Research themes

Early identifications and diagnosis of autism

Autism in young children - early signs

Identifying the early behavioural signs of autism in infancy and toddlerhood is critical to understanding how autism develops and manifests in the first years of life. This knowledge also assists in identifying and diagnosing children earlier, enabling them to receive intervention in their early and most important years.

Interventions for children with autism and their families

Parenting in families affected by ASD

There have been many studies to suggest that a child with a disability in general, and autism in particular, often poses increased distress and burden for the family. However, more recent evidence suggests that families also grow in positive ways as a result of the experience of caring for a child with a disability. There is still a lot of uncertainty about which factors contribute to which family experience and outcome. Knowledge about these factors is crucial for the development of programs to support families in their efforts to care for a child with autism.

Success in adolescence and adulthood

Transition from high school, employment

While we know quite a lot about young children with autism, much less is known about older children and adults. We do know, however, that many young people with autism do not go on to tertiary education or apprenticeships after they graduate from school, and many adults with autism do not find work or work only intermittently. We know little of why this is and the factors that would assist young people and adults to complete further education and find and retain a fulfilling job.

Related Conditions

Sleep, anxiety and emotional regulation

Sleep difficulties and anxiety commonly occur in children and adults with autism and they can negatively affect learning, behaviour and family wellbeing. In adults these conditions impact everyday functioning in the community and workplace. We aim to develop a better understanding of these conditions, which ultimately will contribute to the development of better treatment methods both in Australia and overseas.