Childhood and Disability

Led by Joanne Arciuli, Associate Professor and ARC Future Fellow

Children with disabilities and their families face a range of challenges. We can assist with these challenges and support the full unconstrained participation of children and young people with a disability in society by:

  • Identifying and analysing the factors that restrict or preclude participation of children and young people with a disability in their communities.
  • Engaging with service providers, educators, and government in exploring the demand, need, and preferences for services used by children with disabilities and their families as citizen consumers.
  • Promoting the health and wellbeing of children and young people living with disability or mental illness in Australian society and in collaboration with our international colleagues in other countries.

Relevant Publications

Feature Publications

Disability and child sexual abuse in institutional context
A research report commissioned by the The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The authors are CDRP’s Professor Gwynnyth Llewellyn, Dr Sarah Wayland, and Ms Gabrielle Hindmarsh.

The report suggests that up to 14% of children with disability are likely to experience sexual abuse and stresses the importance of future research to understand the interaction between a child’s age, gender, family and socio-economic circumstances and their family and community environments and their experience of abuse.


The multi-component nature of statistical learning
Arciuli, J., (2017). The multi-component nature of statistical learning. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society: B, 372:1711

An article on the link between statistical learning and language acquisition in typically developing children as well as children with neurodevelopmental disabilities, such as autism spectrum disorders.

ABSTRACT: The central argument presented in this paper is that statistical learning (SL) is an ability comprised of multiple components that operate largely implicitly. Components relating to the stimulus encoding, retention and abstraction required for SL may include, but are not limited to, certain types of attention, processing speed and memory. It is likely that individuals vary in terms of the efficiency of these underlying components, and in patterns of connectivity among these components, and that SL tasks differ from one another in how they draw on certain underlying components more than others. This theoretical framework is of value because it can assist in gaining a clearer understanding of how SL is linked with individual differences in complex mental activities such as language processing. Variability in language proces- sing across individuals is of central concern to researchers interested in child development, including those interested in neurodevelopmental disorders where language can be affected such as autism spectrum disorders (ASD). This paper discusses the link between SL and individual differences in language processing in the context of age-related changes in SL during infancy and childhood, and whether SL is affected in ASD. Viewing SL as a multi- component ability may help to explain divergent findings from previous empirical research in these areas and guide the design of future studies. This article is part of the themed issue ‘New frontiers for statistical learning in the cognitive sciences’.


Effects of ABRACADABRA Literacy Instruction on Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Bailey, B., Arciuli, J., & Stancliffe, R. (2017). Effects of ABRACADABRA on spelling in children with autism spectrum disorder. Scientific Studies of Reading, 21, 146-164.

This study explored the effects of ABRACADABRA, a free computer-assisted literacy program, on the reading accuracy and comprehension skills of children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ABRACADABRA is a balanced literacy instruction program, targeting both code and meaning-based reading abilities. Twenty children with ASD, aged 5–11 years, were assigned by matched pairs to the instruction group or wait-list control group. Literacy instruction was delivered on a 1:1 basis in participants’ homes over a 13-week period (26 sessions per participant). Pre and post instruction assessment using standardized measures revealed statistically significant gains in reading accuracy and comprehension for the instruction group relative to the wait-list control group, with large effect sizes. These findings indicate that children with ASD may benefit from ABRACADABRA literacy instruction.

Children with disabilities

Autism
Bailey, B., Arciuli, J., & Stancliffe, R. (2017). Effects of ABRACADABRA on spelling in children with autism spectrum disorder. Scientific Studies of Reading, 21, 146-164.

Nash, R., & Arciuli, J. (2016). Prosodic awareness is related to reading ability in children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Journal of Research in Reading, 39:1, 72-87.

Arciuli, J., & Brock, J. (2014). Communication in Autism. (Eds.). Trends in Language Acquisition Research series (TiLAR). John Benjamins Publishing: Amsterdam.

Lim, L., Arciuli, J., Rickard Liow, S., & Munro, N. (2014). Predictors of spelling ability in children with Down syndrome. Scientific Studies of Reading, 18:3, 173-191.

Arciuli, J., Stevens, K., Trembath, D., & Simpson, I. (2013). The relationship between parent report of adaptive behavior and direct assessment of reading ability in children with autism spectrum disorders. Journal of Speech, Language, and Hearing Research, 56:6, 1837-1844.

Arciuli, J., Villar., G., Colmar, S., Evans, D., Einfeld, S., & Parmenter, T. (2013). Home-based reading between mothers and their children with autism spectrum disorders. Australian Journal of Learning Difficulties, 18:1, 17-33.

Arciuli, J., & Paul, R. (2012). Sensitivity to probabilistic orthographic cues to lexical stress in adolescent speakers with ASD and typical peers. Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 65, 1288-1295.

Down Syndrome
Lim, L., Arciuli, J., Rickard Liow, S., & Munro, N. (2014). Predictors of spelling ability in children with Down syndrome. Scientific Studies of Reading, 18:3, 173-191.

Language Impairment
Starling, J., Munro, N., Togher, L., & Arciuli, J. (2012). Training secondary school teachers in instructional language modification techniques to support adolescents with language impairment: A randomized controlled trial. Language, Speech and Hearing Services in Schools, 43, 474-495.

Starling, J., Munro, N., Togher, L., & Arciuli, J. (2011). Recognising language impairment in secondary school student populations. Australian Journal of Learning Difficulties, 16:2, 145-158.

Starling, J., Munro, N., Togher, L., & Arciuli, J. (2011). Supporting secondary school students with language impairment. ACQuiring Knowledge in Speech, Language and Hearing, 13:1, 26-30.

Parents of children with disabilities

Autism
Arndt, A., & Arciuli, J. (2015). Shared reading between mothers and children with Autism or Specific Language Impairment. Journal of Clinical Practice in Speech-Language Pathology, 17:3, 120-124.

Murphy, A., Trembath, D., Arciuli, J., & Roberts, J. M. (2011). Supporting parents of children with autism spectrum disorders to become informed consumers of evidence on speech pathology practice. Evidence-Based Communication Assessment and Intervention, 5, 116-129.

Auert, E., Trembath, D., Arciuli, J., & Thomas, D. (2012). Parents' expectations, awareness, and experiences of accessing evidence-based speech-language pathology services for their children with Autism. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 14:2, 109-118.

Service providers working with children with disabilities and their families

Autism
Trembath, D., Hawtree, R., Arciuli, J., & Caithness, T (2016) What do speech-language pathologists think parents expect when treating their children with autism spectrum disorder? International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology. DOI: 10.3109/17549507.2016.1139625

Cheung, G., Trembath, D., Arciuli, J., & Togher, L. (2013). The impact of workplace factors on evidence-based speech-language pathology practice for children with autism spectrum disorders. International Journal of Speech-Language Pathology, 15:4, 396-408.

Publications and Enquiries

For publications and other information about Associate Professor Joanne Arciuli, please see the academic profile here

Associate Professor Arciuli also welcomes enquiries to her e-mail address joanne.arciuli@sydney.edu.au