MAC Panel

Biomedical Approaches to Autism 


On Saturday, May 5, 2018, the Marin Autism Collaborative hosted “Biomedical Approaches to Autism featuring Dr. Robert Hendren of UCSF” at the Buck Institute in Novato. Dr. Hendren is a Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Science; Division of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at UCSF, the Co-Director of the UCSF Dyslexia Center, the Director of the Program for Research on Neurodevelopmental and Translational Outcomes (PRONTO) and attending psychiatrist at the STAR Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders Program. His current areas of research and publication interests are translational interventional outcomes research including clinical pharmacology, nutraceutical and nutritional trials using biomarkers to enhance resilience in neurodevelopmental disorders.

The panelists who spoke are stars in their field. Julie Andersen, PhD of the Buck Institute, is a renowned expert on age-related neurodegenerative disease and is pursuing a wide array of leads toward treatments for complex disorders including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Julie is also the parent of a child on the spectrum. Dr. David Traver, M.D. is a pediatrician specializing in treatment of autism spectrum disorders. His practice focuses on the testing and treatment of biological and medical conditions associated with ASD. Dan Swearingen is co-founder of Autistry Studios, a Marin County nonprofit program that promotes the growth of independence for those on the autism spectrum. He is on the spectrum himself and has a son with autism and has years of experience with dietary approaches to autism.

In the audience were families, scientists, nurses, and people on the autism spectrum ready to learn about biomedical approaches to autism. Dr. Hendren spoke about his research in interventional treatments on epigenetic processes, which are increasingly demonstrated to have a role in the gene x environment interactions that underline the development of Nutrition Deficit Disorder in those on the autism spectrum. To supplement this research, the three panelists spoke of their experiences with people on the autism spectrum and how various treatments and diets were used on their patients.

Thank you to all who attended and we look forward to putting on more informational events for our community.


Understanding & Acceptance 

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a pervasive early developmental disorder that strongly impacts how an individual socially engages with his or her world. Autism is a spectrum, so there is a range in social abilities within ASD. 


What are some Symptoms related to Autism Spectrum Disorder?


  • Blunted reaction to emotional events

  • Difficulty understanding the intentions of others

  • Poor eye contact 

  • Anxiety

  • Developmental delay in speech and language understanding 

  •  Persistent repetition of words or actions

  • Intense interest in a limited number of things or problems paying attention

Did you know...

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), almost half (about 44%) of children identified with ASD  has an above average intellectual ability.

Economic Costs of Autism on Families

The financial costs per year in 2011for children with ASD in the Untied States were estimated to be between $11.5 billion - $60.9 billion. In addition to medical costs, intensive behavioral interventions for children with ASD can cost in the upwards of  $40,000 to $60,000 per child per year.  

Seven Ways to Help Your Nonverbal Child Speak

by Autism Speaks

  1. Encourage play and social interaction
  2. Imitate your child
  3. Focus on nonverbal communication
  4. Leave “space” for your child to talk
  5. Simplify your language
  6. Follow your child’s interests
  7. Consider assistive devices and visual supports

Do you need to find a service provider for someone with ASD? 

The Marin Autism Collaborative can help! The Marin Autism Collaborative (MAC) aims to identify the current services in ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorders) in Marin County and the current gaps in services to families, professionals and consumers with ASD. 

today you can help bring understanding and acceptance to autism
by wearing blue #lighitupblue