Welcome to the Winter Edition of Another Piece!
We have farewelled a key staff member at OTARC, our Senior Advisor of Operations and Projects, Mr Wojciech Nadachowski. Wojciech left in late March to begin working at the Autism CRC as Chief Operations Officer. I would like to acknowledge the energy and expertise Woj brought to his role at OTARC, and all he has generously done for us over the last four years. His contributions will continue to keep us in good stead!
I would also like to acknowledge the contribution of Mr Ed Duncan, Clinical Manager, from the ASELCC who we also fare welled recently. Ed has ably led the ESDM team since 2012, and will be sorely missed. However, he was key to building expertise within the Centre, and will thus be replaced by Speech Therapist, Ms Katherine Pye. Katherine has worked within the ASELCC for a number of years and she also worked with us at OTARC within the Early Assessment Clinic. She is currently a Lecturer in Speech Pathology at La Trobe. Ed has left to take a position of Assistant Director at the NDIA.
I spent time in China in April having been invited to present a keynote at the 2nd International Conference for Autism Rehabilitation in Beijing. The ever growing interest in Autism interventions in China was apparent as many centers grapple to offer intervention to increasing numbers of children. For this reason, parent mediated interventions are of particular interest. A number of our staff who have recently attended the International Meeting for Autism Research in Baltimore, US, have noted the increased amount of research on parent mediated interventions. However, the promise of parent mediated interventions is yet to be established, with most studies finding only circumscribed effects on the developmental outcomes of children. We are currently involved in a parent-mediated intervention trial. Another randomized control trial underway (within the ASELCC) is to determine the effects of receiving the ESDM within mainstream versus segregated classrooms. Our preliminary data show no benefits of one setting over the other for very young children with autism, with children in both settings making significant gains, especially in language.
Our research on autism in the early years is the focus of an advertising campaign profiling research at La Trobe. Look out for posters on ‘Helping Children with Autism Thrive’ at key Melbourne Locations (e.g., Flinders and Swanston Street Stations; tram stops in the Northern suburbs, billboards etc.) as well as videos and a dedicated website. It is always encouraging when the research that we are passionate about is chosen to be profiled by the University, which serves to advance our cause!
Finally, we are extending our research on the Dandelion Program with Hewlett Packard Enterprises and Specialisterne to investigate employment outcomes for people with Autism employed within the Australian Department of Defense (in addition to their outcomes within the Australian Department of Human Services). Instead of working as software testers, the employees with Autism will be engaged in the intriguing area of cyber security. I look forward to telling you about the outcomes of this exciting program.
Our regular features:
- Donations – If you would like to make a donation go to this link
- Farewell to Peter Johansen
- Overview of IMFAR 2016
- Visitors to the Centre
- OTARC Folk Out & About
- Media Activities – April to June 2016
- Invited talks
- News from the Margot Prior Wing
- Research participant opportunities
- Coming events
- Drawtism 2016 – This winter you are invited to gather your friends and family round the games table for an evening of fun to play a game of Pictionary to raise funds and awareness for autism research undertaken at Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre. Details will be available soon.
- Grandparents’ Morning
- Research Focus Afternoon