27 Apr 2024

How to tell if your preschooler is autistic

From Saturday Morning, 8:12 am on 27 April 2024


A first of its kind one-to-one support programme for pre-school children showing signs of autism is about to be trialed in Wellington, with aspirations of going nationwide.

Professor Josie Barbaro pioneered the most successful tool in the world for the very early detection of autism. Known as Social Attention and Communication Surveillance or SACS, it identifies autistic children aged 11 to 30 months with an accuracy of 83%, and has identified 96% of autistic children by preschool age.  Josie also devised the ASDetect app for parents.

Susie is joined by Prof Barbaro and Educational Psychologist and Clinic Lead of the Victoria University of Wellington Autism Clinic, Dr Hannah Waddington. Hannah is rolling out Raupī te Raupō, a world-first free support programme for under fives who, having undergone Josie's assessment, are showing signs of autism.