(SACRAMENTO, Calif.) — State-of-the-art research and best practices for interventions to support children and adults with autism, Asperger syndrome, fragile X syndrome and other neurodevelopmental disorders will be presented by leaders in the field during a one-day conference for families, educators and other professionals on Friday, August 7, 2009.

The Summer Institute on Neurodevelopmental Disorders, now in its eighth year, is a joint program of the UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute, the Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, the Department of Pediatrics at the UC Davis School of Medicine and Sacramento State University. It will feature the latest research translated into best practices for professionals including physicians, nurses, psychologists, occupational and physical therapists, speech and language pathologists, educators, and individuals with developmental disabilities and their families.

“This conference provides information on state-of-the-art approaches to improving outcomes for individuals with autism spectrum disorders and other neurodevelopmental disabilities,” said Robin Hansen, M.I.N.D. Institute director of clinical programs and director of the Center for Excellence in Developmental Disorders.

“We hope to provide participants — whether they are health-care professionals, teachers, home-care providers, family members or consumers — with information on best practices for enhancing the quality of life for individuals with a broad range of developmental disabilities.”

Topics of discussion will be wide-ranging and organized to address the needs of early childhood and school-age individuals; people transitioning to adulthood and health-care maintenance. Speakers will offer new approaches to clinical assessments and behavioral interventions, educational and community inclusion and legislative advocacy for people with neurodevelopmental disabilities.

Hansen will provide the event’s keynote address on “The Many Faces of Autism: From Behavior to Biology.” She will discuss current research on the heterogeneity of autism, linking behavior and biology and advances toward understanding the etiology, or causes, of autism and potential treatments.

Peter Mundy, a professor of education and director of educational research at the M.I.N.D. Institute, will discuss “Understanding and Educating Higher-Functioning Individuals with Autism.” The talk will focus on the social-behavioral, emotional and learning characteristics of higher-functioning children with autism with an emphasis on addressing challenges in school.

Paul Carbone, a professor of pediatrics at the University of Utah School of Medicine, will address “Managing Neurodevelopmental Disorders Within the Medical Home,” a discussion of family-centered care that supports the needs of children with neurodevelopmental disorders within physicians’ primary care practices. Advances in medical interventions for neurodevelopmental disorders will be presented by M.I.N.D. Institute Medical Director Randi Hagerman and Robert Hendren, M.I.N.D. Institute executive director.

“Students with Intellectual Disabilities Go to College” will be the topic of an address by Olivia Raynor, director of the Tarjan Center at the Semel Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles. Raynor’s session will elucidate trends, common challenges and program options in higher education for students with intellectual disabilities as a pathway to independent living, meaningful employment and community participation.

Enrollment in the Summer Institute on Neurodevelopmental Disorders is limited and participants are encouraged to register early. Tuition is $85 for students, parents and caregivers and $140 for professionals. Continuing Medical Education (CME) credit is available. The fee for registration will increase after July 17. Further information about the Summer Institute on Neurodevelopmental Disorders may be obtained by contacting the UC Davis Office of Continuing Medical Education at 1-866-263-4338. A detailed description of the Summer Institute can be found at http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/cme/conferences/pdfs/mnd2010_8-7-09.pdf

The UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute, in Sacramento, Calif., was founded in 1998 as a unique interdisciplinary research center where parents, community leaders, researchers, clinicians and volunteers collaborate to study and treat autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. More information about the institute is available on the Web at http://www.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/mindinstitute/.

*UC Davis