Points of interest

Points of Interest

2016

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.

Lead researcher Dr Giacomo Vivanti worked closely with the ASELCC team to track the progress of children with autism who received the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM), an internationally recognised intervention program for toddlers and pre-schoolers with autism. Sixty children aged between 18 months up to 5 years received ESDM intervention for approximately 20 hours per week at the ASELCC, and the team followed their developmental progress over the course of one year. This research marks the largest sample size to be published in any ESDM study to date.

While children in the program displayed significant improvements in response to the intervention the research is also one of the first to highlight the potential impacts of the ESDM in toddlers versus older children with autism. The results demonstrated improved language outcomes in younger children regardless of their language ability at intake (aged between 18 months to 4 years), when compared with older preschool aged children (aged between 4 to 5 years old) who showed fewer gains, particularly if they were non-verbal at intake. This reinforces the value of early identification and diagnosis. Indeed, the team at OTARC recently launched a mobile app to help parents identify early signs of autism in their infants and toddlers. Together this work aligns with La Trobe University's focus on championing early identification, diagnosis and intervention programs to support children with autism to improve their learning outcomes and development.

2014

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.

Lead researcher Dr Giacomo Vivanti worked closely with the ASELCC team to compare the progress of children with autism who received the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) and to children receiving a different type of intervention program. While children in both programs made improvements in their developmental progress, the children receiving the ESDM made significantly more gains in their developmental rate, especially in their receptive language skills. This research marks the first study published comparative study on group implementation of the ESDM to date.

May 6, 2013

The Early Start Denver Model has been shown to produce cost savings in the long-term by reducing subsequent need for therapy and support services. This information was presented at the International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR).

October 26, 2012

Research published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry provides further validation of the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM) intervention for young children with autism. The research by Geraldine Dawson and her colleagues explored changes in brain activity in response to ESDM intervention. The significance of this research was later recognised by Time Magazine which rated it among the top 10 medical breakthroughs in 2012.

Relevant Links

La Trobe University, Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre (OTARC)

Autism Victoria, AMAZE

Raising Children Network

Playconnect, Playgroups for children with Autism