Conference program is comfirmed


Dr. Bridget A. Taylor
Alpine Learning Group

Presentation Title: Improving joint attention and reciprocal social language skills in children with autism

Abstract: A core deficit in children with autism is their lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests or achievements with other people.  Joint attention involves two people actively sharing attention with respect to an object or event.  Young children with autism may fail to develop this meaningful skill.  For example, children with autism may not point to objects of interest or show toys to their parents.  In addition, some children may fail to engage in reciprocal exchanges of conversation or initiate comments about interesting events in order to share information. This presentation will review responses that comprise joint attention and reciprocal language, and outline research-based strategies to teach these important skills.  Video taped examples will illustrate responses and teaching interventions.

Dr. Connie Kasari
California University Los Angeles (UCLA)

Presentation Title: Acquisition and generalization of play skills in children with ASD

Abstract: This workshop will focus on the assessment and teaching of play skills for children with ASD.  Children with ASD demonstrate both delays and differences in the development of their play skills.  They often have specific difficulties in developing pretend or imaginative play, and they may demonstrate qualitative differences in their play behavior.  Play skills are important, however, to outcomes for all children since young children learn about others from playing with toys/objects and people.  Play often serves as the most important context for advancing social communication and language abilities in children with ASD. For the majority of children with autism, interventions may be necessary in order for them to develop their play, both in terms of play skills and in social play with others.  This workshop will focus on several studies that have improved social engagement and play skills in children with ASD, and as a result have also improved joint attention and language abilities.  Workshop participants will learn how to assess play skills and play level in children with ASD.  Assessment results will be used to select play targets for intervention based on the child’s play level and toy interests.  Intervention strategies will be shared using video examples from UCLA studies with a focus on the active ingredients leading to improved play skills and social engagement in children with ASD.


Dr. Helen Tager-Flusberg
Boston University

Presentation Title: Language and Communication in Autism Spectrum Disorder

Abstract: In this presentation I will review the characteristics of language disorder that are (a) universal and specific to ASD; and (b) more variable aspects of language impairment that do not define the syndrome.  Universal impairments are found in pragmatics and communication.  These are closely linked to social deficits and problems in understanding other minds.  Language impairments define different subgroups within ASD.  One subgroup has impairments that parallel those found in specific language impairment.  The key features of this subgroup will be described including evidence from behavioral and neuroimaging studies.  Another subgroup remains minimally or nonverbal often despite access to interventions.  Challenges in assessing these children will be discussed.  In the final section of the workshop early developmental patterns for language and communication in ASD will be described. Implications for diagnosis and intervention will be discussed.


Dr. Henry Roane
Upstate Medical University

Presentation Title: Evidence-Based Intervention When Dealing with Self-Injurious Behavior

Abstract: Self-injurious behavior (SIB) has been defined as behavior in which and individual intentionally produces physical damage to his or her body. Examples of frequently observed SIB among individuals with developmental disabilities include head banging, self-hitting, self-biting, self-pinching, self-scratching, pica, hand mouthing, eye poking, and hair pulling. ). The outcome of chronic SIB ranges from hematomas and severe tissue damage to, in some cases, death. SIB can also affect the social and educational development of individuals who engage in these behaviors in that appropriate social behavior may be sacrificed for aberrant behavior. Furthermore, others may avoid social interaction with these individuals due to the frequency and severity of the behavior. This workshop will provide an overview of the etiology of SIB among individuals with ASD and will briefly touch on the difference between this type of SIB and self-harming behavior sometimes observed within other populations (i.e., non-suicidal self injury). Following this introduction, the presenter will discuss evidence-based procedures for assessing the variables that maintain SIB. The majority of this presentation will include a synthesis of the extant treatment literature, including antecedent- and consequent-based procedures that utilize principles of reinforcement and punishment. Additional consideration for the treatment of SIB (e.g., the occurrence of self-restraint, cyclical behavior patterns) also will be discussed.


Dr. James E. Carr
Behavior Analysis Certification Board

Presentation Title: Selecting Function-Based Treatments for Socially Maintained Problem Behavior

Abstract: The field of applied behavior analysis has developed a number of methods for identifying the function of problem behavior.  When the identified function is a social one (e.g., escape, attention, tangible), a number of empirically supported function-based treatments are potentially viable.  For example, escape could be provided contingent upon an appropriate response (DRA), on a fixed time schedule (NCR), or not at all (EXT).  I will review the procedures and evidence for several function-based treatments and will present decision-making models for selecting treatments for attention and escape-maintained problem behaviors.  These rubrics incorporate the most common barriers encountered in consultation and direct service delivery as well as client characteristics that might lead you to select one option over others.  Participants will complete each rubric for a client of their own and should bring the relevant details of their case to the workshop, though these details will not be shared publicly.


Dr. Linda A. LeBlanc
Trumpet Behavioral Health

Presentation Title: Using Evidence Based Naturalistic Teaching Strategies to Enhance Language Instruction with Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Abstract: Naturalistic teaching strategies involve incorporation of natural environments, natural change agents, and naturally occurring stimulus conditions and teaching contexts into instruction.  Many naturalistic teaching strategies have been developed over the past 40 years, providing a strong empirical evidence base for their effectiveness. The procedures are designed to incorporate generalization programming from the outset of teaching rather than after acquisition. In addition, these procedures usually target language and play simultaneously. This workshop will review the conceptual basis for these procedures, the specific procedures, and recommendations for modifying structured teaching to be more gamelike and naturalistic. 

Nahit Motavalli Mukaddes MD
Professor of Child Psychiatry
Istanbul Institute of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry


Presentation Title: Psychiatric Assessment and Follow-up in Individuals with a Diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorders

Abstract: Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are a group of disorders characterized by impairments in reciprocal social interaction, communication, restricted interests and stereotypical behaviors [APA ,2013]. Since ASD is a lifelong disorder in majority of individuals, this group needs long term medical, psychiatric and educational care.

This workshop is planned to include the following topics:

A) Clinical Characteristics of ASD through the lifespan: The presenter will present socio-emotional features in typically developing individuals and talk about the first signs of ASD in children younger than 1 year. Finally, she will focus on the clinical presentation of ASD from early childhood through adulthood.

B) Diagnostic Evaluation of ASD: In this part the presenter will talk about the diagnostic assessment of individuals with a probable diagnosis of ASD. This part includes the key points in receiving information from parents and observing the child.

C) Multidisciplinary Practice: Besides psychiatric assessment, individuals with ASD might also need medical examination as well as psychometric and speech-communication assessments.

D) Psychiatric Follow-up Plan: In this part the presenter will discuss her ideas about the rationale for psychiatric follow-up.

E) Management of  Comorbid Psychiatric Disorders During Follow-up: Since this group suffers form many other psychiatric disorders throughout their life, the presenter will talk on the clinical presentation and management of sleep disorders, aggression, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, ADHD, suicide tendency, and sexual problems and etc.


Dr. Peter Gerhardt
JPG Autism Consultation

Presentation Title: Sexuality Instruction and Learners with ASD

Abstract: Persons with ASD are sexual beings.  However, individual interest in sex or in developing an intimate sexual relationship with another person varies widely across individuals at all ability levels.  Unfortunately, despite much discussion about decision making skills in the self-determination literature there continues to be lack of evidence [supporting the] effectiveness of sex education and training for persons with developmental disabilities in general, and autism spectrum disorders in particular.  This workshop will provide an overview of sexuality education in ASD with an emphasis on safety, knowledge, values, and social understanding. 

Dr. Svein Eikeseth
Oslo ve Akershus University

Presentation Title: Discrete trial and naturalistic teaching to children with ASD.

Abstract: Early and Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI) is an evidence-based intervention using principles and procedures from Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) to teach adaptive behaviors to young children with autism spectrum disorders. This workshop will explain how skills that the child lacks are broken down into components and how these component behaviors are taught separately. Discrete trial teaching for basic skills such as imitation (verbal and motor), expressive and receptive language, and matching will be explained in this workshop. Furthermore, some information on less structured teaching such as naturalistic and incidental teaching will also be provided to the participants.

Dr. William L. Heward
Ohio State University (Emeritus Professor)

Presentation Title: Helping School-Age Students with Autism Succeed in Regular Classes

Abstract: The most scientifically documented outcomes of maximum benefit to children with autism have been achieved by early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) with children under age 6. While some children who have received EIBI make a smooth transition to public school classrooms, many others struggle mightily with the demands of a new and highly complex environment. A group of teachers, clinicians, researchers, and parents—all with extensive experience in ASD—were asked to identify the most important skills needed by students with ASD for success in general education classrooms and the instructional tactics teachers should use to help students with ASD succeed in general education classrooms. The group’s responses revealed a remarkably similar set of student skills (e.g., complete tasks independently, interact with peers appropriately) and instructional practices to help students achieve them (e.g., teach self-management, use collaborative learning activities). The rationale, research base, and implementation guidelines for interventions that help students with ASD learn five skill sets needed to succeed in inclusive classrooms will be presented.