Identification and diagnosis
Developing and evaluating evidence-based approaches to identify and diagnose Autism at all ages to activate timely and personalised supports.
Research program leader:
Associate Professor Josephine Barbaro
Our research has:
- informed government policy on early childhood development
- trained health professionals and parents/carers in how to see the signs of Autism as early as possible
- improved the outcomes of Autistic children.
Australian children who are diagnosed with Autism early in life reduced their need for ongoing support at school age by 30%. Children who receive an Autism diagnosis and supports in the early and critical years (aged 18-36 months) have better school-age developmental outcomes. And yet, the average age of Autism diagnosis in children remains at about 3-4 years.
An early diagnosis:
- enables children to begin participation in specialised supports and service programs at younger ages, maximising their developmental opportunities
- promotes greater independence and better quality of life for Autistic children and their families
- benefits the community by significantly increasing the chances of these children participating in society.
Watch postdoctoral researcher Dr Ifrah Abdullahi talk about a new study exploring Autism in diverse communities.
- Australia’s rates of autism should be celebrated -but real-life impact, not diagnosis, should determine NDIS support - The Conversation
- Autism prevalence in Australia: What we know so far - OTARC Blog
- How to talk to your child about their autism diagnosis – the earlier the better - The Conversation
- New shift in autism research helping Autistic people thrive - The City Journal
- Melbourne autism researchers develop world's most effective early screening tool for children - ABC News
- Why we all need to talk about the 'A' word - Bendigo Advertiser
- Accelerated growth linked to Autism - LTU News
- Growth spurt in head, skeleton mark Autism in boys - Spectrum News
- Why a 42 percent increase in Autism diagnoses is no cause for alarm - SBS News
- The gender bias leaving young girls with Autism undiagnosed - The Age
- Early Autism diagnosis, better outcomes - LTU News
- Identifying Autism through new tech - LTU News
- Life-changing Autism training funded - LTU News
- Life-changing Autism training launched - LTU News
OTARC has conducted four studies about the prevalence of Autism in Australia.
- 20,770 infants and toddlers monitored with the Social Attention and Communication Surveillance (SACS) method 0.84%
- 10,090 children (two cohorts) in the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children study 1.5%-2.5%
- 15,074 children aged under 7 years - Helping Children with Autism registration data 0.74%
- 13,564 infants and toddlers monitored with the SACS 3.3%
The variation in prevalence estimates across studies highlights the likely lack of diagnostic services and expertise, particularly in rural, regional, and remote areas. There is a need for a more comprehensive epidemiological study into Autism prevalence in Australia.
Victorian Maternal and Child Health Services
In 2018 we successfully tendered to train all 1250 Victorian Maternal and Child Health nurses to monitor the social attention and communication development of children aged between 11 and 30 months. This collaboration with the Department of Health and Human Services ensures that all Victorian babies are routinely monitored for early signs of Autism.
is the world's leading CRM (Customer Relationship Management) provider. Through its philanthropic arm OTARC has been the beneficiary of:
- donated and significantly price-reduced licences to a range of platforms
- donated time by a team of 11 engineers and developers across four continents to help build early detection of Autism app ASDetect
- Force for Change grant of $215,000 to build a digital employment hub for Autistic job seekers. OTARC was the only Australian finalist out of 136 organisations that applied.
OTARC was one of 10 finalists in the Google Impact Challenge Australia 2016,receiving $250,000 to translate ASDetect into Mandarin Chinese and Spanish.
The Social Attention and Communication Surveillance (SACS) tool
Based on more than 15 years of research - the world's most effective early screening tool for autism.