Events include educational lecture, open house, inclusive festival

UC Davis MIND Institute
UC Davis MIND Institute

April is National Autism Awareness Month and the UC Davis MIND Institute, an institute respected internationally for its groundbreaking research into therapies for autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders, is holding a series of free, inclusive events in recognition of the month-long observance. The events also mark the 15-year anniversary of the MIND Institute, founded in 1998.

MIND 15 years logoOn Saturday, April 27 from noon to 4 p.m. the UC Davis MIND Institute will hold a family-oriented open house. Visit the MIND Institute and see performances by the Star Dancers, I Can Do That!, Dream Achievers, Jordan the Science Wizard, the Latin jazz of Ivan Najera & Friends,  magicians, balloon artists, and other special guests.

The event will be emceed by local celebrity Jack Gallagher. Representatives from the MIND Institute and community agencies will be on-site to provide resource information. The public is invited to come create art projects, participate in hands-on activities, ride a train, or jump in a bounce house. Food trucks from Sacramento’s FoodMob will sell food, or bring a blanket and a picnic lunch.

  • MIND Institute representatives will be on hand at the Sacramento Kings vs. Dallas Maverick’s game on Friday, April 5 at Sleep Train Arena, as well as at the Sacramento River Cats vs. the Las Vegas 51s game at Raley Field on Saturday, April 6. A portion of ticket sales from the Sacramento Kings and River Cats games will support the MIND Institute.
  • A free poetry reading and art show will be held at the MIND Institute on Monday, April 8, starting at 7 p.m. Enjoy spoken and written poetry from the Sacramento Poetry Center and view the institute’s art collection. 
  • The Minds Behind the MIND presentation:  “Autism ― From the Teen Years to Young Adulthood,” will be held on Wednesday, April 17, from 5:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. The presentation will feature a panel of experts and community members who will provide updates on promising research, interventions and experiences for teens with autism aging into adulthood. The MIND Institute Resource Center will be open starting at 4:30 p.m. Autism research study information also will be available.
  • Art Spark: A Festival for Children with Special Needs will be held on Sunday, April 21 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Crocker Art Museum, 216 ‘O’ St., Sacramento. Performances at the the inclusive celebration of visual and performing arts will feature the El Dorado Dance Academy, AIM HIGHER, Afia Walking Tree, Francie Dillon with Puppet Art Theater. There will be gallery tours and hands-on fun stations for visitors of all abilities. The event is presented by the Crocker Art Museum’s Art Access Committee, I Can Do That!, Short Center South and the MIND Institute.

The MIND Institute is located at 2825 50th St., Sacramento. On-street parking is free of charge. For further information about any of the National Autism Awareness Month events, please visit

The UC Davis MIND Institute in Sacramento, Calif., was founded in 1998 as a unique interdisciplinary research center where families, community leaders, researchers, clinicians and volunteers work together toward a common goal: researching causes, treatments and eventual preventions and cures for neurodevelopmental disorders. The institute has major research efforts in autism, fragile X syndrome, chromosome 22q11.2 deletion syndrome, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Down syndrome. More information about the institute is available on the Web at