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Calls to Action

An Invitation to our National Conference

Posted by Nancy Jones, Ph.D., program director of the Autism Speaks’ Autism Treatment Network and Autism Clinical Trials Network

Pulling all the pieces of your child’s care together can be a big challenge, and many families feel alone in figuring out how to bring it all together. Understanding this need, Autism Speaks is excited to host its inaugural National Conference for Families and Professionals Aug. 3 and 4, in Columbus, Ohio.

(For a conference brochure, click here.)

The conference, Treating the Whole Person with Autism: Providing Comprehensive Care for Children and Adolescents with ASD, will offer families and professionals an opportunity to learn about comprehensive care and treatment approaches that address the medical, emotional and behavioral needs of children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The conference is open to families, physicians, allied health professionals, psychologists, social workers, nurses, educators, speech-language pathologists and other behavioral specialists.

Many children and adolescents with ASD suffer from medical issues such as gastrointestinal issues, sleep problems and seizures. These challenges can have a significant impact on behavior, overall well-being and quality of life. Too often, however, these issues are not well addressed by the medical community, and the burden falls on parents to coordinate the diverse aspects of their child’s care.

Our goal for this conference is to bring families and professionals together in a synergistic learning environment with experts in the field. Through this conference, families and professional can learn about the identification  and treatment of medical conditions, get expert advice on addressing behavioral concerns and the transition from childhood to adolescence, and generally learn more about helping children and adolescents with ASD have the healthiest and most successful lives possible.

In addition to informative sessions on the latest research findings, families and professionals can attend interactive sessions with experts in fields targeted to their needs. This is a great opportunity to learn from specialists in our Autism Treatment Network (ATN). This network of 17 medical centers across the country is dedicated to the mission of improving the health and healthcare of children and adolescent with ASD.

Sessions will focus on such topics as immune dysfunction, gastrointestinal problems, sleep challenges, challenging behaviors and psychiatric disorders. One of the sessions focuses on pulling all the pieces together and coordinating care for your child. We are also excited to have Ricki Robinson, M.D., M.P.H., author of Autism Solutions, and Peter Gerhardt, Ed.D., director of the McCarton School for children with autism as our keynote speakers. (More information about the speakers here.)

My hope is that families and professionals will leave the conference feeling they have gained practical information they can put to use to improve the lives of their loved ones and the families they serve.

We are privileged to bring you this conference with our educational partners at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration. You can find out more information about the conference and registration at our conference webpage. We hope to see you there!