Autism is a neurodevelopmental condition that appears in early childhood and affects communication, social interaction and behavior. Autism spectrum disorders tend to run in families, and many different genes are associated with it. On Tuesday, Nov. 12, Evenings with Genetics, a regular speaker series hosted by Baylor College of Medicine and Texas Children’s Hospital, will spotlight current knowledge regarding genetic testing for autism as well as new directions for research and clinical studies.

Dr. Chaya Murali, clinical postdoctoral research fellow in molecular and human genetics at Baylor and clinical instructor of pediatric genetics at Texas Children’s Hospital, will discuss the importance of genetic testing for families with autism, including who should be tested, what they should be tested for, and how tests results can impact the entire family.

“When you get genetic testing for autism, you may receive a genetic diagnosis that indicates that your child is at risk for other health conditions that you can be proactive about for the future,” Murali said. “Genetic testing, and interpreting those results, gets complicated, so it’s useful to see a geneticist to discuss testing and what it means.”

Dr. Robin P. Goin-Kochel, associate professor of pediatrics – psychology at Baylor and associate director of research for the Autism Center at Texas Children’s Hospital, will answer frequently asked questions about autism.

“There is so much anecdotal and non-evidence based information that gets shared out there, and it's important that we provide families with the most accurate news we have,” Goin-Kochel said. “I think the information will be most helpful and informative for parents, family members, teachers, therapists, and anyone who is generally interested in learning about autism, its prevalence, known causes, and why continued research on autism is so critical.”

Evenings with Genetics aims to highlight the advances in genetic research as well as encourage networking between families with similar experiences. A guest parent speaker will also join the panel. The program is free and open to the public, but registration is required. The seminar will be held at the Children’s Museum of Houston, 1500 Binz St., 77004. Light refreshments will be provided beginning at 6:30 p.m., and the seminar will begin at 7 p.m. For more information, please call 832-822-4280 or visit the event’s registration page.