Prof Katrina Williams is a paediatrician and public health physician who has worked and trained in Darwin, Sydney, London and Melbourne. Katrina is the APEX Chair of Developmental Medicine, University of Melbourne and Director, Developmental Medicine Royal Children's Hospital and an Honorary Research Fellow at the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute. Her current work includes clinical care, service development, research and evidence synthesis and translation.



Katrina will present on Day 2 in Symposium 5 - Transforming Beginnings.

Early Intervention Evidence and Decision Making.  
(Author: Katrina Williams.1, 2, 3. 1. University of Melbourne, 2. The Royal Children's Hospital, 3. Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.)

Background: There are ongoing discoveries about autism, including emerging evidence about causes and findings that may change how we characterise and diagnose autism. There is also emerging evidence about early intervention for autism. At the same time the individual differences of young children with autism are being increasingly described and there is emerging information about the importance of taking parents' values and preferences in to account when selecting interventions. There are also well described variations in services available in different regions, within and between countries.

Recently systematic reviews and guidelines about early intervention for autism have been published. However these reports do not always come to the same conclusions or make the same recommendations about what constitutes best early intervention and support for children with autism and their family. Some of differences in findings and recommendations are due to different approaches to evidence inclusion and evaluation. Others are due to inconsistencies in how interventions are described and positive effects assessed.

In this context it is not surprising that parents, carers, professionals and policy makers struggle to ensure that each child gets the early intervention and support that is right for them and their family. Some of the differences in evidence evaluation, early intervention terminology and broad approaches to early intervention that can lead to different recommendations will be presented. Individual planning, a widely agreed approach that brings together existing evidence and takes in to account child and family differences when making decisions about early intervention and support, will be discussed.

Also presenting in this Symposium:
Prof Deb Keen
Elizabeth Fulton & Prof Valsamma Eapen