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2015 Conference Presentations

This page lists the 2015 presentations, including their titles, presenters, abstract, and learning objectives. They are divided into four tracks: Educators, Parents 1, Parents 2, Adults, and Spanish Language.

If the presenter’s powerpoint or handout is available for download, the title will show up as a hyperlink. You can click those links to download. 

Click here to download the one-page 2015 Conference Agenda WITH ROOM ASSIGNMENTS
Click here to download the one-page Spanish language registration and agenda

Keynote Presentation:

The Movement of Imperfection
Speakers: Gina Gallagher and Patricia Terrasi

Track 1: Educators

Using the Functional Independent Skills Handbook (FISH) to Develop and Improve Functional Skills
Presenter: William Killion, Ph.D., BCBA. 
The presentation will overview both the assessment and curriculum of the Functional Independence Skills Handbook, or FISH, which is comprised of 422 specific skills across 7 domains of learning. The intended outcome of the FISH program is to enhance or improve the person’s functional independence.

Designing Effective, School-Based, Interventions for Children with Autism
Presenter: John Wheeler, PhD.
The purpose of this presentation will be to discuss how to design effective school-based interventions for learners with autism. Applied examples of effective evidence-based strategies used within classrooms and other learning environments will be presented. Recommendations for teachers will be provided in the selection, design and presentation of tasks to learners with autism.

Executive Functioning: It’s Time to get Organized! 
Presenter: Meridith Pettigrew, M.Ed. 
This presentation will address the following topics:
1) Define Executive Functioning.
2) Recognize tasks that require more executive functioning.
3) Identify student behavior or performance that may be due to executive functioning deficits.
4) Distinguish between student motivation, other cognitive abilities, and executive functioning deficits.
5) use techniques that help students become more organized so they have less of a strain on executive functioning for the curriculum.

The SETT Model: Enhancing Communication Opportunities
Presenter: M. Alexandra Da Fonte, PhD.
Special education teachers should arrange their classroom to enhance communication opportunities. Augmentative and alternative communication strategies support these skills; hence, this session will explain the SETT model and how to embed it in the classroom.

Identifying Reinforcers: A 3-Step Process
Presenter: M. Alexandra Da Fonte, PhD.
A 3-step process for assessing preferences was designed to ensure the use of best-practices across settings. The goal was to assist practitioners in effectively using preference assessments with students with exceptionalities

Track 2: Parents 1

Motivation: The Key to Unlocking Language (Contact Speaker for materials)
Presenter: Carrie Walls, MDiv, BCBA 
Contact Carrie Walls at
This seminar highlights the key role of motivation for increasing language and communication skills in mostly non-verbal learners. The importance of contriving and capturing motivation through proactive and creative means will be covered, as well as a number of ideas for doing so.

Facilitating Success in Academic and Social Situations
Presenter: Joan Clark, CCC
Children with Level 1 ASD often struggle with communication, despite their articulate appearance. Effective, tried-and-true strategies will be presented, and the audience will walk away with tools, skills, and new idea for school and home.

Letting Go While Holding On: How to Prepare You and Your Adult Child for the Next Chapter of Transition
Presenter: Lisa J. Ross, Ed. S., NCSP
Presentation will include ideas on how to assist with increasing independence for the young adult with ASD. Discussion will consist of educational, employment and social preparation. Information gathered from various sources including the preconceptions of ASD. adult and their experiences.

Mastering Handwriting: Helping Your Child be a Successful Writer (PowerPoint file size too large, cannot upload)
Presenter: Jacinta McGavock, EdD
This presentation will provide an alternative approach to teaching children how to write letters, sentences, paragraphs, and essays. Parents will receive creative tips, view actual teaching demonstrations, and receive excellent resources that will help them teach their children at home.


Balance In Life With A “Can Do” Attitude (PowerPoint file size too large, cannot upload)
Presenter: Sensei Corey Green
Description: Attendees will learn about Karate Wise Therapy, a therapy targeting kids with special needs. After attending this workshop, attendees will be able to:
1) explain how mastering karate has a positive impact on all people and people with autism in particular.
2) identify misunderstandings about karate.
3) distinguish between good teaching techniques and poor teaching techniques for kids with autism.
4) describe the “good” methods for teaching front kick.

Track 3: Parents 2

Special Needs Trusts, Guardianships & Financial Planning (Handout Only)
Presenter: Martin L. Pierce, JD
Overview of FInancial and Legal Tools needed by families, including Special Needs Trusts, Powers of Attorney, Wills and Trusts, Guardianships/Conservatorships, Government Benefits & Financial Planning– this presentation will help you see the big picture (puzzle) and the various pieces to the puzzle and how they fit your situation.

How to Decrease or Even Eliminate Problem Behaviors Using Function-Based Strategies (Contact Speaker for materials)
Presenter: Carrie Walls, MDiv, BCBA
Contact Carrie Walls at
This seminar will help teach participants how to identify the purpose of a problem behavior, according to the four primary functions of maladaptive behaviors. Basic strategies for decreasing and eliminating problem behavior based upon its function will be given.


Autism as a Multidimensional Spectrum
Presenter: Ken Pittman, MD
-Identify Domains of Symptoms That Can Present in a Spectrum with ASDs
-Discuss Potential Subgroups Based on Combinations of These Symptoms
-Identify Treatment Options Based on Subgroups of Symptoms

Creating Effective Visual Schedules
Presenter: Meridith Pettigrew, PhD
1) Be able to describe why a visual schedule can have an impact on behavior for kids with ASD.
2) Identify the different types of visual schedule.
3) Learn the basic steps for creating a visual schedule.

National Core Indicators: Update on State-funded Services for Adults with Autism
Presenter: Lynnette Henderson, PhD
NCI has measured outcomes in 38 other states for 17 years before TN used it in 2013-14. We will share what we learned about adults with ASD receieve Medicaid waiver services in TN, and discuss new waivers available to adults with ASD under managed care.

Track 4: Adults

Living with Autism as an Adult – Self Advocacy in College or the Work force
Presenter: Campbell Teague
Description: The purpose is to bring awareness to the issues adults with Autism face. Several children diagnosed with Autism years ago are ageing and now becoming adults. Some people with ASD will go onto to college others will not. A lot of times transitioning into an adult can be challenging especially when attempting to go to college or join the workforce. A lot of adults do not know the resources out there and how to be their own advocate.

Success Strategies for Young Adults on the Autism Spectrum
Presenter: Michelle Rigler & Amy Rutherford
Through introducing a book written by the presenters, participants will gain an understanding potential strategies individuals could adopt to help young adults with ASD transition into and through the first year of college. The talk would be followed by a book signing.


Autism After High School: What’s Next?
Presenter: Kelli Salyer
Description: Often times after high school, services and supports gradually decrease and/or disappear. This doesn’t work! What options are out there and how do we find services that work for you and your family members? We will discuss in an open dialogue what to look for in providers, realistic expectations, what questions to ask direct care staff, and much more.


From Our Voice: The Perspectives of Young Adults with ASD
Presenter: Erin Maynard
Through an open dialogue, participants will gain helpful perspective into the thoughts and experiences of young adults with ASD as they transition through various milestones in their lives.


Transitioning to Living on Your Own
Presenter: Meghan Just, M. Ed. 
As individuals with autism transition to adulthood, independence oftem seems out of reach, but with guidance and supports many of these individuals can go on to live and work in ways that they never thought possible. Hear from professionals working with these adults as well as adults who have made this transition

Spanish Language Presentations:

Reglas Para Educar A Nuestros Hijos
Presenter: Astrid Lucas, BCBA

Motivación: La Clave para el Desbloqueo del Lenguaje (PowerPoint Unavailable)
Presenter: Ileana Blanco, RBT
Este seminario refleja la clave en ell rol de la motivación para incrementar las habilidades del lenguaje y la comunicación en la mayoría de los alumnos no- verbales. La importancia de contribuir y capturar la motivación a través de la proactividad y la creatividad significativa, como también un número de ideas para realizar.

Derechos Básicos en Educación Especial
Presenter: Patricia Valladares & Dorca Rose Guayurpa
Si tienen un hijo en educación especial que va la escuela que es lo que tienen que hacer para que tenga los servicios apropiados para el, tiene un Plan Individualizado de Educación? conozca sus derechos
Las Intervenciones para los Problemas de la Alimentació en los Niños con Autismo
Presenter: Ashley E. Meredith, CFY-SLP
Los niños con Autismo pueden experimentar dificultades con la alimentación, incluyendo una aversión severa a los sabores y las texturas de la comida. Aprenden más sobre las intervenciones para la alimentación para los niños con Autismo.

Autismo 101: Lidiando con el diagnóstico y Buscando Servicios de Apoyo
Presenter: Alexander Santana, B.S.

Esta sisión le otorgará respuestas a preguntas que las familias enfrentan a menudo cuando tienen experiencia con el autism, incluyendo: qué esperar, cómo apoyar la mejor comunicación con su hijo, y dónde encontrar servicios.
Objetivos de aprendizaje:
1) Identificación de las características comunes del autismo
2) Entender el uso de ayuda visual para facilitar la comunicación y mejorar el comportamiento entre las personas con autism
3) Saber comunicarse con el Programa Multicultural de Tennessee Disability Pathfinder para ayenda en encontrar y acceder a los servicios

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