Help us create a brighter future

Meet Heidi. Heidi has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

When Heidi was 2 years old she visited her local Maternal and Child Health Centre for one of her regular visits. Heidi's mum Marita did not know the centre was involved in the Social Attention and Communication Study (SACS).

During Heidi's visit, the Maternal and Child Health Nurse conducted an assessment which identified Heidi as being 'at risk' for ASD.

The news was staggering for Heidi's family. However, Heidi was referred to La Trobe University for an assessment, which led to an early diagnosis and thus critical early intervention. This has improved Heidi's prospects significantly.

"At early intervention Heidi learned about communicating her needs and wants, social interactions and other vital life skills. At the same time I was also learning. The Speech Therapist taught me about social stories and picture schedules. The Occupational Therapist introduced us to sensory diets, and the various tools we could use to calm Heidi down."

The SACS program, developed by Dr Josephine Barbaro, has been groundbreaking in its accuracy in identifying very young children with ASD. The SACS needs financial support to ensure we can schedule all the assessments needed to ensure the quality of the study.

With your help, we can extend Dr Barbaro's critical early identification program for ASD in Victoria. The value of her program is twofold:

  • it furthers our understanding of very early development.
  • the program is reaching out to hundreds of children, just like Heidi, at risk of ASD, spurring their parents on to organise early intervention.

Please give a gift so that we can continue the high quality work with nurses throughout Victoria.

Each gift of $2 or more will be tax deductible and we promise that every dollar raised will be used to finance the SACS program.

When paying by credit card, visit the secure payment page. Please choose Autism Research (OTARC) to ensure your donation reaches us.

If you prefer to not donate online, please call (03) 9479 2497