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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Joining a research trial or study can be a wonderful way for contributing to our knowledge about disorders and their treatment. If you are interested, someone from the clinical trial staff will explain the details of the study, risks and benefits, and your rights as a participant, including your right to withdraw from the study at any point. Once all your questions have been answered, they will ask you to sign an informed consent form to be contacted for research and/or participate in a specific study.

Joining a research trial or study can be a wonderful way for contributing to our knowledge about disorders and their treatment. If you are interested, someone from the clinical trial staff will explain the details of the study, risks and benefits, and your rights as a participant, including your right to withdraw from the study at any point. Once all your questions have been answered, they will ask you to sign an informed consent form to be contacted for research and/or participate in a specific study.

Finding Community

Support groups can be helpful for parents of children with autism spectrum disorders.

Support groups can be helpful for parents of children with autism spectrum disorders.

Many families find these groups most helpful in the first years after diagnosis, when early intervention for the child is essential, and disruption to normal family life is highest. Some greatly benefit from mentoring by a parent of an older child who has already gained some experience. Some parents prefer the relative anonymity of attending large groups and lectures.

Treatment

The best treatment for autism is early, intense, structured and interactive instruction provided by well-trained teachers. But children spend most of their waking hours at home. In order to be effective, any treatment regimen must rely on “special parenting” by informed parents.

The best treatment for autism is early, intense, structured and interactive instruction provided by well-trained teachers. But children spend most of their waking hours at home. In order to be effective, any treatment regimen must rely on “special parenting” by informed parents.

Navigating School Services

When a child with autism goes to school, there are essentially two options: He may be placed in special education classes, or he may be “mainstreamed” with the rest of the children.

When a child with autism goes to school, there are essentially two options: He may be placed in special education classes, or he may be “mainstreamed” with the rest of the children.

Mainstreaming is best understood not as an end in itself but as a means to better learning. It works most effectively when the pupil can be expected to make meaningful educational gains when exposed to a curriculum that is developmentally within his grasp. When this is not done, school aides are often left to run a separate day-to-day program to help the child accommodate to the curriculum.

Tips for Parents

Receiving a diagnosis of autism is a major life event. Coping with the diagnosis and learning to manage the child’s treatment become lifelong tasks.

Receiving a diagnosis of autism is a major life event. Coping with the diagnosis and learning to manage the child’s treatment become lifelong tasks.

Parents need help becoming effective consumers of autism services. They should keep realistic expectations for their child’s behavioral and cognitive growth, as well as outcomes at school and beyond. They must understand enough about how their child learns to provide “special parenting” when the child is not in organized treatment.

SNAP Autism NeuroGenetic Clinic (ANGC)

SNAP NeuroGenetic Clinic is a coordinated effort between the division of Child Neurology and Pediatric Genetics. Dr. Marco and Dr. Litwin, cognitive and behavioral child neurologists, lead the neurologic assessment, and Dr. Anne Slavotinek, an expert in pediatric genetics, guides an in-depth investigation of metabolic and genetic causes of neurodevelopmental delay and autism. This clinic focuses on finding the underlying cause, or etiology, of your child’s neurodevelopmental challenges. We work hand in hand with our other clinics to provide wrap around care for full diagnostic assessment and treatment planning.

SNAP NeuroGenetic Clinic is a coordinated effort between the division of Child Neurology and Pediatric Genetics. Dr. Marco and Dr. Litwin, cognitive and behavioral child neurologists, lead the neurologic assessment, and Dr. Anne Slavotinek, an expert in pediatric genetics, guides an in-depth investigation of metabolic and genetic causes of neurodevelopmental delay and autism. This clinic focuses on finding the underlying cause, or etiology, of your child’s neurodevelopmental challenges.

SNAP Cognitive and Behavioral Pediatric Neurology Clinic

The SNAP Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology Program is directed by Dr. Elysa Marco, who is a child neurologist with training in genetics, cognition and functional imaging and is active in clinical research in this field. She is joined by Dr. Jessica Litwin, a cognitive and behavioral child neurologist with an expertise in sleep medicine or sleep disorders, and Dr. Audrey Brumback, a child neurologist, who also is pushing our understanding of the basic mechanisms of autism in her research pursuits.

The SNAP Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology Program is directed by Dr. Elysa Marco, who is a child neurologist with training in genetics, cognition and functional imaging, and is active in clinical research in this field. She is joined by Dr. Jessica Litwin, also a cognitive and behavioral child neurologist with an expertise in sleep medicine or sleep disorders.

Contact Us

The UCSF Pediatric Brain Center’s Sensory Neurodevelopment and Autism Program is a multidisciplinary team of neurologists, psychiatrists, psychologists, geneticists, pediatricians, neuroscientists, research coordinators, technologists and administrators at the University of California, San Francisco. We strive to find the causes of autism – and the most effective treatments.

UCSF Pediatric Brain Center’s Sensory Neurodevelopment and Autism Program

Elysa Marco, MD
UCSF SNAP Director
Elysa.Marco@ucsf.edu

Annie Brandes Aitken
SNAP Coordinator
Anne.Brandes-Aitken@ucsf.edu
(415) 640-2680

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