Baylor College of Medicine

Family of four, son with autism, for SPARK research recruitment

Baylor experts to highlight autism research at symposium

Homa Shalchi


Houston, TX -

Experts from Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital will present their research at Bebo’s Angels and Driscoll Health Plan’s First Annual Autism Symposium, set for Jan. 11 in Weslaco, Texas. The symposium will cover autism-related topics, such as navigating through individualized education plans (IEP) and resources, treatment of challenging behavior, stress management strategies for parents and caregivers, and anxiety in children with autism.

Speakers include Dr. Leandra Berry, assistant professor of pediatrics – psychology at Baylor and associate director for clinical services at the Texas Children’s Hospital Autism CenterDr. Robin Kochel, associate professor of pediatrics – psychology at Baylor and associate director for research at the Texas Children’s Hospital Autism Center; Dr. Eric Storch, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences and vice chair of psychology at Baylor; and Dr. Zina Eluri, assistant professor of teaching at Ball State University.

Speakers will discuss autism research opportunities, including teletherapy for anxiety and saliva collection for genetic testing through the SPARK study.

Drs. Eric Storch and Sophie Schneider at Baylor College of Medicine are currently conducting research evaluating effectiveness of two types of parent-led cognitive-behavioral teletherapy interventions for treating anxiety in youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Eligible participants will receive therapy at no cost with sessions delivered via video conferencing to their home.

SPARK, or Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research for Knowledge, is a nationwide study seeking to uncover causes of autism by collecting behavioral information and saliva DNA samples from individuals with autism and their biological family members. SPARK is led statewide by Dr. Kochel at Texas Children’s Hospital.

The free event will take place at the IDEA Headquarters, 2115 West Pike Blvd., 78596 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Lunch and child care will be provided. Register here.

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