The Saul R. Korey Department of Neurology

Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Director: Michelle A. Dunn, Ph.D. and Isabelle Rapin, M.D.

Mission: 

  • To provide state-of-the-art investigation to children of all ages with a range of developmental problems, especially communication, autism spectrum, and attention deficit disorders, academic difficulties, social deficits, and hearing losses
  • To recommend the most effective individualized interventions for these children
  • To teach child neurologists and other trainees appropriately targeted evaluation and treatment of individual children in the context of interdisciplinary collaborations with the Division of Clinical Genetics and the Children’s Evaluation and Rehabilitation Clinic of the Einstein Department of Pediatrics, the Division of Child Psychiatry, and other relevant disciplines
  • To advance knowledge of the genetic and neurologic basis of developmental disorders that can be translated into more effective and specific interventions

Critical success factors: 

  • Publicize the long standing investment of the Einstein Child Neurology Division in the evaluation and treatment of developmental disorders of higher brain function in children
  • Publicize the long standing investment of the Einstein Child Neurology Division in clinical, electrophysiologic, and imaging research on the developmental disorders of higher brain function in children
  • Provide trainees in neurology and child neurology, developmental pediatrics and other disciplines appropriate tools to investigate this broad range of disorders in order to better define their etiologies and neurologic basis.
  • Introduce trainees to the educational and pathophysiologic utility of high quality neuropsychologic investigation of children with developmental disorders
  • Increase general awareness of the "idiopathic" and multidetermined developmental disorders in children which represent a very large burden for families, health care and educational facilities

Interdisciplinary research goals 

  • Define the genetic, neurologic, and environmental contributors to the etiology of developmental disorders
  • Define the range of cognitive and behavioral deficits in children with specific genetically or anatomically defined pathologies of the brain
  • Apply state-of-the-art electrophysiologic and imaging tools to define the brain basis of developmental disorders and changes in brain function resulting from interventions
  • Devise innovative medical or educational and social treatments for specific developmental symptoms
  • Devise objective tools to investigate the efficacy of some of the many behavioral and medical interventions offered children with developmental disorders, many of which lack empirical evidence of effectiveness
  • Disseminate those interventions with demonstrable effectiveness among therapists and educators who are working with the children

Einstein/Montefiore Autism Evaluation and Treatment Center 

Address: Executive Plaza, Suite 297, Yonkers, NY 10701
Phone: 914-375-4880
Fax: 914-968-2730
Acting Director: Michelle Dunn, PhD, child neuropsychologist

Staff: 

  • Child Neurologists: Isabelle Rapin, M.D.
  • Child psychiatry consultant: Audrey Walker, M.D.
  • Clinical child genetics consultants: Robert Marion, M.D., Alan Shanske, M.D.
  • Electrophysiology consultants: Solomon Moshe, M.D., Shlomo Shinnar, M.D., Ph.D., Karen Ballaban-Gil, M.D.
  • Gastroenterollogy consultant: Rosario Valicenti-McDermott, M.D.
  • Clinical research consultant: Shlomo Shinnar, M.D., Ph.D.

Service: 

  • Provide high quality interdisciplinary medical and neuropsychological evaluations and educational referrals for preschool, schoolage and adolescents on the autism spectrum
  • Educate the parents of children on the causes of autism, provide genetic counseling and training in behavior management techniques
  • Provide social skills training to schoolage children on the autism spectrum

 

Note: The closely related RELATE program of Einstein's Rose F. Kennedy Center, Children's Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center offers multidisciplinary state of the art diagnostic evaluation, treatment, and referrals for appropriate medical evaluation and therapeutic programs for infants, toddlers and preschoolers with language, social and/or behavioral difficulties including autism and other related disorders. Available services include developmental pediatrics, speech and language therapy, physical and occupational therapy, multidisciplinary feeding group and nutrition for management of behavioral feeding disorders, parent/child dyadic therapy for behavior management and parent support, management of toe-walking including prescribing and fabrication of adaptive equipment, and pharmacotherapy for management of behavior problems. Children receive on-going developmental follow-up with assistance for families in advocating for school programs and therapeutic services. The center participates in the New York City Early Intervention program. 

Address: Rousso Building, 1165 Morris Park Avenue, Bronx NY 10461
Phone: 718 43-3914, 430-3901
Director: Lisa Shulman, M.D., developmental pediatrics
Associate director: Debbie Meringolo, MA, MS, special education
Developmental pediatricians: Harriet Wieder, M.D., Oscar Purugganan, M.D., Rosa Seijo, M.D.
Psychologists: Elizabeth Tulloch, Ph.D., John Jacobson, Ph.D.
Speech-language pathologists: Nancy Tarshis, MA, MS, CCC-SLP and staff

Training of professionals 

  • Train child neurology fellows and pediatricians in the symptomatology, evaluation of children on the autism spectrum
  • Train neuropsychology interns in the evaluation of children on the autism spectrum
  • Train teachers, school psychologists and other educators to deliver social skills education in the school

Research 

  • Sylvie Goldman, PhD, and Isabelle Rapin, MD
  • longitudinal study of stereotypies in children on the autism spectrum compared to children with nonautistic developmental disorders
  • morphometric correlates of schoolage children with/without stereotypies (in collaboration with Dr Martha Herbert, child neurologist, Massachussetts General Hospital, Boston MA)
  • comparison of stereotypies in low functioning children on the autism spectrum with those of girls with Rett syndrome (in collaboration with Dr Teresa Temudo, child neurologist, Oporto, Portugal)
  • comparison of stereotypies in high functioning children on the autism spectrum with tics in children with Tic/Tourette syndrome (in collaboration with Dr Ruth Nass, child neurologist, NYU)
  • Michelle Dunn, PhD and Juliana Bates, MS
  • event-related correlates of semantic processing in high functioning children and typically-developing controls
  • evaluation of the efficacy of social skills training in preschool and schoolage children with autism spectrum disorders and their typically developing schoolmates
  • Isabelle Rapin, MD and Michelle Dunn, PhD
  • subtyping the language disorders of children on the autistic spectrum and of children with developmental language disorders (in collaborations with Dr Deborah Fein, neuropsychologist, University of Connecticut at Storrs CT and Dr Michael Stevens, neuropsychologist, Institute for Living in Hartford C
  • Karen Weidenheim, MD and Isabelle Rapin, MD
  • neuropathology of individuals with autism and Asperger syndrome

Investigations in autism and developmental disorders 

Dr Rapin, child neurologist, and many colleagues have been conducting research on autism for over 20 years. Their particular interests have included

  • diagnosis and differential diagnosis
  • language disorders in autism compared to those in other developmental disorders
  • autistic/language regression and the role of epilepsy and immune mechanisms in its occurrence
  • stereotypies in autism and other developmental disorders including mental retardation, Rett syndrome, and tics/Tourette syndrome
  • MRI morphometry in attempting to define the neurologic basis of stereotypies in autism and other developmental disorders (in collaboration with Sylvie Goldman, PhD, and Martha Herbert, M.D., Ph.D., Harvard Medical School)
  • gastrointestinal disorders in children with autism (M. Rosario Valicenti-McDermott, M.D., Shlomo Shinnar, M.D., Ph.D.)

Dr Michelle Dunn, child neuropsychologist, and colleagues have been conducting research on

  • neuropsychologic deficits in children on the autism spectrum in order to provide an individual road map for educators of these children
  • language disorders in autism and other developmental disorders
  • the electrophysiology of language processing in autism and other developmental disorders
  • social skills training in children with autism and their typically developing peers
  • training of educators in the implementation of social skills training in the school
  • evaluation of the efficacy of social skills straining in the school

Dr Sylvie Goldman, developmental psychologist

  • stereotypies in autism and other developmental disorders including mental retardation, Rett syndrome, and tics/Tourette syndrome (in collaboration with Dr Teresa Temudo of Oporto Portugal and Dr Ruth Nass of NYU)
  • MRI morphometry in attempting to define the neurologic basis of stereotypies in autism and other developmental disorders (in collaboration with Martha Herbert, M.D., Ph.D., Harvard Medical School)

Selected Publications

Tuchman,R. and Rapin,I. (eds.) Autism: A neurological disorder of the developing brain. London: MacKeith Press, 2006

Dunn,M. S.O.S.: Social Skills in Our Schools Program (A Social Skills program for children with Pervasive Developmental Disorders and their typical peers). Shawnee Mission KS: Autism and Asperger Publishing Co. 2005.


Division Faculty: Collaborators:
Weidenheim, M. Karen, M.D. Goldman, Sylvie, Ph.D.
Dunn, A. Michelle, Ph.D.  
Rapin, Isabelle, M.D.  
Ballaban-Gil, Ruth Karen, M.D.  

 

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