Schedule & Sessions

Please note: Sessions marked with ** will feature a virtual speaker.

Thursday, September 24

Check-in & Breakfast 7:00-8:45 a.m.


Welcome by Stephen Kanne, PhD 8:45-9:00 a.m.


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

A Future of Flourishing: The Postures, Practices and People That Can Change Trajectories
Erik Carter, PhD

Like anyone else, individuals with ASD want to experience an enviable life—during childhood and throughout adulthood. Professionals, families, and community members can each play a powerful role in supporting these aspirations to become a reality in every corner of the state. This presentation will highlight what we know about what works best for supporting inclusion, relationships, and belonging across the lifespan. Moreover, it will emphasize how the perspectives we hold, the postures we adopt, and the practices we prioritize can bend the trajectories of individuals with ASD toward a future of flourishing.

Objectives:
1. Participants will be able to identify relevant indicators of flourishing for the individuals with ASD whom they support.
2. Participants will be able to explain the role that aspirations and expectations can play in shaping employment and other outcomes.
3. Participants will be able to relate key values and principles that should inform how we approach service delivery and intervention.
4. Participants will be able to describe research-based practices known to improve individual outcomes.
5. Participants will be able to identify partnerships in their community and region that can be drawn upon to enhance their work.

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

The ABCs and CYPs of Psychopharmacogenomics
Benjamin Black, MD

Research suggests that around two-thirds of patients with autism spectrum disorder are prescribed psychotropic medications.  Over one-third of patients with autism spectrum disorder are prescribed psychotropic medications from two or more classes.  Despite being a frequent part of treatment plans for patients with autism, the evidence for medication in this population is not always robust.  Furthermore, patients with autism spectrum disorder seem to be at higher risk for side effects from medication.  With this as the backdrop, the promise of genetic testing to help identify the most appropriate medications for an individual patient is understandably alluring.  In this session, we will discuss the current landscape of pharmacogenetics, placing specific emphasis on use in patients with autism spectrum disorder.  We will discuss the limitations of pharmacogenetic testing, review some common misconceptions, and provide a framework for targeted use of this developing technology. 

Objectives:
1. Participants will be able to identify when pharmacogenetic testing may (or may not) be clinically meaningful. 
2. Participants will be able to describe the current limitations of pharmacogenetic testing.
3. Participants will develop a succinct script for discussing pharmacogentic testing with patients and families.

CE Available: APA, ASHA, CME, NASP


Autism in the Schools

Innovation in Mobile Technology for Augmentative and Alternative Communication: Targeting Advanced Speech for Learners with Severe ASD
Oliver Wendt, PhD

This session will focus on the use of mobile technologies to implement augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) into speech and language intervention for individuals with severe autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The presentation will start with evidence-based AAC strategies for functional communication, followed by a particular focus on targeting advanced intervention outcomes including natural speech production, generative language, and social communication. Particular emphasis will be on suitable mobile solutions to support these intervention targets. The audience will also be able to explore the research-based applications SPEAKall! and SPEAKmore!, funded by the National Institutes of Health. Data and video-cases from recent treatment studies will illustrate successful AAC implementation into daily activities in clinical and family settings.

Objectives:
1. Participants will be able to identify strategies for using a mobile device or speech-generating device to teach an initial symbol vocabulary and facilitate natural speech and language development for the minimally verbal learner with autism coaching actions with families.
2. Participants will be able to describe programs that involve parents in AAC language and social interaction training activities.
3. Participants will be able to determine software app features that are important to facilitate sensory-processing and prevent cognitive overload in learners with severe autism.
4. Participants will be able to outline simple, practitioner-friendly single case designs to document AAC intervention outcomes as a form of “Practice-based Evidence.”

CE Available: APA, ASHA, CME, NASP

Applied Behavior Analysis in Practice

Meaningful and Robust Skill Repertoires in Persons with Autism Using RFT and ACT
Mark Dixon, PhD, BCBA-D, LBA

This presentation is designed for the practicing behavior analyst in a wide range of clinical settings that is looking for a better understanding of Relational Frame Theory and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy. Dr Dixon will move from the origins, the research, and the implications these post-Skinnerian approaches have on everyday practice. Benefits include a more comprehensive account of language, how complex language can be taught to persons with autism, as well as the troubles language can get clients into as they begin to move from pure contingency control towards rule governed dominance and the impact on social/emotional functioning.  

Objectives:
1. Participants will be able to describe how RFT and ACT originated, the key research findings, and the overlap and uniqueness with prior behavioral accounts of language.
2. Participants will be able to describe the key elements of what a relational frame is and the six processes used in ACT.
3. Participants will be provide with examples of tools that behavioral analysts can use to enhance their autism practice based on RFT and ACT.

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


Lunch (provided) 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.


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

Focus on Autism: Clinical Practice

Clinical Trial Readiness for Neurodevelopmental Disorders
Shafali Spurling Jeste, MD

We have entered an era of precision therapeutics in neurodevelopmental disorders (NDD), with precision both in timing of our diagnoses and in the identification of specific genetic etiologies that cause NDDs. As disease-specific therapies are developed, we must be prepared for the design and implementation of successful clinical trials. This clinical trial readiness includes (1) identification of meaningful clinical endpoints, (2) measurement of biomarkers that inform patient selection and drug target engagement measurement, and (3) methods to improve scalability and accessibility of research and treatment for families. This presentation will begin with an overview of the state of the field in precision health in NDDs followed by data from several studies that have addressed the goals listed above in clinical trial readiness, including prospective studies of high risk infants and endpoint and biomarker studies in syndromic NDDs.

Objectives
1. Participants will become familiar with the concept of precision health and be able to define it in the context of neurodevelopmental disorders.
2. Participants will be able to understand the term biomarkers and strategies used to develop biomarkers for NDD trials.
3. Participants will be able to identify the challenges in the successful implementation of clinical trials for NDDS.

CE Available: APA, ASHA, CME

Autism in the Schools

Changing the Conversation: Engaging Communities in Improving Outcomes for Individuals with Autism
Erik Carter, PhD

A “community conversation” is a unique, asset-based approach for engaging a cross-section of diverse citizens—including people from both within and (especially) beyond the service system—in making local changes that enhance the lives of individuals with disabilities. This presentation will focus on the practice and power of this approach to spurring community-level changes. Learn a practical and creative approach for launching local movements that invite ordinary citizens (not just the “usual suspects”) to be part of expanding opportunities and supports for community members with disabilities.  

Objectives:
1. Participants will be able to explain the importance of engaging new community members in local change efforts.
2. Participants will be able to describe the steps involved in facilitating a community conversation.
3. Participants will be able to establish an effective planning team and recruitment strategy.
4. Participants will be able to develop compelling questions to guide these events.
5. Participants will be able to generate and share ideas for expanding inclusive opportunities and outcomes in their community.

CE Available: APA, ASHA, CME, NASP

Applied Behavior Analysis in Practice

Creating Compassionate Cultures: Acceptance and Commitment Training in Human Service Settings
Ruth Anne Rehfeldt, PhD, BCBA-D

The BACB ethical standards remind us that an individual recipient of services himself or herself is not our only client; rather, the entire context, including direct care staff and the stimulus functions with which he or she may interact are also a part of the context to which behavior analysts must focus their intervention efforts. Much organizational research has alluded to the experience of psychological inflexibility among front-line staff, which is problematic given the importance of staff-to-client interactions for clients’ quality of life. This presentation focuses upon the use of Acceptance and Commitment Training with front-line human service agency staff as a means of promoting compassionate cultures for individuals with developmental disabilities and their caregivers.

Objectives:
1. Participants will be able to define psychological inflexibility and explain why it may be a common experience among human service agency staff.
2. Participants will be able to explain the role of relational framing in giving rise to negative feelings and attitudes about one’s job.
3. Participants will be able to discuss how Acceptance and Commitment Training has been shown to change the way front-line staff engage with their clients.

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

Addressing Irritability and Aggression in Children with ASD: Perspectives of a Primary Care Provider
Paul Carbone, MD

Irritability and aggression is commonly reported in children with autism and can lead to adverse child outcomes and significant caregiver stress.   Many factors contribute to the development of aggression and irritability including co-occurring medical and psychiatric conditions, communication deficits, psychosocial stressors and inadvertent reinforcement of maladaptive behavior.  The primary care provider, working within an interdisciplinary team, is in an ideal position to assist families in identifying the underlying causes and developing effective treatment plans.  Based on a practice pathway developed by the Autism Treatment Network, this session will introduce a primary care based method to evaluate and treat irritability and aggression in children with autism. 

Objectives
1. Participants will be able to describe a stepped plan to evaluate aggression and irritability in children with autism being cared for in primary care settings.
2. Participants will be familiar with the roles of other treatment team members in addressing irritability and aggression in children with autism.
3. Participants will be aware of the treatments of common co-occurring medical and psychiatric conditions that can present with irritability and aggression. 

CE Available: APA, ASHA, CME, NASP


Autism in the Schools

This is Autism: A Personal Testimony About Living with ASD
Louis Kemner, MS

In this session, autism advocate Louis Kemner will share his experience living with autism. Diagnosed in his late 20’s, Louis reflects on how not receiving an early diagnosis impacted his relationships, school, ability to maintain employment, and ultimately, his sense of self.

Objectives
1. Participants will be able to identify 3 potential barriers in adulthood for individuals with autism.
2. Participants will be able to describe the importance of job matching based on an individuals strengths and skills.

CE Available: APA, ASHA, CME, NASP


Applied Behavior Analysis in Practice

Closing the Gap between Research and Practice: How Practitioners Can Integrate Research into Their Daily Activities
Amber Valentino, PsyD., BCBA-D, LBA

The gap between research and clinical work in the field of applied behavior analysis (ABA) can often seem vast.  Behavior Analysts in traditional practitioner roles may often ponder topics such as, How well does what I do fit into the available literature? How can I make scholarly contributions to the field of behavior analysis? Does research have to be concluded outside of my regular clinical work? Am I (or could I be) a researcher? Although many behavior analyst practitioners desire to contribute to the literature, they may not know exactly how to do so.  This talk will discuss the importance of practitioners contributing to the research literature by providing a framework for integrating best research practices into daily clinical work.  This talk will delve into four examples from the presenter’s own background, detailing how clinical questions turned into research studies, how those studies contributed to the literature, and how that research was conducted while continuing to meet specific clinical objectives.  

Objectives:
1. Participants will list at least three reasons why it is important for practitioners to contribute to the research literature.
2. Participants will describe how to integrate research questions into standard everyday clinical practice.
3. Participants will list at least two ways to assess whether a clinical question will contribute to the literature, and how to conduct research to answer that question for the field of ABA.

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


Poster Session 3:45-5:00 p.m.


Friday, September 25

Check-in & Breakfast 7:00-8:45 a.m.


Welcome by Stephen Kanne, PhD 8:45-9:00 a.m.


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

**Advances in Early Detection and Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder
Lonnie Zwaigenbaum, MD

Recognition and diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is an important step towards accessing appropriate evidence-based interventions. There have been significant advances in characterizing the earliest features of ASD, in part from studies of at-risk infants, including younger siblings of children with ASD. From these studies, we have learned more about the earliest features of ASD, both behaviors, and early differences in brain structure/function and other markers of biological vulnerability. We also recognize that symptoms may be apparent even before overt functional impairments, providing an opportunity to intervene even before diagnosis. Finally, despite growing knowledge of the earliest signs, the average age of ASD diagnosis has barely decreased. Strategies supporting more timely access through training and collaboration with community physicians and other professionals will be discussed.

Objectives:
1. Participants will increase their knowledge about the earliest features of ASD.
2. Participants will increase their knowledge about factors impacting timing of an ASD diagnosis.
3. Participants will be able to identify opportunities to help families access a more timely diagnosis of ASD in their own communities.

CE Available: APA, ASHA, NASP, CME


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

Focus on Autism: Clinical Practice

The Social Needs of Adult Women with Autism Marisela Huerta, PhD

The current research on adults with autism suggests that outcomes for adult women with ASD are especially poor relative to those of men (Taylor, Henninger, & Mailick, 2015). These findings stand in sharp contrast to research reports that find women and men with primary autism are largely similar in symptom presentation (e.g.; Van Wingjngarden-Cremers et al., 2014). What then explains these differences in outcomes? This presentation will focus on the social needs of adult women with autism and will describe a model program and other supports that may be important mechanisms to improving outcomes. Elements of Universal Design will be reviewed to highlight their utility in creating accessible social environments, specifically focusing on Felicity House, a social community designed for women with autism.

Objectives:
1. Participants will better understand the unique social needs and experiences of adult women with autism.
2. Participants will identify elements of Universal Design that can increase social participation and connectedness for adults with autism.

CE Available: APA, ASHA, CME, NASP


Autism in the Schools

Behavioral Strategies for Promoting Variable Responding in Children with ASD and Related Disorders
Thomas Higbee, PhD, BCBA-D

Many children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have a tendency to engage in repetitive play and verbal behavior. In this presentation, a series of studies looking at antecedent- and consequence-based behavior analytic strategies for promoting variable verbal and play behavior will be presented and discussed. The implications of this body of research for our conceptual understanding of behavioral variability will also be discussed.

Objectives:
1. Participants will be able to describe why invariable behavior in children with autism can inhibit the development of appropriate social behavior.
2. Participants will be able to describe behavior analytic strategies for promoting varied manding behavior in children with autism.
3. Participants will be able to describe behavior analytic strategies for promoting varied play behavior in children with autism.

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

Applied Behavior Analysis in Practice

What Does Intervention Look Like in Ferguson? Social Justice and Cultural Responsiveness in Behavior Analysis
Shahla Ala’i, PhD, BCBA-D, LBA

The voice and inclusion of people of diverse cultural identities is expanding within the world and within our discipline. This expansion presents both tensions and possibilities. Ideally, applied behavior analysts should be developing increasingly more cultural responsiveness in all aspects of research and practice. That is not always the case. Cultural responsiveness is closely yoked with lived experience, social justice, and the kyriarchy. The purpose of this presentation is to explore worldviews in the context of coloniality and to then relate this to our disciplinary and personal responses to power and efforts to contribute to a more socially just world. This includes consideration of what is happening in our local communities. The presentation will close with a discussion of pathways to cultural responsiveness and social justice.

Objectives:
1. Participants will be able to identify the critical features of “Cultural Responsiveness.”
2. Participants will identify the context for cultural responsiveness (global trends, coloniality, aims & history of our discipline, examination of local conditions, and ethics).
3. Participants will be able to discuss pathways for advancement of cultural responsiveness in behavior analytic research and practice.

CE Available: APA, ASHA, BACB (Ethics), CME, NASP


Lunch (provided) 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.


GAIN (Global Autism Interactive Network) Meeting 11:45 a.m.-1:15 p.m.

GAIN is a professional development program led by preeminent national ADOS-2 trainers including Dr. Stephen Kanne, Dr. Somer Bishop, Dr. Vanessa Bal, and Dr. Amy Esler. Using video conferencing technology, GAIN is designed to improve proficiency on the ADOS-2, the gold-standard autism diagnostic test, while connecting with a network of fellow ADOS-2 implementers. Current GAIN members can earn 1.25 CEs for attending this meeting. Not a GAIN member but want to learn more about it? All conference attendees are invited to observe as a lunch and learn opportunity, but CEs are only available to current GAIN members.

GAIN members attending this meeting for CE credit should go straight to the GAIN room at the conclusion of the 11:30 a.m. session. In order to ensure the session begins on time, a boxed lunch will be provided. Those attending GAIN as a lunch and learn opportunity only (no CEs), please head to the GAIN room after getting your lunch from the buffet.

*Please note: Attendees who wish to earn CE credit for the 1:00 p.m. session will need to leave GAIN early in order to allow enough time to get to the next session.


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

Focus on Autism: Clinical Practice

Interdisciplinary Evaluations: A Panel Discussion
Ashleigh Boyd, MHS, CCC-SLP
Jennifer Sykes, PhD
Brittney Stevenson, MOT, OTR/L
Moderator: Connie Brooks, PhD

Panelists will discuss the process and utilization of interdisciplinary evaluations with children with special health care needs and/or a question of autism. These experts will share advantages and disadvantages to this model and how it might be adapted for other settings and services. Additionally, panelists will discuss their feedback from families on the interdisciplinary model and how the model impacts trainees.

Objectives:
1. Participants will learn about an interdisciplinary model of evaluation, including pros/cons to the model.
2. Participants will improve their understanding of how professionals from different disciplines can collaborate to improve the family/patient experience.

CE Available: APA, ASHA, CME, NASP

Autism in the Schools

Is the Good Behavior Game Really as Good as it Seems?
Jeanne Donaldson, PhD, BCBA-D, LBA

The Good Behavior Game (GBG) is a classwide intervention first described over 50 years ago (Barrish et al., 1969) that consistently has proven effective at reducing disruptive behavior and increasing on-task behavior at every grade level and in classrooms across the country and worldwide. The GBG includes several key components: rules, teams, ongoing performance feedback, a criterion to win, and prizes for winners. All of these components are relatively flexible in how they can be arranged, allowing for customization to meet the needs of varying classrooms and teacher preferences. When teachers learn to implement the GBG, they learn foundational skills for changing behavior: setting clear behavioral expectations, delivering immediate feedback, and arranging reinforcement for appropriate behavior. For these reasons, the GBG is an ideal packaged intervention for behavior analysts to recommend to teachers. However, the GBG has recently come under scrutiny in a meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials of the GBG for producing weaker effects than many researchers claim, particularly researchers using single subject designs. I will suggest some methodological differences that could account for these differences in findings and implore future GBG researchers to work across methodologies to reconcile these differences empirically.  

Objectives:
1. Participants will be able to describe the key components of the Good Behavior Game.
2. Participants will be able to describe at least two methodological differences between randomized controlled trials and single-subject studies of the Good Behavior Game that could account for differences in conclusions about the effectiveness of the Good Behavior Game.

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

Applied Behavior Analysis in Practice

Building a Culturally Competent Approach to Supervision
ABA Inside Track

An emerging focus on cultural competence in the application of behavior analysis is a welcome addition to the list of competencies a clinically practicing behavior analyst should have. However, no formal requirements or guidelines have been establishing within the behavior analytic field to address teaching cultural competence to trainees completing requirements to sit for the BACB® exam. Borrowing from preliminary research in other social service fields, (Haas et al., 2010; Munoz et al., 2009), this talk will discuss potential approaches to teaching cultural competence. Points of cultural competence for behavior analysts will be operationally defined using behavioral criteria and methods of teaching and measuring these objectives in the context of a supervisory relationship will be reviewed (Turner et al., 2016).

Objectives:
1. Participants will review the supervisor’s responsibility to address cultural competence growth in the supervisee.
2. Participants will be able to develop measurable, operationally defined objectives demonstrating growth of cultural competence skills.
3. Participants will discuss how those objectives could be introduced and practiced within supervision.
4. Participants will discuss how those objectives could be related to the 5th Edition BACB® Task List.

CE Available: APA, ASHA, BACB (supervision or ethics), CME, NASP


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


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

Focus on Autism: Clinical Practice

Updates in Psychopharmacology
Austin Campbell, PharmD, BCPP

This session will provide an overview of new psychotropic medications approved for treatment of common co-morbid disorders in individuals with ASD. Special emphasis will be placed on possible side effects and general safe medication use principles in ASD. Similarly, the growing availability and use of novel treatment strategies, such as CBD products will also be discussed. 

Objectives:
1. Participants will be able to review the concepts for use and general safety of psychiatric medications in patients with autism spectrum disorder.
2. Participants will be able to identify newly approved psychiatric medications and recent changes made to the United States Pharmacopeia.
3. Participants will briefly review the use and evidence for use of Cannabidiol (CBD) products in individuals with autism spectrum disorder.

CE Available: APA, ASHA, CME, NASP

Autism in the Schools

Comprehensive Evaluations
Kerri Nowell, PhD

This presentation is designed to equip professionals working with youth suspected of meeting special education eligibility under the category of autism. The presentation will provide details about differences between school and medically based evaluations, discuss components necessary for a comprehensive evaluation that is designed to inform eligibility decisions as well as IEP development. The presentation will also discuss the range of symptom presentation that may be seen in school aged children who potentially meet autism eligibility criteria and discuss approaches to differentiating autism eligibility from other special education classifications.

Objectives:
1. Participants will be able to identify the essential components of a comprehensive evaluation for Autism eligibility in schools.
2. Participants will be able to understand differences in ASD symptom presentation across age, language level, intellectual functioning level, and gender.
3. Participants will be able to identify commonly used assessment tools and data collection instruments designed to assess for the presence of symptoms consistent with Autism eligibility.

CE Available: APA, ASHA, CME, NASP

Applied Behavior Analysis in Practice

Assessment and Treatment of Restricted and Repetitive Behavior in Individuals with ASD
Jennifer Weyman, PhD, BCBA-D, LBA

Restricted and repetitive behavior is one of the core diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Restricted and repetitive behavior can interfere with the daily lives of children with ASD and their families as they are correlated with caregiver stress, may hinder skill acquisition, and may evoke problem behavior (e.g., aggression, self-injury) when interrupted. The purpose of the current presentation will be to discuss different sub-types of restricted and repetitive behavior as well as evidence-based treatments for each respective sub-type.

Objectives:
1. Participants will be able to categorize different topographies of restricted and repetitive behavior into sub-types.
2. Participants will be able to describe describe treatments for each sub-type of restricted and repetitive behavior.

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





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