The Help Group is privileged to welcome Dr. Catherine Lord, Dr. Stephen Hinshaw and Dr. Jack Fletcher as keynote speakers for its 2014 Summit: Advances and Best Practices in Autism, Learning Disabilities and ADHD.  All three presenters are at the forefront of their fields and offer a wealth of experience and expertise in research and clinical practice to share with attendees at this year’s Summit, which will be held Friday, October 17th and Saturday, October 18th at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.

Internationally recognized autism expert Dr. Catherine Lord is the Director of the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain, a joint project of New York – Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical College, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in partnership with New York Collaborates for Autism.  Dr. Lord is a licensed clinical psychologist with specialties in diagnosis, social and communication development and intervention in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). 

She is renowned for her work in longitudinal studies of social and communicative development in ASD.  She has also been instrumental in the development of standardized diagnostic instruments for ASD along with colleagues from the United Kingdom and the United States (the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) an observational scale; and the Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised (ADI-R) a parent interview), now considered the gold standard for research diagnoses all over the world. Dr. Lord was the Chair of the National Research Council’s Committee on the Effectiveness of Early Intervention in Autism and is a member of the DSM5 Neurodevelopmental Disorders Committee. 

Dr. Lord’s Autism Keynote on Friday morning will summarize major findings and future directions in autism research, particularly in the study of the behavioral phenotypes that characterize and modify ASD across development. Individuals with ASD who have known genetic or etiological syndromes, those at risk for ASD because of known genetic relationships (e.g., siblings) and idiopathic cases will all be considered in terms of what they can reveal about the relationship between brain function, genetics and behavior, and how they may affect prognosis and treatment planning.

Dr. Stephen Hinshaw will deliver the ADHD Keynote Friday morning at the Summit.  An expert in developmental psychopathology and the stigmatization of mental illness, he has particular expertise in causal and maintaining factors for child and adolescent mental disorders, clinical trials, and longitudinal investigations. He is past president of the International Society for Research in Child and Adolescent Psychopathology and the Society for Clinical Child and Adolescent Psychology. He is also editor of Psychological Bulletin, the most cited journal in psychology.

Dr. Hinshaw investigates the earliest signs and progression of childhood psychiatric disorders, particularly attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).  His new book, ADHD Explosion: Myths, Medication, Money, and Today’s Push for Performance, was published in January. He has also authored The Triple Bind: Saving Our Teenage Girls from Today’s Pressures, The Mark of Shame: Stigma of Mental Illness and an Agenda for Change, and The Years of Silence Are Past: My Father’s Life with Bipolar Disorder. A significant public voice, he has been interviewed by Time magazine, USA Today, The New York Times, The Washington Post, among other publications, and has appeared on The Today Show and Good Morning America.

Dr. Hinshaw’s ADHD Keynote will feature facts and myths about ADHD, its roots in both biological and cultural risk factors, lifespan perspectives, the huge increases in prevalence and the wide geographical variation in prevalence, as well as the role of school policies in fostering the major increases in prevalence, and basics of intervention strategies.

Dr. Jack Fletcher will deliver the Learning Disabilities Keynote Saturday morning at Summit. A child neuropsychologist for more than 30 years, Dr. Fletcher has conducted extensive research on children with learning and attention disorders, and brain injury. He is the Hugh Roy and Lillie Cranz Cullen Distinguished Professor and Chair, Department of Psychology, at the University of Houston and serves as Director of the Texas Center for Learning Disabilities, a NICHD-supported national research center on learning disabilities. He has received international recognition for his contributions to the field throughout his distinguished career.

Dr. Fletcher’s LD Keynote will address the multiple methods proposed for the identification of learning disabilities in clinical practice and public policy and the recent controversy involving the role of assessments of cognitive processes for identification and intervention, especially in response to instruction models for service delivery. His presentation will review recent studies addressing the reliability and validity of methods based on patterns of cognitive strengths and weaknesses and methods based on intervention response.

Dr. Lord and Dr. Hinshaw will present on both Friday and Saturday, and Dr. Fletcher will present Saturday morning. All three Keynotes promise a lively, engaging session for conference attendees.

Registration is still open for both days of The Help Group Summit. To take advantage of early bird registration rates and reserve your place for the Keynote sessions, please click here.