Nir Barkat
Nir Barkat Israel news photo: Flash 90

Experts are planning to convene in Jerusalem from around the world this August on the issue of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Thousands of researchers, educators and policy experts will join families affected by the condition at Icare4Autism's 2012 International Autism Conference, set for August 1-2.

The gathering is aimed at sharing current research into the causes and treatment of ASD, a group of conditions that include Autism, Asperger's Syndrome (AS) and Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD).

Hebrew University, the Weitzmann Institute, Tel Aviv University, Haifa University and Bar Ilan University are all partnering with the organization to sponsor the Jerusalem conference.

The conference will focus primarily on the latest developments in biomedical research and practice, education and behavioral research and practice, and ASD policy and awareness.

There will be a special exhibition of innovative assistive technologies for those with autism at the conference, as well as professional workshops led by lecturers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

"We have entered a new era of autism research and advocacy,” said Dr. Joshua Weinstein, CEO and founder of Icare4Autism. “On one hand, we have seen an unprecedented uptick in autism, while at the same time there have been incredible advances made in research and early diagnosis, and more effective intervention.

“It's a critical period in which the world is beginning to understand – and treat – autism in a more urgent, effective way.”

The conference will be held under the auspices of Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, and headlined by Dame Stephanie Shirley, the first UK Ambassador for Philanthropy, who also heads the Shirley Foundation.