Local autism forum draws national leaders

May 28, 2012

MT. PLEASANT, SC – May 29, 2012 – National, state and local autism experts will gather at the Lowcountry Autism Forum, on Saturday, June 16, at Seacoast Church, 750 Long Point Road in Mt. Pleasant, 9 a.m. – 4 p.m., co-sponsored by the Lowcountry Autism Spectrum Disorders Consortium (LASD) and the Medical University of South Carolina’s (MUSC) Project REX, an outpatient treatment program for children with autism. The forum is free and open to the public.

Keynote speeches opening the 9:30 a.m. morning session will be given by Dr. Joe Horrigan, Assistant Vice President, Head of Medical Research and Leslie Long, Director of Housing and Adult Services, both from Autism Speaks, the nation’s largest autism science and advocacy organization.  Afternoon sessions include panelists such as: Dr. Carol Page, Director, South Carolina Assistive Technology Program, USC School of Medicine; and MUSC physicians Dr. Jane Charles, a Developmental Pediatrician and Dr. Frampton Gwynette, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Project REX founder.

Forum workshop topics include:  “Issues in Education,” “Intervention Practices,” “Maximizing Community Life,” “Advances in Scientific Research” and “Today’s Technology.” The forum also features a bookstore operated by the S.C. Autism Society and software demonstrations by several companies associated with the iTaalk Autism Foundation. Some 20 local agency representatives will exhibit their autism programs and services. 

In addition to exploring iTaalk foundation funding of an iPhone or iPad to help a child with autism, the forum also addresses how to get Medicaid and other health insurance providers to help pay for Applied Behavior Analysis, the leading therapy recommended for early intervention.    

Autism is a developmental disorder affecting a child’s ability to interact with others. It typically appears before three years of age. There is no known cause or cure; however the condition can be controlled through early diagnosis and treatment. The Center for Disease Control released a study in March showing that 1 in 88 children have some form of the disorder, a 23 percent increase since their last report in 2009.

LASD was established last spring under the leadership of Dr. Rob Scharstein, a Charleston resident, retired radiologist and father of two adult sons with autism. Today, more than 20 local groups comprise the consortium. At the autism forum, the group will discuss the formation of a lowcountry association of autism therapists.     
To register for the June 16 forum, visit www.SCAutism.org click on Lowcountry Autism Forum.  Call Family Resource Center for information at 843-266-1318. Free lunch provided at the forum.