Brown Bag Talk by Dr. Iliana Magiati & Ms. Deborah Goh on 30 Oct

Speaker: Dr. Iliana Magiati & Ms. Deborah Goh

Title: Autistic traits in Singaporean toddlers: Preliminary findings from a longitudinal study at 18 and 24 months

Date: 30th October 2013 (Wednesday), 12pm-1pm

Venue: AS4/02-08 (Psychology Department Meeting Room)


Autistic traits are behaviors associated with the social, communication and behavioral symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), but are commonly found in individuals in the general population. Autistic traits have been found to be normally distributed in the general population in both Western and non-Western countries. Better understanding autistic traits may provide a methodologically stronger and more powerful way of studying the “extreme” of these traits, individuals with diagnosed ASD. In this talk, we will present preliminary data from approximately 380 Singaporean toddlers who have been followed up prospectively since 12 weeks of gestation as part of large cohort study in Singapore, GUSTO (Growing Up in Singapore Towards healthy Outcomes). Autistic traits were reported by caregivers when the children were 18 and 24 months old. We present preliminary analyses of autistic trait scores with a specific focus on gender and cultural differences as well as continuity of autistic traits between the two time points. We also highlight current and planned future work relating to better understanding infant predictors of toddler autistic traits as well as autistic traits as possible predictors of later emotional and behavioral difficulties in young children.

Speakers’ Bio

Iliana is a chartered clinical psychologist trained at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London and currently Assistant Professor here at NUS Psychology. Prior to clinical training, she also completed her Ph.D. research on outcomes of early interventions for children with autism. She is currently working on a number of research projects on screening and diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders; autistic traits and their relationship with anxiety difficulties; predictors of autistic traits in typically developing toddlers; coping in parents of newly diagnosed children with ASD and others. She also supervises postgraduate clinical psychology interns in their clinical placements

Deborah is Iliana’s full-time research assistant. She is currently studying the expression and predictors of autistic traits among preschoolers. Deborah graduated from NUS, majoring in Psychology and Life Sciences (Biomedical Science). During her honours year, she looked into the association of diabetic biomarkers with cognition among elderly diabetics.

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