A new research study at the Victorian Autism Specific Early Learning and Care Centre (ASELCC) based at La Trobe University’s Children’s Centre, in collaboration with the Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre (OTARC), has been published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. Read more “New autism research demonstrates positive impact of early interventions”
From the moment a child is diagnosed with autism, their family enters the unknown. Conference halls are lined with salespeople, letterboxes are stuffed with pamphlets, and life is transformed into a whirlwind tour of a fantastical array of therapies and potions that are positioned as the “cure all” for their child’s difficulties.
By OTARC Honours student, Ms Lacey Chetcuti
Copying others is important for development. It provides a way to learn about the physical world, and a context for children to practice and develop their skills for interacting with others. There is evidence to suggest that children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) imitate less often and less accurately than typically developing children. While several explanatory theories have been put forward for these findings, the specific reasons for imitation difficulties remain unclear.
By Dr Giacomo Vivanti, Drexel University, former OTARC staffer
A key question for science to explore in the twenty-first century concerns the mechanisms that underlie social behaviour. How do we understand other people’s thoughts, beliefs and intentions? To what extent can our mental states and feelings be shared with other people? And how do we incorporate other people’s thoughts, feelings and beliefs into our mental world?
Among the many available therapies and early interventions for children with autism, only a few are backed up with solid scientific evidence. But here’s some good news: recently, the quality of autism early intervention research has improved significantly.
Children with autism are often described as “visual learners” and said to “think in pictures”. Accordingly, teachers and therapists routinely prescribe picture-based communication systems in an effort to support their learning.
By Jackie Maya, OTARC 2014 Honours student
Many mothers with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) report higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression than mothers with typically developing children and those rearing children with other disabilities. But we don’t know which factors contribute to or protect against these negative outcomes. Being from a migrant family, I wondered whether mothers from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds would experience more or less stress, anxiety and depression in reaction to having a child with ASD than Australian mothers. Based on other research, we also thought that different coping skills may influence how mothers react. These are the questions I explored for my Honours project with Dr Kristelle Hudry and Dr Josephine Barbaro at OTARC. We were particularly interested in the reactions and coping skills of mothers whose child had recently been diagnosed with ASD.