Dr. Matthew State


Dr. Thomas E. Brown


Dr. Kevin Pelphrey


Dr. Maryanne Wolf

The Help Group is pleased to welcome Dr. Matthew State, Dr. Thomas E. Brown, Dr. Kevin Pelphrey and Dr. Maryanne Wolf as keynote speakers for its 2016 Summit: Advances and Best Practices in Autism, Learning Disabilities and ADHD.  These internationally acclaimed 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 14th and Saturday, October 15th at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles.


Opening the conference on Friday morning, Dr. Matthew State will address recent advances in genetics in his discussion titled, “Autism Genetics: Where Are We Headed.” The lecture will provide an overview of what is now known about the specific genetic risks associated with ASD, address the particular challenges posed by these discoveries, and consider the role that whole genome sequencing will play in the near future in enhancing the understanding of the developmental aspects of ASD risk.

Dr. State is the Oberndorf Family Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Psychiatry at UCSF. The State lab studies the genetics and genomics of childhood neuropsychiatric disorders. He co-leads several international genomics collaborations, including the NIH-funded Autism Sequencing Consortium and has been the recipient of multiple awards, including recent induction into the Institute of Medicine and The AACAP George Tarjan Award for Contributions in Developmental Disabilities.

Dr. Thomas E. Brown’s presentation is titled, “The Role of Executive Functioning in Young People with ADHD and/or Asperger’s as They Transition to Post-Secondary Schooling or Workplace” and will describe how parents, teachers and clinicians can help these students to prepare for and cope with critical challenges in this life-shaping transition. On Saturday morning, he will be giving a second keynote presentation, “Rethinking ADD/ADHD: How it Develops, Sometimes Gets Better and Sometimes Gets Worse.”

Dr. Thomas E. Brown is a clinical psychologist and is the Director of the Brown Clinic for Attention and Related Disorders and Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at the Keck Medical School of the University of Southern California. He authored Smart but Stuck: Emotions in Teens and Adults with ADHD (2014), A New Understanding of ADHD in Children & Adults (2013) and Attention Deficit Disorder (2005). 

Dr. Kevin Pelphrey’s Friday keynote will explore his recent work on using neuroimaging and genetics to understand how autism manifests differently in girls as compared to boys, titled “Toward Understanding Girls with Autism: A Researcher & Parent Perspective.” His cutting edge research explores how the study of brain function can help predict treatment success and he’ll be presenting on the ways in which neural science is helping to refine the development of novel interventions for people with autism across the lifespan. His Saturday morning keynote is, “Harnessing Affinities to Gain an Understanding of Autism,” and will discuss the ways in which we are using the incredibly motivating strong interests and expertise (affinities) that many people with autism have and how it can help shape novel treatments for their social and communication challenges.

Dr. Pelphrey is the Carbonell Family Professor in Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Director, Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders Institute, at The George Washington University. Dr. Pelphrey has received a Scientist Career Development Award from the National Institutes of Health, a John Merck Scholars Award for his work on the biology of developmental disorders, and the American Psychological Association’s Boyd McCandless Award for distinguished early career theoretical contributions to Developmental Psychology. 

Dr. Maryanne Wolf’s presentation, “How the Reading Brain Reframes our Concept of Dyslexia and its Intervention” will describe the principles of the reading brain and provide an alternative conceptualization of dyslexia and a circuit-based approach to intervention.

Dr. Wolf is the John DiBiaggio Professor of Citizenship and Public Service, Director of the Center for Reading and Language Research, and Professor in the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development at Tufts University. For her work in dyslexia she has received the Alice Ansara Award, the Norman Geschwind Lecture Award, and Samuel Orton Award (the International Dyslexia Association’s highest honors). For her research she has received the NICHD Shannon Award for Innovative Research, which resulted in the RAVE-O reading intervention program. She is author of Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain and Tales of Literacy for the 21st Century with Oxford University Press and will publish Letters to the Good Reader: The Future of the Deep Reading Brain with Harper-Collins in the fall of 2017.


For more information, the complete Summit conference schedule and to register online, please click here.