Incidence, prevalence and risk factors for autism. What can we learn from databases and existing administrative data?

Project Details

The reported prevalence of ASD has increased over the past four decades. We are exploring autism incidence and prevalence in Australia using health, welfare, education and research data and understanding factors that may influence autism prevalence in this part of the world. This includes utilising data from specific regions in Australia such as the Barwon and Melton areas of Victoria (through the Victorian Collaborative Autism Study and Melton Developmental Differences Database), as well as Australia wide data derived from the Longitudinal Study of Australian Children and government health, welfare and education data.


  • Professor Katrina Williams, APEX Australia Chair of Developmental Medicine, Paediatrician and Public Health Physician
  • Dr Tamara May, Lorenzo and Pamela Galli Postdoctoral Fellow & Psychologist
  • Dr Kristine Egberts, Lorenso and Pamela Galli Postdoctoral Fellow in Systematic Reviews
  • Ms Amanda Brignell, Research Assistant & Speech Pathologist
  • Dr Felicity Klopper, Research Assistant & Neuropsychologist
  • Ms Francesca Lami, PhD student
  • Ms Charmaine Bernie, PhD student & Occupational Therapist
  • Dr Rebecca Mitchell, PhD student & Paediatrician
  • Ms Marijke Mitchell, PhD student enrolling for 2017 & Nurse


We collaborate with a range of different groups including those from the Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne, Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, University of Melbourne, Deakin University, Djerriwarrh Health Services (DjHS) Melton, and the Living with Autism Cooperative Research Centre.


We are funded through the NHMRC, ARC and various philanthropic organisations.

Research Outcomes

  1. Randall, M., Sciberras, E., Brignell, A., Ihsen, E., Efron, D., Dissanayake, C., & Williams, K. (2016). Autism spectrum disorder: Presentation and prevalence in a nationally representative Australian sample. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry, 50(3), 243-253.
  2. Williams K, MacDermott S, Ridley G, Glasson E, Wray J. The Prevalence of Autism in Australia. Can it be established from existing data? J Paediatr Child Health. 2008 May;44(9):504-10.

Research Group

Autism Research Team

Faculty Research Themes

Child Health

School Research Themes

Child Health in Medicine, Neuroscience & Psychiatry

Key Contact

For further information about this research, please contact the research group leader.

Department / Centre


MDHS Research library
Explore by researcher, school, project or topic.