From left, Talene Hachikian, Dr. Tamar Nazerian-Chorbadjian, Dr. Talin Babikian, Dr. Ani Khatchadourian, Dr. Sonia Konialian-Aller, Hasmig Karayan

Autism Awareness Event Organized by Tekeyan Metro LA Chapter in Glendale

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GLENDALE, Calif. – On September 12, 2019, the Tekeyan Cultural Association Metro Los Angeles chapter joined forces with the Armenian American Medical Society (AAMS) and the Armenian Autism Outreach Project (AAOP) to present an informative event called Autism Awareness:  Diagnosis, Testing, Supportive Care and Resources. The event was held at the Glendale Public Library. Parents, educators, staff and community members attended this public event to learn about autism, its development, challenges and the individuals and organizations that assist in supporting families with autism challenges.

Autism is a lifelong complex neurodevelopment disorder, with biological roots thought to be present at birth, which continues through adulthood. Autism can affect any child and family from any race, ethnic or socioeconomic group anywhere in the world. Research indicates that early identification and interventions tailored to each child’s strengths and needs can result in significant positive outcomes for many children with autism.

Talene Hachikian, master of ceremonies, during her welcoming remarks on behalf of the Tekeyan Metro Los Angeles chapter

Talene Hachikian served as master of ceremonies on behalf of the Tekeyan Metro Los Angeles chapter, while Hasmig Karayan was the chair of the Tekeyan organizing committee.

Hasmig Karayan, chair of the Autism Awareness program expressing thanks to the four speakers on behalf of the Tekeyan Metro Los Angeles chapter

Keynote speakers included developmental-behavioral pediatrician Dr. Tamar Chorbadjian. Dr. Chorbadjian serves as the director of the High Risk Infant Follow-Up Clinic and Assistant Division Head of the Developmental Behavioral Pediatrics at Kaiser Permanente Baldwin Park. Chorbadjian began the series of lectures introducing and characterizing autism.

Dr. Tamar Nazerian-Chorbadjian during her presentation

Dr. Ani Khatchadourian, the next keynote speaker, focused on describing some of the evaluations and testing applied in her practice to diagnose autism. Khatchadourian, a neuropsychologist, is the founder and clinical director of Dr. Ani and Associates in Pasadena, CA.

Following Khatchadourian’s presentation, Dr. Talin Babikian, board-certified clinical neuropsychologist and Associate Clinical Professor in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at UCLA and Associate Director of UCLA’s BrainSPORT program, spoke about co-morbidities associated with autism and highlighted some treatment and alternative perspectives.

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The evening concluded with AAOP representative Dr. Sonia Konialian-Aller. Konialian-Aller is a developmental psycholinguist and licensed Speech-Language Pathologist practicing at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles for over 30 years. Konialian-Aller presented behavioral modifications, treatment modalities and resources for supporting autism.

The event was warmly accepted by the community and attendees had the opportunity to meet and greet members of the Armenian Autism Outreach Project and obtain information regarding future events, support groups and contact information. Attendees were also able to connect with the clinicians after the lecture presentation and elaborate further with questions.

The event marked an important need for autism awareness to be highlighted in our community and allow for understanding and connection among individuals and families struggling with this daily challenge. Dr. Konialian-Aller remarked that the Tekeyan Cultural Association provided “a comprehensive panel of excellent presenters, with excellent coverage of the important pieces of information, from all angles.  There was so much good and helpful information; and the audience was so attentive.”

Topics: Autism
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