ASfAR 2014: Abstract submission guidelines

The second ASfAR Conference will be held at La Trobe University, Melbourne on 4th – 5th December 2014.

Researchers are invited to email their abstracts to with ASfAR 2014 in the Subject Line.

All submissions are due by 5.00 pm August 31st 2014.

The following requirements are necessary:

· Title of presentation:
· Presenting author (1st name, 2nd name):
· Affiliation:
· Email:
· ASfAR membership (of presenting author): Full, student, etc
· Co-authors (Full names, separated by commas):
· Abstract (250 words max):
· Preferred presentation type: oral/poster

The outcome of all submissions will be advised on October 1, 2014.

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2014 ASfAR Conference

The second ASfAR Conference will be held at La Trobe University, Melbourne on 4th – 5th December 2014. Registration is free but you must be a member of ASfAR to attend. If you are not currently a member, please submit a membership application form.

A free Public Event: The Menzies Symposium on “Early Identification, Diagnosis and Intervention for ASDs” will be held on Wednesday 3rd December.

The conference dinner will take place on Thursday 4th December in the evening.

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Five Autism CRC PhD Scholarships

Project 2.011RC: The use of assistive technology to help students with ASD to stay on task and transition between tasks

This PhD position is based at Griffith University, School of Health and Professional Studies

Scholarship at APA rate for three years (2014 rate: $ 25,392)


  • Dr Amanda Webster (
  • Dr David Trembath (
  • Dr Debra Costley (

Project 2.010RC: Overcoming the difficulties of students with ASD in written expression through the use of assistive technology and writing strategy instruction

 This PhD position is based at Queensland University of Technology (QUT), Faculty of Education, School of Cultural and Professional Learning

 Scholarship at APA rate for three years (2014 rate: $ 25,392)


  • Associate Professor Peta Wyeth ( )
  • Dr Jill Ashburner, Autism Queensland ( )
  • Jennie Duke  (

Secret Agent Society social-emotional program whole of classroom trial

Based at: University of Queensland, Faculty of Health and Behavioural Sciences, School of Psychology


  • Associate Professor Kate Sofronoff (
  • Dr Renae Beaumont (

2.1.3 Trajectory study: Understanding the relationship between children with ASD characteristics, subtypes of ASD, experiences of intervention and school support with developmental and behavioural trajectories.

This PhD position is full-time based at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Faculty of Education, School of Early Childhood

 Scholarship at APA rate for three years (2014 rate: $ 25,392)

 Contact : Associate Professor Sue Walker (  or Professor Sue Carrington (

2.1.3 Trajectory study: Understanding the relationship between children with ASD characteristics, subtypes of ASD, experiences of intervention and school support with developmental and behavioural trajectories.

This PhD position is full-time based at The Autism Centre of Excellence, Griffith University

Contact: Dr Jacqueline Roberts on (07) 3735 5640 or email

For more details, see attachment

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Inaugural autism in education conference

Autism Spectrum Australia (Aspect) is delighted to announce the launch of the Aspect Autism in Education Conference to be held on 31 July – 1 August 2014 – the first national conference specifically focusing on improving outcomes for children and young people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in schools and further education.

The Conference will help to bridge the gap, putting evidence-informed programs into our classrooms for children and young people with ASD in the many educational environments across Australia.

With the theme ‘Translating the latest knowledge and evidence-informed practices into the classroom’, the Conference will further explore the topics of teaching and learning, adolescents, mental health and well being, family and community engagement and education across Australia.

For more information, see:

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Postdoctoral Research Fellow: Telethon Institute for Child Health Research

The successful applicant will join the research team led by Professor Andrew Whitehouse and conduct research that is part of ‘Program 1′ of the Autism Cooperative Research Centre

The successful applicant will play a key role in research seeking to provide earlier and more accurate diagnosis for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and will also have the opportunity to further other research interests related to ASD.

Read more ›

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Research summary: Prenatal testosterone and language development



Today we have our first research summary from a student member of ASfAR! Lauren Hollier is a PhD student at the Telethon Institute/University Western Australia (@childhealthnews). 

Lauren recently published a paper on the links between prenatal testosterone levels and language development in typically-developing children, to begin exploring why some children develop language impairments. Below is the link to the article (full text isn’t freely available, I’m sorry to say!)

Autism is among the most severe, prevalent and heritable of all neurodevelopmental disorders. However, the factors causing autism are still unclear.Baron-Cohen (2002) proposed that exposure to higher levels of prenatal testosterone, may play a casual role in the development of autism. However, research in this area has been limited by indirect measures of testosterone and small unrepresentative samples. Using the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study, we were able to investigate the relationship between prenatal testosterone exposure and language development in early childhood. Umbilical cord blood was collected at birth to measure testosterone, and vocabulary was measured at 2 years of age. We found that for boys, higher levels of prenatal testosterone were related to a reduced vocabulary at 2 years of age. No relationship was observed in girls. These findings suggest that in typically developing children, higher levels of fetal testosterone may be related to reduced language development in boys.

Posted in Research Summary

Research summary: Review of SSRI antidepressant use in autism

Our first research summary comes from a recently published review by the ASfAR Chair, Prof. Katrina Williams. Prof. Williams and her team have recently published a review of the use of SSRIs (antidepressants).

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are characterised by problems with social interaction and communication, as well as repetitive behaviours and limited activities and interests. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are a class of antidepressants that are sometimes given to reduce anxiety or obsessive-compulsive behaviours. We found nine trials, involving 320 people, which evaluated four SSRIs: fluoxetine, fluvoxamine, fenfluramine and citalopram. Five studies included only children and four studies included only adults. One trial enrolled 149 children, but the other trials were much smaller. We found no trials that evaluated sertraline, paroxetine or escitalopram. There is no evidence to support the use of SSRIs to treat autism in children. There is limited evidence, which is not yet sufficiently robust, to suggest effectiveness of SSRIs in adults with autism. Treatment with an SSRI may cause side effects. Decisions about the use of SSRIs for established clinical indications that may co-occur with autism, such as obsessive-compulsive disorder and depression in adults or children, and anxiety in adults, should be made on a case-by-case basis.

The entire paper is available free here

Posted in Research Summary

ASfAR 2014 conference in Melbourne

Following the success of our first meeting in Sydney in 2012, the second ASfAR conference will be held at La Trobe University, Melbourne on 4th and 5th December 2014. This will be preceded by a public event on the 3rd December. Details to follow.

Posted in Events

Victoria University & Young And Well Cooperative Research Centre Postgraduate Research Scholarship

This project will examine the psychosocial impacts on participants in a growing network of technology club for young people diagnosed with High Functioning Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome. Outcomes of this doctoral research study will include:

• New knowledge about the innovative deployment of technology (including multi-user computer games) in social contexts with young people diagnosed with High Functioning Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome, and;

• Innovative methodologies that accurately and ethically represent young people’s voices, including methodologies that involve the use of digital technologies.

The Lab ( is a growing network of ‘technology clubs’ for young people diagnosed with High Functioning Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome, as well as their parents and carers. Established in early 2011, The Lab currently caters for 150 families in eight locations in Melbourne, Sydney, Geelong and Darwin, with other locations in the planning stages. The Lab is guided by an incorporated not-for-profit company, The Lab Network Ltd, with a board of directors comprised of Lab and parents representatives.

All Labs offer personal mentoring in technology by programming and design professionals, as well as the chance to meet others and develop social skills in a relaxed and supportive environment.

The focus of the PhD project will be:

• The development of innovative research methodologies, informed or mediated by technology, that respond to the needs of young people diagnosed with High Functioning Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome, and that accurately reflect participants’ ‘voices’;

• The use of these methodologies to (a) better understand how the Lab works, especially in its interaction of the technological and the social; and (b) develop cross-Lab evaluations that accurately capture impact on participants and families; and

• The development of protocols and guidelines for new Labs that are designed to facilitate maximum positive impact, based on evaluation data.

For more details, please download the application form:


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Cognitive Science Research Fellowships at Macquarie University

Two fixed-term three-year research fellowships are available in the Department of Cognitive Science, Macquarie University. One appointment will be made at Level A (Associate Lecturer), the other at Level A or Level B (Lecturer). The appointees will be outstanding researchers and will build strength in emerging interdisciplinary research fields in the Department. While the areas of research specialization are open, areas of special focus are: hearing and cognition; autism and developmental disorders; memory and aging; and computational neurology and computational neuroscience.

The level of appointment will be dependent on qualifications and experience.

Package: Academic Level A, base salary from $62,526.00 – $84,193.00 p.a.; Academic Level B, base salary from $88,741.00 – $104,996.00 p.a. plus 17% employer’s superannuation and annual leave loading.

Appointment Type: Full-time, fixed-term for 3 years available now.

Specific Role Enquiries: Specific enquiries related to this position should be directed to Lesley McKnight on or +61-2-9850-9599.

Applications Close: 11:55pm Sunday 22nd September August 2013, Australian Eastern Standard Time

For more details, please refer to the Macquarie University jobs page.


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