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Gwynedd Mercy University to Host 2014 Autism Conference on Saturday, April 26

2014 Autism Conference

Sponsored by the Autism Institute of Gwynedd Mercy University and the Child Development Foundation of Montgomery County

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Gwynedd Mercy University
Main Campus
1325 Sumneytown Pike
Gwynedd Valley, PA 19437

8:00am – 3:00pm
Continental breakfast and lunch included

8 – 9 Registration and Continental breakfast

Session I      9 – 10:30

Setting the Stage for Social Success Cindy Schneider, MA, Acting Antics

An interactive workshop in which participants will be actively engaged in theater games and activities that specifically address social issues. Social, executive function, and sensory motor deficits of the target students will be reviewed. Participants will Group discussion about skills and adaptations will follow each activity.

Using Touch Technology to Enhance the Language and Academic Skills for Students in Elementary School 
Michelle Rothstein, MA, CCC-SPL and Jill Schweizer, M.Ed., 
Central Bucks School District

Presenters will highlight a plethora of non-traditional strategies for supporting secondary students with Autism in generalizing learned age-appropriate social skills to their home and community lives by utilizing various forms of technology.

Early Brain and Development in (Infants at Risk for) Autism Spectrum Disorders                                                                                                      
Sarah Paterson, PhD and Juhi Pandey, PhD, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

In order to provide the best outcomes for children later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), early detection and diagnosis is essential. Symptoms of ASD observed very early in life and the best practices to detect and diagnose ASD in very young children will be presented. In addition, a description of the Infant Brain Imaging Study, a multi-site longitudinal study of brain and cognitive development of infants at high risk for ASD and  some of the latest findings on early brain and developmental functioning in infants at risk for ASD will be presented.

Integrating Technology: Communication Tools for Your Classroom
Tammy Bertel, MS, Montgomery County Intermediate Unit

An overview in bringing teacher communication into the 21st Century.  Internet-based web programs to connect to parents, school personnel, and others will be covered. Such programs include: Edmodo, Remind 101, Google Docs, Chats.

Do You Know Where Your Child Is Right Now? 
Charlotte Collier, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist

Children progress through developmental levels that unfold in a predictable sequence. When lower level skills are weak, ability at higher levels is not as strong as it could be. Children can be functioning at different levels at different times or under different circumstances.  If you know where your child is right now, you can offer support or use interventions that are most likely to help. After exploring the developmental levels, you’ll learn strategies to problem solve and specific interventions to help your child work at higher developmental levels. Session one applies this approach to challenges at home. 

Session II 11:00 – 12:30

Setting the Stage for Social Success Cindy Schneider, MA, Acting Antics (continued from session I)

An interactive workshop in which participants will be actively engaged in theater games and activities that specifically address social issues. Social, executive function, and sensory motor deficits of the target students will be reviewed. Participants will Group discussion about skills and adaptations will follow each activity.

Using Touch Technology to Enhance Social Skills Development for Students in Middle & High School
Michelle Rothstein, MA, CCC-SPL, S Smith M, Jill Schweizer, M.Ed., Central Bucks School District

Presenters will highlight the ways to incorporate technology into programming.  Focus will be the language development and how this translates and supports academic growth.  Use of technology in the therapy sessions as well as the classroom will be explored.  Apps and use will be presented. 

Growing Up with Autism: Seeing through the Eyes of Patients and Caregivers
Ellen Giarelli, EdD, RN, CRNP, Drexel University

Participants in this workshop will watch and analyze short videos of people with autism and their parents or caregivers. The purposes are to: recognize core characteristics and associated features; discuss how the symptoms might affect  life- transitions and health. Participants will collaborate to co-create and synthesize an approach to comprehensive, integrated care. The session is ideal for health care providers, case managers, and advocates.

Research at Gwynedd Mercy University
Carol Etlen, EdD, and Graduate Researchers, Gwynedd Mercy University

Graduate Researchers in the Special Education program at the University will present their current research projects.

Session III 1:30 – 3:00 

Exploring Social Skills in Autism Sean Romano, MS, Exceptional Learner Inc.

Many children with Autism lack appropriate social skills and have to be taught through various methods and techniques. This presentation will not only review the common social skill deficits found in Autism, but also explore materials instructors can use to enhance social skills lessons.

Too Many Holes- Not Enough Plugs Catherine Heller, EdD, Souderton Area School District

This presentation will focus on application of research-based (evidence based) best practices in strengthening executive functioning skills in students on the autism spectrum.

Pennsylvania Autism Census Project Update  
Lindsay Shea, MS and Lauren Tucker, MPA, ASERT, Collaborative of Drexel University

This presentation will present data from multiple sources to provide an updated estimate of the number of individuals  with ASD diagnosis from the original census study and describe the systems that serve them. The data gathered will  identify the percentage of individuals with autism by age group, specially noting number of adults diagnosed with ASD, and the prevalence of autism by county. The data will  provide important perspectives on how best to provide services and supports and the scope of need for these services to individuals with autism spectrum disorders.
 
Transition to Higher Education: What You Need to Know from a Disabilities Perspective Daniel Jordan, LPC,  Gwynedd Mercy University

This presentation will provide an overview of the transition from high school to college: the differences in services, the ADA vs IDEA, the process of seeking accommodations, how to define a reasonable accommodation, what you need for access vs what you want, other services and assistance, special programs, and student conduct issues.

Do You Know Where Your Child Is Right Now? 
Charlotte Collier, Ph.D., Licensed Psychologist

Children progress through developmental levels that unfold in a predictable sequence. When lower level skills are weak, ability at higher levels is not as strong as it could be. Children can be functioning at different levels at different times or under different circumstances.  If you know where your child is right now, you can offer support or use interventions that are most likely to help. After exploring the developmental levels, you’ll learn strategies to problem solve and specific interventions to help your child work at higher developmental levels. Session Two applies this approach to classroom and other group settings.

Register for the Conference here.

Questions?
Deborah Schadler
Autism Institute Director
Schadler.d@gmercyu.edu