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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

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2008 Border Walking Conference focuses on autism disorders

Focusing on how language, culture and economics can affect the diagnosis and treatment of autism disorders, the MECA Therapies Border Walking Conference will be hosted by New Mexico State University's College of Education Oct. 2-3 at the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum.

Eric Lopez, the Stan Fulton Endowed Chair for the Improvement of Border and Rural Schools, said though this year there is a specific focus on autism disorders, the conference will still have an emphasis on diversity as it always has.

"Some of the presentations will try to de-mystify some of the urban legends of autism, both medical and social, such as its causes," said Lopez. "The presentations also will provide current research about not only the cause, but also the treatments and assessments to determine whether the student has autism."

Lopez said the presentations will not just be from medical and educational perspectives, but will try to look at autism in the home environment and the media as well. There also will be a parent panel, in which some parents will talk about their experiences with autistic children.

The keynote speaker of the conference will be Diane Rodriguez, a professor from East Carolina University, who will present "Language and Socio-Cultural Implications of Students with Autism." Other speakers will include licensed specialists in school psychology, a pediatrician and Kathleen Cronin, a NMSU assistant professor.

An evening reception will be held from 5:15 to 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2, and will include music entertainment by local students.

The registration deadline for the conference is Wednesday, Sept. 17. For more information, contact Michelle Saenz at (575) 646-1348.