The Virgin Islands' 6th Annual Autism Conference will feature presentations by an expert from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and one of the nation's top children's hospitals. Conference sessions are scheduled at the University of the Virgin Islands for April 17, on St. Thomas, and April 18, on St. Croix.
The conference is designed to help Virgin Islanders develop a better understanding of what autism is and what best practices are in use for dealing with it, according to Dr. Charles H. Beady. Dr. Beady is the acting executive director of the Virgin Islands University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, which is organizing the event in collaboration with the Virgin Islands Autism Network.
"Autism is an umbrella term for a wide range of disorders," Dr. Beady said. "The more the general public understands about the spectrum of disorders that fit under this umbrella, the better able we will be to assist persons with the disorder and their families so that they too can enjoy every right granted to them under our constitution."
Dr. Georgina Peacock, a medical officer and developmental-behavioral pediatrician at the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will be the keynote speaker. Dr. Peacock is currently working with the CDC's Office of Public Health Preparedness and Response on an initiative to enhance public health disaster preparedness and response for children.
Also speaking will be Dr. Shanna Kralovic, a specialist in autism spectrum disorders. She directs the developmental behavioral pediatric rotation for pediatric residents at the Rainbow Babies' and Children's Hospital, part of the University Hospitals Case Medical Center, in Cleveland. Dr. Kralovic is also is the assistant director for the hospital's Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics Fellowship.
The target audience for this year's conference includes medical professionals and those in the healthcare field - doctors, nurses, pediatricians - and educational professionals, parents, and family members of persons with autism. Conference participants will learn the signs and symptoms of autism spectrum disorders and what conditions commonly occur along with them. It will also provide assistance in identifying key professionals involved with diagnosing and caring for children with disabilities.
Conference sessions will run from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at each location. The St. Thomas session will take place in the UVI Administration and Conference Center. On St. Croix, it will be held in the Great Hall on the Albert A. Sheen Campus. Lunch will be provided. Advanced registration is required.
Registration is available online by visiting http://autism.viucedd.org. For more information on the conference call (340) 692-4266 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
VIUCEDD is a special program created at UVI in 1994 to enhance the quality of life for citizens with developmental disabilities and their families. It promotes independence, productivity and full integration into the community. Details are available on the VIUCEDD website - www.viucedd.org.