2016 Conference Presentations
To view the handouts or PowerPoint presentations, click on the title of the presentations listed below. NOTE: not all presenters provided their powerpoints for this website.This page lists the 2016 presentations, including their titles, presenters, abstract, and learning objectives. They are divided into five tracks: Educators, Parents 1, Parents 2, Adults, and Spanish Language.
Click here to download the 2016 Conference Agenda. And, click here for a Spanish-language track agenda in Spanish. Spanish language track agenda in Spanish.
From Our Voices: The Perspective of Young Adults with ASD. (Panel Discussion).
Facilitator: Michelle Rigler, EdD
Presenters: Erin Maynard, Charles Remy, Paige Anctil, and Samuel Liebenson.
Insight into the life of a person with Autism Spectrum Disorder is invaluable and the best way to gain that information is through first hand experiences. This keynote presentation will allow conference attendees to hear the voices of a diverse panel of people with Autism Spectrum Disorder. They will discuss their individual experiences and ASD’s unique impact on their lives and tools they have developed to successfully navigate the social world around them. There will be also be an opportunity for those in attendance to interact with the panelists through questions and open dialogue.
Track 1: Educators
Identification of Autism Spectrum Disorders: From Screening and Detection to Diagnosis
Presenter: Celine A. Saulnier, Ph.D.
This presentation will provide an overview of screening and detection methods for autism spectrum disorders. Topics covered will include identification of early red flags in infants and toddlers, as well as detection and diagnostic differentiation in older, school-aged children. Current research on evidenced-based practices for detection and diagnosis will be discussed.
Individuals should be able to: define the diagnostic criteria for ASD, identify effective screening and detection methods for ASD from infancy through childhood, identify diagnostic differentials, and describe current research on detection and diagnosis.
The Strategic Classroom: Balancing Individual Needs and Academic Standards
Presenter: Stephanie Hathcock, BCBA
Educating students today involves teaching students with a wide range of abilities. Now, more than ever, teachers need to be equipped with practical strategies to balance rigorous academic standards while accommodating the individual needs of their students.
Participants will better understand: the autism spectrum, how to form a relationship with students with autism, how to define and sort through interfering classroom behaviors, how to apply a tiered model for supporting positive behaviors, how to implement Tier 3 strategies for students with autism, today’s inclusion model, and the importance of a team approach in decision making.
Profiles of Adaptive Behavior in ASD and Implications for Functional Independence
Presenter: Celine A. Saulnier, Ph.D.
Research has shown that individuals with ASD exhibit deficits in adaptive behavior, and these delays are above and beyond what would be expected based on cognitive functioning. The gap between cognitive and adaptive functioning also appears to widen with age. This has significant implications on outcome into adulthood, as many individuals with ASD struggle to apply their repertoire of skills to daily contexts and routines with independence. This presentation will outline these profiles of adaptive behavior and discuss the importance of focusing on adaptive skills instruction from initial diagnosis throughout the lifespan.
Attendees will be able to: define adaptive behavior and how it is differentiated from cognition or ability, describe common profiles of adaptive functioning in ASD, and identify effective treatment strategies for enhancing adaptive functioning.
Visual Supports Are My Super Power!
Presenter: Meridith Pettigrew, MEd
This presentation will cover 5 specific types of visual supports for the novice, and new and fresh ideas for the pro! Preparing visual supports can be overwhelming if you’re unfamiliar with how to do it…but all you need is motivation and respect! Start becoming a behavior expert and change your behavior as an instructor. When you do, you will soon gain an amazing respect for visuals. Participants will realize how often they, as adults, use visual supports throughout their day. After having that understanding, they will be shown how their students need the same supports. This presentation will also offer several other ideas and resources to reenergize classrooms who currently have a good understanding of visual supports.
Individuals will: gain an understanding of why visual supports are used as a preventative intervention, gain an understanding of how visual supports are used as a preventative intervention, and walk away with 5 concrete visual interventions to implement in the classroom.
Sociocultural Competence Educating Children with ASD
Presenter: Samuel Fernandez-Carriba, PhD
Sociocultural characteristics of families of children with ASD will be examined as well as their association with symptomatology and overall prevalence. A proposal will be made for a model of cultural competence for providers.
Participants will be able to: describe factors related to diagnosis of children with ASD that are associated with sociocultural differences, identify possible underlying explanations for sociocultural disparities in ASD, and formulate strategies to become sensitive to sociocultural differences in the care of people with ASD and their families
Track 2: Parents 1
Special Needs Planning: Trusts, Conservatorships & Other Legal Issues(Powerpoint not available)
Presenter: David L. McGuffey, CELA
Parents and grandparents of children with special needs should prepare for decision-making after their children reach 18, and should prepare their estates in a manner that protects their children and stretches family resources.
Participants will be able to plan effectively for a child’s or grandchild’s future success.
Taking an Autism Diagnosis to School
Presenter: Lisa Mattheiss
Just received a diagnosis? How do you share that information with the school? We will discuss eligibility for IEP (Individualized Education Plan) and 504 Plan (special education plan for students with certain identified disabilities) as well as program components, and caregivers’ role in the process.
Parents and caregivers will understand the process to acquiring an IEP or 504 plan to provide support to their child in an educational environment as well as the basic components of that plan and who is involved in developing it. They will leave with an understanding of their role in the developing a plan following a diagnosis.
Improving Executive Functioning and Anxiety using Positive Behavior Support
Presenter: Stephen Altabet, PhD
Positive behavior support techniques can be utilized to improve executive function deficits and anxiety.
Participants will be able to: understand the role of executive function in organization and regulation of behavior, determine the relationship between executive function deficits and avoidant behavior and anxiety, and learn how the implementation of environmental and other positive behavior supports can lessen the impact of executive function deficits, decrease avoidant behavior, and relieve anxiety.
Crossing an Ocean: My Journey through Diagnosis and Therapy (PowerPoint not available)
Presenter: Dell Zimmerman and Andrea Kirkman, M.S., CCC-SLP
This presentation is designed to share the experiences of a teenage student with ASD from diagnosis through years of therapy and plans for the future as presented by the kid himself. His Speech Language Pathologist will accompany him and both will share perspectives on the treatment of social skills. This presentation will include successes, failures, and the hilarious moments that have served to build teamwork between the two.
Participants will: gain an understanding of the impact of an ASD on an individual, learn impacts of ASD on social skills, and gain an understanding of the value of the client/therapist relationship for treatment progress.
Biomedical Music Techniques For Motor, Speech, And Cognition Challenges
Presenter: Dr. Martha Summa-Chadwick, DMA
Biomedical music techniques are a science-based system involving application of rhythm and music in the brain. Utilization can result in substantial improvement in rehabilitative/developmental areas such as gait, speech, executive functioning, and sensory processing. This didactic session will include videos showing positive therapeutic results for children with autism who have utilized biomedical techniques. Researchers, therapists, parents, educators, and musicians will benefit from seeing how rhythm and music can be intentionally directed to benefit those on the autism spectrum.
Attendees will acquire knowledge of how powerful the precise use of music and rhythm are when utilized as a direct conduit to the brain; they will then be able to apply some of these ideas in their homes and classrooms to help those with motor, speech, and cognition challenges
Track 3: Parents 2
Inpatient Services and Intensive Behavior Programs: Knowing your Options(Powerpoint not available)
Presenter: Presenters from Sequel, SpringBrook, Laurel Heights and a Parent’s Perspective
Attendees will learn about intensive treatments and inpatient services to help individuals who display extremely difficult or dangerous behaviors. Matt Sparling will discuss the reasons why a young person with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) may need residential care. He will also discuss the types of inpatient treatment provided at Sequel’s residential care facility and how insurance might authorize it. Finally, Matt will discuss the potential benefits and consequences of residential care for young people with autism. Mary Ann Bennett will discuss the characteristics of children and adolescents needing residential treatment care. She will also discuss the services provided by SpringBrook Behavioral Health System for the treatment of children and adolescents with ASD. Sonya Rice will identify harmful behaviors requiring higher levels of care, distinguish admission criteria for acute and residential psychiatric care and program specifics, and discuss the creation of an action plan to seek professional help. Finally, Melissa Post (parent of a child with autism) will share what led her family to seek an intensive behavioral program for her son who struggled with self-injurious behavior. Melisa will discuss successes achieved at the Marcus Autism Center, and also tools and supports to implement treatment at home. This presentation will also include an extensive Q & A portion.
As a result of the presentation, attendees should better understand the options for inpatient or residential care for young persons with ASD (and other neurodevelopmental needs) and have an understanding of the factors that should be weighed when a young person may need residential care. The presentation should inform professionals and caregivers on the role that medical necessity plays in high levels of treatment provision and the upsides and downsides associated with congregate care.
Developing Communication: PECS vs. Sign Language
Presenter: Sara Gilbert, M.S. BCBA & Tamra Bell, M.A., CCC-SLP
This presentation will discuss current research and the pros and cons between using PECS vs. Sign Language as a communication tool for their child. It will also give caregivers some tools to aid them in choosing which form of communication may be best for their child.
Individuals will gain knowledge of the research behind PECS and Sign language. They will understand the pros and cons of PECS and sign language, and learn ways to choose which form of communication is best for their child.
Navigating The Maze: Finding Supports For People With ASD
Presenter: Tonya Bowman, MS and Emma Shouse, BSW
Navigating Tennessee’s maze of service systems can be challenging. Often times we are unsure of available services and whether or not we even qualify for them. This workshop will provide information on available services for people with ASD and eligibility requirements for those services. Additionally, we will provide opportunities for families to find support from other family members, including siblings, of individuals with ASD.
Caregivers will be able to: recognize potential funding opportunities and other available support resources for people with ASD, identify eligibility criteria for available services, and demonstrate skills learned to advocate for better resources and services in our state for people on the autism spectrum.
Recognizing The Function Of Behaviors And How To Respond Appropriately
Presenter: Anne-Marie Kille, RBT
This presentation is designed to help caregivers understand why behaviors are occurring, and guide them to more effectively respond to these behaviors. Group participation and questions will be encouraged.
Parents/Caregivers will be able to: discuss why their child engages in inappropriate behavior in non-technical terms with others (instead of focusing on what the child should be doing), recognize the difference between the four functions of behavior and the purpose they each serve, observe a behavior and correctly identify which function it serves, determine the most effective strategy to use based on the specific function of the behavior that is occurring, and implement strategies designed to change their child’s behavior based on its function. They will also learn to recognize the impact of their own actions as they respond to problematic behaviors.
When Autism Has an Emergency
Presenter: Jared Pelham, Hamilton County 911
This presentation will provide an understanding of the impact Autism has on 9-1-1 Telecommunicators, Responders and the communities in which they work. It will also provide tools and strategies to increase the likelihood of a successful outcome with autism emergencies.
Attendees will gain a basic understanding of autism – definitions, diagnoses, and the different characteristics. They will understand what role the 9-1-1 Telecommunicator has and challenges faced with special needs callers/victims, and they will have an understanding of the challenges responders face during an autism emergency and how families can prepare before an emergency occurs.
Track 4: Adults
Presenter: Scott Kramer, MSEd and April Jagger, MEd
Healthy, intentional relationships of all kinds are important for the ASD adult, and benefit adults on the autism spectrum throughout the lifespan. The presenters will share research and techniques for initiating and sustaining beneficial interpersonal relationships.
Attendees will learn how to: initiate an intentional relationship, develop and build an intentional relationship, and sustain an intentional relationship through the hardships of life. They will also benefit from research findings on intentional relationships.
Welcome to Asperger’s, Now What?
Presenter: Daniel Durany, Public Speaker and Advocate
Daniel will be sharing his experiences of what life is like for him with Asperger’s Syndrome. He offers insightful information about how to cope with the condition, goal setting strategies, and helpful tools toward becoming a contributing member of society. Come share in Daniel’s personal story and gain perspective, knowledge, and strength from his journey.
Individuals will: gain a deeper understanding of living with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS), recognize the unique cognitive patterns of people with AS, devise strategies to improve cognitive processing and problem solving techniques, and recognize some of the unique social patterns associated with AS.
Creating Jobs: Strategies for Parents & Advocates
Presenter: Dave Krikac – Founder of “Our Thrift Store”
The presentation will outline what it takes to create a self sustaining business around the proven model and give examples of those who have stepped out to do just that. The presenter will discuss successes experienced in Transition Training and the partnership with 5 area High Schools, will have an open discussion and answer hard question of “Where do I start?”, and will describe their humble beginnings and discuss what it takes to sustain a 50 employee non profit business.
Attendees will learn how to create and implement a strategy to be an advocate for their son or daughter with special needs. Parents and caregivers will be equipped to pursue and/or create job opportunities.
Treating Depression and Anxiety in Adults with ASD
Presenter: Karen Weigle, PhD and Alyce Benson, LCSW
The rate of anxiety and depression in adults with ASD is higher than in the average population. In this seminar, strengths-based strategies for addressing and improving symptoms will be discussed.
Attendees will understand how anxiety and depression are related to one another and ASD. They will also be able to list several positive strategies to improve mood and decrease anxiety.
Housing: Preparing Successfully for Interdependent Living
Presenter: Carolyn Naifeh, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Nashville IDD Housing Group
Aging parents of children with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities are concerned about where their adult child will live once they’ve passed away. What can parents do now to best prepare their son or daughter for interdependent living?
Attendees will gain a checklist of items that will better equip individuals for living interdependently and understand the variables that have led to success for others facing similar challenges.
Spanish Language Presentations:
Recognizing the Function of Behaviors and How to Respond Appropriately
Presenter: Ileana Blanco, RBT, Behavior Specialist
This presentation is designed to help caregivers understand why behaviors are occurring, and guide them to more effectively respond to these behaviors. Esta presentacion esta designada para ayudar a los padres y cuidadores a entender por que los malos comportamientos estan ocurriendo, y guiarlos a una manera mas efectiva para responder a esos comportamientos.
Attendees should be able to: recognize the difference between the four functions of behavior and the purpose they each serve. They can also: observe a behavior and correctly identify which function it serves, determine the most effective strategy to use based on the specific function of the behavior that is occurring, and implement strategies designed to change their child’s behavior based on its function. Observar un comportamiento y lograr indentificarlo correctamente con la funcion que sirve. Determinar la estrategia mas efectiva que se debe usar en base a la especifica funcion del comportamiento que esta ocurriendo. Implementar estrategias diseñadas para cambiar el comportamiento del niño basado en su funcion.
Compassion for Caregivers
Presenter: Samuel Fernandez-Carriba, PhD
The aim of this talk is to introduce Cognitively Based Compassion Training (CBCT), a meditation protocol developed at Emory University, as a stress management technique for families of individuals with ASD and their providers.
Attendees will be able to: apprise the role of self-care in caregiving, enumerate the principles of Cognitively Based Compassion Training, and assess empirically validated benefits of a systematic training in compassion.
Autism Support: Myths, Facts, & Resources for Spanish-speaking Families
Presenter: Alexander Santana, BS
What resources and strategies are available to address barriers encountered by Spanish-speaking families of children with autism? Tennessee Disability Pathfinder will provide answers to this question and discuss available services and considerations regarding ABA therapy.
Attendees will be able to: recognize myths associated with autism and ABA therapy, identify strategies for overcoming barriers to services, and describe resources available to support families of children with autism.
What is STEP? and Rights on Special Education
Presenter: Patricia Valladares and Dorca Rose
What is STEP (Support and Training for Exceptional Parents)? Do you have a child with an IEP, or suspect that might they might need Special Education? In this talk, you will learn how to advocate for your child and make sure he/she gets a “Free Appropriate Public Education.”
Parents will be able to advocate for their children by themselves.
Raising a Child with Autism: Parent’s Perspectives and Experiences
Presenter: Pochy and Carolina Montes, Linda Keller, Joseph Newton, and Orfelia Rojas
Parents of children of different ages and abilities will discuss their experiences