"Autism: An Epidemic or a Matter of Definition?" Science Matters Program Explores Reasons for the Increase in Autism Spectrum Disorders Presented by the California Science Center

May 03, 2012, 18:04 ET from California Science Center

LOS ANGELES, May 3, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The California Science Center's Science Matters, a speaker's program that explores science issues in the forefront of public concern, will present "Autism: An Epidemic or a Matter of Definition" May 5, 2012 from 1:00-2:30 p.m. The program is free to the public and will take place in the Loker Conference Center at the California Science Center.

The last 20 years have seen a dramatic surge in the number of children affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders in California and across the nation. What's behind this growing public health crisis? Is the increase in cases real or due to over diagnosis? What are the ethical, social, and policy implications of how this disorder is defined, diagnosed, and treated in different communities? In this program expert panelists will discuss these concerns and present what current research tells us about Autism Spectrum Disorders and their complex causes.

Conan Nolan, NBC4 reporter and host of News Conference, will serve as moderator for this panel discussion.

Panelists include: Paul H. Patterson, Ph.D., Anne P. and Benjamin Biaggini Professor of Biological Sciences, California Institute of Technology; B.J. Freeman, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, Autism Spectrum Disorders, Professor Emerita, UCLA School of Medicine; Areva Martin, Esq., Chairperson & President, Special Needs Network, Inc.; and Louis A. Vismara, MD, Policy Consultant to Senator Darrell Steinberg, Office of the President Pro Tempore, State of California.

Program attendees will have a chance to hear the debates on this issue and to ask questions of the panelists at the end of the program. Admission is free, all those interested in attending may RSVP at 213.744-2420.

About the California Science Center
The California Science Center's mission is as follows: "We aspire to stimulate curiosity and inspire science learning in everyone by creating fun, memorable experiences, because we value science as an indispensable tool for understanding our world, accessibility and inclusiveness, and enriching people's lives."

General Info:
The California Science Center and IMAX Theater are located in historic Exposition Park just west of the Harbor (110) Freeway at 700 Exposition Park Drive, Los Angeles. Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except on Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's Day. General admission is free. For recorded information, including IMAX show times, call 323.SCIENCE (323.724-3623). IMAX ticket prices range from $5.00 to $8.25. For advance ticket purchases, group rates, or to make reservations for any visiting group of 15 or more (required), call 213.744-2019. Parking is available in the guest lot at Figueroa and 39th / Exposition Park Drive at $10 per car, $25 for buses or oversized vehicles. Both the Science Center and IMAX Theater are wheelchair accessible. For further information, please visit our website at www.californiasciencecenter.org.

Media Contact: Kristina Kurasz
(213) 744-7446

SOURCE California Science Center