre is fortunate to have Professor Margot Prior as the Chair of OTARC’s Advisory Committee. Professor Prior has a distinguished career in developmental psychology that focuses on Autism Spectrum Disorders, is the Patron of Autism Victoria t/a Amaze, and luckily for our staff and students, regularly attends OTARC’s seminars. Read more “Reflections on a career in Autism Research”