The Victorian Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centre (ASELCC) at La Trobe University continues to evolve. Our previous coordinator, Ed Duncan, has moved on to work with the NDIA, so we look forward to working with him more in his new role. Read more “News from the Margot Prior Wing (ASELCC – Vic) – Sept 2016”
From UniNews, 7th September 2016
The free app – called ASDetect – won the Project of the Year iAward in the Research and Development Category. Since its launch in February 2016, ASDetect has had more than 10,000 downloads, almost 6000 registrations and 4,000 assessments undertaken.
The iAwards are Australia’s leading awards program for innovation in the digital economy. They honour both companies at the cutting edge of technology innovation as well as leading professionals in the sector. The judges identified ASDetect as an outstanding example of both.
The app uses questions drawn from breakthrough research at La Trobe’s Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre (OTARC), undertaken by Research Fellow Dr Josephine Barbaro. It gives parents access to video footage from actual clinical assessments and clearly demonstrates the context and expected key behaviours of children at each age.
An estimated 1 in 50 children have an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Research by OTARC shows that the majority of these children are not diagnosed until they are over four years old, more than two years after they can be reliably diagnosed and receive life-changing intervention.
Salesforce developed the ASDetect app on a pro bono basis as part of the company’s 1-1-1 integrated philanthropy model, where the company donates 1% of its employee’s time, its products and its resources to support the not-for-profit sector. A team of Salesforce engineers, designers and developers volunteered their time to build the app on the Salesforce platform.
OTARC Director Professor Cheryl Dissanayake said the award was wonderful recognition of the ground breaking early autism detection work being done at La Trobe. ‘In partnering with Salesforce – our early identification methodology – is now available to parents around the globe who may have concerns about their very young children’s development. The app – while not a diagnosis can provide a crucial opportunity for prompt professional follow up – and maximise a child’s learning and developmental opportunities.’
Dan Bognar, Senior Vice President, Asia Pacific at Salesforce said, “We are thrilled to win this prestigious Australian award, it is a huge testament to OTARC’s vision and the innovation that only Salesforce can deliver. The award highlights the disruptive power of cloud and mobile technology to unlock groundbreaking research and create a positive social impact globally. We thank our team of Salesforce volunteers for their teamwork and dedication in bringing this incredible initiative to life – it has touched so many children’s lives already.’
One of the first and most important choices parents and caregivers make after a child’s diagnosis of autism is which therapy will be most suitable for their son or daughter.
OTARC needs the help of children, teenagers and/or adults (with or without ASD) to volunteer for a practice assessment, to allow clinicians on the ADOS-2 course (Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule) to practice their new skills under supervision. In thanks for your help, we can provide a short assessment report for children (who have an ASD diagnosis), and a $20 Coles-Myer gift card.
The Autism CRC’s pioneering Australian Autism Biobank (AAB) depends on the ongoing involvement of parents for its success.
On 29th May OTARC received an email from Daniel Pugh, who wanted to share his story with those who may be interested.
Daniel’s Story provides insight into the struggles faced daily by students on the spectrum. Here is what he said.
I was happy to be made aware that the Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre exists. I discovered it purely by chance upon reading my local newspaper, the Warrnambool Standard, an affiliate of Fairfax Media. I read an article about a young boy whose story is not dissimilar to my own, his name is Lucas Whittam. I saw mention of your institute in a quote from Professor Cheryl Dissanayake, and wanted to share my own experiences in what was a very turbulent childhood.