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Meet the Experts: Researchers to Present at MU Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders’ 9th Annual Autism Conference

October 3rd, 2014

Story Contact: MU News Bureau, 573-882-6211, munewsbureau@missouri.edu

By Fran Webber

COLUMBIA, Mo. – The University of Missouri Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders will host its 9th Annual Autism Conference Oct. 6-7 at the Capitol Plaza Hotel in Jefferson City. At the conference, autism experts will present recent research advancements as well as best practices in caring for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Among those to present the findings of their research are several autism experts from the MU Thompson Center; a list of these experts is included below.

Connie Brooks, associate clinical professor, Department of Health Psychology in the School of Health Professions
Expertise: clinical supervision, assessment and diagnosis among vulnerable populations

For more than a decade, Brooks has taught courses covering child maltreatment and mental health, developmental psychopathology and human learning, among other subjects. Additionally, she has contributed to multiple published research studies examining family and educator mental health interventions for youth.

SungWoo Kahng, associate professor, Department of Health Psychology in the School of Health Professions
Expertise: behavioral assessment and treatment of individuals with autism

Kahng researches behavioral assessment and interventions for severe problem behavior, particularly as expressed by individuals with developmental disabilities. He has presented at national and international events, consulted for a number of organizations and co-authored dozens of peer-reviewed articles and chapters.

Micah Mazurek, assistant professor, Department of Health Psychology in the School of Health Professions
Expertise: autism spectrum disorders and assessment of treatment effectiveness

Mazurek is developing tools to better assess the effects of treatment for those with autism spectrum disorders. In 2013, she received a grant for more than $3.8 million from the National Institutes of Health to fund work on her Autism Impact Measure project.

Karen O’Connor, assistant research professor, Department of Special Education in the College of Education
Expertise: interventions for children with autism

O’Connor is one of the primary leaders of the Training Experts in Autism for Missouri (TEAM) education program which provides training and support to teachers and school staff across the state. Her research interests include the identification of evidence-based practices for individuals with autism and identification of individual characteristics potentially associated with treatment responses.

Jena Randolph, assistant research professor, Department of Special Education in the College of Education
Expertise: training families, schools and communities about autism

Randolph is a co-developer on Training Experts in Autism for Missouri (TEAM) and teaches courses through the special education department at the University of Missouri. She has 15 years of experience working with children with autism, teachers and families across home, school and clinical settings. Her research interests include refining knowledge of evidence-based practices to better understand individual characteristics associated with treatment response and enhancing training outcomes.

Janine Stichter, professor, Department of Special Education in the College of Education
Expertise: social skills assessment and interventions for children with autism

Stichter has published more than 50 peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, as well as co-authored two books. The National Institutes of Health, Missouri Department of Mental Health and many others have provided more than $20 million in grants for her research into autism spectrum disorders.

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