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MSA holds autism open house for district parents

Sam Bernstein staff writer

The Medical Science Academy (MSA) will be hosting a town hall in the Salter Theatre on tonight at 6:00 PM featuring a panel of experts on autism.

The goal of the event is to inform local parents of the early symptoms of autism. MSA coordinator Colleen Lynch thinks educating parents about autism is important for the development of autistic youth.

“We’re here to inform parents of young children about the warning signs [of autism]. The earlier you find signs of autism and the earlier intervention [is taken], the level of success increases,” Lynch said. “If you inform parents of young children about the signs they can get therapies and therefore the child is more successful.”

The event will feature three panelists led by Dr. Anshu Batra, who is the mother of junior Arjun Batra as well as alums Keshuv Batra (‘17) and Chanan Batra (‘13). Batra is a developmental pediatrician. The other two panelists are Nikki McRory and Marielly Mitchell. McRory is a speech and language therapist as well as a certified behavioral therapist. She also owns a multidisciplinary therapeutic center for intellectually disabled children. Mitchell is an occupational therapist who sees children with special needs.

Lynch, who has been teaching at Beverly since 2001, let students organize this event.

“MSA students are in charge of organizing it. We have an MSA board here and they make all the decisions about what they want to accomplish. Implementing the plan, getting in contact with schools that they want to invite to the event, marketing the event, getting in touch with our speakers, etc.,” Lynch said.

MSA secretary junior Sophia Cohen helped coordinate the event. Cohen explained what she did to help prepare for the event.

“I did a lot of organizing, sorting the meetings and relaying information to the club members,” Cohen said. “I also did a lot of back and forth between Autism Speaks and our speakers, as well as the elementary and middle schools from all around Beverly Hills.”

The event is free of charge and open to all parents or guardians of BHUSD students.

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