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Health Law Institute at DePaul University College of Law to Host Autism Symposium on World Autism Day, April 2
Date:3/27/2009

CHICAGO, March 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Autism affected an estimated 1.5 million people in 2007. By 2013, the Autism Society of America predicts that the disability will impact as many as 4 million Americans and that the cost for its care and treatment will reach between $200 and $400 billion, making it the nation's fastest-growing developmental disability.

In recognition of World Autism Day, the Health Law Institute at the DePaul University College of Law will explore autism as a public health concern and discuss some of the legal and social issues it raises. The program will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 2 at the University Club of Chicago, 76 E. Monroe St. Reservations are required for attendance and can be obtained by contacting Rhea Alexis Banks at 312/362-7271 or rbanks2@depaul.edu.

Autism usually manifests in the first three years of life. It results from a neurological disorder that is characterized by difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions and leisure or play activities. The disability can affect any ethnic or racial group, but it is four times more prevalent in boys than in girls.

"As the prevalence of autism continues to grow, it has become obvious that more research, education, treatment, funding and comprehensive legislation is needed to help understand and treat the disability," said Nanette Elster, director of the Health Law Institute. "This symposium will bring together physicians, mental health professionals, attorneys and legislative experts to discuss the steps that can be taken to increase awareness and the resources available to help address such issues as early intervention and treatment."

The panel discussions will address specific topics relating to autism, such as its psychosocial, medical, policy and legal implications. Panelists also will explore such issues as the need for early intervention, education, communication and social skill development as well as the need to ensure that law and policy support those with autism.

"By attending this conference, we hope participants will learn more about autism spectrum disorders as well as how medicine, education and legislation impact autism policy," said Elster.

Established in 1984, DePaul's Health Law Institute is consistently ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. In addition to its policy reform and advocacy work, the institute provides students with an extensive curriculum in health care regulation, policy and ethics.


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