Fireside Charla with SDSU President Adela de la Torre


 January 1, 2020

#013 - Autism Research at SDSU


Episode Summary:

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, about one in 59 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder. Due to an increase in education and research, more resources are dedicated to investigating autism and ways to improve the lives of people with this disorder. 

In this episode, you will hear from two researchers who study autism from two different perspectives: Inna Fishman, a psychology professor who studies autism at the neural biological perspective, and Jessica Suhrheinrich, an education professor who studies how we can create effective and supportive learning environments for children with autism.

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“The San Diego State Center for Autism and developmental disorders, is actually a collaborative research center that unites many faculties from across different colleges and departments at SUSU who are devoted and focusing on increasing awareness and understanding of autism and developing and improving ways to detect, diagnose, treat, and ultimate cure autism and other disorders of development.” - Dr. Fishman

"I just can't imagine how many parents would be so grateful to be able to intervene early on particular with behavioral interventions so that they can really ensure that our children can have the kind of developmental experiences and successes and their siblings and their peers."- Dr. De la Torre

"Individuals with autism will present present with a wide range of functioning levels across the lifespan and certainly in public education."- Dr. Suhrheinrich

About Dr. Adela de la Torre

Dr. Adela de la Torre joined San Diego State University in June 2018, as the first woman and Latina president. She brings 30 years of service and leadership roles within institutions of higher education and shares these experiences with open arms. She has two daughters who are both married, a grandson, a husband, and three dogs! Adela discusses the challenges she faced in college, her mentors, her heart-led leadership style, and her vision to help all types of students at SDSU feel confident in their goals.

About Dr. Inna Fishman

Dr. Fishman’s broad research interests lie in understanding neural mechanisms underlying human social behavior. Her current research efforts focus on applying multimodal approaches (EEG, fcMRI, DTI) to examine the connectivity patterns in brain networks associated with social cognition in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Fishman’s research has been funded by the Autism Science Foundation (ASF) and NIMH (K01 and BRAINS R01 awards). Her current work is focusing on characterizing structure and function of cortical networks at the time of first behavioral signs of autism (at age 2 years), and tracking changes in brain network organization through the full symptom manifestation at age 4-5 years.

About Dr. Jessica Suhrheinrich

Jessica Suhrheinrich, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of special education at San Diego State University and an investigator with the Child and Adolescent Services Research Center. Broadly, her research aims to improve community-based services for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Her clinical experience includes developing and supervising home and school-based programs for children with ASD and training therapists and parents to implement behavioral interventions. Prior to attending graduate school in psychology, Dr. Suhrheinrich was also a classroom teacher. This experience shaped her interest in improving the quality of educational programming for children with ASD and increasing teacher access to training in evidence-based interventions.