Personalised modelling of developmental milestones and treatment of children with disabilities

University: QUT

Industry Partner: The Developing Foundation

Industry Supervisor: Hugh McKenzie, Data and Research Manager 

IDTC Student: Patricia Gilholm

Academic Supervisors: Dr Helen Thompson, Associate Professor James McGree, Distinguished Professor Kerrie Mengersen, School of Mathematical Schiences, Science and Engineering Faculty

Early intervention programs are highly effective at reducing or preventing physical, cognitive or emotional delays in a child's development, therefore, early identification of delays is essential in order to provide services to children at risk as soon as possible. Developmental milestones can be used as markers to identify children who are showing delays in particular areas of development.

IDTC student Patricia Gilholm has partnered with The Developing Foundation to create and apply suitable Bayesian methods for modelling developmental milestones and to assess the effectiveness of treatment for young children with rare and heterogeneous disabilities.

This research has four aims:

(1) to identify subgroups of children who have similar developmental trajectories over a range of functional areas using statistical clustering methods,

(2) implement personalised predictive models to identify at risk or vulnerable children,

(3) implement an experimental design to assess the effectiveness of early interventions and

(4) develop materials to communicate results to parents and carers.

This project will provide predictive models that can help with the early detection of developmental delay and disability and identify optimal periods for early intervention for children at risk. The outcomes of this research will be incorporated in decision-making at the Developing Foundation, which will allow parents to be more informed in regards to their child’s development and make proactive choices for early intervention.