Intervention and supports for individuals and families

Many of the studies profiled below focus on Early Intervention (EI) for pre-school children with autism and building supports for their families.

Research theme leader: Professor Alison Lane

Researchers: Cheryl Dissanayake, Megan Clark, Josephine Barbaro, Katy Unwin

Our research focuses on how best to promote positive outcomes for autistic children and their families, beginning at the earliest possible time, and understanding the predictors of best outcomes for children and their families. In so doing, it’s important to acknowledge that intervention and supports at any age provides benefits for autistic people and their families. Much of our work in this program is how best to support learning in natural environments that young children typically find themselves in such as in early childhood education and care settings and the home, which is the key early learning environment of all children.

We are currently investigating:

  • the long-term outcomes of autistic children diagnosed early who accesses early intervention,
  • the effect of different learning environments on intervention outcomes,
  • predictors of developmental outcomes to different types of intervention,
  • the support their families provide and need, and
  • the family outcomes of autistic children accessing early intervention.

OTARC Seminar series presentation - Dr Kate Simpson

In this presentation, Kate will discuss findings from research on environmental barriers and facilitators of participation in children on the autism spectrum. These findings highlights areas that may be modified to support children’s participation in activities.

Kate Simpson is a Senior Lecturer in Education with the Autism Centre of Excellence at Griffith University, Australia.

The Early Start Denver Model

A naturalistic developmental behavioural intervention we have focused on is the Early Start Denver Model (ESDM). We’ve found that young children receiving Group ESDM within mainstream childcare make similar gains to those receiving this intervention within autism-specific settings.

Article abstract

We also examine different models of EI delivery to allow us to match children to specific EI programs from which they will make the most gains in learning. In addition, we also study how best to enhance learning by coaching parents to deliver the ESDM. In so doing, understanding families’ experiences with their autistic children provides important information regarding how best to support both the children and their families.