"The Science of Autism"
Dr. Raphael Bernier
Clinical Director / Associate Professor Seattle Children's Autism Center / Dept. of Psychiatry, UW
Introduced by: Adam Mihlstin
We are so fortunate to have Seattle Children’s Autism Center in our back yard. Dr. Raphael Bernier, the Clinical Director of the Seattle Children’s Autism Center, was the perfect start to our All In For Autism Run this weekend, Sunday April 23rd.
Dr. Bernier explained that there is not a genetic test for autism. The only detection is social challenges and restrictive and repetitive behaviors.
A challenge is figuring out how to treat autism and what category of autism the patient was classified.
In the mid 90’s, Dr. Bernier was working with children with a variety of challenges. He read in the newspaper an opportunity for a position working with autistic children. At the time he did not understand what autism was but was interested in the job, interviewed and was awarded the position.
He was lucky to work with a physiologist who was ahead of her time. Together they conducted testing and studies in the autistic filed…..then he got married, joined the Peace Core.
After returning to the States, Dr. Bernier got right back into the autistic field studies. This time the studies exposed a small common genetic mutation in autistic children with no relation to the mother or father. These genes were found to impact the brain function. With this finding, funding supported further analysis to uncover 800 genes affected.
After years of analysis one gene was consistently affected, a commonality with 26 children. This was powerful because the finding showed a distinction for specific targeting.
Where is autism now? 50% of children with autism can be diagnosed, gene functionality can be enabled with medication and behavior based treatments are available that are very effective.
Seattle is second to the autism center in Atlanta, GA.
A side note: The All In For Autism Run is Sunday, April 23rd. After the run, one or our sponsors, 520 Bar and Grill, will be providing mimosas and bloody marys for race volunteers.
About the Speaker
Looking forward to it.