Innovative technology

November 06, 2001

First-ever autism research conference to demonstrate talking-heal "baldi"

(SAN DIEGO, Calif.) -- As part of the International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR), being held on Nov. 9 and 10, research presentations will highlight innovative technology uses and educational methods in the treatment of autism, as well as current scientific findings into its cause. IMFAR is the first ever autism research conference to promote communication and facilitate interdisciplinary collaboration among scientists researching the disorder.

In addition to more than 200 research presentations, a state-of-the-science symposium will be held, featuring four scientists with expertise in the fields of genetics, neuroscience, the incidences (or epidemiological trends) and the diagnosis of autism.

Some of the research presentation highlights at the conference include:

*Computer Animated Learning -- A demonstration of "Baldi," a computer-animated talking head, that mimics the speech of a real person to teach children with autism how to process language and emotion in face-to-face situations. (See Saturday Afternoon Slide Session Abstracts)

*Video Modeling -- Video-modeling as a way of teaching social behaviors to children with autism disorders. Parents review the video capsule and then mimic the situations with their children. (See Saturday Afternoon Slide Session Abstracts)

*Teaching Emotion -- How to go beyond a drill and practice format to teach emotion recognition so that children with autism develop a way to effectively read emotions from the facial expressions of others. (See Saturday Morning Slide Session Abstracts)

*Environmental Toxins and the Effect on Autism -- The growing concern over environmental toxins and vaccine antigens has created an uproar in the general public. This presentation will explore the implications of the vaccines and their effects on the causes of autism. (See Friday Afternoon Slide Session Abstracts)

*Importance of Fathers as Treatment Providers -- Past studies have shown that training parents how to use behavioral treatments is useful in increasing the skills of children with autism. Research has shown that overall, fathers have a lower level of involvement in parent training programs than mothers. (See Friday Morning Slide Session Abstracts)

Research abstracts of these presentations and others can be viewed on IMFAR's virtual newsroom at In addition, a media briefing on the state of the science will be held at noon Saturday, Nov. 10.

The International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) is the first-ever scientific research conference specifically devoted to the topic of autism. The conference is underwritten collaboratively by the Cure Autism Now Foundation, the UC Davis M.I.N.D. Institute and the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR). Its mission is to provide a unique opportunity for researchers, advocates, health care professionals, service providers and others affected by autism to discuss and promote new research into the condition. In order to reach the IMFAR virtual newsroom, please log onto

University of California - Davis Health System

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