Addressing Autism: A Scientific Forum for the Community

Little girl looking out window

Addressing Autism


Autism is a serious and complex neurodevelopmental disorder that greatly limits a child's ability to engage with his or her social world, including functioning within family, school and peer environments. As autism is becoming more common, an increasing number of families are faced with the challenge of helping their child grow up with the significant developmental problems associated with this disorder.

On Friday March 25, 2011, the NYU Langone Medical Center's Neuroscience Institute and the NYU Child Study Center held a scientific forum, meant to address autism in all its complexity and engage the community to consider the impact that may be achieved if we dedicate our considerable, and diverse, talents to understanding, preventing, and treating this devastating disorder.

What follows are short video interviews with the experts who gave presentations as part of the forum. Each provides a unique perspective on efforts to improve the treatment and diagnosis of autism, and thus the lives of children and families affected.


Addressing Autism: Signs and symptoms

Melissa Nishawala, M.D., Medical Director, Autism Spectrum Disorders Clinical and Research Program, NYU Child Study Center
Dr. Nishawala is a nationally-recognized authority in the assessment and treatment of eating disorders and Autism Spectrum Disorders. She teaches an advanced seminar in Autism Spectrum Disorders to NYU undergraduate students and trains clinicians from throughout the country to administer the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS).



Addressing Autism: The prospect for lifelong learning

Katherine Matthews, Ph.D., Executive Director of Education, Faison School for Autism
Dr. Matthews also holds an adjunct teaching position at Teachers College, an Associate Behavior Analyst rank with CABAS®, and is a board certified behavior analyst. She has conducted numerous presentations at professional conferences and has been involved in research since 2001 on the topics of Verbal Behavior, Metaphor, Teacher Training, Peer Tutoring, Stimulus Equivalence, and CABAS® Systems.




Addressing Autism: An illness with unique challenges

Carl Feinstein, M.D., Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences; Endowed Director, Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Department of Psychiatry, Stanford University
Dr. Feinstein is a renowned child psychiatrist and expert in biological, developmental and psychodynamic psychiatry in children and adolescents, with a career-long focus on autism. He received the George Tarjan Award for distinguished contributions in the field of developmentally disabled children. He founded and is the director of the Stanford Autism Center at Packard Children's Hospital.




Addressing Autism: The MRI as a crucial tool

F. Xavier Castellanos, M.D., Brooke and Daniel Neidich Professor of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, NYU School of Medicine; Vice Chair for Research and Director, Phyllis Green and Randolph Cōwen Institute for Pediatric Neuroscience
Dr. Castellanos has served as a permanent member and chair of the NIH Center for Scientific Review Initial Review Group on Child Psychopathology and Developmental Disorders. He has received numerous awards for excellence in research in child and adolescent psychiatry, including from the American Psychiatric Association.



Addressing Autism: Pathways in the brain as a key to future understanding

Richard W. Tsien, D.Phil., Forthcoming Director of the Neuroscience Institute and the Druckenmiller Professor of Neuroscience, NYU Langone Medical Center
Dr. Tsien, a member of both the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences and a former Rhodes Scholar, joins NYU Langone from Stanford University where he currently serves as the George D. Smith Professor of Molecular and Genetic Medicine in the Department of Molecular and Cellular Physiology.