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Government funds Autism Cooperative Research Centre

Posted on 25 February 2013 under News

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Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, announced government funding of $31 million over 8 years to establish the new ‘Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for Living with Autism Spectrum Disorders’. This will be supplemented by a further $70M from commercial partners.

La Trobe University’s Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre (OTARC) is a key player in 2 of the 3 programs and Director of OTARC, Professor Cheryl Dissanayake, hailed the new CRC as ‘game changing for Australia’s autism community’.

Program 1 will focus on improving the precision and reliability of ASD diagnosis by combining advanced behavioural analysis from an early age with new and existing biological markers.

Program 2 will empower educators, therapists and carers to respond more effectively to the learning needs of students with ASD.

Program 3 will focus on the transition from school to further education and employment, with a view to all individuals with ASD finding a valued place in society.

“We are delighted to see government funding this Cooperative Research Centre for individuals living with ASD,” comments Murray Dawson-Smith, Amaze CEO. “The practical areas that these programs are focused on will help to achieve better outcomes for all individuals with ASD.”

Prof Dissanayake says, “These core programs will be enhanced by innovative technology and family support. In doing so, and with the benefit of extensive collaboration, the CRC will create a new momentum for  a better understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorders across the lifespan and the support needed by individuals and their families. While the infrastructure and funding provided by the CRC will help in this endeavour, nothing will be achieved without the most important ‘ingredient’ - people participating in our research. We encourage anyone interested in participating and being part of this exciting initiative to register.”

If you would like to be a part of OTARC’s program, you can register here.

The new CRC, headquartered in Queensland, represents 12 core partners and more than 40 participants, including universities, not-for-profit as well as commercial autism service providers and government departments.