Digital Public Defence: Kenneth Larsen

Master Kenneth Larsen at Institute of Clinical Medicine will be defending the thesis “Early detection of autism spectrum disorder. Identification of symptoms associated with ASD in the second year of life in typical day-care centres in Norway” for the degree of PhD (Philosophiae Doctor).

The public defence will be held as a video conference over Zoom.

The defence will follow regular procedure as far as possible, hence it will be open to the public and the audience can ask ex auditorio questions when invited to do so.

Click here to participate in the public defence

Download Zoom here


Digital Trial Lecture – time and place

See Digital Trial Lecture.

Adjudication committee

  • First opponent: Professor Lise Roll-Pettersson, Stockholm University, Sweden
  • Second opponent: Professor Emeritus Ola Skjeldal, University of Gothenburg, Sahlgrenska akademi, Sweden
  • Third member and chair of the evaluation committee: Associate Professor Pål Zeiner, University of Oslo

Chair of the Defence

Associate Professor Anne Margrethe Myhre, University of Oslo

Principal Supervisor Astrid Aasland, Oslo University Hospital


Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder affecting early development in social communication and social interaction, as well as a repetitive, stereotyped pattern of interests and behaviours. For a large group of children with ASD the observable behavioural symptoms emerge between 12 and 24 months of age. Early intervention has the potential to significantly improve functioning and quality of life and has emphasized the need for early identification and diagnosis.

In these studies, we sought to examine the diagnostic age of children with ASD in Norway, and further to explore the typical day-care centres as a context for early detection of symptoms associated with ASD.

We assessed age at diagnosis in pre-school children diagnosed with ASD. Further we retrospectively assessed early symptoms visible in day-care centres in children with a confirmed diagnosis of ASD by using a 73 symptoms observation list. Based on this assessment we developed a short observation list consisting of 6 items that distinguished between children with ASD and typically development aged 12 to 24 months. The final step involved applying the short-list in day-care centres on current behaviour in children aged 12 to 24 months, without any concerns raised.

We found that the average diagnostic was 46 months. Further we found that day-care teachers were able to retrospectively recall symptoms associated with ASD in the age period 12 to 24 months of age in a typical day-care context. By applying the short-list on childen 12-24 months of age not yet identified with developmental concern, there were lower association between day-care teachers rating and standardized assessment for ASD (ADOS-2).

These studies indicate that day-care centres can be a relevant context for early identification of ASD, however further development of assessment tools and systems for use in day-care centres as well as increasing the competence on ASD in day-care teachers, seems necessary.

Additional information

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Published Sep. 18, 2020 12:29 PM - Last modified Oct. 5, 2020 10:44 AM