The University of Arizona

Diagnosing Autism Earlier Than Ever Before

By The UA Frances McClelland Institute for Children, Youth and Families, January 24, 2012

Autism expert Sally Ozonoff will talk about the latest research into autism spectrum disorders during a public talk at the UA on Jan. 27.

Sally Ozonoff
Sally Ozonoff
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Parents never want to hear that their child has autism. But if he or she does, parents need to know that the earlier they seek help and treatment, the better the outcomes for their child.

Autism expert Sally Ozonoff will talk about the latest autism spectrum disorders, or ASD, research at an upcoming public presentation at the University of Arizona.

Ozonoff is an endowed professor and vice chair for research in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at the University of California, Davis, and her work has been showcased on 60 Minutes, National Public Radio and NBC Nightly News.

Hosted by the Frances McClelland Institute for Children, Youth and Families at the UA, the presentation will be Jan. 27 from 4-5:30 p.m. at the John and Doris Norton School Family and Consumer Sciences, McClelland Park, Room 105. A reception will follow in the lobby. 

Participants will learn how to identify the red flags that can indicate ASD in infants and toddlers. Ozonoff will discuss patterns of the symptom onset of autism and the developmental course of first signs of ASD. She also will recommend screening tools and will talk about the accuracy of early diagnosis.

"Dr. Ozonoff is a national and international scholar in the field of autism," said UA associate professor Ann Mastergeorge, chair of the McClelland Institute's Early Childhood Initiative: Typical and Atypical Development.

"We invited her to speak because our Early Childhood Initiative here at the UA is committed to issues related to prevention, early intervention and risk. Early identification of autism is critical in order to provide early intervention. This is an area of great need in Arizona, where rates are consistent with the reported national rate reported by the CDC in 2011 that 1 in 110 children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders."

Ozonoff's current research focuses on very young children with autism, infant diagnosis and recurrence risk. She is studying both the onset of autism in a prospective investigation that follows high-risk infants from birth through age three, and risk factors for autistic regression.

Ozonoff is a licensed clinical psychologist, with interests in the diagnosis and assessment of autism spectrum disorders and specializations in infant and adult diagnosis and Asperger syndrome.

She has written more than 100 peer-reviewed publications and chapters on these topics, as well as three books. Ozonoff is an associate editor of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders and Autism Research.

This presentation is part of the Frances McClelland Institute's Pamela J. Turbeville Speaker Series, which is focused in 2012 on the Institute's Early Childhood Initiative: Typical and Atypical Development.  

The Initiative focuses on prevention, early intervention, risk and resilience in young children (ages birth to 5) with particular attention to social-emotional well-being, positive parent-child relationships, as well as evidence-based early interventions for at-risk children and those with disabilities (including autism spectrum disorders and developmental delays).

The Frances McClelland Institute for Children, Youth and Families serves as a catalyst for cross-disciplinary research on children, youth, and families at the UA. Its research initiatives address questions important to the development and well-being of contemporary children, youth and families, with the goal of improving basic understanding to enhance the lives of the people of Arizona and the world.

The John and Doris Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences, which is part of the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, has two divisions: family studies & human development and retailing & consumer sciences. Both offer undergraduate, master's and doctorate degrees and are ranked among the best in the nation.

Together, they host four multidisciplinary research, outreach and education units: the Cooperative Extension, the Terry J. Lundgren Center for Retailing and Consumer Sciences, the Take Charge America Institute for Consumer Finance Education and Research, and the Frances McClelland Institute for Children, Youth, and Families.

Contacts

Kimberly A. Brooke

UA Frances McClelland Institute for Children, Youth and Families

520-626-7952

kbrooke@email.arizona.edu