What is the COST ESSEA Action?

COST Action BM1004

Enhancing the Scientific Study of Early Autism (ESSEA)

A wide number of scientific methodologies and disciplines are relevant to the study of early autism, including studying genetically ‘at risk’ siblings; the development of novel neuroimaging techniques; and developing and testing screening instruments and interventions. The lack of a forum to enhance the scientific synergies between these strands of basic and applied research has hindered progress. This Action will create a network to enable developments in clinical practice and policy to be informed by cutting edge science and a rigorous evidence-base, significantly improving quality of life for individuals with autism, their families and broader European society. Increased and earlier recognition has impacted across Europe in terms of demand for diagnostic services and interventions. Current health care systems across Europe are very variable in terms of their expertise and capacity to support families with young children with autism, often leading to marginalisation.

The European Science Foundation (ESF) has funded the COST Action ‘Enhancing the Scientific Study of Early Autism (ESSEA)’ (2010-2014). The Action is Chaired by Tony Charman (UK) and the Vice Chair is Herbert Roeyers (Belgium). The Action is intended to develop European capacity in early autism science through networking, lab exchanges, bi-annual meetings, summer schools for early stage researchers and conferences. The Action comprises 4 workgroups (i) the study of at-risk sibling studies; (ii) the use of new technology in infants and preschoolers; (iii) prospective screening studies; and (iv) early intervention trials. ESSEA includes funding for lab exchanges for PhD students and early stage researchers and summer schools on methods, as well as core Management Committee and Work Group meetings. The network currently involves over 50 scientists from 20 European countries.

Web: http://www.cost.eu/domains_actions/bmbs/Actions/BM1004