Pope Francis will spend time Saturday with people with autism and their families as part of an international autism conference put on by the Vatican's health care office. (Zuma Press/TNS)

Pope Francis will spend time Saturday with people with autism and their families as part of an international autism conference put on by the Vatican’s health care office. (Zuma Press/TNS)

For the first time, Pope Francis is set to meet with individuals with autism and their families during an international conference on the developmental disorder.

The pope will meet with families on Saturday, the Vatican said.

The gathering, which will include prayer and song, will cap a three-day conference put on by the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Health Care Workers that officials indicated will bring together more than 650 people from 57 countries.

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Organizers said their aim is to “help break the isolation and, in many cases, the stigma” experienced by people with autism and their families.

Speakers at the conference are expected to include researchers from the University of California as well as Bob and Suzanne Wright who co-founded Autism Speaks, among other advocates and experts from around the globe.

Topics on the agenda range from biological research and behavioral treatment options to the pastoral and theological aspects of supporting people on the spectrum.