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Dr Josephine Barbaro Senior Research Fellow, Autism Research Centre

Dr Josephine Barbaro is a Senior Research Fellow at the Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre at La Trobe University, and co-founder of Australia's first 'Early Assessment Clinic' for autism. Dr Barbaro's research interests are in the early identification and diagnosis of autism in infants and toddlers, and family health and well-being following a diagnosis.
Through her PhD, Dr Barbaro pioneered an early detection method for autism known as the Social Attention and Communication Study (SACS). The SACS is the most successful tool for the very early detection of Autism in the world, identifying children with autism aged 12 to 24 months with an accuracy of 81%. The SACS has been incorporated into Australia’s Autism Cooperative Research Centre (CRC), and is used amongst healthcare professionals across Australia, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific. The SACS program has led to ASDetect – the world’s first, empirically-based, autism surveillance mobile app for infants and toddlers, winning Research and Development Project of the Year at the State and National iAwards, and was one of ten finalist for the Google Impact Challenge 2016. Dr Barbaro is a Sir Robert Menzies Scholar and past president of the Menzies Memorial Scholars Association. She has published extensively in early autism, and has won a number of awards for her work, including the International Society for Autism Research Best Clinical Dissertation Award, and Best Translation of Autism Research by the Autism CRC in 2015 and 2016.


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