What started as a dream of six families united by the challenges of autism and driven by a desire to help families and the community, is now an internationally renowned center for neurodevelopmental disorders. The MIND Institute is dedicated to finding treatments, causes and preventions, and providing education for neurodevelopmental disorders. These families envisioned a place where experts from every discipline related to brain development would work together to ensure better futures for the one in twenty Americans who are affected with neurodevelopmental disorders. Research at the MIND Institute has expanded from autism to include Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Chromosome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, Down syndrome, and fragile X syndrome.
Although research remains our primary focus, we also provide clinical, educational services and community services. Our Massie Family Clinic offers comprehensive evidence-based assessments for children, adolescents and adults. In addition, the MIND Institute and the Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (CEDD) collaborate to provide educational resources for individuals, families and professionals.
Since its inception in 1998, the MIND Institute has grown rapidly. From an initial group of 10 faculty and staff to more than 250, the MIND institute is led by a leadership team that includes:
- MIND Institute Director, Leonard Abbeduto, Ph.D. is a nationally recognized researcher and leader in improving the lives of children and adults with neurodevelopmental disabilities. He is the holder of the Tsakopoulos-Vismara Endowed Chair in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.
- Founding faculty member and neuroscientist, David Amaral, Ph.D., is the Research Director and University of California Distinguished Professor and Beneto Foundation Chair.
- Endowed Chair in Fragile X Research and the Medical Director of the MIND Institute, Randi Hagerman, M.D., is a developmental and behavioral pediatrician.
- Robin Hansen, M.D., is the Director of Clinical Programs and Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, as well as Professor and Chief, Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics.
- Peter Mundy, Ph.D., is the Director of Educational Research and Lisa Capps Chair for Neurodevelopmental Disorders, as well as a developmental and clinical psychologist.
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With 1 in 20 people affected by a neurodevelopmental disorder, UC Davis MIND Institute researchers and clinicians are hard at work discovering the causes of neurodevelopmental disorders and developing and testing effective treatments, preventions, care, and ultimately, cures for these disorders. However, this critical work cannot be done without research participants, both those individuals who are affected with a neurodevelopmental disorder, as well as those who are typically developing.
Research is conducted on all ranges throughout the lifespan, from birth though the elder years and both males and females, are needed to assist our researchers in these vital research studies. Individuals and families that are affected with a neurodevelopmental disorder, as well as those that are typically developing are encouraged to participate. Currently, our scientists have over 60 research studies focusing on the following areas:
- Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Fragile X syndrome
- Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
- Chromosome 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome
- Down Syndrome
MIND Institute clinical programs include many components for assessment and treatment, with a multi-disciplinary staff that is composed of psychiatrists, psychologists,, geneticists, genetic counselors, licensed clinical social workers, child development specialists, and medical support staff. Programs include:
The Massie Family Clinic provides evidence-based assessment and recommendations to facilitate treatment, care, and interventions for children and adults with neurodevelopmental disorders. Specialty clinics within the Massie Family Clinic include autism spectrum disorders, fragile X, learning disorders, 22q11.2 deletion syndrome and ADHD.
Providing services for school age children and teens with challenges in social skills, the Social Skills Training Program provides training, counseling and other services for youth, as well as support for parents and their siblings.
The ADHD Clinic provides initial psychiatric clinical assessment, short-term medication management, consultation, and support for both adults and children with suspected ADHD.
The most recent clinic addition is The Clinical Trials, a rapidly-expanding program that is researching innovative, targeted treatments for a range of neurodevelopmental disorders.
The MIND Institute, along with Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (CEDD), provide added resources that expand the activities and impact of the MIND Institute. Serving as a resource in the areas of:
The Distinguished Lecturer Series presents public lectures by nationally and internationally-recognized researchers in neurodevelopmental disorders with monthly presentations.
The Minds Behind the MIND lecture series features updates by MIND Institute researchers and clinicians, as well as comments by community members that will offer their perspective on each topic. Prior to the presentation, lecture attendees will have the opportunity to “Be the Science” and observe and learn more about research studies specific to the evening’s topic, as well as visit the Resource Center for information about research, clinics, and community resources.
The lectures are intended for both specialists and community members. All lectures are free and open to the public. No reservations are needed, however seats are first-come, first-served.
The Interdisciplinary Training for Autism Researchers Program prepares Ph.D. and M.D. fellows for careers in autism research, with a goal of training the next generation of autism research scientists and clinicians.
The annual Summer Institute on Neurodevelopmental Disorders is a one-day conference intended for wide range of professionals, including educators, psychologists, physicians, nurses, occupational therapists, physical therapists. speech and language pathologists, as well as families, caregivers and students. The focus of the Summer Institute is to help participants keep pace with the latest advances in neurodevelopmental research and the most current standards for best practices in prevention, assessment, treatment, and support services across the lifespan.
Special workshops are also designed to help families and individuals affected with a neurodevelopmental disorder, educators, and caregivers. Recent workshops include:
• Success Defined—Designed to strengthen the preparation of high school students with developmental disabilities for adult life and includes the exploration of options for post-secondary education, purposeful work or volunteer service, and community living. In day-long Success Defined workshops, the youth and their parents are trained to work together to define their unique understanding of a successful life and establish the action needed to achieve their goals using a decision-making strategy called Think-Plan-Do.
• Think College—As young people with disabilities transition to adulthood, opportunities for independence and community integration are greatly enhanced by educational attainment and employment. Our regional Think College Workgroup consists of representatives of area community colleges and universities working together to develop resources that aid students with autism and other disabilities to succeed in post-secondary education.
• Autism Distance Education Parent Training (ADEPT)—An interactive, self-paced online learning module that provides parents with tools and training to effectively teach children with neurodevelopmental disorders functional skills through ABA techniques. This series is available in English and Spanish.
• Feeling Safe, Being Safe Training—This training session is designed to help people with disabilities review their options in an emergency. The training will help participants create a personalized safety plan during an emergency. Presented in English and Spanish.