The opening ceremony at Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR) was solemn; organizers and representatives of UFSCAR's Dean and the funder of the event, FAPESP, gave speeches and a classical version of the national hymn was played. FAPESP explained the special funding for Advanced Schools and impressive budget figures that demonstrated a significant investment in research in the State of São Paulo.
São Paulo State, where 40 million people live, is the richest state of Brazil and is responsible for over 30% of the Brazilian PIB, or gross domestic product. FAPESP's budget corresponds to 1% of the State's tax revenue.
Several of the presenters gave interviews to local media about autism, genetics, microbiology, and especially behavioral intervention. Brian Iwata spoke of problem behaviors to G1, Douglas Greer about communication.
It was clear that this country's decade of improvements in the economy is having an impact on the investment in research and one can only hope that it will also have an impact in the improvement of the education of the professionals who support and will support individuals with autism and their families. Applied Behavior Analysis, known by the English, not Portuguese, acronym, has sort of a buzz right now. Families have known about the effectiveness of the intervention for autism for about a decade, but now have more widely connected and exhausted the supply of qualifies professionals. It was also evident that the country does not have a contingent of qualified professionals and the universities, although very strong on behavior analytical theory and internationally known for its experts, are not providing nearly adequate applied training.