By bobb | Sat, 7/9/2013 - 09:09

Australia's Autism CRC has posted its website — see

It also posted a media release ...

Researchers to unveil details of world first autism diagnostic tool

Australian researchers are combining genetic, biological and behavioural research to develop a world first screening tool that could enable early identification of autism risk.

The Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism Spectrum Disorders (Autism CRC) will unveil details of the ground breaking research tomorrow at the Asia Pacific Autism Conference in Adelaide.

Professor Andrew Whitehouse, who is a Research Program Leader for the Autism CRC, said the tool would provide earlier, consistent and more accurate diagnosis of autism in very young children.

“Early diagnosis of autism is vital; we know that the earlier a child is diagnosed the earlier we can tailor interventions that are specific for the child’s needs to help them lead the most fulfilling life possible.

“This tool will also provide a nationally consistent diagnostic protocol for autism. Currently in Australia the diagnosis of autism is ad hoc and differs from state to state which leads to unnecessary delays in early intervention.

“Early and accurate diagnosis saves countless families the financial and emotional cost of traversing numerous services, usually for many years, in the hope of identifying their child’s disorder,” he said.

The Autism CRC, based at Long Pocket in Brisbane in association with the University of Queensland, is the world’s first national, cooperative research effort directed towards autism.

The Federal Government is contributing $31 million for the eight year life of the CRC, with additional cash and in-kind contributions from participants exceeding $63 million culminating in a $104 million national research program.

The Autism CRC harnesses the combined energy of some of the finest and most respected Autism researchers in their relevant fields.

“Our researchers are working on practical solutions for governments, service providers, education and health professionals and families of people with autism via three core research programs,” Professor Whitehouse said.

“The Autism CRC programs will research more accurate and efficient diagnosis of Autism, improved teacher training and autism-friendly education programs, and how to better support young children and adults with autism to seamlessly transition into further training, higher education and the workforce.

“Because autism affects a person for life, we need to provide varying levels of intervention and support across every major step of life: into school, between school and ongoing training and again from training into the workforce,” he said.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), including Aspergers’ Syndrome, is amongst the most severe, prevalent and heritable of all neurodevelopmental disorders affecting at least 1 in 100 Australian children.

It is a lifelong condition with estimated annual support costs to Australia potentially exceeding $7 billion.

With an unexplained 25-fold increase in the number of diagnoses in the past 30 years, there are now more children with ASD than the combined number of children with cerebral palsy, diabetes, deafness, blindness and leukaemia.

The Autism CRC has launched a new website at