The evidence underpinning ASDetect is drawn from research undertaken by Dr Josephine Barbaro, PhD, who is program leader for the early detection and diagnosis of autism at the Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre at La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia.
During this Social Attention and Communication Study (SACS), Dr Barbaro trained 350 Maternal and Child Health nurses to monitor the social attention and communication behaviours of more than 30,000 children aged 12 to 24 months of age, across two large scale studies over the last 10 years.
In these studies, 81% of children who were identified as having a high likelihood for autism by Maternal and Child Health nurses, did in fact have autism. Early identification of children with a high likelihood of autism means that parents and caregivers have the best chance of helping their child to reach their full potential.
“All typically developing babies are pre-wired to be social, look at other people’s faces, learn from them and copy what they’re doing. Children with autism are not doing this – and we can now accurately identify this at a much younger age and take action,” Dr Barbaro said.
Through this comprehensive study, Dr Barbaro has developed an accurate set of ‘red flag’ markers of ASD, which form the basis of the assessments in ASDetect. These ‘red flags’ relate to the following behaviours in young children:
(Part of La Trobe Univerity’s Big Fat Ideas series.)
You can read abstracts of both academic papers by Dr Josephine Barbaro and Professor Cheryl Dissanayake discussing the SACS here: