Autism Science Foundation’s Day of Learning Will Address the Impact of COVID-19 on Autism Families

ASF’s 8th annual flagship event, which features TED-style talks on key issues facing the autism community, has pivoted to a virtual format for the second time amid the pandemic. Tickets are free and accessible worldwide.

NEW YORK — February 18, 2021 — The Autism Science Foundation (ASF), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to funding innovative autism research, will host its 8th annual “Day of Learning,” a TED-style science conference for the autism community, on Thursday, April 22. The event will be held virtually for the second time amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Tickets to ASF’s Day of Learning are free. ASF made this change to ensure that everyone interested in learning more about the latest scientific advances and trends in autism can participate. The all-virtual format also allows the Day of Learning to become a true global event. Last year’s first-ever virtual Day of Learning attracted more than 900 participants from across the world, a new record.

As always, ASF’s Day of Learning will bring together leading researchers in the autism field who will discuss
topics that are most important to the autism community right now. Each TED-style talk will be a thoughtful,
Zoom-delivered 15-minute distillation of a critical issue in autism. Speakers and topics will include:

  • Dr. Pam Feliciano, Simons Foundation: The Impact of COVID-19 on Autism Families
  • Dr. Lonnie Zwaigenbaum, University of Alberta, Canada: Rethinking ASD Assessment in the Pandemic
    and Beyond
  • Dr. Brian Boyd, University of Kansas: Improving Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Autism Research
  • Dr. Sarah Spence, Boston Children’s Hospital: What You Need to Know About Autism and Sudden
    Unexplained Death in Epilepsy
  • Dr. Shafali Jeste, University of California, Los Angeles: Finding the Right Help for Individuals with Autism
  • Dr. Orrin Devinsky, New York University: The Latest on Cannabidiol Research in ASD

“This year’s Day of Learning will address the most urgent issues on the minds of people in the autism community right now and represent an extension of our efforts to provide critical support to autism families and researchers during the pandemic,” said Alison Singer, Co-Founder and President of ASF. “We are pleased that the free and virtual nature of the event will allow us to widen our audience and provide universal access.”

This year’s virtual Day of Learning is just the latest example of ASF adapting its regular activities due to the pandemic. Since June 2020, ASF has funded three rounds of COVID-19 Pivot Grants to enable researchers to adapt existing research projects to new pandemic-related restrictions, organized and hosted webinars for families to help address challenges, and partnered with Autism Navigator to create a “virtual community” for newly diagnosed families and more.