Childhood to Adolescence

This stream covers the delicate transition between childhood and adolescence, one that crosses sexual reproductive maturity, and one that marks the extension of attachment networks beyond parents to include peers, teachers, and other mentors.

For many, these networks will provide the security needed to explore integrate new experiences of positive and painful emotion, and to clarify values important to secure social connections. For others, lack of a secure base will lead to unregulated emotion and create risk for mental health, drug use, and behaviour problems. We focus on the earliest opportunities to promote emotional regulation and social connection for all children. We also host a specialist Research Centre (The Deakin Child Study Centre) that supports young people with a neurodevelopmental disorder.


Nicole Rinehart
Jane McGillivray
Eleanor Speedy (Admin)

Research Focus Areas


This project examines barriers to physical activity in children with autism. The AFL and Deakin University have partnered together to develop and promote inclusive practices for children with autism. The project also includes children who have related and commonly co-morbid developmental challenges.

Visit the ALLPlay website

The Sleeping Sound with Autism Project

This project is a brief, targeted sleep intervention in a large randomised controlled trial group with and without autism. This research follows the Sleeping Sound with ADHD efficacy trial.

The Sleeping Sound in Adolescence Project

This study aims to develop a sleep intervention suitable for adolescents with ADHD. The project aims to examine whether treating sleep problems in adolescents with ADHD improves not  only sleep but broader child and family outcomes.

The Calm Kids Project

A novel RCT to test the efficacy of an existing CBT intervention adapted for children aged 8–12 years with ADHD and anxiety. Pilot data shows that at 5-months post-randomisation, 50% of intervention children were free of an anxiety diagnosis (assessed by blinded diagnostic assessment) compared with controls.

The ASAP Project

An interactive portal for teachers to use in the classroom to support and improve learning outcomes for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. The ASAP Tool focuses on four key domains of school functioning: communication, social interaction, focused interests and preferred activities.