CAPTeam - Current studies

The CAPTeam have a number of active studies. Some studies are carried out with using existing datasets and resources, while others actively involve families as research participants. Depending on the study, our active research participants may be:

  • Children with a diagnosis of autism;
  • Children with other conditions;
  • Children about whom there are no developmental concerns;
  • Parents/caregivers;
  • Community professionals.

The CUB Study: Communicating and Understanding your Baby

For this clinical trial, we are looking for pregnant women who:

  • Are pregnant with a single baby (eg. not pregnant with twins or triplets) whose baby is due to be born before the end of March, 2023
  • Have a family history of Autism, ADHD or intellectual disability
  • Live in the Melbourne area and are willing to visit La Trobe University (Bundoora) 4 times in 2 years, with possible additional in-home visits if randomised into the treatment group
  • Speak English as the main language at home

The study is a ‘randomised controlled trial’, which means that we are investigating whether this new program may provide benefit when we compare it to current healthcare practice.

Early intervention can play an important part in reducing disability that is associated with autism spectrum disorder (autism). Early intervention typically starts after a child receives a diagnosis, most often between the ages of 2 and 6 years of age. At present, we don’t know whether commencing early intervention before this age, particularly during the first year of life, may also provide developmental benefits to the child. One way to investigate this idea is to study family members of individuals with developmental conditions such as Autism, ADHD or intellectual disability. Autism is known to be heritable (to ‘run in families’), and relatives of individuals with a developmental condition have a higher chance of being diagnosed with autism compared to the general population.

This research trials a new program that runs from the third antenatal trimester through to when the baby is 8 months of age. We want to explore whether this program may help parents understand more about their baby’s early social and communication skills, and in the process assist their baby’s development. This research is important because it will help us to understand how we can best support parents of newborn children, and whether a program providing very early in development may deliver benefits to the family and child.

Register your interest here for the CUB Study by completing this short form, and a member of our team will then be in touch with you soon. We are close to the end of recruitment, and to be eligible babies must be born by the end of March 2023.

Alternatively, you are welcome to contact our Study Coordinator, Alex Aulich, for more information,

Community Views on Early Autism Supports for Infants

Participation in this study has now closed, and thank you to everyone who helped us with this research.

We look forward to sharing more information about this study and the findings soon! If you would like to stay updated or learn more, you can email us directly by contacting Alex Aulich,

About the study, Community Views on early Autism Supports for Infants:

For this study we wanted to hear from Autistic adults, families, professionals and researchers in the autism community, to learn about perspectives on Autism supports, in very early life, before diagnosis, for infants more likely to be autistic?

We asked participants to complete an online questionnaire.  This included questions asking what people think about very early supports, what type of support is and isn't appropriate, what the goal of early support should be, and what language we should use to talk about it.  We also completed interviews with a number of our survey participants, so that we could ask follow-up questions.

Gazefinder: The identification and diagnosis of autism of young children

Participation in this clinical trial has now closed, and thank you to all of our families who have helped us with this research.

We look forward to sharing more information about this study and the findings soon! If you would like to stay updated or learn more, you can email us directly by contacting Alex Aulich,

About the Gazefinder Clinical Trial:

This research program investigated the role that eye-tracking technology could play in the future to support the earlier identification and diagnosis of autism. Currently, it can be a long and frustrating experience for a family to seek a diagnosis for their child. This research project is investigating whether technology might help clinicians to detect autism more accurately and make the diagnostic process more efficient.

We are working in collaboration with the Telethon Kids Institute, led by Professor Andrew Whitehouse who is a Speech Pathologist and Head of the Autism Research Team. The study is funded by the developer of Gazefinder: JVCKENWOOD Corporation (Japan).

Viewing Gazefinder takes only 2½-minutes and is like watching a computer or TV. Children sit on a small chair (or carer’s lap). An initial scene shows animations popping up on different parts of the screen, to check Gazefinder can automatically detect where the child is looking. The video animation is then shown and includes clips that are playful and engaging for young children – animated characters, shapes, and human faces, set to a musical background and sound effects. There are no instructions for children to respond in any particular way; they can just sit comfortably and watch the videos.

News items:

Childhood Autism Phenotype Team (CAPTeam)

CAPTeam - Team members

CAPTeam - Student research

CAPTeam - Findings and publications