Supports and practices for daily living

We develop and evaluate evidence-based practices and supports that enable Autistic people to live a life that is meaningful to them across the lifespan.

Research program leader:
Professor Alison Lane

Cheryl Dissanayake, Megan Clark, Josephine Barbaro, Katy Unwin, Kelsey Philpott-Robinson, Rachel Kennedy, Alesha Southby

Many of our studies focus on early supports for Autistic pre-school children and building supports for their families. We explore how best to promote positive outcomes for Autistic children and their families. We acknowledge that supports at any age provide benefits for Autistic people and their families.

We also explore how best to support learning in the natural environments of young children. For example, 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 supports
  • the effect of different learning environments on supports outcomes
  • predictors of developmental outcomes to different types of supports
  • the support their families provide and need
  • the family outcomes of Autistic children accessing early supports.

New Research

Has the shift to individualised NDIS funding changed the profiles of children accessing supports? Read our latest research from our embedded research program at the Margot Prior Autism Intervention Centre.

The Early Start Denver Model

A naturalistic developmental behavioural support program 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 support program within Autism-specific settings.

Article abstract

We also examine different models of early support delivery to allow us to match children to specific early support 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.