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    Sarah gave a webinar for the British Dyslexia Association entitled “What is autism?” as part of their series on a range of neurodevelopmental conditions associated with dyslexia. The purpose was to raise awareness that dyslexic children may also have autistic traits more often than expected, to help teachers and other education professionals understand how the autistic mind takes in and processes information, and to think through how this may impact on teaching practices.

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    LOGO for Florida Atlantic University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities

    On 8 November 2019, David participated as both a presenter and panelist discussing the importance of Early Intervention for medical practitioners, licensed therapists and educational specialists. Florida Atlantic University hosted the daylong event on the Jupiter, Florida campus.

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    In September, Jo started a lectureship at the University of Surrey. Slowly over the next year, the projects that Jo leads on will be shifting to be based in Surrey. Jo is still an Honorary Research Fellow at the ICN, and Jo & Sarah will continue to collaborate on Fragile X and autism projects – long may that continue!

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    We’re delighted that Ruihan has been awarded a 3-year Chinese Government Scholarship to support her PhD on “Do individuals with elevated BAP traits compensate more: effects of compensation on mentalizing performance and mental health”. Congratulations Ruihan!

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    Sarah, Ishita, Ruihan and Ceci attended the British Psychology Society Developmental section and Cognitive Section joint conference in Stoke-on-Trent in September 2019. Ruihan and Ishita presented posters showcasing the research they have undertaken so far in their PhD, while Ceci gave a talk discussing her findings about laughter processing, which were recently published in Current Biology. Sarah also spoke about her recent work in collaboration with Jo on the Fragile X Premutation. It was a wonderful opportunity to familiarise ourselves with the latest advances in cognition and development.

    Find the conference abstracts here.

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    LOGO for Florida Atlantic University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities Little Owls Program

    On 4 July 2019, David gave a key-note address at the Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Autism and Related Disabilities Little Owl Programming event. Little Owls is an early intervention initiative that takes place over 3-days training parents, grandparents, and family members of infants, toddlers and preschoolers (18 months – 5 years old) who recently received an autism spectrum condition (ASC) or related diagnosis. David spoke of his own family’s experience when they received their daughter’s diagnosis almost 16 year ago. He addressed interventional initiatives currently provided by medical practitioners, therapists, district schools, state and federal government agencies. David also spoke briefly of his current research initiatives at UCL and answered questions from attendees.

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    Marcia spent a day at Hackney Academy’s Big Bang event, running a hands-on workshop about the brain. The students were very keen and excited to learn about the brain; they all received an ICN certificate of attendance. A huge thanks to the teachers and students for organising the event and inviting the ICN. Marcia looks forward to running the workshops again next year!

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    Ruihan presented her first PhD project on ‘The Broader Autism Phenotype, Implicit Mentalizing and Camouflaging: An Eye-tracking Study’ at the Neurodevelopmental Disorders Annual Seminar 2019, and was awarded the Annette Karmiloff-Smith poster prize for the best poster presentation. It was a great opportunity to learn about neurodevelopmental disorders and exchange ideas with experts and like-minded peers.

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    David Ruttenberg

    The DevDivLab is pleased to welcome David, a PhD distance learning researcher who is developing a purpose-built, wearable device designed to increase focus, attention and comfort for those diagnosed with autism. Using multimodal sensors, customized user profiles and adaptive optical, aural and haptic systems, David’s project hopes to ameliorate real-world, ecological and physio-sensory issues.