Difference, Not Indifference: The Way Forward!
India Habitat Centre, New Delhi
5 – 12 February, 2015,

The Pre Conference Workshop on the Research Methods in Autism and Developmental Disabilities held on the 5- 6 of February brought together various national and international presenters- Dr. Roy Richard Grinker, Dr. Shubhnagi Vaidya, Dr. Tamara Cohen Daley and Dr. Thomas S. Weisner. The workshop focused on qualitative methods, the mixed methods research design, the ethical considerations while working with the vulnerable populations, Dedoose- software for qualitative data analysis and some effective strategies for data collection.

The South Asia International Autism Conference (SAIAC 2015) started with a bang! SAIAC featured speakers from across the world: the US, South Africa, Australia and South Asia. Researchers and practitioners were joined by outstanding speakers with Autism who brought perspectives on education, employment, marriage, and living life on the Autism Spectrum. This exciting event broadened our vision of what the future can be, and the world we can build together for persons with Autism Spectrum Disorders. The conference also provided clinicians and researchers the opportunity to showcase their work through abstracts for oral and poster presentations. Some of the eminent speakers were John Elder Robison, Qazi Fazli Azeem, Dr. Shobha Srinath, Dr. Stephen Shore, Dr. Tamara Daley, Dr. Vibha Krishnamurthy, Dr. Wenn Lawson and many more.

The UCLA PEERS Training for teenagers with Autism was 4 days post conference workshop from the 9 -12 was conducted by Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson. The training focused on the parent-assisted social skills training such as making an appropriate conversation with peers, dealing with bullying and teasing, and sustaining the new established friendship for adolescents and young adults with autism spectrum disorders and other social impairments. Over 150 participants from India and other South East Asia attended the workshop.

We thank all our supporters and funders for making the South Asia International Autism Conference 2015 a great success.

Some of the highlights of the three events can be viewed here.

Conferences hosted by AFA in the past

South Asian regional conference on Autism: Building bridges India Habitat Centre, New Delhi, 15-16 January 2008

‘The South Asian Regional Conference on Autism: Building Bridges’ aimed to initiate interactions between various fields related to autism, and to provide an exposure to practitioners from different South Asian countries. The conference showcased various national and international presenters who were considered leaders in the field. It was a platform to share developments taking place in the area of autism in different parts of India and other countries in the region. The conference provided a platform to several autistic speakers, a first for any conference organised in India, including Stephen Shore, a famed self-advocate with autism.

The conference was followed by a post conference workshop on Training in Structured Teaching at the National Centre for Autism between 17- 18 January 2008.

‘TEACCH and An International Consensus Approach: A National Training Conference In Autism’ India International Centre, New Delhi 3- 7 December, 2005

AFA organized a 5 days training conference between the 3 to 7 December 2005 to provide training to parents and professionals on autism and pervasive developmental disorders. The training conference brought various national and international presenters together, each leader in their own fields. The first three days of the workshop focused on the rationale and practice of the TEACCH (Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication – handicapped Children). TEACCH is a well-researched cognitive management and life skill training program, established by the University of North Carolina, USA and that can be easily adapted in the Indian socio-cultural context. TEACCH provides clear visual communication strategies that can enable the person with autism understand the expectations related to other people and events. The strategies can be incorporated in the daily lives of the person with autism at home, in school, vocational centres in order to enhance both the functional academic and daily living or work skills, so that the person with autism can contribute successfully to their educational and work set up. The fourth day of the training emphasized on Sensory Integration Techniques and how this technique can be used to overcome difficulties that a person with autism may have with perceiving, interpreting and processing information they receive through their senses. The final day of the training focused on diagnosis, concentrating especially on differential diagnosis and the role of medication.

The keynote speakers for this conference were Theo Peeters, Hilde De Clercq, Dr. Anjali Joshi, Dr. Vibha Krishnamurthy and Dr Amit Sen.

Autism: A Medical Perspective - National Conference on Autism
14 December 2001
India International Centre, New Delhi

AFA organized the first National Medical Conference on Autism at the India International Centre, New Delhi on 14 December 2001. The Conference brought together speakers to provide invaluable information and advice on specific medical matters, which is often a source of particular anxiety to carers of autistic children. These included the presence and treatment of seizures, hyperactivity, and depression and panic attacks particularly in adults with ASD, as well as obsessional and aggressive behavior. Solutions that, if and where relevant, medicine has provided to address these issues, were also discussed. The conference was very informative and up-to-date, and informed us about the developments in research as they take place internationally. Of particular interest were the emerging field of bio-medical treatments and the work of eminent researchers such as Shattock, Waring, Wakefield, Megson, and Reichelt.

Topics which were covered included Pervasive Developmental Disorders, Clinical Manifestation, Differential Diagnosis, Drug Therapy and Hyperactivity, Management of Seizures, Biomedical Treatments, Medication and the Adult with Autism.