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Navigating the spectrum

Mizzou takes on autism

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  • Published: April 17, 2013
Students gather on the quad to celebrate Autism awareness month.

To commemorate Autism Awareness Month, Tigers gathered on the Quad April 2, joining Autism Speaks in the global Light It Up Blue movement to raise awareness about autism spectrum disorders. Photo by Ryan Gavin.

April is Autism Awareness Month, and Mizzou is lighting it up blue.

Home to the Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders and world-class interdisciplinary programs, Mizzou engages in research, education and services to help improve the lives of people affected by autism spectrum disorders. Take a look at some of our current undertakings.

Events and Research News

Autism Intervention Conference

The two-day conference, held April 19-20 in Columbia, aims to educate and support parents of children with autism and people with autism spectrum disorders as well as professionals who work with ASD clients and patients.

Autism and video games

Micah Mazurek, an assistant professor in the School of Health Professions and researcher at the Thompson Center, has found that children and teens with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) use screen-based media, such as television and video games, more often than their typically developing peers and are more likely to develop problematic video game habits and addictions.

Improving memory

Researchers in the MU Department of Psychological Sciences have found that the prescription anti-anxiety drug propranolol could help improve the working memory of people with autism spectrum disorders, helping them better retain, recall and utilize information.

Early detection

Coulter grant recipients Gang Yao, a professor of biological engineering, and Judith Miles, a professor of child health-genetics, have found that infants' eyes can show early signs of autism. The team has developed a new technique to study pupil constriction as a biological marker of autism.

New leadership and growth

Stephen Kanne, who became executive director of the Thompson Center last September, plans to expand autism interdisciplinary research among MU faculty and develop the center’s training component.


Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders

The Thompson Center at Mizzou is a national leader in confronting the challenges of autism and other developmental conditions through collaborative research, training and service programs.

Transition: Roadmap to the Future

The Thompson Center's ASD Youth Coalition helps teens who have autism spectrum disorders make the transition to adulthood.

Autism Master‘s Program

Mizzou offers a master’s degree in special education with an emphasis in learning and instruction and a focus in autism, preparing special educators to effectively support students identified with autism spectrum disorders. Take courses online or on campus.

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Last updated: June 6, 2013