Associate Professor Alison Lane

Associate Professor

School of Health Sciences

Career Summary


  • Doctor of Philosophy, University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Occupational Therapy, University of Queensland
  • Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours), University of Queensland


  • autism
  • autism spectrum disorder
  • child development
  • children
  • evidence based practice
  • neurodevelopmental disability
  • occupational therapy
  • professional practice
  • research methods
  • sensory
  • sensory subtypes

Fields of Research

110321Rehabilitation and Therapy (excl. Physiotherapy)40
170112Sensory Processes, Perception and Performance60

Professional Experience

UON Appointment

DatesTitleOrganisation / Department
11/02/2015 - Associate ProfessorUniversity of Newcastle
School of Health Sciences


For publications that are currently unpublished or in-press, details are shown in italics.

Journal article (25 outputs)

2014Schaaf RC, Lane AE, 'Toward a Best-Practice Protocol for Assessment of Sensory Features in ASD', Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, (2014)

Sensory difficulties are a commonly occurring feature of autism spectrum disorders and are now included as one manifestation of the ¿restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities¿ diagnostic criteria of the DSM5 necessitating guidelines for comprehensive assessment of these features. To facilitate the development of such guidelines, this paper provides an overview of the literature on sensory features in autism spectrum disorder. We summarize the literature pertaining to: terminology, current assessment practices, sensory development, and the relationship of sensory features to core symptoms of autism. The paper concludes with recommendations for clinical assessment of sensory features in Autism.

2014Lane AE, Heathcock JC, 'Early sensory-motor signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder: Implications for clinical practice', Developmental Disabilities Special Interest Section Quarterly, 37 1-3 (2014) [C3]
2014Eldridge J, Lane AE, Belkin M, Dennis S, 'Robust features for the automatic identification of autism spectrum disorder in children.', J Neurodev Disord, 6 12 (2014) [C1]
DOI10.1186/1866-1955-6-12Author URL
CitationsWeb of Science - 2
Co-authorsSimon Dennis
2014Lane AE, Molloy CA, Bishop SL, 'Classification of children with autism spectrum disorder by sensory subtype: A case for sensory-based phenotypes', Autism Research, 7 322-333 (2014) [C1]

This study examines whether sensory differences can be used to classify meaningful subgroups of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Caregivers of children with ASD aged 2-10 years (n=228) completed the Short Sensory Profile. Model-based cluster analysis was used to extract sensory subtypes. The relationship of these subtypes to age, gender, autism symptom severity, and nonverbal intelligence quotient (IQ) was further explored. Four distinct sensory subtypes were identified: (a) sensory adaptive; (b) taste smell sensitive; (c) postural inattentive; and (d) generalized sensory difference. The sensory subtypes differ from each other on two dimensions: (a) the severity of reported sensory differences; and (b) the focus of differences across auditory, taste, smell, vestibular and proprioceptive domains. Examination of the clinical features of each subtype reveals two possible mechanisms of sensory disturbance in autism: (a) sensory hyperreactivity; and (b) difficulties with multisensory processing. Further, the sensory subtypes are not well explained by other variables such as age, gender, IQ, and autism symptom severity. We conclude that classification of children using sensory differences offers a promising method by which to identify phenotypes in ASD. Sensory-based phenotypes may be useful in identifying behavioral features responsive to specific interventions thereby improving intervention effectiveness. Further validation of the sensory-based phenotypes by establishing neural and physiological correlates is recommended. Autism Res 2014, 7: 322-333. © 2014 International Society for Autism Research, Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

CitationsScopus - 1Web of Science - 3
2014Lane AE, Geraghty ME, Young GS, Rostorfer JL, 'Problem eating behaviors in autism spectrum disorder are associated with suboptimal daily nutrient intake and taste/smell sensitivity', Infant, Child, and Adolescent Nutrition, 6 172-180 (2014) [C1]

Thirty children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) aged 3 to 10 years participated in this study exploring associations between problem eating behaviors, daily nutrient intake, and sensory disturbance. Parents completed surveys regarding the usual eating behaviors of their children. Children exhibiting more severe autism-specific disruptive behaviors at mealtimes were most at risk for suboptimal intake of select nutrients such as biotin, vitamin K, iodine, linolenic omega-3 fatty acids, and choline, which play a role in metabolism and bone and brain health. Children exhibiting food refusal tended to have increased caloric and nutrient intake. Picky eaters were more likely to consume adequate daily nutrients but experienced the highest levels of parent-reported taste/smell sensitivity. The findings of this preliminary study support a multifactorial approach to the management of problem eating behaviors in ASD. © 2014 The Author(s).

2013Phillips RL, Olds T, Boshoff K, Lane AE, 'Measuring activity and participation in children and adolescents with disabilities: A literature review of available instruments', AUSTRALIAN OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY JOURNAL, 60 288-300 (2013) [D1]
DOI10.1111/1440-1630.12055Author URL
CitationsScopus - 1Web of Science - 1
2013Egelhoff K, Lane AE, 'Brief Report: Preliminary Reliability, Construct Validity and Standardization of the Auditory Behavior Questionnaire (ABQ) for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders', JOURNAL OF AUTISM AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISORDERS, 43 978-984 (2013) [C1]
DOI10.1007/s10803-012-1626-5Author URL
CitationsScopus - 1
2012Case-Smith J, Holland T, Lane A, White S, 'Effect of a Coteaching Handwriting Program for First Graders: One-Group Pretest-Posttest Design', AMERICAN JOURNAL OF OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY, 66 396-405 (2012) [C1]
DOI10.5014/ajot.2012.004333Author URL
CitationsScopus - 8Web of Science - 5
2012Lane A, Harpster K, Heathcock J, 'Motor Characteristics of Young Children Referred for Possible Autism Spectrum Disorder', PEDIATRIC PHYSICAL THERAPY, 24 21-29 (2012) [C1]
DOI10.1097/PEP.0b013e31823e071aAuthor URL
CitationsScopus - 6Web of Science - 4
2011Raghavendra P, Virgo R, Olsson C, Connell T, Lane AE, 'Activity participation of children with complex communication needs, physical disabilities and typically-developing peers', DEVELOPMENTAL NEUROREHABILITATION, 14 145-155 (2011) [C1]
DOI10.3109/17518423.2011.568994Author URL
CitationsScopus - 20Web of Science - 19
2011Lane AE, Dennis SJ, Geraghty ME, 'Brief Report: Further Evidence of Sensory Subtypes in Autism', JOURNAL OF AUTISM AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISORDERS, 41 826-831 (2011) [C1]
DOI10.1007/s10803-010-1103-yAuthor URL
CitationsScopus - 22Web of Science - 18
Co-authorsSimon Dennis
2010Geraghty ME, Depasquale GM, Lane AE, 'Nutritional Intake and Therapies in Autism: A Spectrum of What We Know: Part 1', ICAN: Infant, Child, & Adolescent Nutrition, 2 62-69 (2010) [C1]
2010Geraghty ME, Bates-Wall J, Ratliff-Schaub K, Lane AE, 'Nutritional Interventions and Therapies in Autism: A Spectrum of What We Know: Part 2', ICAN: Infant, Child, & Adolescent Nutrition, 2 120-133 (2010) [C1]
2010Maher CA, Williams MT, Olds T, Lane AE, 'An internet-based physical activity intervention for adolescents with cerebral palsy: a randomized controlled trial', DEVELOPMENTAL MEDICINE AND CHILD NEUROLOGY, 52 448-455 (2010) [C1]
DOI10.1111/j.1469-8749.2009.03609.xAuthor URL
CitationsScopus - 15Web of Science - 14
2010Lane AE, Young RL, Baker AEZ, Angley MT, 'Sensory Processing Subtypes in Autism: Association with Adaptive Behavior', JOURNAL OF AUTISM AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISORDERS, 40 112-122 (2010) [C1]
DOI10.1007/s10803-009-0840-2Author URL
CitationsScopus - 75Web of Science - 73
2010Taylor RL, Olds T, Boshoff K, Lane AE, 'Children's conceptualization of the term 'satisfaction': relevance for measuring health outcomes', CHILD CARE HEALTH AND DEVELOPMENT, 36 663-669 (2010) [C1]
DOI10.1111/j.1365-2214.2010.01105.xAuthor URL
CitationsScopus - 1Web of Science - 1
2010Gibbs D, Boshoff K, Lane A, 'Understanding parenting occupations in neonatal intensive care: application of the Person-Environment-Occupation Model', BRITISH JOURNAL OF OCCUPATIONAL THERAPY, 73 55-63 (2010) [C3]
DOI10.4276/030802210X12658062793762Author URL
CitationsScopus - 2Web of Science - 1
2010Lane AE, Ziviani JM, 'Factors influencing skilled use of the computer mouse by school-aged children', COMPUTERS & EDUCATION, 55 1112-1122 (2010) [C1]
DOI10.1016/j.compedu.2010.05.008Author URL
CitationsScopus - 10Web of Science - 6
2008Baker AEZ, Lane A, Angley MT, Young RL, 'The relationship between sensory processing patterns and behavioural responsiveness in autistic disorder: A pilot study', JOURNAL OF AUTISM AND DEVELOPMENTAL DISORDERS, 38 867-875 (2008) [C1]
DOI10.1007/s10803-007-0459-0Author URL
CitationsScopus - 69Web of Science - 57
2008Maher CA, Olds T, Williams MT, Lane AE, 'Self-reported quality of life in adolescents with cerebral palsy', Physical and Occupational Therapy in Pediatrics, 28 41-57 (2008) [C1]

Health Related Quality of Life (HRQOL) is an important outcome in the delivery of health care. Research on the HRQOL in young people with cerebral palsy (CP) has relied on proxy-reports from parents. The purpose of this study was to investigate the self-reported HRQOL of young people with CP. A survey was mailed to 229 adolescents with CP in South Australia, of which 118 responded (51.5%). Seventy-one participants 11 to 17 years of age, self-reported HRQOL on the Pediatric Quality of Life Inventory 4.0 (PedsQL). Thirty-eight youth were deemed by their parent/guardian as having insufficient cognitive ability to self-report HRQOL and nine respondents returned their surveys incomplete. The mean PedsQL Physical Function score was 57.3 (SD = 24.3), the mean Psychosocial Function score was 64.5 (SD = 15.9), and the Overall PedsQL score was 62.0 (SD = 16.7). Compared to norms for children without disabilities, 67% of participants had an Overall PedsQL score greater than 1 SD below the mean. PedsQL scores were related to gross motor function classification level (Spearman's rho = -0.54), number of health issues (rho = -0.51), and socioeconomic status (rho = 0.28), but not age, gender, quality of sleep, or whether parent assistance was needed to complete the PedsQL. The results have implications for policy and efforts to identify and address barriers to full and satisfying participation in mainstream schools and community activities.

CitationsScopus - 15
2007Maher CA, Williams MT, Olds T, Lane AE, 'Physical and sedentary activity in adolescents with cerebral palsy', DEVELOPMENTAL MEDICINE AND CHILD NEUROLOGY, 49 450-457 (2007)
Author URL
CitationsScopus - 101Web of Science - 97
2003Lane A, Ziviani J, 'Assessing childrens competence in computer interactions: Preliminary reliability and validity of the test of mouse proficiency', OTJR-OCCUPATION PARTICIPATION AND HEALTH, 23 18-26 (2003)
Author URL
CitationsWeb of Science - 5
2002Lane A, Ziviani J, 'Enabling computer access: Introduction to the test of mouse proficiency', OTJR-OCCUPATION PARTICIPATION AND HEALTH, 22 111-118 (2002)
Author URL
CitationsWeb of Science - 6
1999Lane A, Ziviani J, 'Children's computer access: Analysis of the visual-motor demands of software designed for children', British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 62 19-25 (1999)

As technology access becomes an increasingly important activity of daily living, debate persists as to the manner in which computers are best able to assist children in educational and recreational settings. In particular, information regarding the suitability of commonly used child-computer interfaces is required. Occupational therapists are uniquely qualified to assess and problem-solve computer access issues but, to date, have limited the application of this skill to the areas of rehabilitation and disability. This paper describes a process where the traditional occupational therapy tool of task analysis was used to identify the visual-motor demands of the children's computer game packages that use the mouse for operation. The first author examined 12 game packages comprising 45 separate games and applications and recorded information on the types of movement, task design features and recommended ages for all games. The results of the analysis are discussed in terms of the degree of visual-motor development that is required of children accessing these games and the implications for game designers producing developmentally sensitive software.

CitationsScopus - 4
1997Lane AE, Ziviani JM, 'The suitability of the mouse for children's use: a review of the literature', Journal of Computing in Childhood Education, 8 227-245 (1997) [C1]
Show 22 more journal articles

Review (1 outputs)

2006Lane AE, 'The science and fiction of autism', HEALTH (2006)
DOI10.1177/1363459306070295Author URL

Grants and Funding


Number of grants1
Total funding$1,500

Click on a grant title below to expand the full details for that specific grant.

20151 grants / $1,500

International Meeting for Autism Research, Utah USA, 14-16 May 2015$1,500

Funding body: University of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine

Funding bodyUniversity of Newcastle - Faculty of Health and Medicine
Project TeamAssociate Professor Alison Lane
SchemeTravel Grant
Funding Start2015
Funding Finish2016
Type Of FundingInternal

Research Supervision

Current Supervision

CommencedResearch Title / Program / Supervisor Type
2015Preliminary Investigation of Sensory Features and Early Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Pre-Term Infants in the First Year of Life
Occupational Therapy, Faculty of Health and Medicine
Principal Supervisor

Associate Professor Alison Lane


Associate Professor
School of Health Sciences
Faculty of Health and Medicine

Contact Details