AIR-B Network Hosts Community Autism Conference in South Los Angeles

April 107, 2019

The Autism Intervention Research Network on Behavioral Health (AIR-B Network; PI: Connie Kasari), consisting of University of California, Los Angeles, University of California, Davis, University of Pennsylvania, University of Rochester, Drexel University, and each site's community partners, provides a free conference at each region's community every year. The purpose of these conferences, an integral part of the AIR-B Network's research, is to raise autism awareness, disseminate research findings in the community, and to bring researchers, parents and community members together.

This March, all AIR-B site partners gathered in South Los Angeles to attend the 5th annual community autism conference, Autism Unplugged: Contemporary Issues in ASD, hosted by UCLA, Healthy African American Families and other community partners. AIR-B partners at the Los Angeles site have been holding the community conference since 2014; the conference mainly targets under-resourced parents and attracts over 250 attendees every year. It has expanded over the years and now offers Spanish and Korean translations to accommodate non-English-speaking guests.

The topics this year highlighted issues that are current and relevant to communities of color affected by autism - AIR-B's community-partnered research, neuroscience updates, disability and juvenile justice system, evidence-based treatments, developmental trajectories in autism, and experiences of fathers and self-advocates representing African American, Korean, and Latino communities. The day was also filled with community engagement activities, such as raffle drawings, performance by the Miracle Project Live! and networking sessions. The conference was covered by the Korea Times, one of the largest Korean language newspapers in the U.S.