Andrew Whitehouse, FAHMS

Professor, BSc (Hons), Ph.D. (UWA), Director, CliniKids, Telethon Kids Institute, Research Strategy Director, Autism CRC, GAICD

  • The University of Western Australia (M560), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth

    Australia

Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from PlumX

Personal profile

Biography

Andrew Whitehouse is the Angela Wright Bennett Professor of Autism Research at the Telethon Kids Institute and Professor of Autism Research at The University of Western Australia. He is also Director of CliniKids, Research Strategy Director of the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC) and Adjunct Professor at Curtin University and Edith Cowan University. Andrew is a past president of the Australasian Society for Autism Research.

At the Telethon Kids Institute he leads a large team that develops and tests new inteventions to support the development of children on the autism spectrum. Andrew has published over 300 peer-reviewed journal articles and attracted over $60 million in competitive research grants. He currently presents an internationally syndicated video series called ’60 Second Science”, which has been viewed by over 2 million people. He is an advisor to State and Commonwealth Governments on policies relating to children with Autism Spectrum Conditions. He chaired the committee that generated Australia’s first national guideline for autism diagnosis, and co-chaired the committee that created the Australia's first national guideline for evidence-based autism therapies and supports.

Andrew has published one edited book with his twin-brother (Ben), and a popular science book that examined the science behind some of the myths of pregnancy and child development (Will Mozart Make My Baby Smart?). He has been awarded a Eureka Prize and a Paul Harris Medal, and has been elected to the Fellowship of the Australian Academy of Health and Medical Sciences. In 2023, he was the Western Australian of the Year (Professions category).

Roles and responsibilities

Angela Wright Bennett Chair of Autism Research, Telethon Kids Institute and The University of Western Australia.

Director, CliniKids, Telethon Kids Institute.

Research Strategy Director, Autism Cooperative Research Centre (Autism CRC).

Editorial Board - Journal of Autism and Developmentjal Disorders

Editorial Board - Autsm Research

Past President, Australasian Society for Autism Research (ASfAR).

 

Research

For further information about Andrew's research, the research and clinical team he leads, and the CliniKids clinic, please visit the CliniKids website. Some examples of initiatives, include: 

CliniKids

At the Telethon Kids Institute, Andrew is the inaugural Director of a clinical-research centre called CliniKids. CliniKids is a nationally unique clinical model that integrates research projects within clinical practice for children with developmental disorders and provides an international training hub for evidence-based clinical programs. More information about CliniKids can be found here.

Policy-focused research

Andrew has led several research-driven policy initaitives. In 2016, he was appointed the Chair of a group of national research and clinical leaders (Kiah Evans, Valsamma Eapen, John Wray) that created the first National Guideline for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis. Previously, diagnostic practices for ASD were inconsistent across Australia, leading to confusion in clinical care, inequity in access to services, and difficulties in developing national policy. Andrew led a comprehensive research program to generate recommendations for the optimal clinical process for the diagnosis of ASD. The resulting Guideline included >1,000 pages of research evidence and was endorsed by the NHMRC Council. The Federal Government (Department of Social Services) have invested in nationwide implementation of the Guideline. The Guideline can be downloaded here.

In 2021, Andrew was appointed to co-Chair a group of national research, clinical and community leaders to develop Australia's first national guideline for evidence-based threapies and supports for autistic children. There are dozens of different therapies and supports for autsitic children, and a significant policy and clinical challenge has been understanding which interventions are most appropriate for any given child. This ‘wicked problem’ has led to confusion in clinical decision making, wastage in public funding, and significant loss of human potential for children with autism and their families. The Guideline combined scientific research with the preferences and wisdom of clinicians and families, and provides the first comprehensive guide for how to support autistic children win the Australian context. the Guideline can be donwloaded here

New therapies

Andrew has led research into pre-diagnostic therapies for infantas showing early behavioural signs of autism. This therapy - called iBASIS-Inklings ('Inklings') has established efficacy through clinical trials and cost efficiency, and is now being piloted by the Federal Government in jurisdications across Australia. 

Australian Autism Biobank

Andrew led the development of the Australian Autism Biobank (Autism CRC), which collected biospecimens (blood, stool, urine, hair) and phenotypic data from children with ASD and their families at 4 sites across Australia: WA (UWA), Vic (LTU), NSW (UNSW), Qld (UQ). Over a 3-year period, the sites collected 5,104 biospecimens from 2,857 participants, making this a highly valuable and extensive ASD biorepository. Andrew continues to chair the Access Committee, which administers requests to access these data from individuals and organisations. More information about the Australian Autism Biobank can be found here

Community engagement

Andrew is well known for his dedication to the scientific and autism communities in local communities around Australia.

Andrew is a passionate communicator of science. He has written a popular science book on child development – Will Mozart Make My Baby Smart – which sold out its print run. He has also written more than 75 articles for The Conversation about the science of child development (~2 million unique readers to date), and more than 30 articles for major Australian newspapers about science and policy matters relating to child development and autism (e.g., The Australian, Sydney Morning Herald, Canberra Times, The West Australian).  His team’s research has been profiled in every major newspaper and free-to-air television station in Australia, and in major media outlets internationally (e.g., New York Times, BBC, Time, CNN, The Economist). 

Andrew has also used Facebook as a means for communicating science directly to the community. Through this medium, he scripts and presents a fortnightly video web-series, called 60 Second Science, which describes a recent piece of autism research in lay language to the public in one minute. He has created more than 100 videos, which have been viewed more than 2 million times in 38 countries since 2016. This initiative was a Finalist at the 2017 Premier’s Science Awards for the ‘Science Engagement’ category.

In addition, Andrew is a dedicated advocate of, and communicator to, the autism parent community. Each year, he delivers approximately 20 presentations to community/parent groups across Australia, discussing scientific advances in autism. He founded and host several major events for the autism family community, He is also a Board member for several autism community organisations including Autism Awareness Australia (Australia’s peak community organisation representing family members of autistic individuals) and Ocean Heroes (a community surfing program for autistic children).

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being

Education/Academic qualification

Psychology, Ph.D., The University of Western Australia

Award Date: 3 Apr 2006

Speech Pathology, B Sc. (Hons), Curtin University

Award Date: 2 Dec 2002

External positions

Board Member, Autism Awareness Australia

Board Member, Ocean Heroes

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