The 11th Autism-Europe International Congress in Edinburgh, Scotland

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I returned last week from the 11th Autism-Europe International Congress in Edinburgh, Scotland.

Autism Europe’s congresses are held every three years and this year the event was hosted by one of the worlds oldest and most respected autism associations, the National Autistic Society – UK.

 The theme of the three-day event was “Happy, Healthy and Empowered”. Professionals came from 60 countries to share the most recent developments in diagnosis, early intervention, assistive technology, education, support, employment and rights. There were 1700 attendees.

 Particular attention was paid to the improvement of physical and mental health outcomes for individuals on the spectrum and how autistic people can be empowered to play more active roles in society gain create greater control in determining their future.

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Edinburgh was a fitting destination because Scotland spearheads many innovative approaches and the sharing of best practices in the field of autism. The Scottish Strategy for Autism was established in 2010.

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The conference was held in the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, easily able to make 1200 people comfortable.  There were many important themes (called streams) with recurrent presentations, workshops and symposia.

 Plus there were Plenary Sessions, that part of the conference when all members of all specialties are invited to attend. These were fascinating, big picture presentations by renowned thought leaders. (More to come on that!)

 I chose to attend those lectures whose themes related closely to Sing to Say™, that is; children, early intervention, assistive technologies, language acquisition and the economics of autism.

 In the following weeks I will share the extraordinary information that I learned and the absolutely amazing people I met involved in improving the lives of those touched by autism and empowering them to play more active roles in society and gain control in determining their future.

Up next

volker-pic-best-275Opening address and keynote speaker Fred R. Volkmar, M.D. is Irving B. Harris Professor of Child Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and Psychology at the Yale University Child Study Center, School of Medicine. He is also the primary author of the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-IV autism and pervasive developmental disorders section.