With better awareness and acceptance, approximately one out of every 50 children is receiving an autism diagnosis. More and more families are deciding when to share this information with their child. Some parents worry that doing so will “label” their child, or make others treat them differently.Read more “How to talk to your child about their autism diagnosis – the earlier the better”
On 9 December 2021, over 600 people attended the Australasian Society for Autism Research online conference Mental Wellbeing and Suicide Prevention in Autism. Following the conference, a select group of lived experience experts and researchers met to draw together content from the conference into the documents below.Read more “Suicide Prevention in Autism report and policy brief”
You might have heard that for every female diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (Autism) there are roughly three to four males (Fombonne, 2009; Loomes et al., 2017).
But this ratio changes when you consider the person’s language, cognitive abilities, and even their age.Read more “Autism in Girls and Women”
Many mothers with children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (Autism) diagnosis report higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression than mothers with non-autistic 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 an autists child 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 Autism.
Studies at OTARC and elsewhere have shown that infants and toddlers show early signs of Autism, 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 Autism symptoms throughout toddlerhood and the preschool years (Clifford & Dissanayake, 2008). Similarly, studies investigating the early development of restricted and repetitive behaviours (RRBs) in Autistic children have highlighted that certain RRBs are present in toddlerhood, with others becoming more evident over time (Leekam et al., 2011). These early signs are now used for the early identification of Autism in infants and toddlers.Read more “Autism in Girls”
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 Autistic infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. 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.Read more “Early identification of Autism Spectrum Disorders: Why it’s important and why we need to have this conversation with parents”
When a newborn joins a family we become beguiled by the perfection of this wondrous new being. Any hint of difference is easily overlooked during the early years.Read more “Mums and dads! Don’t ignore the early signs of Autism”