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Autism Symposium

The Autism Symposium in Tehran, Iran concluded November 3 after two packed days of presentations and dialogue between professionals and families. Thanks to the work of the Charity Foundation For Special Diseases (CFFSD) and the guiding hand of its leader Fatima Hashemi, along with the contributions of Senses Cultural and its leader Tata Monfared, the conference was a huge success.

It is apparent that many in Iran are committed to improving knowledge about autism and related neurodevelopmental disorders and that there is an openness to learning from those in the U.S. The many parents present, in the audience of approximately 300, were very clear in their desire to see improved treatment for their children. Thanks to the work of CFFSD, Senses Cultural and many others, there is now an opportunity to see that happen.

Among the speakers at the conference, brought to Iran by Senses Cultural, were molecular geneticist Flora Tassone from the UC Davis MIND Institute in Sacramento, California, and patient advocacy consultant Robert Miller. Prof. Tassone gave a detailed presentation about the role that genes play in autism and used fragile X syndrome as a primary model to study ASD. Robert Miller described many ways that parents can better organize themselves on behalf of their children and cited the example of the National Fragile X Foundation in the U.S. as a model.

Senses Cultural considers this conference to be just the first of many efforts it plans to undertake in Iran regarding disability, with its soon-to-launch Senses Academy of Health website, with online Q&A, being the next.

The well-being of those with autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders is critical and Senses Cultural was honored to have a role in this important first step of scientific collaboration with US.