Autism, Learning Disabilities and ADHD Experts Convene at the Help Group Summit

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Two-day seminar for professionals and parents to present cutting edge information in research and best practices.

Dr. Paul Satz, Dr. Barbara Firestone and Dr. Peter Whybrow, Co-Chairs of The Help Group's Summit 2008

The demand for the most current information regarding research and best practices in neurodevelopmental disabilities continues to grow at an exponential rate. The Summit is a unique forum that brings together an extraordinary group of thought leaders in the field to share their knowledge and expertise

On Friday, September 26 and Saturday, September 27, 2008 at The Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles, The Help Group will host its Summit 2008, Advances and Best Practices in Autism, Learning Disabilities and ADHD. This cutting edge conference features more than 20 of today's leading experts and will feature the latest information for parents and professionals including topics such as:

  • The convergence of science, advocacy and public policy: the current California and federal legislative agendas
  • Social robots for kids? Exploring socially assistive robotics for autism intervention
  • Evidence based treatments for toddlers with ASD: What we know now and new research directions
  • Current psychopharmacological approaches to the treatment of ADHD
  • Lessons learned from research: Early identification and multiple component remediation for children and adolescents with reading disabilities

Summit Co-Chairs are Dr. Barbara Firestone, President and CEO of The Help Group, Vice Chair of the California Legislative Blue Ribbon Commission on Autism, Dr. Paul Satz, Professor Emeritus, Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior and Dr. Peter Whybrow, Director, Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at The Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. The Help Group Summit 2008 is generously sponsored by First 5 California and First 5 LA and will be attended by more than 500 professionals and parents.

"The demand for the most current information regarding research and best practices in neurodevelopmental disabilities continues to grow at an exponential rate. The Summit is a unique forum that brings together an extraordinary group of thought leaders in the field to share their knowledge and expertise," said Dr. Firestone.

This year's Summit features nationally renowned experts including, Michael Arnot, MPA, Margaret L. Bauman, M.D., Jan Blacher, Ph.D., Michael G. Chez, M.D., Glen Dunlap, Ph.D., Peter F. Gerhardt, Ed.D., Robert L. Hendren, D.O., Connie Kasari, Ph.D., Michele D. Kipke, Ph.D., Martin L. Kutscher, M.D., Elizabeth Laugeson, Psy.D., Alan M. Leslie, Ph.D., Philip Levin, Ph.D. Enrique López, Psy.D., Sandra Loo, Ph.D., Catherine Lord, Ph.D., Maureen W. Lovett, Ph.D., Areva D. Martin, Esq., Irene Martinez, MSW, Maja J. Mataric', Ph.D., Sara McCracken, Psy.D., Istvan Molnar-Szakacs, Ph.D., Janiece Turnbull, Ph.D., Derek A. Ott, M.D., Emily Rubin, MS, CCC-SLP, and Louis Vismara, M.D.

During the luncheon program, Dr. Louis Vismara, Policy Consultant to Senate President pro Tem, Don Perata will receive The Help Group's Autism Heroes Award in recognition of his heartfelt commitment to children and families living with autism and his extraordinary efforts on their behalf. Dr. Vismara is the parent of a son with an autism spectrum disorder and is one of the 38 families highlighted in Dr. Barbara Firestone's highly acclaimed and award winning book, Autism Heroes: Portraits of Families Meeting the Challenge.

The Help Group will present this year's Champion for Children Award to the Grammy Foundation in appreciation of its far reaching efforts to educate through music that have enriched the lives of so many children. The Grammy Foundation recently funded an innovative research initiative led by Dr. Istvan Molnar-Szakacs, through The Help Group - UCLA Autism Research Alliance to explore and better understand how the brain processes emotion in children with autism.

ABC7 will receive The Help Group's Media Excellence Award, established to recognize individuals and/or organizations who have demonstrated a commitment to providing quality information to promote the public's understanding of the issues that confront children with special needs and their families.

For more information about The Help Group's Summit 2008 and The Help Group, http://www.thehelpgroup.org, please call 818-779-5212.

About The Help Group - Founded in 1975, The Help Group is the largest, most innovative and comprehensive organization of its kind in the United States serving children with special needs related to autism, Asperger's disorder, learning disabilities, ADHD, mental retardation, abuse and emotional problems. The Help Group's six specialized day schools offer pre-K through high school programs for more than 1,300 students. The Help Group's wide range of mental health and therapy services, child abuse and residential programs extend its reach to more than 5,000 children and their families each year. With over 800 staff members, The Help Group's state-of-the-art schools and programs are located on four major campuses in the Los Angeles area. Through its professional training programs and efforts at the state and national levels, The Help Group touches the lives of children with special needs across the country and in other parts of the world. At the heart of its effort is its commitment to helping young people fulfill their potential to lead positive, productive and rewarding lives.

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Lisa Manafian

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