February 28, 2022

The Sterne family has spent much of the past 21 years wondering whatever happened to Luke. Now, thanks to genetic researchers, they have the answer.

“When he was born I was a week overdue and he was severely growth-retarded, severely underweight,” says Luke’s mother Nicola Sterne.

Nicola was 33 when Luke was born in 2000, the Sternes’ second child. Nicola says she recalls feeling there was something wrong. “He was induced. It was a horrific time.”

December 1, 2021

Autistic people are participating in a University of Canterbury project to highlight their priorities for future autism research.

This year researchers have been talking directly to autistic people and the autism community to find out what is important to them.

Working with a $29,000 grant from the Health Research Council, the research team ran a series of focus groups between May and July to gather views and is now casting the net more widely with a nationwide online survey.

May 4, 2021

Autism researcher Hannah Waddington is looking for 48 Wellington families to take part in a study to test the limits of a play-based therapy that is achieving great results for young children.

Hannah, a Victoria University of Wellington educational psychologist and senior lecturer, is looking for families with children between the ages of one and four-and-a-half years to be part of the New Zealand-first clinical study.

She says a child may already have a diagnosis of autism, or a parent or guardian may suspect their child is showing signs of autism.

May 4, 2021

A Victoria University of Wellington researcher used a team of observers to evaluate the impact of music therapy on children with autism in her latest research project.

Findings from the study by Associate Professor Daphne Rickson reinforce the view held by many music therapists and families that music therapy provides a range of benefits for children with autism spectrum conditions.

March 9, 2021

Researcher Sharon Brandford is keenly aware of the outrage felt in the disability community over the way New Zealand treats the lives and premature deaths of people with intellectual disabilities.

It was her own outrage that led her to look at how we investigate their deaths.

Her report released late last year, ‘Counting for Something’, says life expectancy for New Zealanders with intellectual disabilities is between 18 and 23 years less than for the general population.