Lectures to Offer Developmental Insights on Children’s Health

UT Dallas’ Center for Children and Families welcomes parents and professionals to campus this spring for its fourth annual series of lectures examining different aspects of children’s health and development.

Noah Sasson

Dr. Noah Sasson

The series kicks off on Jan. 27 with a talk by Dr. Noah Sasson of the School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences (BBS) on the “Evolving Diagnosis of Autism.” He will discuss how and why the definition of autism has changed over the past several decades. Topics covered will include explanations for the rapidly increasing prevalence rate of autism, the rationale for the upcoming removal of Asperger Syndrome as a diagnostic category and early “red flags” of autism during the first years of life.

Sasson earned his PhD from the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill and held post-doctoral fellowships at the Neurodevelopmental Disorders Research Center at UNC, the Brain Behavior Laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania and the Center for Autism Research at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. His work investigates the perceptual and cognitive mechanisms that contribute to social dysfunction in autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

Jackie Nelson

Dr. Jackie Nelson

Dr. Jackie Nelson, who joined BBS this fall, will present a talk Feb. 24 on “Why Feelings Matter: The Importance of Emotional Competence in Childhood.”

Nelson earned her PhD from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her research centers on family processes, including how stress occurring in parents’ multiple roles affects family interaction, and how parents help shape their children’s emotional development.

On April 27, Dr. Toosje Van Beveren will present “The Legal Drug – Alcohol – and Child Development.” Van Beveren, a lecturer with BBS, received her PhD at UT Dallas.

Toosje Van Beveren

Dr. Toosje Van Beveren

Van Beveren worked for many years directing children’s services at New Connections, a UT Southwestern Medical Center therapeutic program for drug-exposed children and their primary caregivers. Her research relates to the effects of maternal drug use on prenatal and long-term postnatal development.

The spring lecture series concludes May 25 with Dr. Deborah Wiebe discussing “Parenting Adolescents with Chronic Health Needs.” A health psychologist, Wiebe earned her PhD at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and holds joint appointments at UT Dallas and UT Southwestern.

Deborah Wiebe

Dr. Deborah Wiebe

Wiebe’s research focuses on understanding how children and their parents cope with acute and chronic health threats, including diabetes. The general goal of her investigations is to understand not only how people manage the health threat, but also how negative emotions are generated by health threats, how emotions influence coping behaviors, and how emotions are regulated to promote illness management and adjustment.

The lecture series is free and open to the public. Continuing education credits are available.

Sessions will take place in Room 2.106 of Naveen Jindal School of Management on the UT Dallas campus. The lectures run from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., followed by a reception. Refer to the Center for Children and Families website for more information about the talks or the center itself.

Media Contact: The Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected].

Tagged: BBS research