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to provide the opportunity for everyone living with autism spectrum disorders to achieve their fullest potential, by enriching the autism community with education, training, accessible resources, and partnerships with local and national projects. Learn more.
Our weekly e-newsletter addresses a range of Autism Spectrum Disorder topics.


Thursday, August 15
5:00pm-9:00pm Registration and Expo open

Panel Discussion: The Siblings
Siblings of individuals on the autism spectrum will share their experiences and answer questions.  
Abstract: The siblings of individuals on the autism spectrum will share their experiences and answer questions. Siblings of children with autism carry the burden of extra responsibility and worry about their the future. They also develop compassion and family love. Autism creates an enormous responsibility on siblings, according to educators, therapists and a dozen scientific studies. Children affected by autism can have raging tantrums, which can be frightening or embarrassing to siblings.

Learning Outcomes: The participant will be able to: 
1. Identify ways that siblings of children affected by autism may cope in different settings at home, shopping, at a restaurant or at school. 
2. Determine when familial problems regarding equal attention exist.


Meet and Greet

Friday, August 16
7:00am-5:00pm Registration and Expo open
8:15am-8:30am Welcome

Temple Grandin, PhD - Keynote Address
Abstract: In this presentation, Dr. Grandin will describe her experiences with autism, specifically in the areas of visual thinking, sensory problems, and difficulties with communication. After she describes her experiences, she will discuss the similarities and differences between herself and other people with an autism diagnosis. "There is probably a continuum of autism subtypes that vary in the pattern of neurological abnormality and the severity of neurological problems", explains Dr. Grandin. Dr. Grandin will also discuss how parents, teachers and all professionals who work with individuals affected by autism "must be kept engaged so that their brains can develop more normally". "They must recognize and treat sensory problems. As children get older they tend to separate into two groups. Children like me who can be "jerked" out of the autistic world and asked to pay attention, and individuals like Donna Williams and Therese Joliffe who require a gentler approach. Both types of young autistic children MUST be prevented from shutting out the world", says Dr. Grandin.

Learning Outcomes: The participant will be able to:
1. Learn about visual thinking as it applies to ASD.
2. Discuss the autism subtypes that vary in the pattern of neurological abnormality and the severity of neurological problems.
3. Identify sensory issues with individuals with ASD.

10:00am-10:30am Break and Expo

Title: Effective Biomedical Interventions: Treating the Underlying Causes of the Symptoms
Bob Sears, MD, FAAP

The biomedical theory of autism holds that autism is not just a psychiatric disorder. Rather, it is a medical/biological disorder with tangible associated medical challenges that can be improved and even corrected with the proper approaches to therapy. As these medical problems are solved, the overall symptoms and behaviors of autism can improve. Dr. Bob Sears will present an overview of the biomedical approach to treating autism symptoms. He will discuss appropriate testing protocols to diagnose biomedical problems and offer treatment solutions. He will briefly introduce concepts that will be presented by later speakers, including diet and nutrition for autism, gastrointestinal problems, and mitochondrial disorders, then provide a detailed discussion on other aspects of biomedical treatment, including methylation, nutrient deficiencies, immune dysfunction, PANDAS, viral infections, attention problems, hyperactivity/aggression, and thyroid hormone deficiency. Dr. Sears will also discuss appropriate pediatric medical care for children with autism and which pitfalls to avoid that might make autism symptoms worse.

Each participant will be able to:
1. Understand appropriate medical testing for biomedical problems
2. Understand proper vitamin, nutritional, and biomedical supplementation
3. Identify and treat common medical problems in children with autism
4. Gain practical ideas on how to get started on biomedical treatments for those just beginning therapy.

Panel: Collaborative Multi-Disciplinary Team Approaches for Autism Interventions in Schools (Special breakout workshop for educators, other professionals, and parents)

Abstract: With exploding autism rates, increasing budget cuts and narrowing definitions and classification criteria for special education funds, the ability of our schools to meet the demands of our children with autism becomes more challenging each year. Yet, comprehensive assessments, strength and interest based teaching and appropriate school-based interventions and supports continue to pave the way for academic success for individuals with autism. As has always been the case, good educators adapt. In this session, experts in the field of education for individuals with autism will offer insights and creative solutions to assist both parents and educators in establishing and maintaining a multi-disciplinary treatment team to serve children with autism in today's ever changing school systems. In additon, parents and educators will expolore new interventions and methods from the panel where they can implement immediately into their educational system or at home.

Panel 1: Overview of Interventions in Schools
Marlo Payne Thurman, MS
Sandra R. Wise, PsyD

Raun K. Kaufman
Kim Korpady

Learning Outcomes:
1. Learn why now, more than ever before, the treatment of autism in the school requires a multi-disciplinary team approach.
2. Identify 3 basic components to an effective, multi-disciplinary treatment plan for individuals with autism.
3. Learn how good communication and a well thought-out learning plan are keys to success in the classroom.

The Miracle Project -a theater and film program for children, teens, and adults with autism which develops self expression, creativity, community and joy.
Elaine Hall

Abstract: The Miracle Project founded in 2004 is a multiplatform socialization program that enables children and teens with autism and other special needs to express themselves through music, dance, acting, story, and writing. ALL children of ALL abilities grow in skill and in spirit while creating and performing in original musicals. This acclaimed arts program was documented in the HBO double EMMY Award-winning documentary, Autism: The Musical. This session discusses how The Miracle Project is an adjunct therapy in the treatment of autism. Through its principles of acceptance and artistic expression, The Miracle Project is dedicated to empowering those living with autism. The Miracle Project supports, nurtures and inspires children, teens and young adults with autism and other developmental disabilities as well as their families, through innovative socialization skills, and transformational life building protocols. The Miracle Project creates community for children with autism through music, movement, theater and film.

Learning Outcomes:
1. Discuss how The Miracle Project is an adjunct therapy in the treatment of autism
2. Discuss how this therapy may work independently of others.
3. Learn how self expression, creativity and community can be an effective intervention for individuals with ASD.

The Detection and Treatment of the Most Common Biochemical Abnormalities in Autism
William Shaw, PhD

Abstract: A wide range of chemicals including mercury, lead, organophosphates, pyrethrins, solvents, and other chemicals have been implicated as risk factors for autism. However, is there a single factor that appears to be much more important than all these other factors?

Learning Outcomes:
1. The attendee will learn the evidence that associates a wide range of toxic chemicals with increased incidence of autism.
2. The attendee will learn which chemicals appear to be the major causes of autism.
3. The attendee will learn how to diminish exposure to chemicals and to remove these chemicals if exposure has already taken place.

Panel 2: Special Education in the Schools
Rebecca Anderson, MA (teacher)

Hanne O'Brien, MS, OT
Michelle Vance, MCD, CCC-SLP

Abstracts: This presentation (classroom teacher) will discuss the use of technology and curriculum in acquiring academic and behavioral skills, for students with severe disabilities, including autism. Technology has become more prevalent in the school systems. Interactive whiteboards, IPAD's and Apple TV have increased access to the curriculum for students with disabilities.

This presentation will discuss how a multi-disciplinary team, consisting of Occupational Therapists, Special Education Teachers and Educational Support Professionals work together to promote functional fine motor skills in a pre-vocational setting at a center-based school for students with severe disabilities including students with autism. Most students at the school attend the Occupational Therapy Fine Motor Lab weekly from age 7 to age 22. Also discussed will be how the OT team supports the teachers and Speech and Language Team by means of a Sensory & Fine Motor group. The presentation will include a short video so attendees will be able to see different students working on their tasks in a structured setting with regard to their individual needs such as task set-up, positioning in the room and sensory needs; SLP's work together in large/small group instruction to foster social communication. SLP's also work with the motor team, music therapist, adaptive P.E., as well as classroom teachers to ensure consistency and generalization. Related services support one another and share ideas which enhances students progress.

Learning Outcomes:
1. Develop an understanding how a Multi-Disciplinary team can work together to enhance functional fine motor skills for students with Autism.
2. Discuss how students work in the Occupational Therapy Fine Motor Lab at a a center-based school located in Midvale, Utah.
3. Learn how Occupational Therapists support Teachers and Speech and Language Pathologists by means of Sensory and Fine Motor Groups.
4. Discuss how technology can be used in teaching social skills.
5. Learn how technology and curriculum can be used to teach academic skills.
6. How to implement strategies that foster social communication in non-verbal students with autism.
7. Benefits of a co-teaching approach in serving students with autism during structured language activities.
8. Benefits and application of technology in treatment: Smartboard, iPad apps such as Proloquo2go and LAMP words for life.

Relationships and Sexuality for People with Autism: Reaching a Greater Understanding
Stephen M. Shore, EdD
Abstract: An often misunderstood and confusing topic, sexuality of people on the autism spectrum is part of the natural developmental process of transition through puberty into successful adulthood. Presented from the viewpoint of a person diagnosed with autism, participants will gain a greater understanding of the feelings, physical responses, levels of interest in sex, and addressing the social challenges as well as practical solutions for supporting people all over the autism spectrum in the area of sexuality and intimate relationships.

Learning Outcomes: The participant will be able to:
1. Discuss the transition through puberty into successful adulthood.
2. Develop a greater understanding of the feelings, physical responses, and levels of interest in sex for people with autism.
3. Learn about the social challenges as well as practical solutions for supporting people all over the autism spectrum in the area of sexuality and intimate relationships.

12:30pm-1:30pm Break, Cash Lunch, Expo, and "Meet the Authors"

Critical Health Challenges During the Lifespan; and Emergencies, Surgeries, and Anesthesia
Phillip C. DeMio, MD
Abstract: Dr. DeMio will address medical issues that present problems associated with ASD throughout the life span from childhood into adulthood that include the gastrointestinal tract, immune system, viruses including HHV6, hormonal imbalances, and other areas. He will also discuss "comorbid" illness, which means they have more than one disorder in addition to their autism spectrum problem. It is not uncommon for such children to need surgery or anesthesia for these illnesses. It is also not uncommon to end up in the Emergency room.

Learning Outcomes: The participant will be able to:
1. List three medical issues that present problems associated with ASD throughout the lifespan from childhood into adulthood.
2. Explain co-morbidity and how it applies to each individual.
3. List two comorbid illnesses that are common with individuals affected by autism.
4. Understand the three basic types of anesthesia as well scheduling a preoperative visit or phone call with your anesthesiologist.
5. Learn about emergency room visits and what to expect in ER.
6. Learn about surgery preparation, hospital admission forms and other details prior to your scheduled surgery.

Panel 3: Seven Keys to Unlock Autism: Making Miracles in the Classroom
Elaine Hall
Stephen M. Shore, EdD

Abstract: The Seven Keys to Unlock Autism: Making Miracles in the Classroom outlines seven integrated keys for educators and parents to make meaningful connections with children on the autism spectrum. The seven keys are based on the unique world-acclaimed approach used by Elaine Hall of The Miracle Project, a fully inclusive socialization and communication program for children with autism and their typically developing peers and siblings. These seven keys uncover and develop the diverse skills, wisdom, and talents of children on the spectrum. Each key includes a self-led exercise, examples of ways to navigate potential obstacles, "from the trenches", advice from real world educators, and "Quick Keys" for ongoing daily support.

1. List the 7 keys to unlock autism.
2. Learn how to apply these effective strategies at school and at home to nurture kids' self-expression and social skills.
3. Better understand autism and be able to help children with autism draw connections and form more meaningful relationships.
4. Understand how to include typically developing peers for socialization opportunities.

Visual Social Thinking Strategies
Michael McManmon, EdD
Abstract: Many people with ASD think visually. Some visuals work well while others do not. This session brings together social thinking and visual thinking. Schools have not accessed into visual social thinking strategies as a teaching method. The key to changing perception of the autism/Asperger diagnosis means for the individual to put equal time and energy into learning about non-verbal language and social competencies as they do their special interests and then things start changing in a positive way.

Learning Outcomes:
1. List practical ideas of how to incorporate visual thinking both at home and at school.
2. Describe how students can improve academically through the use of visual social thinking.
3. Understand how visual social thinking helps from pre-school to post graduate students.
4. Describe how visual social thinking is a critical tool in overcoming problems with communication and memorization.


Mitochondrial Disease Overview and Links to Autistic Spectrum Disorders
Frances D. Kendall, MD
Abstract: Many recent studies have linked Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) to poor mitochondrial functioning. Understanding these disorders, their symptoms and evaluation may help ASD families determine if further testing is important for their child. Mitochondrial dysfunction has already been linked to many neurological conditions. Its association with ASD is a topic of recent interest, research and discussion. Mitochondrial disorders are diseases that alter one or more various genes and proteins resulting in decreased or ineffective energy production and subsequent malfunctioning of our body’s energy-producing processes. Although some forms of mitochondrial disease are sporadic only affecting one person in an extended family, most types are inherited creating a greater impact on families at large.

Learning Outcomes: The participant will be able to:
1. Identify which ASD patients should be evaluated for mitochondrial disease.
2. Learn why is it important to know if an ASD patient has mitochondrial disease.
3. Discuss how mitochondrial disease is diagnosed.
4. List symptoms.

Panel 4: Teaching Functional Living Skills in Schools; Nutrition Intervention Can Improve Autism Related Disorders; Interventions for Day to Day Living Skills in Schools
James W, Partington, PhD, BCBA
Julie Matthews, CNC
Sam Goldstein, PhD
Abstract: This presentation will discuss Assessing and Teaching Functional Living Skills to Individuals of All Ages Using The AFLS™ in a school setting. Individuals of all ages must learn many functional living skills to be able to participate in a wide range of home, school and community-based activities. The Assessment of Functional Living Skills (The AFLSTM) reviews 735 skills in 24 functional skill areas such as travelling in the community, making purchases, seeking assistance as required, preparing meals, participating in household chores, and in social and leisure activities. An emphasis will be placed on helping parents, educators and other caregivers identify functional skills that their child needs to learn. A major emphasis will be placed on learning how to break down tasks into easy-to-teach steps (task analysis). Additionally, methods to keep the child motivated to participate in the tasks, and methods for using and then fading prompts to help the child quickly learn those skills will be demonstrated.

Also, this presentation gives a science-backed overview of the most effective diet and nutrition strategies and a better understanding of the importance of diet and nutrition in schools. Children, especially those with ASD, learn by example (thinking in pictures) and teachers can send a powerful health message to the children through their own daily habits and integrate health messages through programs at school.

Learning Outcomes: The participant will be able to:
1. Identify five functional skills that can be taught in the school system and help identifying these skills for the students to learn.
2. Discuss two methods to keep the child motivated to participate in the tasks.
3. Discuss how to break down tasks into easy-to-teach steps.
4. Learn how the various foods can have a detrimental effect on the behavior of children with autism.
5. Discuss how to avoid food as a reward.

Social Skills, Communication, and Non-Verbal Interaction: Animal-Assisted Nature Exposure
Sandra R. Wise, PsyD

Abstract: Animal-Assisted Nature Exposure learning is one of the few treatment modalities that offer opportunities to address social skills deficits in a setting which does not require interaction with other human beings, who can potentially respond with judgment and condemnation when the inevitable social mistakes are made. Instead, sociability problems are addressed through interactions with horses and cows which are living, breathing, responsive "beings" that can provide direct and immediate feedback - through their actions - without judgment, bias or criticism. These animals are amazingly forgiving and, unless intentional cruelty is involved, will always give humans another chance. Moreover, since these animals don't talk, clients need not be concerned with verbal language, which can overshadow the vitally important non-verbal aspects of relationships and social interaction. Indeed, it is often these non-verbal features of communication that are most challenging for persons with ASD. This session will show videos of these concepts.

Learning Outcomes: The participant will be able to:
1. Discuss experiential learning - hands-on, in-the-moment, problem-solving, boundary setting, and communication.
2. Learn the importance of the outdoor nature element.
3. Discuss the concept of resistance in the context of the field of autism.

3:30pm-4:00pm Break and Expo

Panel: The Doctors and Researchers Q&A
Phillip C. DeMio, MD, Biography
Martha Herbert, MD, PhD,
Frances D. Kendall, MD, Biography
Bob Sears, MD, FAAP, Biography
William Shaw, PhD, Biography
J. Michael Uszler, MD, Biography

Abstract: The panelists presenting in this workshop discuss the most frequently asked questions associated with medicine, research, and interventions. They will review medical cutting edge interventions and treatments as well as cutting edge research. Each panelist will provide a take away message with regards to their area of specialty in the field of autism/Asperger's Syndrome.

Learning Outcomes: The participant will be able to:
1. Identify how the parts of the brain are connected and coordinated with each other and describe how one can develop measures sensitive to changes in brain and body function that could result from treatment interventions.
2. Outline new research in ASD on the importance of targeted evaluations and treatments to improve clinical outcomes among patients diagnosed with autism.
3. Compare a variety of interventions that are supported by research.

Saturday, August 17
7:00am-5:00pm Registration and Expo open
8:15am-8:30am Welcome

A Whole Body Approach to Brain Problems in Autism
Martha Herbert, MD, PhD
- Opening Keynote Address

Abstract: Environmental factors affect brain development but the problem does not stop there. Environmental exposures persist as body burden, they continue to accumulate, and they have ongoing and active impacts on metabolic and immune function at the subcellular, cellular, organ and systems levels. Therefore autism is more than a developmental disorder. The chronic and persistent features of autism include many treatable features as well as a component of alteration of brain development; the relative contributions of these different aspects are virtually unevaluated, but responsiveness to treatment suggests we have been underestimating the importance of chronic and persistent contributors. It also challenges us to ask how much damage is fixed and how much the mechanisms are dynamic, even if stubborn. Understanding this aspect of autism further underscores the importance of treatment, the importance of research oriented toward environmental contributors and interventions and toward optimization of health and brain plasticity, and the allocation of major resources toward reducing unnecessary suffering. It also highlights how often we see "circular thinking" in autism, where the assumption that autism is fixed and hopeless biases research priorities and interpretations of findings toward looking for fixed impacts on early development, rather than promoting systematic examination of our assumptions and aggressive search for things that can be modulated after birth to improve outcomes.

Learning Outcomes: The participant will be able to:
1. Understand how environment impacts brain physiology and how that altered physiology produces autistic behaviors.
2. Identify the cellular problems in the brain and body associated with environmentally vulnerable physiology.
3. Understand why many different environmental factors may produce similar physiological impacts
4. Understand how health and well-being is the result of Resilience Minus Total Load, where Total Load is the sum of genetic vulnerability and accumulated environmental stressors.
5. Understand the difference between epidemiology which studies what causes autism and pathophysiology which studies how autism works.

9:30am-10:00am Break and Expo
10:00am- 10:50am Functional Imaging of the Brain - A New Discovery
J. Michael Uszler, MD
Abstract: Autism is an actual brain cell function disorder, not a psychiatric disorder. As such it is a medical condition which has areas of the brain under function or over function. You can see this for yourself on a brain SPECT scan. This way we look inside of the "world of autism". Our medical imaging tools look inside at how the parts of the brain are working in autistic individuals. Rather than "guesstimating" only from behavioral observation, we look directly inside the brain and combine the information from both internal and external methods. This evaluation helps you to decide the appropriate therapy path. Brain function imaging technology is known as SPECT and PET. Both have the advantage of showing the functional state of different brain regions throughout the entire brain. SPECT imaging is more widely available, and thus there is much more experience in using it to evaluate the brain function of autistic individuals.

Learning Outcomes:
1. Learn why Brain SPECT imaging is the appropriate effective imaging to use, rather than MRI or CT (CAT) scanning.
2. Discuss how Brain SPECT scanning performed before and after therapies shows you effectiveness of interventions and treatments, both medical and behavioral.
3. Learn how co-morbidities can be recognized.
4. Discuss Cerebral Hypoperfusion in ASD children.

Grateful for the Diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome; It Explained Everything
Tim Page, DFA
Abstract: Learn how Tim Page, currently a professor at the University of Southern California, a Pulitzer Prize winner for his writing in the Washington Post, and a former music and cultural writer for The New York Times, finally stumbled upon his secret biography. As described in Parallel Play, "Here it all was - the computer-like retention, the physical awkwardness, the difficulties with peers and lovers, the need for routine and repetition, the narrow, specialized interests." He was forty-five when he realized that he wasn't alone. That's when he was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome.

Learning Outcomes:
1. Understand that finding work that makes use of your strengths and doesn't test your weaknesses is a huge benefit.
2. Learn how not being able to read faces can be overwhelming and could cause a meltdown.
3. Explain how you can be good at certain things and completely oblivious to others.
4. Learn how unstructured participation in social gatherings may be agonizing.

Your Child or Family Member is An Adult: What Can You Do!

Abstract: Your child turns 18 years of age. You assume you can be their legal guardian for their entire life. But now that child is an adult and is presumed to be competent and can make his or her own decisions. You are no longer the legal guardian of your adult child (unless you were granted guardianship and/or conservatorship). This session discusses what happens after your child becomes an adult and you do not have legal guardianship.

Learning Outcomes: The participant will be able to:
1. Identify any options available to help your adult child.
2. Identify support groups that may assist you, the parent.

11:00am- 12:00pm

The Role of Cholesterol Deficiency in Autism Spectrum Disorders - Improvements in Overall Behavior
William Shaw, PhD
Abstract: This session will discuss the role of cholesterol in autistic behaviors with recent studies from The Johns Hopkins University.

Learning Outcomes: The participant will be able to:
1. Recognize the role of cholesterol in autistic behaviors.
2. Explain the ways that lower cholesterol levels in adults are associated with poorer performance on cognitive measures, which place high demands on abstract reasoning, attention/concentration, word fluency, and executive functioning.
3. State that lower cholesterol values were found in chronic fatigue syndrome and in children with dyslexia.
4. Discuss how medical grade cholesterol supplementation quickly improved patients in the areas of overcoming aggressive behaviors, decreased rates of infections, reduced skin rashes, reduced self-injurious behaviors, improved muscle tones, rapid growth and improved behavior overall.

Behavioral Issues and New Approaches with ASD
Raun K. Kaufman
Abstract: This presentation is a very practical explanation of some fundamental techniques of The Son-Rise Program that can be used immediately. With humor and inspiration, the speaker will begin by telling the story of his own full recovery from severe autism. He then outlines some simple things that can be implemented at home to substantially boost social engagement by first entering the child's unique world.

Learning Outcomes: The participant will know steps to:
1. Help a child move beyond stimming without stopping or discouraging the child's behavior.
2. Teach a child new skills without having to push or pressure.
3. Enable a child to form meaningful, caring relationships with others.

Acoustically-Modified Music: Brain Training for Improving Auditory Processing and Sound Hypersensitivity
Alex Doman
Abstract: Many children diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder are described as having auditory hypersensitivities. This talk describes auditory hypersensitivities, the systems involved, methods for evaluation, and treatment options including TLP Spectrum. Children described as being hypersensitive to sound have negative emotional reactions to sounds and situations in which the sounds are present. It is possible to desensitize these negative emotional reactions and reprogram the emotional memory system so that children are no longer frightened by or find sounds uncomfortable.

Learning Outcomes:
1. Discuss auditory hypersensitivities in children with ASD.
2. Learn the neural mechanisms involved in auditory hypersensitivity.
3. Understand the available treatment options.

12:00pm-1:00pm Break, Cash Lunch, Expo, and "Meet the Authors"

Get Started Now - Food and Nutrition Matter!
Julie Matthews, CNC
Abstract: Today's science indicates that children with autism have greater incidence of GI problems, food allergies, nutrient deficiencies, and other underlying issues. All of which are directly influenced by food and nutrition. Every child benefits when parents take charge of diet.

In this session you will discover WHY food affects children's health, learning, and behavior and HOW to make diet choices that can help right away! You'll hear a science-backed overview of the most effective diet and nutrition strategies, and learn how to get started or make further progress with dietary intervention. Julie will share her best practices for ensuring adequate nutrition and sustaining success based on her 12 years' clinical (and creative cooking!) experience with autism diets and picky eaters.

Dietary Intervention is about more than the GFCF Diet. There are varied dietary tactics to employ given each child's respective circumstance and need. Julie will explain further "autism diets" such as SCD (Specific Carbohydrate)/GAPS, Paleo, Body Ecology, Feingold/Failsafe, Low Oxalate Diet, and others - and discuss the role of phenols/salicylates, and other food compounds. She'll also cover traditional healing foods, making diets "doable," and introduce her new Nourishing Hope Food Pyramid. Many new ideas will be gleaned by those who've yet to set the benefits of diet changes. All attendees receive a Success Guide and Recipe pack.

The greatest "autism awareness" is that the trajectory of the disorder CAN be influenced: Taking charge of diet is fundamental.

Learning Outcomes:
1. Understand why diet matters and how food choices affect symptoms
2. Know which diet changes are most imperative and how to get started right away
3. Help your child improve through food and nutrition, even picky eaters
4. Avoid common pitfalls that can inhibit progress
5. Know the bigger picture of "nourishing hope" and options to customize diet strategy

Assessing and Teaching Functional Living Skills to Individuals of All Ages Using The AFLS™
James Partington, PhD, BCBA
Abstract: Individuals of all ages must learn many functional living skills to be able to participate in a wide range of home, school and community-based activities. The Assessment of Functional Living Skills (The AFLSTM) reviews 735 skills in 24 functional skill areas such as travelling in the community, making purchases, seeking assistance as required, preparing meals, participating in household chores, and in social and leisure activities. An emphasis will be placed on helping parents, educators and other caregivers identify functional skills that their child needs to learn. Additionally, practical and easy to implement methods they can use to help their child learn these skills without requiring additional time than is currently needed to do the tasks. By selecting a few learning targets for daily activities, parents can quickly make a significant difference in their child being able to independently perform those skills. A major emphasis will be placed on learning how to break down tasks into easy-to-teach steps (task analysis). Additionally, methods to keep the child motivated to participate in the tasks, and methods for using and then fading prompts to help the child quickly learn those skills will be demonstrated. A review of videos of parents teaching functional living skills to their children in the home will be provided.

Learning Outcomes: The participant will be able to:
1. Identify the differences between functional and basic/conceptual skills.
2. Identify 3 broad clusters of functional skills.
3. Identify at least 24 specific skill repertoire areas of functional skills.
4. Choose initial targets to be included in a functional skills intervention program.

Panel: Building Relationships, Marriage, and Family in the Context of Autism
Christopher Gauthier, MFA
Jacqueline Gauthier
Lori K. Brill, PsyD

Abstract: In this session, a couple will discuss married and family life on the autism spectrum. Here is a situation where not only the couple has two of their children diagnosed with autism, but one parent is also affected by Asperger Syndrome. A parent will discuss being a target of bullying during adolescence; The couple will discuss finding love and partnership; Raising children on the autism spectrum; Lessons from a "surviving but struggling to thrive" a marriage; Developing a community network of support; Stress; Developing a language to understand one another based on Aspergers Identity/Sensory Issues; Cognitive distortion. The therapist will discuss how to work with couples on their own interpersonal relationships given that one parent is on the autism spectrum and at least one child is affected by autism; How they cope with each other's behaviors; lack of insight and the pressures of having children with ASD.

Learning Outcomes: The participant will learn:
1. To identify a community network of support
2. To avoid isolation in a relationship
3. To create realistic options for reduction of stress and how to implement these options and for it to be supported by an outside network
4. How a therapist works with couples on their own interpersonal relationships
5. What kind of therapy and counseling is available for the couple to have a healthier relationship


Digestive and Gastrointestinal Dysfunction in Autism
Stuart H. Freedenfeld, MD

Abstract: Children with autism spectrum disorders frequently have gastrointestinal complaints such as diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, abdominal distension, and flatulence. Evaluation of these children should proceed in the same manner as it would if the child did not have autism. The majority of these children will ultimately be found to have lesions in either the small or large intestine, or both. These lesions take the form of ulcerations, erosions, pathologic lymphoid nodular hyperplasia (LNH), and enterocolitis. Researchers at the Center for Infection and Immunity (CII) at Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health and at the Harvard Medical School recently reported that children with autism and gastrointestinal disturbances have altered expression of genes involved in digestion. These variations may contribute to changes in the types of bacteria in their intestines.

Learning Outcomes: The participant will be able to:
1. Describe the challenges for doctors not familiar with people with autism in diagnosing GI problems.
2. Describe how non-verbal children who communicate pain by actions that may be misinterpreted as behavior problems.
3. Describe the how heterogeneity, or diversity, of autism also complicates a physician's ability to diagnose GI problems.
4. List three areas on how to improve GI function with people affected by autism.

School Transitions: Elementary, High School, & Beyond
Marlo Payne Thurman, MS
Abstract: This session will focus on the various stages of educational planning that are required to support individuals on the spectrum in their transitions from elementary school, through to high school, and beyond, to post-high school learning experiences. The presenter, Marlo Thurman, will highlight primary academic, social, behavioral, adaptive functioning, life skills, and sensory needs for inclusion at each stage of the IEP or 504 plan.

Learning Outcomes:
1. List the various stages of educational planning in their transitions from elementary school, through to high school, and beyond.
2. List life skills necessary for inclusion at each stage.
3. List academic needs for inclusion at each stage.

Panel: Facing a Lifetime of Daunting Challenges - Mothers Talk
Abstract: This presentation focuses on the daunting challenges parents face everyday with autism and related disorders. Mothers, of children (and adults) with autism, will share their experiences with the school system, beyond the school system, interventions that combine biomedical and developmental therapies that have helped their children, and also the struggles as well as successes that parents (and grandparents face) each day. The panelists will discuss monitoring and charting your child's development throughout the lifespan of the child even after they become adults. Interventions that may work for a young child doesn't always work for a teenage or an adult. Revisiting therapies throughout the lifespan will also be presented.
Laura Anderson
Jacqui Gauthier
Gail B. Kaplan
Cheryl Smith

Learning Outcomes: The participant will know steps to:
1. Identify 3 challenges that parents face when children become adults.
2. Identify 3 challenges throughout the life span of the child.
3. Discuss 3 interventions that combine biomedical and developmental therapies.

3:00pm-3:30pm Break and Expo
3:30pm-5:00pm Panel: Self-Advocacy - Challenges Throughout the Lifespan
Christopher Gauthier, MFA
Michael McManmon, EdD

Tim Page, DFA

Other Panel members TBA
Abstract: The panelists presenting in this workshop each describe his or her personal experiences with autism or Asperger's Syndrome in the areas of Visual Thinking, Sensory Problems, Difficulties with Communication, Socialization, Work Environment, Education, and many other challenges they face each day. Panelists discuss challenges and transitioning through the life span. One specific area discussed will be bullying and ASD.

Learning Outcomes: The participant will be able to:
1. List three areas that are challenging to adults each day.
2. Understand the importance of the challenges they face throughout their lifespan.
3. Identify lessons to be learned from bullying experiences the panelists may have encountered early in life.

Sunday, August 18
8:00am-12:00pm Registration and Expo open

Oral Health Care for the Dental Patient with Autism
Robert E. Rada, DDS
Abstract: The patient with autism can present quite a challenge in the dental office and a source of frustration for parents. There are numerous issues specific to dentistry related to mercury, fluoride, nitrous oxide, antibiotics and acetaminophen. This program will review interrelationship of oral health, systemic health and behavioral health.

Learning Outcomes:
1. Learn how to work with the dentist by employing specific behavior guidance techniques to effectively treat patients with autism in the dental office.
2. Learn how parents and caregivers can participate in a program of dental office desensitization for children with autism.
3. Learn strategies to communicate with dentists the general health issues and environmental controversies related to dentistry.

Nutrition Workshop: Supplements, Kids, and Fun with your Blender
Julie Matthews, CNC
Terri Hirning
Julie Matthews, leading autism nutritionist with Nourishing Hope, teams up with autism Mom Terri Hirning of New Beginnings Nutritionals to demonstrate tactics for getting good nutrition and supplements into our kids - using the blender and other easy-to-do ideas . The duo will discuss how to seamlessly get supplements into foods, when supplements can and can't be heated, and how to make meals as nutritious as possible. They will share tips that stem from years of hands-on experience - as mothers and professionals.

10:00am-10:30am Break and Expo
10:30am- 12:00pm

Panel: Bringing It All Together
Panelists TBA
Leading autism experts who are parents of children with autism will share in their personal experiences in the areas of medical/biomedical treatments, behavioral/developmental interventions, diet and nutritional interventions, advocacy, adjunct therapies, family issues, special needs trusts, IEP's, and much more. Q&A.

Learning Outcomes:
1. Identify common obstacles faced by parents of children with autism.
2. Describe three examples of medical, behavioral and nutritional interventions that have been successfully implemented by this panel of professionals.

12:00pm Conference concludes

The US Autism & Asperger Association 2010 World Conference became the most viewed Autism/Asperger conference in the world. This was the first ever Autism and Asperger conference streamed lived in its entirety.


"In the fall of 2011, the greatest gift we received yet was attending the four-day USAAA conference in Seattle. There I met my heroes and found mentors that gave me hope and expanded my paradigm. Since the conference, we now approach life and our son from the view of acceptance, help him to see and know himself, teach him how to self advocate, and join with him in enjoying the things that make him smile. We no longer fight against our son’s differences but embrace them and this way of loving has even taught us to how better accept and love each other as a couple. We still have a long way to go and even more to learn, but I now know that hope has no limit unless I place it there.
- Sara McCarter, Mom to Magnus "the great"


"Let's experience what their life is like for a day. Our children are in pretty much of a constant state of overload. Your living room is like LAX [Los Angeles International Airport] to your child. They can't recognize patterns the same way we can, so everything that seems predictable and understandable to you and I seems totally unpredictable to our children."
- Raun K. Kaufman

"I was the kid who grew up with no diagnosis. I'm undiagnosed Asperger's. I refused to do it because of institutional discrimination. I grew up in the 70's, one of the odd balls and I have fought and struggled my way. I was "the dumb one" of the family. I am the only one with a higher education degree at this point."
- Christopher M. Gauthier

"The vast majority of persons on the Autism Spectrum (ASD) who make significant gains from biomedical treatments will require care that addresses the triad of dietary intervention, digestive/gastrointestinal problems, and detoxification techniques."
- Phillip C. DeMio, MD

"When we gaze back into the past and evaluate our impressions during the early stages of our children’s lives, we observe an experience unlike anything we had ever expected. When we receive a warning that our baby does not seem to be developing like other “normally developing” kids, we may either shift into early denial or become too intimidated to ask what we feel are appropriate questions. Unfortunately, when we do ask the right questions, the replies often are either not sufficient or are limiting in nature." (from Diagnosis Autism Now What? 10 Steps to Improve Treatment Outcomes; A Parent-Physician Team Approach).
- Kaplan/Burstein, 2005

"Autism is defined behaviorally, as a syndrome of abnormalities involving language, social reciprocity and hyperfocus or reduced behavioral flexibility. It is clearly heterogeneous, and it can be accompanied by unusual talents as well as impairments, but its underlying biological and genetic basis is unknown."
- Martha Herbert, MD, PhD

Our goal should be to help persons with autism understand and use their strengths to work around any presenting challenges so they, just like everyone else, has an equal chance at living a fulfilling and productive life.
- Stephen M. Shore, EdD


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