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First Annual Autism Conference at Packard Children's and Stanford Brings Parents and Researchers Together
Date:5/20/2008

PALO ALTO, Calif., May 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Parents of children with autism often grapple with a bewildering array of questions and choices: "Did I do something to cause the disorder? Could it be genetic? What is it like to be a child with autism? Are there new medications or therapies that might alleviate some of my child's symptoms?"

On May 31, family members, caregivers and teachers of children with autism will have a unique opportunity to hear from researchers on the front line of the difficult disorder. 'Recent Advances in Autism Treatment and Research' is the first in what organizers from Lucile Packard Children's Hospital and Stanford University hope will be an annual event aimed at sharing the latest in autism research with the families of affected children.

"We're engaging family members and caregivers of children with autism," said Carl Feinstein, MD, the Endowed Director of Psychiatry at Packard Children's. "We want to share with the parents what we have learned and learn from the parents what they know."

Feinstein, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford's medical school, co-directs the Stanford Autism Working Group -- a collaboration of physicians, geneticists, neuroscientists, cell biologists, and bioengineers dedicated to discovering the neurological and biological basis of the complex disorder. The conference is meant to be the first in a series of productive exchanges between parents and members of the group.

"Parents are powerful advocates for their kids," said child psychiatrist Antonio Hardan, MD, who directs the autism and developmental disabilities clinic at Packard Children's. "But it is very important for them to be informed about the risks and benefits of intervention. We want to empower them by giving them a balanced view of the latest research and medical treatments."

At the all-day conference on the Stanford campus, Hardan, an assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sc
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SOURCE Lucile Packard Children's Hospital
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