‘Innovations in Autism Awareness and Diagnosis’ subject of fall Keystone Symposium on Oct. 3

Monday, September 18, 2017

‘Autism Spectrum Report’ findings point to significant need for increased autism service in NEPA; keynote address by fashion-photographer-turned-activist, Rick Guidotti

 On Tuesday, Oct. 3, Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine (Geisinger Commonwealth) will host its fall Keystone Symposium focusing on “Innovations in Autism Awareness and Diagnosis.” The symposium is funded in part by the Moses Taylor Foundation through a grant to Geisinger Commonwealth’s Behavioral Health Initiative (BHI). The symposium, to be held at Geisinger Commonwealth’s Medical Science Building at 525 Pine Street in Scranton, will begin at 5:30 p.m. and conclude by 8:30 p.m.

The Autism Society estimates that there are more than 3 million people — adults and children — living with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in the United States. Many of these people are undiagnosed and have not received treatment. In order to analyze autism services available in northeastern Pennsylvania, BHI’s Autism Task Force retained The Institute for Public Policy and Economic Development (the Institute) to research the subject. The Institute produced The Autism Spectrum Report, which found that northeastern Pennsylvania has a significant need for increased awareness, proper screening and diagnosis, genetic testing, treatment plans, autism services, vocational training, counseling and respite care for individuals and families challenged by ASD.

In addition to sharing the Institute’s findings, the symposium will feature discussions about new strategies for improving understanding and sensitivity when interacting with individuals living with autism. Speakers will also highlight evidence-based, best practices for autism treatment, and will explore the evolution of genetic testing for ASD and the impact it has on directing treatment.

Rick Guidotti, an award-winning photographer who left the fashion industry to create the nonprofit, Positive Exposure, will deliver the keynote speech, entitled “The Spirit of Difference.” Positive Exposure uses photography, film and narrative to transform public perceptions of people living with genetic, physical, intellectual and behavioral differences. The nonprofit’s educational and advocacy programs reach around the globe to promote a more inclusive, compassionate world where differences are celebrated.

Other featured speakers include Brenda Finucane, licensed genetic counselor (LGC) with the Autism and Developmental Medicine Institute (ADMI) at Geisinger, who will discuss “Advances in genetic diagnosis and practical implications for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder.” The event will also include a panel discussion on “ASD Support: From Research to Quality of Life” featuring:

  • David Ledbetter, Ph.D., executive vice president and chief scientific officer, Geisinger.
  • Thomas Challman, M.D., medical director and neurodevelopmental pediatrician, ADMI, Geisinger.
  • James Martin, vice president, Friendship House, Scranton.
  • Michael Williams, director, independent living services, Center for Independent Living, Scranton.

The panel moderator will be Christa Lese Martin, Ph.D., director and professor, ADMI, Geisinger.

There is a $40 fee to attend. 

Click here for online registration. 

TCMC Media Contact:

Elizabeth Zygmunt
Director of Media and Public Relations 
Office: 570-504-9687
On Call: 570-687-9703

Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine is committed to non-discrimination in all employment and educational opportunities.