Studies at OTARC and elsewhere have shown that infants and toddlers show early signs of ASD, which can be observed from the first year of life. These are first characterized by a lack of attention to social stimuli, and usually progress into clearer ASD symptoms throughout toddlerhood and the pre-school years (Clifford & Dissanayake, 2008). Similarly, studies investigating the early development of restricted and repetitive behaviours (RRBs) in children with an ASD have highlighted that certain RRBs are present in toddlerhood, with others becoming more evident over time (Leekam et al., 2011). These early symptoms are now used for the early identification of ASD in infants and toddlers.
I have a 6-year-old daughter who has been diagnosed with ASD. I have received many recommendations from other parents regarding the use of melatonin to aid my daughter’s sleep. She is a typical ASD kid, who can be in bed by 8pm after the shower, reading, drink routine, but still active 3 hours later. Any advice you have would be appreciated.
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.
Professor Cheryl Dissanayake, Dr Josephine Barbaro and Associate Professor Chongying Wang discuss Autism in China. Episode 3: Tuesday 26th November: the state of autism in China, pilot implementation of of early identification using Social Attention and Communication Study (SACS), comparing SACS (surveillance) with M-CHAT and CHAT-23 (screening), training medical professionals in Tianjin, the future government Implementation of SACS in Tianjin, tension between research in developing and developed world, translation of diagnostic and assessment tools into Chinese, influence of cultural differences and one child policy on identification, necessity for public awareness, the need for early intervention, telehealth approaches to intervention, the need for Global Knowledge Transfer.
Watch ‘Inside the Lab’ episode 3 on YouTube here.
Dr Kristelle Hudry, Ms Amanda Golding and Professor Ann Le Couteur discuss recent news and developments in Autism research. topic covered include the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS), Autism Research Policy Hub in Cardiff, issues facing adults, stakeholder driven research, Autism CRC, database for children with autism spectrum disorder living in the north east of England.
Watch ‘Inside the Lab’ episode 2 on YouTube here.
By Dr Josephine Barbaro, Postdoctoral Research Fellow at OTARC and ASD Specialist in Australia’s first Early Assessment Clinic for Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Since beginning research on the early identification of Autism Spectrum Disorders back in 2005 as part of my PhD program, the Social Attention and Communication Study (SACS), I was often asked “What’s the point of identifying children at 2 years of age or younger if there are very few or no services for them?” You see, back in 2005, there wasn’t the Helping Children with Autism Package for families of children on the spectrum (aged 0 – 7), or intervention programs like the Early Start Denver Model – the first intervention model with strong empirical evidence for its effectiveness in infants, toddlers, and preschoolers with ASDs. So, at this time, many families had to wait on long waiting lists for early intervention services, as long as 18 months in some cases, to receive a few hours a week of services! It was therefore difficult to convince some people, both in the public and private sectors, of the importance of early detection and subsequent intervention.
My daughter has just turned 8 and is severely affected by classic autism. She is non-verbal. Recently she had a fever and her behaviour changed dramatically. She wanted to be held, maintained eye contact for lengthy periods and most incredibly – spoke words very clearly! She said her brother’s name and repeatedly said “Mum”. I have to repeat how incredible this is as she is completely non-verbal. Please somebody research this phenomenon!
By Professor Margot Prior, OTARC Adjunct
Having a child who is starting school is a big transition for every family. But imagine if that child had an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) – what a very big challenge that can be! What school will the parents choose?
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.
by Dr David Trembath
N1: Practice is Research
The N1 Practice is Research Training Package is designed to teach clinicians how to evaluate client outcomes using Single Case Experimental Designs (also known as N1 designs). This training package provides a first step for allied health professionals and educators who work with individuals with developmental disability and their families to work with us to promote evidence-based practice. Read more “New program helping clinicians to evaluate client outcomes”