My interests involve improving the early identification, assessment, diagnosis and intervention outcomes of children and youth with autism spectrum disorders.
Autism spectrum disorders are common (affecting about 1 in every 155 individuals), and impacts childhood development and behaviour from a very early age. Autism affects children and youth chronically in the areas of social interaction, communication and behaviour. Although genetic influences and brain development appear to play an important role, not all the mechanisms leading to autism are fully understood.
At present, there are no available medical tests that detect autism. However the diagnosis of autism can be made accurately by appropriately trained clinicians. In British Columbia, I've played a key role in developing the provincial model for providing accurate and consistent diagnoses of autism, based on international standards for autism definitions, and have been involved with provincial database designs which allow us to monitor our assessment program.