NEWS | October 6, 2020

Talent Showcase spotlights, connects kids with autism, ADHD


It may have been a virtual event, but the connections made during the UC Davis MIND Institute Talent Showcase were as real as it gets.

The Talent Showcase featured beautiful music The Talent Showcase featured beautiful music

For about 45 minutes on Friday evening, more than 50 patients, families, supporters, faculty members and staff logged on to Zoom to celebrate the talents of their community. There were nine pre-recorded acts, representing a wide range of ages and skills.  

“I was thrilled with the turnout,” said Erin Roseborough, child life specialist at the MIND Institute and an organizer of the event. “We often assume that talents are centered around typical entertainment or sports, but I love the fact that our event showcased a huge array of talents, from piano, to art, to riding a bike,” she said.

And not just riding a bike; riding a bike with no hands for eleven minutes without stopping! The lineup also included two pianists, a chalk artist, a clay sculptor, a singer, inventive stop-motion moviemakers, a video game expert and more.

Connection and support

In between acts, the Zoom chat box was buzzing with excited chatter, including these supportive comments:

“So beautiful! An amazing story with beautiful animation!”

“Beautiful piano playing!”

“I can relate to the feelings on your video.”

One of the Talent Showcase acts was a chalk artist.

“Your voice acting was AMAZING!”

“You are so fearless, I love it!”

“This song makes my heart melt. Great job!”

“My favorite part was reading the comments the participants were sending to each other in the chat and seeing their expressions when they watched their own performances or those of the other participants,” Roseborough said.

For the past two years, the MIND Institute held a live, in-person talent show, but organizers adapted the gathering due to COVID-19.

“We understand how hard this year has been for families,” said Veronica Tuss, child life specialist at the MIND Institute and an organizer of the showcase. “Our MIND Institute families face a heightened challenge as so many of the children we serve have concrete routines and comforts that have been severely disrupted during the pandemic. We want them to know that we recognize their resiliency and that we will work just as hard to continue to support them regardless of what the circumstances may bring,” she said.

The virtual Talent Showcase is one of many Family Time at the MIND events, which are open to the public and are designed to build community. Other examples include movie and activity nights, a fall festival and more.

This year’s fall festival will also be a little different. It will feature a safe, drive-through trunk-or-treat and will be held in the MIND Institute parking lot on October 30 from 5:30-8 p.m. It will feature decorated cars, costumes, candy and more and is sponsored by the NorCal challengers. Registration is requested. If you’re interested, register for the fall festival here.

The UC Davis MIND Institute in Sacramento, Calif. was founded in 1998 as a unique interdisciplinary research center where families, community leaders, researchers, clinicians and volunteers work together toward a common goal: researching causes, treatments and potential prevention of neurodevelopmental disorders. The institute has major research efforts in autism, fragile X syndrome, chromosome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Down syndrome. More information about the institute and its Distinguished Lecturer Series, including previous presentations in this series, is available on the Web at