The Help Group Summit 2005 Features More Than 20 Leading Experts in Autism, Learning Disabilities and ADHD

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More than 500 professionals and parents are expected to attend this annual conference where experts from across the country will address the most current facts and latest breakthroughs in research and treatment in autism, learning disabilities and ADHD, in addition to participating in lively open discussion sessions with the audience. The Help Group Champion of Children Award will be presented to Autism Speaks for its trailblazing efforts to promote autism awareness; and, NBC News Network will be presented with The Help Group's Media Excellence Award for its weeklong series, "Autism: The Hidden Epidemic," which brought much needed national attention to the issue.

The Help Group (http://www.thehelpgroup.org), the largest and most comprehensive non-profit serving children with special needs related to autism, Asperger's disorder, learning disabilities, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, mental retardation, abuse and emotional problems, will host The Help Group Summit 2005 featuring more than 20 of today's leading experts in autism, learning disabilities and ADHD (LD/ADHD) on Friday, Sept. 30 and Saturday, Oct. 1 in Los Angeles.

More than 500 parents and professionals are expected to attend this annual conference where speakers will address the most current facts and latest breakthroughs in research and treatment in autism and LD/ADHD, in addition to participating in lively open discussion sessions with the audience.

The Help Group President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Barbara Firestone is joined by her co-chairs, colleagues from the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, Dr. Paul Satz, Chief, The Help Group-UCLA Neuropsychology Program, Professor Emeritus, and Dr. Peter Whybrow, Director, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior.

"We are thrilled to be able to offer a state-of-the-art conference to address the growing national need for information," said Firestone. "The response to the Summit has been extraordinary."

This year's Summit offers two tracks of lectures focusing on autism and LD/ADHD. The expert lecturers are nationally recognized for being the best in their fields and include Dr. Eric Courchesne, Professor of Neuroscience, U.C. San Diego, Director, Center for Autism Research at the San Diego Children’s Hospital; Dr. Catherine Lord, Professor, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, Director, Autism and Communication Disorders Center; Dr. Joseph Torgesen, Chair of Psychology and Education, Florida State University, Director Florida Center for Reading Research; and Dr. Thomas E. Brown, Professor of Psychology and Cellular and Molecular Physiology, Yale University School of Medicine.

Two of The Help Group's experts in autism and LD/ADHD are part of this top tier lecture series. Dr. Laurie Stephens, Director of Autism Spectrum Disorders Programs, will present "A Guide to Improving the Behavior of Children with Autism"; and Dr. Philip Levin, Program Director, The Help Group – UCLA Neuropsychology Program, Director Outcomes Research, is offering "Understanding, Language and Learning Delays: Behavioral, Social and Cultural Considerations" in conjunction with Dr. Enrique Lopez, a clinical neuropsychologist from Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.

Friday’s luncheon will include a special awards ceremony. The Help Group Champion of Children Award will be presented to Autism Speaks for its trailblazing efforts to promote autism awareness; the award will be accepted by Senior Vice President Alison Tepper Singer, who will also give remarks during the luncheon. NBC News Network will be presented with The Help Group's Media Excellence Award for its weeklong series "Autism: The Hidden Epidemic," which brought much needed national attention to the issue.

The Help Group Summit 2005 will be held at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles on Friday, Sept. 30 from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and on Saturday, Oct. 1 from 8 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. A complete list of lectures and experts is available online. There also will be several sponsored booths at the Summit with the latest educational materials and training information/toys for children with special needs.

The Help Group Summit 2005 major sponsors include First 5 California and First 5 L.A.; its contributing sponsor is The Cynthia L. & William E. Simon Junior Foundation.

About The Help Group. Founded in 1975, The Help Group is the largest, most innovative and comprehensive nonprofit organization in the United States serving children with special needs related to autism, Asperger’s disorder, learning disabilities, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, mental retardation, abuse and emotional problems. Its six specialized day schools offer pre-K through high school programs for more than 1,100 students on a daily basis. Its wide range of mental health and therapy services, child abuse, foster family and residential programs extend the organization’s reach to more than 5,000 children and their families each year. The Help Group’s state-of-the-art schools and programs with more 700 staff members on four major campuses in the Los Angeles area. The Help Group is inspired by its belief that dignity, hope, opportunity and love are the birthrights of all children. For more information about The Help Group, please call 818-779-5212 or visit http://www.thehelpgroup.org.

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Deborah Smith-Roges
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