What We Do

The Hebrew University of Jerusalem has established the first ever university-based autism center in Israel. Officially established in August 2015, The Autism Center seeks to lead the Middle East in research, training, clinical services and community engagement for the benefit of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families.

Research

Research at the Center includes cooperative, interdisciplinary research programs spanning biomedical, basic and clinical research projects. These projects are run by the researchers from the Center with national and international collaborations, focusing on understanding developmental functioning and underlying mechanisms of autism, while building a longitudinal database following development over time.

Our researchers' areas of expertise range from the foundations of brain development, genetic transmission of autism, physiological and molecular comparisons between ASD and other neurodevelopmental disorders,  to behavioral science including characterization of ASD at different ages, longitudinal studies following developmental trajectories and distinct behavioral profiles at different ages, as well as screening, diagnosis, the study of core and associated features of ASD, the experience of family members coping with ASD and evaluation of service provision. 

In addition to each researcher’s current efforts, a central goal of The Autism Center is to foster innovative interdisciplinary research collaborations in an attempt to better answer core questions in the field of ASD and transmit that knowledge into applied settings. To that end, The Autism Center will have a clear policy making data collected from the clinic, and other research projects available to researchers within The Autism Center. Opening the data represents our belief in an additive model of collaboration: The more we share, the more we know.

Monthly seminar

 

Monthly Seminar

Monthly seminars provide a venue for learning about research and clinical innovations, as well as for gathering as a community to hear about ongoing and upcoming projects. Speakers at our seminar have included experts in ASD and related neurodevelopmental disorders from around the university and the country. These seminars are open to the broader community.

Past Seminars:

 

Dr. Itai Berger

Processing Speed as a marker to stimulants effect in Autism

07/11/2017

 

Ms. Esti Ben David, Dr. Roni Lottner and Ms. Lilian Shafran

Panel of Experts

20/06/2017

 

Dr. Salomon Israel

The genetic structure of ASD: Possible treatment benefits from oxytocin

28/03/2017

 

Prof. Ofer Golan

Teaching Emotion recognition and understanding to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Results of two controlled evaluation studies

17/01/2017

 

Prof. Ditza Zachor

What works for who? Efficacy of early intervention and predictors of response to intervention among children with ASD

20/12/2016

 

Prof. Sagiv Shifman

Connection between chromatin regulation and autism

29/11/2016

 

Prof. Michael Beenstock

Social outcomes of young adults with autism spectrum disorders

31/05/2016

 

Dr. Adina Maier

Applied research on ADHD from a bio-psycho-social perspective: Ramifications for ASD

08/03/2016

 

Dr. David Mankuta

Pregnancy: A critical period for pathogenesis of ASD

08/03/2016

 

Dr. Yoav Kohn

Working with children and adolescents diagnosed with ASD at the Jerusalem Center for Mental Health

19/01/2016

 

Dr. Raanan Raz

Environmental factors in the epidemiology of ASD

19/01/2016

 

Prof. Cory Shulman

ASD diagnosis: The nexus of research, practice, training and policy

24/11/2015

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advanced Clinical Care

The Autism Center at The Hebrew University will partner with the Autism Clinic at Hadassah Medical Center and the Jerusalem Center for Mental Health/Ministry of Health. This will provide us with an expert-level clinic to refer children and families to where they will receive evidence-based evaluations of the highest caliber. The clinic will serve as a platform for researchers in need of a clinical population, with the opportunity to integrate various research projects into the standard clinical protocol. Within the clinic there will be opportunities for advanced students in the university to complete internships, fellowships and other training experiences at the clinic. The data generated from the individuals seen in the clinic will serve as an essential resource for university researchers.

The Autism Center will also offer clinical intervention services including evidence-based parent-mediated intervention, a service which has not yet been introduced in Israel. This has been identified as a specific gap in the services that families receive from the Ministries of Education, Health and Welfare. Additional clinical offerings will include support groups for parents, siblings and grandparents as well as social skills groups for school-age children, adolescents and young adults with ASD.

The Autism Center will also foster collaborations with service agencies throughout the Israeli healthcare system (HMO’s, specialized clinics, etc.), and Ministries of Education, Health and Welfare to support and expand the services they provide to those with ASD.

 

Training and Higher Education

The Center is constructing a series of courses on ASD and related neurodevelopmental disorders. These will include introductory level courses, advanced research seminar and training opportunities.

Advanced university students will benefit from specialized training experiences under the umbrella of the center. The Autism Center, in coordination with Hadassah’s Autism Clinic and the Jerusalem Center for Mental Health/Ministry of Health, will provide an integrated specialized academic training program for professionals in the field of ASD. These opportunities will be particularly appropriate for physicians, psychologists, social workers, special educators and other professions working in the field of ASD.

Ongoing Programs

Ongoing Programs

For the first time this year we are offering a broad, introductory level, seminar-style course taught on ASD. The new Introductory-level Course, taught by Dr. Judah Koller, is being offered in the Seymour Fox School of Medicine but open to students from the entire university. The course includes lectures by Dr. Raanan Raz (epidemiology), Dr. Salomon Israel (genetics), Dr. Mor Nahum (neurobiology) and Yael Lehman (advocacy, community activism and the perspective of families). The Lecturers will cover topics such as etiology, diagnosis, assessment, intervention, social neuroscience, advocacy and first-hand perspectives on ASD. The course covers ASD across the lifespan, from infancy through adulthood. The current course is the first organized by The Autism Center and will serve as a stepping stone to more advanced, related courses on specific aspects of ASD and related neurodevelopmental disabilities.  

As well, training opportunities are being organized for professionals already working in the field of ASD. We will be hosting our inaugural Professional Education Day in March 2017, designed to provide both theoretical and practical updates on the current state of the field.

We are the only recognized site in the Middle East to provide training in the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) and the Autism Diagnostic Interview (ADI), the gold standard instruments used to assist in diagnosing ASD.

These trainings take place 2-3 times a year in addition to booster meetings with professionals who have already learned the ADOS and want to maintain their reliability or discuss the use of the ADOS with complex cases.

 

Students

ADI-R

Overview of ADI-R Training

Professor Cory Shulman is a certified trainer for the Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised (ADI-R). The ADI-R, authored by Catherine Lord and colleagues, is a semi-structured standardized interview that provides a method for gathering comprehensive information about individuals suspected of having an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The interview questions, which are administered to caregivers, cover several content areas including early development, language acquisition/possible loss of language or other skills, current functioning in regard to language and communication, social development and play, as well as restricted interests and repetitive behaviors. 
The information collected form the parents/caregivers is organized and coded according to five domains that are directly associated with a diagnosis of an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

These domains include:

(1) Early development

(2) Language and communication

(3) Reciprocal social interaction

(4) Play/Imagination

(5) Stereotyped behaviors and restricted interests

(6) Other behaviors.

Throughout the workshop, the interview will be taught using a variety of teaching methods, including lectures, videos, scoring discussions and live administrations. 

Professionals including clinical psychologists, school psychologists, speech/language pathologists, psychiatrists, pediatricians, social workers, graduate students, and other autism specialists are invited to register for an ADI-R training.

The ADI-R training is two days and costs: 1,800 NIS

Please note that there will be no refund once the payment is processed.

Interested professionals can contact us with questions or comments at:

adostraining.huji@gmail.com

ADOS-2

 

Overview of ADOS-2 Training

Professor Cory Shulman is a certified trainer for the Autism Observation Schedule-2nd edition (ADOS-2). The ADOS, authored by Catherine Lord and colleagues, is a semi-structured, standardized diagnostic evaluation instrument that is used to accurately assess and diagnose autism spectrum disorders in individuals of all ages suspected of having autism. The ADOS-2 encompasses a range of developmentally and chronologically age-appropriate activities that can be used across a variety of ages, language abilities, and developmental levels. It offers a variety of interesting, standardized contexts in which observation of social, communicative, restrictive, and repetitive behaviors can occur. Observations of these behaviors in social and communicative interactions are coded and the codes are mapped onto an algorithm from which an ASD diagnosis may be ascertained. 

We offer different ADOS-2 trainings: 
(1) 3-day introductory trainings, which are a prerequisite to all other ADOS-2 trainings.
(2) 3-day advanced trainings for those professionals who want to become more proficient in their use of the ADOS-2 and wish to obtain reliability in administration and coding the ADOS-2.
(3) one-day trainings for the use of toddler module of the ADOS-2 and (4) one day refresher trainings to watch and discuss administrations and coding of two modules. 
In order to participate in any of the other trainings, participation in the introductory training is necessary, during which participants will be introduced to the administration and scoring of Modules 1-4. They will: 

-    Observe the administration of ADOS-2
-    Recognize red flags for behaviors that are indicative of a diagnosis of ASD
-    Discuss and practice coding of the ADOS-2
-    Practice using the algorithm to determine autism classification
-    Select different modules appropriate for use with individuals of
     different ages and language levels 
-    Develop assessment skills to evaluate individuals to rule out autism

Throughout the workshop, a variety of teaching methods, including lectures, videos, scoring discussions and live administration of the instrument will be employed.

The trainings are geared for those professionals who can diagnose ASD in Israel, (i.e., psychiatrists, heads of child family clinics, family doctors and pediatricians, neurologists, clinical psychologists, developmental psychologists, rehabilitative psychologists, neuropsychologists, and educational psychologists). Other professionals, including speech/language pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, social workers, graduate students, and other autism specialists may not use the ADOS-2 for diagnostic purposes but can participate in the trainings if there is room.

Modules 1-4 training fee: 1,800 NIS
Toddler Module training fee: 700 NIS 
Advanced Module training fee: 3,200 NIS
One day refresher training fee:  300 NIS
Please note that there will be no refund once the payment is processed.

Interested professionals can contact us with questions or comments at:

adostraining.huji@gmail.com

 

 

Community Engagement

Formal and informal relationships with individuals and organizations involved in the field of ASD outside the university have been established in the form of professional enrichment and programs in continuing education for ASD-related professionals in the field, and events for individuals, families and professionals coping with ASD.

One of the key distinguishing features of The Autism Center is its engagement with and relationship to the community. We are committed to working with the stakeholder community. ASD or a family member of someone with ASD will be involved in the various committees formed and will have input into the conceptualization and implementation of the programs being initiated.

Ongoing Programs

Ongoing Programs

In addition to our seminar, which is open to the public, we held our inaugural Family Education Day in June 2016 and will hold our second such event in June 2017. This program is designed specifically for individuals with ASD and their families to learn about the current state of the field.

We are also working on a section of our website that will contain information on current and future research projects, services, programming and resources for families and individuals.

Family Education Days

The annual “Family Education Days” (FED; inaugural FED took place in June 2016), during which families are invited to join us in reviewing the current state of knowledge in the field through the lens of clinical relevance. FEDs focus on specific topics (e.g. access to services, transition to adulthood, educational programming, support for siblings, etc.). These events are specifically targeted to parents, grandparents and other family members and caregivers of individuals with ASD, as well as to individuals with ASD themselves.

 

FED

Professional Education Day

The annual “Professional Education Days” (PED; inaugural PED took place in March 2017), during which professionals are invited to join us in reviewing the current state of knowledge in the field through the lens of clinical relevance. These days are designed to bridge the gap between academia and the community of clinical, educational and policy professionals working to support individuals and families affected by ASD.

PED pic

Summer Institute

Every summer, beginning in July 2017, The Autism Center will host a “Summer Institute”, at which expert researchers and clinicians will present an overview and update on the state of ASD. These institutes will be designed for advanced students as well as professionals working in the field including, but not limited to, teachers, educators, psychologists, psychiatrists, neurologists, pediatricians, speech-language pathologists, occupational therapists, physical therapists, and caregivers.