With a baffling 25-fold increase in the number of diagnoses over the past 30 years, these severe neuro-developmental disorders affect about a million Australians – and at least one in every 100 children.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced government funding of $31 million to establish the new ‘Co-operative Research Centre for Living with Autism Spectrum Disorders’.
Director of La Trobe University’s Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre, Professor Cheryl Dissanayake, hailed the new CRC as ‘game changing for Australia’s autism community’.
She said Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) are life-long conditions estimated to cost Australia more than seven billion dollars a year.
‘We can now harness our work nationally and internationally to achieve better outcomes for people with an ASD, their families and the professionals who work with them.’
La Trobe is a key player in two of the CRC’s three main programs. Professor Dissanayake will lead work on tracking pathways to ASD, while Associate Professor Amanda Richdale will be responsible for studies enhancing teaching and learning for people with ASD.
The new autism research centre
The new CRC, headquartered in Queensland, represents a ‘critical mass’ of 12 core partners and more than 40 participants, including universities, not-for-profit as well as commercial autism service providers and government departments.
In addition to Federal Government funds of $31 million for the next eight years, contributions to the CRC from various participants exceed $63 million.
Autism research at La Trobe University over the last decade has led to many ground-breaking advances.
Read more in The Bulletin.
ContactProfessor Cheryl Dissanayake
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