Skip Navigation
Phone: 800-275-6401

Autism & Developmental Medicine Institute to host fragile X syndrome training

ADMI teaming up with Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit for Nov. 13 program in Milton

CONTACT: Mike Ferlazzo: 570-214-7410, 515-450-2908 (c),
Oct. 16, 2014


MILTON, Pa. – Over the last few years there has been a lot of attention paid to autism, and this increased awareness has helped educate parents and raise funds for research.

Autism, also known as autistic spectrum disorder (ASD), is a behaviorally diagnosed condition that affects a child’s social skills and development. Among the many hundreds of known causes of ASD, fragile X syndrome is the most common according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Geisinger’s Autism & Developmental Medicine Institute (ADMI) is teaming up with the Central Susquehanna Intermediate Unit (CSIU) to offer a free training program for education professionals focused on behavioral and social skills strategies to support students with fragile X syndrome. “From the Clinic to the Classroom: Fragile X Syndrome,” will take place on Thursday, Nov. 13, from 9 a.m. to noon, at the CSIU Conference and Learning Center, 90 Lawton Lane, Milton.

The program will feature a presentation on fragile X syndrome diagnosis and characteristics by Brenda Finucane (left), MS, LGC, ADMI associate director and clinical investigator, who is a nationally recognized expert on fragile X. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Fragile X Foundation.

“Fragile X syndrome is a genetic condition that causes a range of developmental problems, including learning and behavioral differences,” Finucane said.

Fragile X syndrome is caused by a genetic change (mutation) in a gene called FMRI. This mutation impairs the gene’s ability to produce a protein that is necessary for normal brain development.

“People diagnosed with fragile X syndrome do not make this essential brain protein,” Finucane said.

Signs that a child might have fragile X syndrome include:

  • Delays in achieving developmental milestones such as sitting, walking and talking
  • Intellectual disability
  • Behavior differences such as hyperactivity, hand-flapping and poor eye contact

The diagnosis of fragile X syndrome is confirmed through a highly accurate blood test that can be ordered by a doctor or genetic counselor.

Barbara Haas-Givler (right), M.Ed., BCBA, a special educator and behavior analyst, will also present at the “From the Clinic to the Classroom” on customizing the learning environment for school-aged students with fragile X syndrome. In addition to her clinical work at ADMI, she directs its nationwide consultation and training services for fragile X and other genetic disorders.

There isn’t a cure for fragile X syndrome, but there are a variety of treatment services available to help those with the condition learn important skills, such as therapies to learn to talk, walk and interact with others.

“To build the best treatment plan for your child, you should get everyone involved – parents, family members, healthcare providers, teachers, coaches, childcare providers and therapists,” Haas-Givler said. “Parents will be the most successful if they take advantage of all the resources available to them and their child.”

“From the Clinic to the Classroom” registration is available at by clicking on the Act 48, Professional Development & Personal Computer Training link ( located in a box on the left side of the home page. Questions may be directed to, or by calling 570-522-6281.

For more information, visit, or follow the latest ADMI news and more on Twitter (@GeisingerADMI) and Facebook (ADMI on Facebook).

About Geisinger Health System
Geisinger Health System is an integrated health services organization widely recognized for its innovative use of the electronic health record, and the development of innovative care models such as ProvenHealth Navigator® and ProvenCare®. As one of the nation’s largest rural health services organizations, Geisinger serves more than 2.6 million residents throughout 44 counties in central and northeast Pennsylvania. The physician-led system is comprised of more than 21,000 employees, including a 1,100-member multi-specialty group practice, eight hospital campuses, two research centers and a 467,000-member health plan, all of which leverage an estimated $7.4 billion positive impact on the Pennsylvania economy. The health system and the health plan have repeatedly garnered national accolades for integration, quality and service. In addition to fulfilling its patient care mission, Geisinger has a long-standing commitment to medical education, research and community service. For more information, visit or follow the latest Geisinger news and more on Twitter and Facebook