There’s a large issue surrounding the relationship between vaccinations and autism. The theory that vaccinations cause autism in young children continues to generate interest in the media and the general public, and may have contributed to the rise of many anti-vaccine campaigns.
Treatment for children with autism can be intensive and isolating. A different approach in early intervention in child care has been introduced to create a more interactive and cost-effective environment for both children with autism and their families.
Emma Baker, Murdoch Children’s Research Institute, OTARC Alunmi, on the types and causes of sleep problems in adults with autism
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.
By OTARC Master of Clinical Psychology candidate, Stephanie Mertins and Associate Professor Amanda Richdale
Parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) often report more child behavioural, gastrointestinal and sleep problems than do parents of typically developing (TD) children.
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.
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.