2023 Schedule Coming Soon!

SCHEDULE

Here is an overview of the 2022 Autism Symposium events.

Sunday, April 24th, 2022

Monday, April 25th, 2022

  • Registration, Exhibits, and Networking Breakfast 8:00-9:00 AM
  • Welcome Introduction 9:00 – 9:45 AM
  • Collaborative Workshops I 9:45 AM – 11:00 AM


    Heritage Ballroom

    CRITICAL CLINICAL COMPONENTS FOR EFFECTIVE SKILL DEVELOPMENT: HOW TO STOP DOING THE SAME TYPE OF THERAPY THAT LED THEM TO SEEK MORE INTENSIVE CARE

    George Ballew LCSW, Neil Wallace, MBA

    It has been recognized for several years as a best practice to focus on skill development rather than traditional insight-oriented therapy when working with neurodivergent adolescents. However, it can be an extremely difficult process to do well and providers will often default to their neurotypical methods, especially under challenging circumstances. This presentation focuses on the critical clinical components necessary for effective skill development and will provide attendees with clear, practical, and applicable actions that they can implement in their practice.


    Laurel HJ

    THE IMPLICATIONS OF SOME RECENT NEUROBIOLOGICAL FINDINGS FOR THE UNDERSTANDING AND BEHAVIORAL TREATMENT OF ASD

    Dr. Robert Babcock, PhD

    This talk will attempt to provide an integrated perspective on how recent fMRI studies in autism (ASD) suggest that early overgrowth in the amygdala results in significantly impaired social development related to disorders of connectivity in key regions of the central nervous system (CNS). Findings will be described which may help practitioners select among empirically validated interventions available to help clients with ASD develop better self-management skills and cope with comorbid conditions often seen with ASD. The importance of approaching the problems adolescents and adults with ASD experience from a trauma-informed perspective will be related to some specific aspects of ASD, and the potential for the effective use of several mindfulness and ACT strategies will be discussed.

    Laurel FG

    DATA-INFORMED DECISIONS WITH ASD STUDENTS: THE NEUROSCIENCE BEHIND THE NUMBERS

    Sean Haggarty, MSW, Lisa Cheyette, PhD, LPC, REAT

    This presentation will discuss how to use psychological assessments and behavioral descriptions to gain a more complete understanding of prospective students. It will also highlight the importance of continuing to use the assessments in developing and informing treatment planning.

  • Collaborative Workshops II 11:15 AM – 12:15 PM


    Heritage Ballroom

    SAME, SAME, BUT DIFFERENT: INCOMING INDICATORS & OUTCOMES EXPECTATIONS AT VARIOUS LEVELS OF CARE - A MODERATED PANEL DISCUSSION

    Jake Weld, M.Ed., Jillian Allen, MHSA, Joe Fuller, LCSW, Jan Coplan, Brandon Moffit, LCMHC

    Adaptive Life Skills, Executive Functioning, Pro-Social Development, Emotional and Behavioral Regulation, & Goal-Oriented Behaviors are often the stated areas of focus for almost all levels of care for students and young adults on or around the autism spectrum. And yet, if we are all focused on these same developmental goals, why do we all exist in differentiated spaces? Where is the overlap, and what are the markers that indicate the need for one level of care vs. another? This panel discussion will provide a deep-dive conversation into how those same terms are applied and viewed in different levels of care, from wilderness therapy to adolescent residential treatment to transitional living support to wrap-around college support programming to independence at college and those entering the workforce. The panel will discuss how each of these elements typically present at the point of enrollment in their stage on the continuum of care, as well as discuss the intended outcomes their stage in the developmental process can hope to achieve with clients, students, and emerging young adults - and their families. Participants will gain a deeper understanding of the markers which may indicate a need for one level of care vs. another, as well as gain insight into how to conceptualize, differentiate, and articulate the inherent overlap, as well as critical differentiators, each step and stage represents.


    Laurel HJ

    AUTISM, GENDER AND SEXUALITY

    Dr. Brandon Park, PhD, Marissa Davis

    Within Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) the sense of identity in relation to family of origin, cultural atunness, sexuality, gender, and sense of self is often found in both research, literature, and clinical examples to be more diffuse, malleable, and less defined. As such, understanding one’s identity within ASD is a substantial part of their clinical journey. Specifically within ASD the rate of gender and sexual identity related issues are between 3 to 8 times higher than the average population across various research articles. Understanding and supporting this diversity in relation to new research and case studies will be presented for learning and dialogue in this interactive presentation.

    Laurel FG

    FINDING SATISFACTORY TREATMENT FOR STUDENTS WITH ASD LEVEL 1

    Dr. Mark Burdick, Ph.D., ASFB

    Families around the globe experience frustration in locating solutions to their individual issues of satisfactory treatment for ASD 1 students. They scour the North American and UK/European markets for programs and schools to meet the youth’s special needs. From a practical and well seasoned consultancy stance, Dr Burdick speaks with transparency of these placement challenges — both the successes and failures in meeting the expectations of international families from assessment to enrollment of ASD 1 students. Participants will learn the pitfalls to avoid if they engage with such international families to promote better outcomes.

  • Networking Lunch 12:30 – 1:45 PM
  • Collaborative Workshops III 2:00 – 3:15 PM


    Heritage Ballroom

    WHAT PROBLEM ARE WE SOLVING? UNPACKING SOCIAL PROBLEM SOLVING AND STRESS MANAGEMENT

    Michelle Garcia Winner, MA, CCC-SLP, Pamela Crooke

    Social interactions are complicated whether students are working with peers on a team, participating in a classroom or spending times with friends or family. While it’s obvious that students need to learn to self-advocate and problem solve, it’s easier said than done. During this webinar we’ll explore a problem solving treatment framework which can be used in the classroom to break down how to learn these concepts in order to build up social competencies. The step by step analysis begins by figuring out the actual problem according to different points of view, examines how not doing anything at all towards solving the problem increases the size of the problem and it wraps up with self-reflection on how to manage one’s anxiety through this multistep process. This framework and information can be used with all aging humans, whether they are tweens, teens or mature adults.


  • Break 3:15 – 3:30 PM
  • Collaborative Workshops IV 3:30 – 4:45 PM


    Heritage Ballroom

    NAVIGATING THE MANY CHALLENGING PARADOXES IN TREATING A NEURODIVERSE POPULATION

    Greg Burnham, MS, LMFT, Brandon Moffit, LCMHC

    We we will be exploring how to effectively work within many different paradoxes. The initial one that came up in our discussions was the fact that our students are coming with either their own desire or parents desire to change. And that flies in the face of some of the most amazing work we do in treatment to help people to accept themselves and embrace their unique place in the world. Another paradox is that growth should have some measurable goals and expectations and it is also completely non linear and complex. One more example of a paradox we will be covering is we want things to be contained and keep it safe and if we allow for messy it can get unsafe. We will be discussing how to establish paradox thinking in our day to day living with students, staff and parents so that it is easier to navigate challenges. And many other aspects of this challenging paradox called life!


    Laurel HJ

    SUPPORTING THOUGHTFUL TRANSITIONS FROM PROGRAM TO PROGRAM

    Caitlin Galt, LCMHC, Mia Henderson, LMFT, Laurel Phillips, LCSW

    We will discuss methods and techniques to support clients who are neuro-divergent and the family system through a transition from program to program. Through this discussion, we will explore the phases of change through preparation, adjustment, and development. Additionally, we will evaluate collaborative efforts from program to program to provide continuity of care.

    Laurel FG

    SO, YOU’VE BEEN DIAGNOSED WITH AUTISM AS AN ADULT… NOW WHAT?

    Jason Grygla, LCMHC, MA, Cam Sherman

    Numbers of later diagnoses of autism are rising at ages where opportunity to benefit from services has already passed. Join us for a checklist of strategies to maximize success and minimize roadblocks for a “later diagnosed” neurodivergent adult. Having more information to guide us in life is always a good idea, and so it goes with having a valid in depth evaluation, complete with diagnosis. Most adults who are diagnosed later are relieved, grateful and in need of understanding for why life has been so hard. It helps put their past, present and future into focus and with a new lens through which to see themselves.

  • Break 5:00 – 6:00 PM
  • Dinner 6:00 – 9:00 PM

Tuesday, April 26th, 2022

  • All Day Intensive Training With Jed Baker, Ph.D, Director of the Social Skills Training Projects 9 AM – 5 PM


    Heritage Ballroom

    MANAGING OVERWHELMING EMOTIONS AND TEACHING KEY LIFE SKILLS

    Individuals with social-behavioral challenges and/or ASD often present with difficulty regulating their feelings and interacting socially. This workshop describes how to handle meltdowns and design effective behavior plans to prevent these moments and reduce frustration and anxiety. The second part of the presentation details strategies to motivate individuals to learn, ways to teach social skills, how to generalize skills into the natural setting and increase acceptance and tolerance from peers. Information will be imparted though lecture, interactive exercises, and video clips.


Keynote Speaker

Jed Baker, Ph.D.

Jed Baker, Ph.D. is the director of the Social Skills Training Project, an organization serving individuals with autism and social communication problems. He is on the professional advisory board of Autism Today, ANSWER, YAI, the Kelberman Center and several other autism organizations. In addition, he writes, lectures, and provides training internationally on the topic of social skills training and managing challenging behaviors. He is an award winning author of 8 books, including Social Skills Training for Children and Adolescents with Aspergers Syndrome and Social Communication Problems; Preparing for Life: The Complete Handbook for the Transition to Adulthood for Those with Autism and Aspergers Syndrome; The Social Skills Picture Book; The Social Skills Picture Book for High School and Beyond; No More Meltdowns: Positive Strategies for Managing and Preventing Out-of-Control Behavior; No More Victims: Protecting those with Autism from Cyber Bullying, Internet Predators & Scams; Overcoming Anxiety in Children and Teens; and School Shadow Guidelines. His work has also been featured on ABC World News, Nightline, the CBS Early Show, and the Discovery Health Channel.

Special Thanks to Our Sponsors

Diamond Sponsor:

Platinum Sponsor:

Michelle Garcia Winner, MA, CCC-SLP

Michelle Garcia Winner, MA, CCC-SLP specializes in the treatment of individuals with social learning challenges and is the founder and CEO of Social Thinking®, a company dedicated to helping individuals from four through adulthood develop their social competencies to meet their personal social goals. Michelle coined the term “Social Thinking” in the mid-1990s and since that time has created numerous unique treatment frameworks and curricula that help educators, clinicians, professionals of all types, and parents/family members appreciate that social capabilities are integral to a person’s success in life, socially, academically, and professionally.

Michelle maintains a private practice, The Center for Social Thinking, in Santa Clara, California, where she works with clients who continue to teach and inspire her. She travels globally presenting courses on the Social Thinking Methodology, an evidence-based approach she created that she continues to evolve and expand on. Michelle helps to develop educational programs, consults with and trains families and schools, and is a guiding presence with a wide range of professionals, politicians, and businesses on the topic of social emotional competencies. She is a prolific writer and has written and/or co-authored more than 40 books and over 100 articles about the Social Thinking Methodology. 

Michelle receives accolades for her energetic and educational conference presentations, as well as her down-to-earth approach to teaching social competencies. The strength of Michelle’s work is her ability to break down abstract social concepts and teach them in practical, concrete ways to help people improve their social problem solving abilities and social responses.

Pamela Crooke, PhD, CCC-SLP​

Pamela J. Crooke is the Chief Strategy Officer and Director of Research, Content, Clinical Services, and the Social Thinking Training & Speakers Collaborative.

Dr. Crooke has co-authored, with Michelle Garcia Winner, five award-winning books related to Social Thinking: Socially Curious and Curiously Social, You Are a Social Detective, Social Fortune or Social Fate, Social Town, and their book geared to adults, Good Intentions Are Not Good Enough. She and Winner collaborate on writing articles and blogs that appear on the Social Thinking website and in a wide array of publications.

Prior to joining the Social Thinking team, she coordinated the Autism interdisciplinary clinical services at the Tucson Alliance for Autism, served as a clinical and academic faculty member of three universities, and worked in the Arizona public schools for 15 years. Pam is a prolific speaker both in North America and abroad, giving workshops, presentations, and training staff on Social Thinking methodology. She has co-authored books for young children and teens including the Autism Society of America Literary Book of the Year in 2012. She is on the board and/or is a member of a wide range of organizations related to autism and speech/language and has been the recipient of several foundation and community grants. In 2011, she received the Outstanding Achievement Award with Co-recipient Michelle Garcia Winner from the California Speech, Language and Hearing Association (CSHA).