The Research and Development Committee, Chaired by Professor Rob van Barneveld, and of which Professor Dissanayake is a member, met on 10-11 October at the Long Pockets CRC Head Quarters in Brisbane. The Commissioned Projects, including two from LTU, were all approved, and have also been signed off on at the Board Meeting on November 13. The majority of the income to La Trobe University (OTARC ) from the CRC is allocated to new project staff and student positions commencing January 2014. The projects for which we are funded will be undertaken across the four states represented in the CRC (QLD, VIC, NSW, WA).
To fund our research activities OTARC relies on the support of private and corporate donors. Our thanks are extended to the following individuals and organisations that have made donations.
- Bequest from the Estate of Mr Giacinto Gilberti
Professor Ann LeCouter visited from Newcastle University in the UK to co-facilitate the ADOS-2 course run by Dr Kristelle Hudry from 30th September to 3rd October. Ann is Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, and an expert in the field of ASD diagnosis, and was one of the developers of another important diagnostic tool, the Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised (ADI-R). Whilst here for the ADOS course, Professor Le Couteur very generously gave of her time to speak to staff and students of the OTARC and participated in an episode of Inside the Lab with Kristelle and Amanda Golding, another stalwart in the field.
We were informed by the editor of the journal ‘Autism’ that the recent paper on the early signs of ASD – Barbaro, J., & Dissanayake, C. (2013). Early markers of Autism Spectrum Disorders in infants and toddlers prospectively identified in the Social Attention and Communication Study (SACS) was the most downloaded article in 2013 (with 1870 downloads so far). Google for DOI10.1177/1362361312442597 if you would like to read the article.
ASfAR’s second conference is to be held at La Trobe University on 4-5 December 2014 and Professor Cathy Lord, an international leader in the ASD field, has agreed to give the keynote address at this conference. The Autism CRC will also host its annual conference associated with this meeting, including holding a Board meeting in Melbourne. OTARC will coordinate a Public Lecture with Professor Lord on the evening prior to the conference (December 3).
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”