Life Span Institute launches autism initiative

Life Span Institute launches autism initiative

Karen Henry

The KU Life Span Institute rolled out its new autism initiative on September 25 to an engaged audience of 280 at the KU Edwards Campus in Kansas City.  

“Considering Autism: KU Life Span Institute Community Conversations” introduced the newly formed bi-campus Work Group on Autism Research and Training to the public. The Group was formed earlier in the year to explore the viability of a permanent research center focused on autism spectrum disorders (ASD). 

The panel of KU researchers, doctors, and parents spoke to the overflow crowd about the foundation of autism research, the impetus for organizing this new endeavor, and the prospects for future study, training, lobbying, and family support. 

LSI Director Steve Warren introduced the group and briefly recapped the long history of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) research, training and treatment at KU that underlies this new initiative.  Each panelist spoke on how their research or organization will contribute to laying the foundation for the Kansas Center for Autism Research and Training (K-CART), the proposed permanent center dedicated to autism research and training. 

Debra Kamps, a noted autism researcher at KU’s Juniper Gardens Children’s Project in Kansas City, Kansas, is chair of the Work Group. She heads a steering committee of clinicians and scientists from the Lawrence and Kansas City Medical Center campuses in the creation of this multi-dimensional program of national significance. 

Following the panel presentations, the audience of parents, researchers, and educators broke into small groups to discuss their concerns and pose questions individually to panel members. Preceding and following the panel presentation, attendees networked or made new connections while enjoying refreshments provided by area supporters and parents of children with autism, organized by Kirsten Sneid. The web site for this latest LSI initiative is http://www.lsi.ku.edu/autism.