BioAutism chief executive Dennis Crowley works to uncover causes of autism

Brighton resident Dennis Crowley is the chief executive of BioAutism, and is researching autism. Picture: Valeriu Campan Source: News Limited

A RETIRED Brighton scientist is leading the charge to unlock the mystery of autism — and is calling for volunteers to help him in his quest.

Dennis Crowley, chief executive officer of BioAutism, says his charity is the only one in Australia to be working with scientists and researchers to discover the causes of autism, a developmental disability characterised by difficulty communicating and forming relationships.

And Mr Crowley says high autism rates will help him recruit volunteers to fundraise or undertake scientific or medical research.

“I am optimistic because with one child in 100 being affected by autism, a lot of families understand the situation and we are all looking for answers,” Mr Crowley said.

“I am sure there will be plenty of volunteers out there.”

Mr Crowley said his scientific background meant he had a natural curiosity about the causes of autism.

“Being a scientist I am always interested in cause and effect and measuring things. When I first found out about autism I got a lot of stories from parents saying they were having difficulty getting a diagnosis,” Mr Crowley said.

He undertook some research and discovered that, for the 215 Australian and New Zealand survey respondents, the average waiting time for a diagnosis was two years.

“The parents can see it. They get worried. They go to see a doctor or a paediatrician and they say there’s nothing to worry about,” Mr Crowley said.

But the delay in diagnosis was crucial to the efficacy of treatment for children diagnosed with autism, he said.

Mr Crowley would like to speak to anyone interested in volunteering with BioAutism. Tel: 0420 830 122 or email

For more information, go to BioAutism.