Early Years

In Program 1, we are working on earlier and more accurate diagnosis of autism in order to get the right interventions as early as possible. By harnessing existing knowledge of autism to ensure earlier and more accurate diagnosis, and use breakthroughs in biological research to identify subtypes of autism, we will be able to provide detailed information on the most effective interventions for children on the spectrum. This is a revolution in the way in which we diagnose autism and it is tremendously exciting.


Before Autism CRC

Beyond Autism CRC

  • Parents’ concerns from 12 months dismissed.
  • GP reluctantly refers child to paediatrician at 3.5 years of age.
  • Autism undiagnosed before age 4-5 years.
  • Trial and error of costly interventions.
  • A child at risk is identified by trained health professionals and referred to the appropriate clinician.
  • A child is diagnosed by accredited teams using CRC-developed genetic/biological screening to confirm diagnosis by 2 years using a national protocol.
  • Children are engaged in individualised early intervention tailored to a comprehensive behavioural, cognitive and biological profile developed by the CRC.



This project aims to help match children with the intervention that works best for their biological make-up. While we know that early intervention enhances developmental outcomes for children with autism, we hope to find homogeneous subgroups in order to receive targeted and therefore more effective, early intervention.
This study will use cutting edge technology to transform white blood cells into brain-like cells, which can then be used as a cell model to identify cellular abnormalities in individuals with autism.
Autism CRC is creating Australia’s first and largest autism Biobank. The Biobank will contain detailed biological information collected from over 1200 families where a family member has autism. This will allow for the first time, on an unprecedented scale, a genetic discovery that we’ve never seen before in Australia and allow for earlier and more accurate diagnosis.
The course is the first of its kind in Australia and will upskill professionals in better, earlier, more accurate diagnosis of autism in young children. Currently there are no national standards in diagnosing autism with disparate practices across the country. Each professional who graduates with the skills to diagnose autism effectively can change the lives of many children and families - ensuring that children with autism are able to get the right intervention as early as possible.
This project aims to train a minimum of 400 community-based primary care professionals including Maternal and Child Health, Paediatricians, GPs, allied health staff and early childhood educators, across four states to identify infants and toddlers developing autism during their routine assessments of young children.
This project will use neuroimaging methods to determine whether these methods can help to better diagnose autism and to help identify potential changes in brain wiring that may contribute to autism.
This study will examine diagnostic practices for ASD across Australia and help to establish a baseline of current assessment processes. This is an essential first step towards a national autism diagnosis standard.
This project will develop and test a Family Support Program (FSP) to be used by diagnosticians and allied health professionals to more effectively guide parents following their child's ASD diagnosis. The FSP will provide specialised support and guidance to foster parental wellbeing as well as assistance with the pathway to early intervention.
This project will use the data already generated from 100 postmortem brain samples from ASD cases and controls and integrate this with exome-sequencing data generated by Autism CRC.
The Commonwealth Department of Social Services has invested in this national study, undertaken by Autism CRC, aimed at investigating the most effective interventions that enable children to make a positive transition from specialised early intervention settings into mainstream classrooms. The study will follow children as they transition to school and specifically measure their social, emotional, behavioural and academic progress at school.
This project seeks to identify candidate genes that increase the susceptibility for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) within the Australian population. It is anticipated that these genes could be used as biomarkers and for categorising subtypes of the disorder.
The objective of this project is to progress towards earlier and more accurate diagnosis of autism by developing and validating genomic predictors for autism and integrating these with a clinically useful diagnostic protocol based on behavioural observation.