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April 25, 2018
6:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Event Category:


Lurie Center for Autism
1 Maguire Road
Lexington, MA
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Mass General Events

Christopher J. McDougle, MD
Director, Lurie Center for Autism

Ann M. Neumeyer, MD
Medical Director, Lurie Center for Autism


Staci D. Bilbo, PhD
Director of Research, Lurie Center for Autism

invite you to join them for

An Evening of Dialogue

You’ll have a unique opportunity to learn from and speak with leading autism experts from the Lurie Center and Aspire, as well as the real experts – other parents and caregivers. With a choice of sessions to attend, each focusing on a different topic, this evening is not to be missed. Choose the session most pertinent to your interests and join the conversation! You will have the opportunity to visit several sessions throughout the evening, as well as socialize with other parents, grandparents and individuals who are living with autism.

Sessions at An Evening of Dialogue

Session 1 (6:25 – 6:50 pm):

1. How to Balance Electronics and Life: Children Ages 4 – 10
Diana Wasserman, MD; Elise Wulff, MEd

Children are being exposed to technology at younger ages and there are limited supports available for parents to help their children find a healthy balance. We’ll discuss some strategies to reap the benefits of available technology and how to create structure and set supportive limits around usage.

2. Why do we always talk about anxiety and autism?
Nora Friedman, MD; Rachel Goldin, PhD

Many individuals with ASD experience anxiety. Learn approaches for managing anxiety with behavioral interventions and when to consider medication for treatment.

3. Babies, Brains and the Wonders of Our Immune System
Staci Bilbo, PhD; Christopher McDougle, MD

Immune cells in the body are critical for keeping us healthy, but they are also critical for how the brain develops. For instance, immune cells called microglia live permanently in the brain and help guide brain development and serve as its immune system helpers by gobbling up diseased or damaged cells and discarding cellular debris. This talk will discuss how microglia (and other immune processes) might hold the key to understanding not just normal brain development, but also what causes disorders like autism.

Session 2 (6:55 – 7:20 pm)

1. How to Balance Electronics and Life: The Teen Years
Scott McLeod, PhD; Andrew Harris, MEd

How to Balance Electronics and Life (Teens): Technology is now pocket-sized and unavoidable, and with that comes pros and cons. Learn how to recognize concerning patterns of over-use, implement systems for limit-setting, and take advantage of how technology can be a valuable asset in social connectivity and organization.

2. ASD and Sexuality
Alyssa Milot Travers, PhD; Jessica Pappagianopoulos, MA

Sexuality is an important aspect of life. For autistic individuals, sex education has to be multifaceted and consider each person’s unique learning style. Join us for a discussion on this important topic and receive resources based on your child’s profile and needs.

3. The Genetics of Autism (Clinical Focus)
Lauren Gotsell, MS, CGC; Ann Neumeyer, MD

As more research is published, the genetics of autism becomes less clear, and more difficult to understand. Our experts in genetics and neurology will shed light on this rapidly expanding field.

Session 3 (7:25 – 7:50 pm)

1. Effective Special Needs Parenting: The Necessity of Self-Care
Sylvia Fogel, MD; Ellen Roth, MSW

Parents of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder often ignore their own needs while trying to meet the needs of their children. Learn how paying attention to and caring for yourself is vital for your health and well-being and essential to your long-term goals for your child and family.

2. Understanding and Responding to Aggression and Tantrum Behaviors at Home
Nicole Simon, EdM, LABA, BCBA; Lisa Nowinski, PhD

Many individuals with ASD can exhibit physical aggression and tantrum behaviors for a number of reasons. These behaviors can be particularly challenging for caregivers to manage in the home setting. Learn how to take a function-based approach to understanding and treating aggressive and tantrum behaviors considering both proactive and reactive strategies.

3. An Emerging Role of the Gut Microbiome in ASD
Marcy Kingsbury, PhD; Carolyn Smith, PhD; Sarah Kadzielski, MD

We will discuss new research suggesting that the gut microbiome may be dysregulated in ASD. Come learn more about the potential of the microbiome as a therapeutic target for both GI and behavioral symptoms in ASD.

Lurie Center for Autism

The Lurie Center for Autism is an integrated and multidisciplinary clinical, research, training and advocacy center dedicated to bringing together comprehensive care and advanced research to better meet the needs of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) from early childhood through adulthood. Today the Lurie Center follows more individuals with ASD at its Lexington clinic than almost any other program in the country, collectively seeing more than 3,000 individuals and recording 7,000 visits annually.

The Lurie Center is also excited about the possibilities that lay ahead as it further expands its research program. Through these efforts, we are translating research from scientists focused on finding the genetic and biological causes of ASD, to clinical trials that will have a more immediate impact on the lives of individuals with ASD.