Autism detection and diagnosis
Studies under this program aim to develop evidence-based strategies and tools to identify autism in children under 3 years, inform government policy on early childhood development, educate health professionals and parents/carers in how to recognise the signs of autism as early as possible, and improve the outcomes of autistic children.
Research theme leader: Associate Professor Josephine Barbaro
OTARC studies have found that when Australian children are diagnosed with autism early in life, this reduces their need for ongoing support at school age by 30%. Australian children who receive an autism diagnosis and subsequent 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 (Clark et al., 2017; Clark et al, 2018).
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, and
- benefits the community by significantly increasing the chances of these children participating in society.
- 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 (2018)
- Identifying autism through new tech - LTU News (2020)
- Life-changing autism training funded - LTU News (2018)
- Life-changing autism training launched - LTU News (2019)
Screening for autism during Maternal and Child Health check-ups using SACS-Telehealth.
Cross-sectional and longitudinal predictors of sleep problems in young autistic children from the ASDetect Cohort.
Evaluation of ASDetect, a mobile application for autism
Funding: La Trobe University, School of Psychology and Public Health
The aim of this study is to determine the psychometric properties of ASDetect, a mobile application designed to enable parents and caregivers to assess their infant or toddler's likelihood for autism.
ASDetectPRO training needs analysis
Funding: La Trobe University
This study examines the current autism knowledge and training needs of medical and primary health, allied health, and early childhood education professionals to inform the development of ASDetectPRO, an early autism education program and tool for professionals.
Early identification of ASD in Japan: Statutory infant health checkups and early screening tools
Funding: School of Psychology and Public Health, La Trobe University
The study aim is to enable earlier identification of autism within the statutory health check-ups for children in Japan.
Brief Autism Detection in Early Childhood (BADEC)
The aim of this study is to test the predictive validity of brief ASD Level 2 screen in a US sample.
Darren Hedley, Rose Nevill (University of Virginia), Robyn Young (Flinders University)
Micah Mazurek (University of Virginia), Fei Nah (Singapore National University)
The production and validation of a Sensory Observation Autism Rating scale (SOAR) to map autism-specific sensory behaviours and improve early diagnosis
This study aims to create and validate a Sensory Observation Autism Rating scale (SOAR) in order to identify autism-specific sensory behaviours in young children (0-3 years).
Examining the association between parental cultural and ethnic background and the diagnosis of autism in 12—42-month-old children
Funding: La Trobe University
This study investigates the association between parental cultural and ethnic background and the diagnosis of autism in 12–42-month-old children, identified via the early years program at OTARC.
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 jobseekers with autism. 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.