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[Posted: 25 February 2013]

Curtin plays key role in $31 million autism research centre

Curtin researchers are working collaboratively with other leading scientists in Australia and from around the globe to investigate the diagnosis, education and acquisition of life skills for people living with Austism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

ASD is one of the most severe, prevalent and genetic of all neurodevelopmental disorders, and affects at least one in 100 children. It is a lifelong condition with estimated annual support costs to Australia potentially exceeding $7 billion.

Professor Lorna Rosenwax, Head of Curtin’s School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work, congratulated Curtin researchers and partner organisations on the successful funding for the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC).

“The CRC unites some of the world’s greatest researchers in autism,” Professor Rosenwax said.

“This unique research partnership is expected to benefit more than one million Australians, improving their quality of life, education and employment options.

“We are proud to be one of the key partners on this project, which is the first of its kind in the world focusing on ASD.”

Curtin is a key player in one of the three research programs. Professor Torbjorn Falkmer, from the School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work, together with Associate Professor Tele Tan from the Faculty of Sciences and Engineering will lead work on finding a place in society, focusing on adults living with the condition. Dr Annette Joosten, from the School of Occupational Therapy and Social Work, will be responsible for targeting school-aged children.

Curtin University has a track-record in autism research, having worked with the Autism Association of Western Australia for the past few years as part of a $2.5 million initiative to provide childcare services to children aged 0 to six years with autism.

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