MIND Institute event focused on life after high school for individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities like autism
Hundreds of people from around the world attended the UC Davis MIND Institute’s Summer Institute on Neurodevelopmental Disabilities this month. They joined the virtual event to discuss the transition to life after high school for individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities such as autism, Down syndrome and fragile X syndrome.
A total of 624 people logged in to the four-hour learning program from 16 countries and 25 states. The presentation was in English, with translation services available in other languages, including Spanish and Korean. The event, in its 17th year, was historically held in person but shifted to a virtual format in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The ability to bring together a larger, more diverse group through the virtual format has strengthened and enhanced the Summer Institute experience for everyone involved,” said MIND Institute Director Leonard Abbeduto. “We appreciate the opportunity to engage with the community on emerging research and to hear from those with lived experiences about what matters most to them.”
We appreciate the opportunity to engage with the community on emerging research and to hear from those with lived experiences about what matters most to them.”
A focus on the transition to life after high school
Preparing for life after high school poses unique challenges for some individuals with autism, fragile X syndrome, ADHD and Down syndrome. The Summer Institute theme, “We Belong: Preparing for community Life and Fulfillment After High School,” was chosen to help individuals and families identify personal, organizational and societal barriers to navigating the transition. There was also a heavy emphasis on strategies to overcome those barriers and a focus on learning to self-advocate in their schools and communities.
Highlights included a keynote address by Elizabeth McGhee Hassrick of Drexel University on research related to the journey to adulthood, as well as panel discussions. The panels featured self-advocates, individuals with disabilities, family members and providers who talked about planning, resources and strategies for an active community life after high school.
The MIND Institute is focused on expanding the opportunities it provides for young people as they transition to adulthood. That includes a new clinic that helps families coordinate care, resources, employment and community engagement as their teens move into adulthood.
The Summer Institute on Neurodevelopmental Disabilities is a free learning program hosted by the MIND Institute and open to the community. It has been held annually for nearly 20 years.
Watch a recorded version of the event on the MIND Institute’s YouTube channel.
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 challenges associated with neurodevelopmental disabilities. 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 mindinstitute.ucdavis.edu.