Schedule & Sessions

Thursday, October 13

Welcome 8:45-9:00 a.m.


Keynote 9:00-10:00 a.m.

Owning Neurodiverse Identity in Young Autistic Adulthood
Haley Moss, JD, Neurodiversity Expert

The transition to independence and young adulthood is daunting for anyone, but it’s especially anxiety-inducing for autistic people. Yet, that time of blossoming independence is also a period of self-growth and emerging identity. For young autistics, college and the entrance to the workforce is when we find ourselves and figure out who we are. In this session, Haley will explore what independence is and how we can foster that through the nurturing of neurodivergent identity. Be prepared for a sense of pride and confidence to tackle life’s challenges.

Objectives
1. Attendees will re-examine what independence and independent living goals are and what they should look like for autistic and neurodivergent youth and young adults.
2. Attendees will identify ways to build a strong sense of neurodivergent identity in young autistic adults as a tool to instill confidence.
3. Attendees will identify how to foster self-advocacy skills in autistic young adults.

CE Available: APA, ASHA, CME, NASP


Break 10:00-10:15 a.m.


Breakout Sessions 10:15-11:30 a.m.

Focus on Autism: Clinical Practice

Addressing Health Disparities in Autism Detection by Implementing Screening in the Part C Early Intervention System
Alice Carter, PhD

This presentation will focus on identification of very young children with autism spectrum disorders and health disparities in the identification of young children with autism spectrum disorders. Alice S. Carter, Ph.D., will present findings of a recent study in which she and her colleagues partnered with three community Part C Early Intervention agencies to implement a two-stage screening process that was conducted as part of routine early intervention services. The findings highlight the feasibility of screening in Part C, the importance of supporting EI providers in having difficult conversations about screening, and success in addressing health disparities for Spanish speaking families. The talk will also emphasize the importance of conceptualizing screening as opening a dialogue with caregivers/parents.

Objectives:
1. Attendees will identify health disparities in rates and ages of autism diagnosis.
2. Attendees will describe how screening in early intervention can improve detection.
3. Attendees will analyze the benefits of a questionnaire versus observational screeners.

CE Available: APA, ASHA, CME, NASP

Autism in the Schools

Sensory Features and Subtypes: Implications for Participation
Lauren Little, PhD, OTR/L

This session will address the current evidence related to sensory features and sensory subtypes among individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), with an emphasis on how sensory processing concepts may influence participation in everyday routines and activities. We will examine evidence that suggests individuals’ sensory processing patterns are related to strengths, and we will assess current research related to interventions that incorporate sensory processing concepts.

Objectives:
1. Attendees will assess current evidence about sensory features and subtypes among individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD).
2. Attendees will describe how sensory features influence everyday routines and activities.
3. Attendees will analyze the current evidence related to interventions that incorporate sensory processing concepts.

CE Available: APA, ASHA, CME, NASP

Applied Behavior Analysis in Practice

Development and Validation of the Motor and Vocal Imitation Assessment (MVIA)
Anibal Gutierrez, PhD, BCBA-D

The Motor and Vocal Imitation Assessment (MVIA) is an empirically validated hierarchy of imitation skills that serves as a protocol for selecting targets for imitation intervention. Research suggests that use of the MVIA can result in better intervention outcomes for imitation skills.

Objectives:
1. Attendees will describe the relationship between imitation and outcomes for individuals with ASD.
2. Attendees will describe the hierarchy of difficulty in imitation skills.

CE Available: APA, ASHA, BACB, CME, NASP


Lunch 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.


Breakout Sessions 1:00-2:15 p.m.

Focus on Autism: Clinical Practice

Lost in Translation: Ethnic Disparities on Early Identification and Access to Services of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Cecilia Montiel-Nava, PhD

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a lifelong disorder that affects children and families in several ways. A growing body of research has documented the ways in which racial disparities affect the rate of identification, access and use of services, and relationship with professionals making the diagnoses. Cultural factors can shape how the signs of ASD are conceptualized and how families accept a positive diagnosis, especially how they are affected by stigma. Diminished access to diagnostic services as well as having a caregiver with a non-English primary language can act as barriers to identifying children with ASD, in particular Hispanic children. This lecture will review current research in health disparities in both early identification and access to services of Hispanic children with ASD. Research with this underserved population contributes to enhancing diagnosis and identification methods for Hispanic children with ASD and assessing the unidentified risk factors and barriers to accessing services, hence improving their outcomes.

Objectives
1. Attendees will identify how culture and demographic characteristics impact the access to care in autistic people.
2. Attendees will analyze how being of ethnic minority groups might be a risk factor for later age of diagnosis and less access to care in autistic people.
3. Attendees will identify behavioral domains over the course of the lifespan.
4. Attendees will identify the main elements needed to reduce the gap in access to services that identify and treat neurodevelopmental disorders to improve the quality of life of underserved populations.

CE Available: APA, ASHA, BACB, CME, NASP

Autism in the Schools

It Takes a Village: Maximizing Educational Outcomes through Collaborative Relationships
Audri Gomez, PhD
Kari Adams, MA
Elissa Kaustinen, MA

The saying, “it takes a village to raise a child” has been prevalent in today’s schooling. As individuals with disabilities and their families navigate the educational system, many times they are also negotiating between various agencies and medical facilities to obtain the necessary support needed. A disorganized approach to establishing cohesive supports across all environments (e.g., school, home, etc.) can disrupt a systematic approach to serving the needs of the individual. When we build collaborative networks, we can ensure a cohesive approach including shared responsibility for the best outcomes for the individual with disabilities. A Families, Agencies, and Schools Together (FAST) approach tailors to building collaborative partnerships that focuses on the outcomes for individuals with disabilities and their families.

Objectives:
1. Attendees will identify how to create and sustain collaborative partnerships (families, agencies, and schools).
2. Attendees will identify ways to leverage partnerships to support individuals with disabilities and family outcomes

CE Available: APA, ASHA,CME, NASP

Applied Behavior Analysis in Practice

Incorporating Quality of Life into Treatment Goals: An Introduction
ABA Inside Track

This session will provide a brief introduction into research surrounding quality of life as a concept and its application to individuals with disabilities. We will discuss the meaning of quality of life as it relates to clients and consumers as well as discuss ways practitioners can identify meaningful quality of life indicators for clients. We will provide a discussion of why it is important to consider incorporating quality of life into treatment goals and the corresponding advantages.

Objectives:
1. Attendees will recite the definition of quality of life.
2. Attendees will identify meaningful quality of life markers for clients.
3. Attendees will identify the advantages of considering quality of life into treatment goals for clients and caregivers.

CE Available: APA, ASHA, BACB, CME, NASP


Break 2:15-2:30 p.m.


Breakout Sessions 2:30-3:45 p.m.


Focus on Autism: Clinical Practice

Gene-Environment Interactions Involving Air Pollution in ASD Risk
Daniel Campbell, PhD

In this session, Dr. Campbell will describe his work on identifying gene-environment interactions that contribute to ASD. Nearly all ASD genetics and environmental toxicant papers conclude that the risk must involve gene-environment interactions. However, few specific genes and environmental factors have been shown to interact to alter brain development. Dr. Campbell uses human cerebral organoids to understand the gene networks that are impacted by air pollution exposure.

Objectives
1. Attendees will identify that air pollution is a major risk for ASD.
2. Attendees will analyze potential gene-environment interactions.
3. Attendees will identify specific measurement tools that are used in early to mid-infancy.
4. Attendees will recite that noncoding RNAs may be functional genes that contribute to the gene-environment interactions.

CE Available: APA, ASHA, CME, NASP


Autism in the Schools

Supporting Language and Reading Comprehension Development for Children and Adolescents with Autism
Nancy McIntyre, PhD

The language and literacy skills of school-aged individuals with autism are heterogeneous. In order to better target interventions aimed at improving comprehension, Dr. McIntyre will first present research she and her collaborators have published investigating language and reading profiles of children and adolescents with autism. This work lays the foundation for next discussing interventions and instructional strategies that address the students’ varied strengths and challenges. Interventions investigated by multiple research groups will be presented.

Objectives
1. Attendees will identify multiple reading profiles of children and adolescents with autism.
2. Attendees will describe reading strategies that show promise for facilitating the development of language and reading comprehension skills in children and adolescents with autism.

CE Available: APA, ASHA, CME, NASP


Applied Behavior Analysis in Practice

Verbal Behavior and Generative Language in Children with Autism
Andresa De Souza, PhD, BCBA-D

Skinner (1957) developed a taxonomy of verbal behavior and referred to the different functional responses as verbal operants. Focused behavior interventions for children with autism and other developmental disabilities typically target each verbal operant individually and build up complexity as children expand their verbal repertoire (Sundberg & Partington, 1999). Considering the extent of a person’s verbal repertoire, it is unrealistic to believe that one can directly teach a child with communication and language delays every topography of verbal behavior. Therefore, it is important not only to evaluate the effectiveness of verbal behavior interventions but also to identify strategies that can efficiently promote the acquisition of new responses. Research has shown that instructional conditions can be arranged to facilitate the emergence of novel, untrained verbal responses. This talk will discuss some of the research on this topic and present strategies to promote the emergence of novel responses when programming verbal behavior instructions for children with autism.

Objectives:
1. Attendees will recite the importance of programming for the emergence of verbal responses.
2. Attendees will distinguish between directly taught and emergent responses.
3. Attendees will identify at least one procedure to facilitate the emergence of verbal operants.

CE Available: APA, ASHA, BACB, CME, NASP


Student Poster Session 3:45-5:00 p.m. (immediately following the last session)


Friday, October 14

Welcome 8:45-9:00 a.m.


Keynote 9:00-10:00 a.m.

Social Attention in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Autism
Peter Mundy, PhD

The social attention symptoms of ASD begin to be apparent in the 6th to 12th month of development in infancy, and likely reflect important elements of its neurodevelopmental and neurogenetic endophenotype. This talk will review recent theory and research that has advanced new hypothesis about the mechanisms that contribute to these early symptoms. An axiom of recent theory on social attention is that the development of social attention involves bidirectional social processes. Indeed, recent research suggests that the social attention symptoms of autism reflect the early atypical development of the experience or perception of being the object of attention of others, as well as differences in the development of social orienting or the allocation of attention to other people. The bidirectional hypothesis is also consistent with the proposal that infant social attention symptoms are a unique dimension of the phenotype of ASD that reflects domain-specific aspects of attention development that cannot be fully explained in terms of domain-general aspects of attention development. Finally, developmental, neurocognitive, neurotransmitter studies support the hypothesis that social attention symptoms in infancy, and social cognitive symptoms in childhood and adulthood constitute a developmentally continuous axis of symptom presentation in ASD. The implications of this new perspective on of the social attention symptoms of for understanding the diagnostic dimensions of ASD and treatment, as well as future research will be discussed.

Objectives:
1. Attendees will identify the nature and measurement of social attention and its role in diagnostic measures for Autism Spectrum Disorders, such as the ADOS, and early interventions.
2. Attendees will describe the psychological, neural network and neurotransmitter systems involved in the impairment of social attention in autism.
3. Attendees will identify efforts to translate infant models of social attention in Autism to basic research and clinical applications for older children and adults.

CE Available: APA, ASHA, CME, NASP


Breakout Sessions 10:15-11:30 a.m.

Focus on Autism: Clinical Practice

The RITA-T: Overview and Clinical Models for Improved Access and Early Identification of ASD
Roula Choueiri, MD

This session will provide an overview of the RITA-T (Rapid Interactive screening Test for Autism in Toddlers): its development, administration, developmental constructs that it evaluates and its psychometrics. Attendees will review video clips of its administration and be provided a brief overview of its scoring. Attendees will also learn about different clinical models that use the RITA-T, and review their clinical structure, staffing, and billing when appropriate. Data will be presented on each model as it pertains to improved wait time and access for diagnostic evaluation across all socio-economic and cultural groups. Ongoing projects and future directions will also be discussed. The presentation will include video clips, and interactive demonstration and exercise.

Objectives:
1. Attendees will identify the properties of the RITA-T and the developmental constructs it evaluates.
2. Attendees will analyze different clinical models that use the RITA-T.
3. Attendees will outline and reproduce such models in their usual clinical setting

CE Available: APA, ASHA, CME, NASP


Autism in the Schools

Collaborating to Support Augmentative and Alternative Communication for Students with Autism
Heather Forbes, MA, CCC-SLP, BCBA

Special educators, behavior analysts, and other professionals often collaborate with speech-language pathologists to provide augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) interventions to students with autism. However, collaboration that results in measurable and timely student benefits can be challenging. I will present an evidence-based, step-by-step model for collaboration that ensures effective AAC interventions for students with autism.

Objectives:
1. Attendees will identify the four steps of the collaborative, decision-making model and apply them to AAC interventions for students with autism.
2. Attendees will develop a cohesive AAC intervention plan that involves mutually-derived, relevant, and measurable goals and a system for collecting meaningful data.
3. Attendees will describe the importance of treatment fidelity to collaborative AAC interventions and to systematic, data-based decisions.

CE Available: APA, ASHA, BACB, CME, NASP

Applied Behavior Analysis in Practice

Skill Acquisition, Behavior Reduction, and Client Assent within an Enhanced Choice Model of Skill-Based Treatment
Johanna Staubitz PhD, BCBA-D

Recipients of behavioral services often represent a cross-section of vulnerable groups based on their age, disability, socio-economic status, and race. These vulnerabilities highlight the importance of systematically and formatively assessing client assent and preference for therapeutic procedures. The enhanced choice model of skill-based treatment (ECM-SBT; Rajaraman et al., 2021) involves programming ongoing opportunities for children to choose whether and how to participate in intervention. These opportunities serve as a means of verifying child assent and preference for intervention on a continuous basis. In addition, the responsive and play-based nature of ECM-SBT may improve preference and increase the likelihood of assent. This presentation will focus on a group of studies involving ECM-SBT, including a prospective consecutive controlled case series conducted in a public special day school for children with emotional and behavioral disorders. Presentation content will include (a) procedures and outcomes of functional assessments, (b) critical features of intervention procedures and examples of individualization, (c) effects of intervention on problem behavior and targeted alternative responses, (d) response allocation among alternative contexts to skill practice, and (e) classroom generalization protocols and outcomes. The presentation will also include a discussion of the advantages and challenges of implementing play-based, clinical-style behavioral interventions in more academically focused settings such as schools.

Objectives:
1. Attendees will describe procedures of enhanced choice model and skill-based treatment approaches.
2. Attendees will describe outcomes and limitations of experimental evaluations of the enhanced choice model of skill-based treatment for elementary students with emotional and behavioral disorders.
3. Attendees will describe advantages and challenges of implementing play-based treatment approaches in school settings.

CE Available: APA, ASHA, BACB, CME, NASP


Lunch 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.


Breakout Sessions 1:00-2:15 p.m.

Focus on Autism: Clinical Practice

The Science and (Delicate) Art of Delivering Feedback to Families and Patients
Rose O’Donnell, PhD

Delivering feedback to families can be one of the most challenging and rewarding experiences as clinicians and educators. This session will focus on providing practical strategies to promote and facilitate family-centered feedback. Additionally, available research and resources on this topic will also be reviewed.

Objectives:
1. Attendees will analyze available research on delivering feedback and having difficult conversations.
2. Attendees will identify strategies to promote family-centered, individualized, and digestible feedback for families.
3. Attendees will discuss how to respond when feedback is not received well by families.

CE Available: APA, ASHA, CME, NASP

Autism in the Schools

Promoting Social-Emotional Health for Autistic & Neurodivergent Young Women: Clinical and Community-Based Approaches
Jessica Schuttler, PhD

This session will provide an overview of current disparities in mental health and related social-emotional supports for autistic and otherwise neurodivergent females. We will discuss adaptations to current evidence-based models (e.g. cognitive-behavioral therapy) to consider in providing more accessible psychotherapeutic supports for young women on the spectrum, as well as review community-based, evidence-informed approaches to promoting social connectedness and social-emotional health.

Objectives:
1. Attendees will identify disparities in mental health for individuals with I/DD, and especially for females.
2. Attendees will identify and consider potential adaptations for cognitive-behavioral and related approaches for individuals with autism and other neurodevelopmental disabilities.
3. Attendees will identify evidence-informed and community-based approaches to promoting social-emotional health in young women who identify as neurodivergent/autistic.

CE Available: APA, ASHA, CME, NASP

Applied Behavior Analysis in Practice

Behaviorism’s Role in Understanding Disability Stigma Formation and Strategies for Its Reduction
Rocco Catrone, PhD, BCBA-D

This presentation sets forth to support behaviorism’s role in helping to offer a behavioral technology related to the understanding of how disability stigma forms as well ways to directly address it. Although much of this work will be described from a behaviorist’s viewpoint, there will also be a call for how this “fits within” and not “replaces” other theories as multidisciplinary approach is needed in order to address such a large topic. Overt (things that can be seen by others) and covert (things that are not directly seen by others) barriers will be identified in relation to disability stigma and how contextual behavioral science may play an important role in the promotion of inclusivity. By the end of the presentation, values-based actionable steps will be created together (presenter and audience members) which attendees are encouraged to utilize in their own verbal communities after the talk is complete.

Objectives:
1. Attendees will identify various disability theories and the behavioral repertoires associated with them in relation to reducing stigma and promoting inclusive environments.
2. Attendees will identify various relational frames that may be associated with disability stigma and alter therapeutic practices to target reducing underlying frames of stigma.
3. Attendees will create three actionable goals for one’s own clinical/academic/personal practices – one to target a week from the talk, one after 3 months, one after a year.

CE Available: APA, ASHA, BACB, CME, NASP


Break 2:15pm-2:30 p.m.


Breakout Sessions 2:30-3:45 p.m.

Focus on Autism: Clinical Practice

Working with Gender Dysphoric Youth Presenting with Autism Characteristics
Laura Edwards-Leeper, PhD

Autism is one of many often co-occurring conditions that make some gender dysphoric youth cases more complex. This session will describe how autism characteristics may impact the conceptualization and treatment for youth who experience gender dysphoria. Other complexities and controversies in the pediatric gender field will be briefly reviewed, particularly as they relate to youth also on the autism spectrum.

Objectives:
1. Attendees will describe why it is important to screen for ASD when assessing gender dysphoric youth.
2. Attendees will identify the recommended treatment process for youth who exhibit both gender dysphoria and ASD.

CE Available: APA, ASHA, CME, NASP


Autism in the Schools

Video Modeling for Learners on the Autism Spectrum: Past, Present, and Future
Jeffrey Chan, PhD, BCBA-D

An extensive literature base supports the use of technology-based strategies such as video modeling and video prompting with people with autism. Research from the past 30 years indicates video modeling and similar strategies are robust forms of intervention that can be used to successfully teach skills ranging from daily living skills to academics. In this presentation, we will examine prior research on video modeling and discuss practical ways that parents, teachers, and support staff can implement instruction. We will also explore how the rapidly shifting landscape in consumer electronics can provide novel opportunities for learners with autism to access video modeling.

Objectives:
1. Attendees will analyze research findings on video modeling from the literature base.
2. Attendees will identify strategies for using video modeling in home, school, clinic, and other locations.
3. Attendees will identify future directions of video modeling technology.

CE Available: APA, ASHA, BACB, CME, NASP

Applied Behavior Analysis in Practice

Treatment Integrity Considerations for Common Behavioral Interventions
Yanerys Leon, PhD, BCBA-D

Previous researchers have shown that treatment integrity errors are fairly common during implementation of common behavioral interventions (Carroll et al., 2013). Decreases in treatment integrity can be detrimental in both skill acquisition (DiGennaro Reed et al., 2011) and behavior reduction contexts (St Peter-Pipkin et al., 2010). Researchers have also shown that some treatment integrity errors are more detrimental than others (i.e., commission errors) and acceptable thresholds of treatment implementation may differ across behavioral interventions (e.g., DRO and DRA). This talk provides an overview of the current research on treatment integrity with special considerations for practice (e.g., effect of data collection systems on integrity) and provides clinicians with general recommendations for monitoring and improving treatment integrity among their staff and supervisees.

Objectives:
1. Attendees will define treatment integrity.
2. Attendees will describe the effect of treatment integrity failures during skill acquisition contexts.
3. Attendees will describe the effect of treatment integrity failures during behavior reduction contexts.
4. Attendees will describe the impact of data collection systems on treatment integrity during discrete trial instruction.

CE Available: APA, ASHA, BACB, CME, NASP


Click here to download a copy of the conference schedule. The conference center map can be found here.

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