2019 Autism Awareness Month Issue


Wrapping Up a Great Month!


Dear friends & partners of the SDSU Center for Autism and Developmental Disorders, as the National Autism Awareness Month draws to a close, we wanted to reach out to you, our growing community, with an update on our recent and upcoming programs and events, and with a quick summary of our recent science milestones and accomplishments.

So Many Events!

As some of you know, if you follow us on Facebook, we have rolled out an impressive selection of talks, workshops, and fun activities for the members of the autism community, their families, and their allies, that cover a broad range of topics  child development, transition to adulthood, aging and more.

As part of our mission to enhance public education by providing free workshops, seminars, and fun activities to the autism community of San Diego, we have been working with our partners to create meaningful content. Here are some of the recent and upcoming events for the coming months (all events are held at the SDSU Center for Autismwith free parking available, unless indicated otherwise, as for  workshops or lectures that we hold at the San Diego Public Libraries):


  • ABA and Autism, April 8
  • Desarrollo Infanitil y Las Primeras Señas del Autismo y los TEAs, Abril 11
  • Brain Workshop (North Park Library), April17
  • Disminución Del Comportamiento Problemático, Abril 18


Please contact us about any of these events, or with suggestions for others that might benefit you, your loved ones, or your community!

Music and Autism Showcase Coming Up June 1st

In partnership with Mainly Mozart, and their annual Mozart & the Mind Festival, which this year focuses on Music & Autism, the SDSU Center for Autism has teamed up with the SDSU School of Music and Dance to host The Music and Autism Showcase, a concert featuring talented artists on the spectrum, right here at SDSU! This is a free event for members of the autism community, their allies, and for all lovers of art and music. Come for an afternoon to listen to performances by exceptional musicians with autism and hear their stories on how music has enriched their lives.

We are very proud to be able to host these accomplished musicians at this event:
Alex Pruetting
Victoria Rose
Chi-Ling Wu
Adam Mandela Walden
Clayton Freeman

For more details, or to register for this one-of-a-kind event, click here.

As for the main Mozart & the Mind Festival  held by our partners at Mainly Mozart, please note that while many of its events (which include a variety of talks, presentations, and music of course) are fee-based, for those of you who are clients at the San Diego Regional Center, the SDRC will cover the registration fees for some of the events (please see here for more details).

Art of Autism at Our Center

We are very pleased to announce that we will be displaying art by several talented artists at our Center, courtesy of the wonderful Art of Autism organization. Please stay tuned for more information, or follow us on Facebook to follow the art installation and the featured artists. Those of you who are scheduled to visit us, whether for a talk, an assessment appointment, or an event, would be able to see the art featured on the Center walls.

Also Happening Around The Center

Improv and Autism

We continue our partnership with the National Comedy Theatre, who is running an improv comedy program, Connections, designed specifically for teens and young adults on the autism spectrum. This program uses unscripted acting and improvisational theater techniques to teach social and communication skills, such as listening and social awareness, in a fun and safe environment. You may have seen the program’s directors discussing the unique program on TV recently (see links to local news segments HERE or HERE).

Connections’ next session is about to begin this week. Class sizes are small (10 students per class) so these classes fill up fast! Check out this link for more details about the program or to register.

Advocacy and Autism

One of the graduate students at the Brain Development Imaging Labs (BDIL), Adam Schadler, will be speaking on a panel with other adults with autism spectrum disorders at the Neurodiversity Summit on May 31st at UC Davis’ MIND Institute. He and other panelists will be discussing their experiences growing up with autism, their day to day challenges, what autism means to them, and much more.

The Neurodiversity Summit will host advocates, academics, and individuals with autism, who will be offering their perspectives on the Neurodiversity movement. This day-long meeting will serve as a forum for people on the spectrum, researchers, providers, and family members to openly share their experiences with one another, with the aim of both fostering a greater sense of understanding and exploring ways in which the ideas of Neurodiversity — of creating a more people-centric approach to therapy and research — can be both understood and pragmatically implemented in research and practice. Please join us as we live-stream this event at our Center on May 31.

Research Update

Many of the researchers associated with the Center will be presenting their research findings at the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) in Montreal this week. We will be highlighting our recent findings from (a) the Toddler MRI Project which demonstrate that atypical brain connections, particularly between the primary sensory networks, including visual, auditory and sensorimotor brain networks, are observed as early as the 2nd year of life in toddlers with autism; (b) from the Adolescent and Transition to Adulthood study, showing that patterns of connections within the brain regions associated with emotion regulation observed during adolescence can predict anxiety measured during transition to adulthood in those with autism spectrum disorders; (c) from the Adults with ASD study indicating that pathways involved in certain aspects of motor function may decline more rapidly in mature adults with ASD (40-65 years) compared to their peers, and that people with higher ASD symptoms may be more susceptible to this; and (d) our collaboration with the Connections program, which demonstrate that this improvisational theater intervention can lead to significant improvements in the domains of social awareness and executive functioning in teens on the spectrum. Please stay tuned for more updates and highlights from this exciting conference, or check out our social media HERE or HERE.

Love the Mission of SDSU Center for Autism?

You can generously support our community-focused autism research here. We are so grateful for your continued support. Thank you 🙂

If you want the latest updates on autism news, autism research or upcoming events at our Center or by our partners, be sure to follow us on Facebook @sdsuautism!