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.
OTARC PhD Research Candidate Cathy Bent used data from the national Helping Children with Autism Package to examine the age of diagnosis of 15,000 children aged under 7 years.
‘The statistics showed across Australia the average age of diagnosis for children with autism, who are younger than 7, is about 4 years of age; that less than 3% of children are diagnosed by 24 months; and the most frequently reported age of diagnosis is close to 6 years. Read more “Mapping Diagnoses in Australia”
Associate Professor Amanda Richdale, Dr Janine Manjiviona and Dr Debra Costley discuss the developments in research focusing on adults with ASD. Topics include the greater focus on adult issues at International Meeting For Autism Research 2014; findings from Aspects We Belong Study; why little research time has been focused on adults historically; shortage of clinical services for adults; challenges of diagnosis; the importance of relationships and social connections; education: learning support and social support; issues in gaining and keeping employment; being able to live independently; the influence of co-morbid conditions; greater end-user engagement; the Autism CRC.
Watch ‘Inside the Lab’ episode 5 on YouTube here.
Dr Giacomo Vivanti
There is increasing evidence that intensive implementation of educational programs can be efficacious in improving outcomes in young children with autism. One of the most promising early intervention programs is the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM), a play-based intervention specifically targeting the educational needs of preschoolers with autism. Research conducted in the US indicates that the program is efficacious in the context of intensive individual home treatment. Read more “Translating evidence-based treatments into effective childcare programs for young children with ASD – yes we can!”
By Heather Nuske, OTARC PhD
The way in which people with autism perceive and express emotions has captured my interest and fascination, and I expect this will continue for many years to come. Although there is much that is still to be discovered, from my research and others on this topic, as well as my clinical experience with people with autism, there are a few things we can confidently describe at this stage:
By Dr Giacomo Vivanti
Our ability to live as independent adults is influenced heavily by our learning experiences as children. Autism affects the ability to live an adult independent life, perhaps more than any other developmental condition, and these difficulties are rooted in early learning difficulties. But why is learning difficult for children with autism? To answer to this question, we have undertaken a comprehensive research program aimed at ‘dissecting’ early learning in autism.
By Dr David Trembath
N1 program: Understanding Outcomes, One Child at a Time
As a parent, speech pathologist, and researcher in the field of ASD, I am yet to meet a child who does not learn, laugh, and grow in his or her own unique and important way. Indeed, it is the idiosyncrasies in our children that as parents we love and celebrate, which make classrooms interesting and fun to be in, and which inspire us to tailor the way we teach to each child’s interests, strengths, and personality. But how can we best chart each child’s individual course of learning in early life, and make discoveries from the different ways they learn? How can we measure intervention outcomes in a consistent manner when working with children with a spectrum of individual strengths and needs, while implementing a variety of different interventions? In a new clinically-focused research project we are attempting to address these issues, one child at a time.