Anna Laakman, who has extensive experience establishing best teaching practices at one of the nation’s most distinguished autism centers, has joined UCI’s Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders as director of education & training. In her new role, Laakman will develop innovative training opportunities for those who interact with and serve individuals with neurodevelopmental disorders, including autism spectrum disorder — such as caretakers, psychologists, behavioral consultants, school personnel, medical professionals and social workers. Laakman comes to UCI after serving as training core manager at the University of Missouri’s Thompson Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders, where she worked with parents, teachers, first responders and providers to teach best practices in autism. Laakman is an expert in evaluating children and has consulted nationally and internationally on the use of tools associated with an ASD diagnosis, including the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule and the Autism Diagnostic Interview. UCI’s center is a collaboration of the School of Medicine, CHOC Children’s Hospital, Chapman University’s College of Educational Studies, the Children & Families Commission of Orange County, and the William & Nancy Thompson Family Foundation.