Marjorie Madfis is the parent of a teenage girl with Autism Spectrum Disorder, a VP of the Pleasantville School District SEPTA, a member of Westchester County Advisory Council on Autism, a founder and member of the IBM employee Autism interest community, and a active social networker and advocate.
In 2001 Marjorie joined the inaugural Westchester/Fairfield walk committee for the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR) and also became a walk team captain. Isabelle’s Dream Team raised over $50,000 for NAAR. In 2006 Marjorie was invited to join the NAAR leadership in Washington DC for its annual conference where the merger with Autism Speaks was finalized. Along with other delegates from NY State, Marjorie met with Senator Clinton, Senator Schumer, and Representative Nita Lowey to lobby for several autism research bills.
Marjorie plans to fully participate in the conference, to blog and “tweet’ during the conference, and to share key findings with my extensive network of parents and professionals interested in understanding the disorder, learning about current research, and encouraging support of further research.
Meghan Swanson was recently awarded her Ph.D in Behavioral Neuroscience under the mentorship of Dr. Michael Siller, where she researched endophenotypes for autism spectrum disorder. She created an eye-tracking measure that utilized modern technology to evaluate how individuals allocated their visual attention while watching social video vignettes. Measures of this kind have the potential to inform family-wide genetic linkage studies and contribute to our understanding of the etiology of ASD.
Meghan has previously worked on Dr. Siller’s randomized treatment study testing the efficacy of a novel education program for parents of non-verbal preschoolers with ASD. Last March she has assisted Dr. Siller in planning and hosting a day-long round table hosted by the Hunter College Autism Center that focused on discussing the difficulties of delivering early intervention services to children at risk for autism in NYC. Meghan looks forward to attending both the Autism Speaks Toddler Treatment Network conference and IMFAR to learn more about the barriers in implementing population wide screening for ASD. She plans on sharing her experiences with the Autism Center and Psychology Department at Hunter College, City University of New York.