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Breakout Sessions

Please be aware that the following Breakout sessions may be subject to change. Please visit this schedule regularly to get the most up-to-date list of breakout session speakers and presentations.

Session one

Addressing Noncompliance in Children with ASD: Intolerance of Healthcare Routines | Kelley Harrison, Ph.D., BCBA, & Jessika Tucker

Healthcare routines are regularly scheduled practices that maintain the health of an individual.
Noncompliance during healthcare routines is a widely reported problem, especially for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD) (Allen, Stanley, & McPherson, 1990). This is problematic because noncompliance may affect the quality with which a procedure is completed (DeMattei, Cuvo, & Maurizio, 2007), limit access to healthcare (Kemp, 2005), or put the child at risk for injury. There is a large body of research to suggest it may be possible to increase compliance with healthcare routines using various behavioral treatments. This presentation aims to summarize the current literature with respect to using behavioral treatments to increase compliance with healthcare routines, provide recommendations for caregivers and practitioners, and identify avenues for future research.

Target audience: Practitioners, Researchers, Parents

Finding My Way | Aaron Bouma

I was diagnosed with Autism at age 3, Aspergers at age 12. My story is not my life being defined by Autism, but how I defined my Autism. I will talk about my younger years and before high school, to high school and beyond. following my passions, Military, Military History, woodworking, scale modeling, my operations, as well as my business Bouma Woodworks. Why this topic is important? Progression is part of life; Autism may be a challenge that we face, but we are not alone. I will give tips about how I progressed, but also struggled in a neuro typical led world. There are many growth avenues to my life that I have grown with over the years. Success and failure can depend on your energy and drive. The impact I and others have on influencing the acceptance of Autism is important, showing strengths as well as being truthful about weaknesses and bettering one's self. What is your viewpoint of Autism, have I improved your vision, widened your perspective?

Target audience: Practitioners, Educators, Researchers, Parents, Individuals on the Autism Spectrum

What is the ACT Matrix and how can it help me? | Monica Peters, M.ADS, BCBA

1) Who is important to you? 2) What are some of the hard things that come up in your day? 3) What do you do to get away from the hard things? 4) What do you do to move towards the people that are important to you? Four questions asked to increase psychological flexibility and resilience.

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) is an effective treatment model that has been proven to increase psychological flexibility and help people lead valued lives (Polk, Schoendorff, 2014 p. 2). The ACT Matrix is a point of view that takes ACT’s six core principles (cognitive defusion, acceptance, present moment, sense of self, values and committed action) and puts them into 4 quadrants for a practical approach that can be used at home, in clinics, schools, community outreach programs and organizations.

This interactive webinar will go through the ACT Matrix and will give examples on how this tool is used with different populations and in different contexts. It’s not about the content, it’s about the process.

Target audience: Practitioners, Educators, Parents


Session two

Autism Spectrum Disorder and First Responders: Emergency Preparedness and Responding are a Team Endeavor | Kianna Csolle B.Sc., Scott R. McEathron, M.A., MLIS, & Robin Kuhn, Ph.D., BCBA

According to Eric Whitaker (n.d.), “Emergency preparedness is a team sport.” Presumably so is emergency responding; meaning both emergency preparedness and emergency responding are a team endeavor. Emergencies, or situations requiring immediate assistance from first responders, may be managed most efficiently and successfully when all parties involved work together; from the community members directly experiencing the emergency to the first responders who initially assess and attend to the emergency. A team-based approach may also be of benefit when the individual directly experiencing an emergency is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder or another intellectual or developmental disability (ASD-I/DD). This presentation will review (1) what constitutes an emergency and types of emergency situations the ASD-I/DD population may encounter; (2) behavioral strategies for teaching the ASD-I/DD population skills related to preventing and responding effectively during emergencies; and (3) resources and training for first responders in the areas of law enforcement, emergency medicine, and firefighting regarding interacting with individuals diagnosed with ASD-I/DD during emergencies. Suggestions for emergency preparedness for individuals diagnosed with ASD-I/DD and their families, care givers, instructors, and allies will be provided. The need for additional research on behavioral approaches to emergency prevention and preparation among members of the ASD-I/DD population as well as training for emergency personnel will also be discussed.

Target audience: Practitioners, Educators, Researchers, Parents, Individuals on the Autism Spectrum

Supporting Salon Visits | Roxanne Gayle, M.S., BCBA

Children with developmental disabilities sometimes display avoidance responses such as noncompliance, aggression, and vocal refusal when completing healthcare routines. Parents find tasks such as dental appointments and haircuts to be very challenging, and sometimes avoid them completely. Healthcare workers may also refrain from working with such individuals or require intrusive procedures such as restraints. Kupzyk and Allen (2019) reviewed 32 studies that assessed strategies to increase comfort and compliance with healthcare routines in persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. As a result, they concluded that the lack of validated procedures and training has precluded behavioral treatments from becoming routine in the other communities (dental, medical, hair). Although there is literature to support the tips and strategies provided within the presentation, there is still research to be done in this area. Behavioral treatment of childhood phobias and anxiety related to healthcare routines often involves treatment packages that include a variety of components (Kupzyk & Allen, 2019; Shabani & Fisher, 2006). The procedures focus on the individual tolerating the context without avoidance responses and in a calm and compliant manner. This presentation will outline the steps to prepare children with developmental disabilities for healthcare routines, specifically salon visits, based on the current literature. This presentation will provide solid clinical advice for managing haircuts in a systematic way to program for success.

Target audience: Practitioners, Educators, Researchers, Parents, Individuals on the Autism Spectrum

Person-Centered Planning | Ben McNamara, B.Ed, B.A.

Individuals with a developmental disability have long been supported by a model that does not meet their needs. Over the past number of years, we have made great strides to improve the planning and support offered to individuals; moving from a medical model to a social model. This presentation will outline the importance of being person-centered and some of the key actions that can be taken to support individuals with a developmental disability live full and valued lives in all aspects of society.

Target audience: Practitioners, Educators, Researchers, Parents


Session three

Burning the Candle at Both Ends: Preventing Support Staff from Flickering Out | Natalie Driscoll, M.S., BCBA, Rebekah Lee, M.S., BCBA, & Anna Linnehan, M.Ed., BCBA

Autism is a pervasive disorder that impacts 1 out of 59 children in the United States (Center for Disease Control, 2018). Given the rising need for intervention, service delivery providers are faced with many challenges to support children and families. Direct care staff are required to deliver evidence-based interventions and daily instruction that may lead to emotional and physical burn-out. Agencies and schools are faced with delivering high-quality staff training and support systems to ensure direct care staff are provided with the necessary tools and motivation to maintain staff satisfaction and reduce high rates of staff turnover. This presentation will provide predictors of burnout, strategies to prevent staff burnout, and tactics for ongoing staff support. We will review evidence-based practices for supporting staff through many stressors. The topics discussed will be primarily based in behavior analysis. The information presented will coincide with the ethical responsibilities of Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) as supervisors as well as their responsibility to the field of applied behavior analysis.

Target audience: Practitioners, Educators, Direct Support Professionals

Autism, Intellectual Disability, Epilepsy: Pain & Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy on the Spectrum | Harold Doherty, B.A., L.L.B.

I know my 24 year old son with autism, intellectual disability and epilepsy will need residential care and treatment by care providers and professionals who know how ASD, ID and epilepsy combine to affect his needs and behavior.

Target audience: Practitioners, Educators, Researchers, Parents, Individuals on the Autism Spectrum, Government

Let Me Hear Your Voice: Collaboration in Autism Services with Marginalized Groups | Christen Russell, M.S., BCBA, & Asim Javed, M.S., BCBA

In Canada and beyond, disparities in the diagnosis and treatment of Autism, specifically with marginalized groups, are at the forefront of our lives in the midst of a global pandemic. During the presentation, disparities in diagnosis will be discussed. Cultural competence and humility are defined. Action steps to mitigate disparities in Autism services are proposed. Resources for diversity self-assessments and for specific settings, peer reviewed articles, and videos will be provided.

Target audience: Practitioners, Educators, Parents


Session four

Understanding and Intervening on Behavioral Challenges During Covid: A Practical Guide to What Works | Colleen Suzio, M.S., BCBA, & Lisa Tereshko, M.S., BCBA

Covid has presented a unique set of challenges for all. Some of these have included an increase in behavioral difficulties and resistance from children towards their parents. Although these challenges can be frustrating, tiring, and stressful, there are many strategies that can be utilized to help mitigate some of these stressors. We will be discussing the "why's" of behavior and strategies that have been proven to demonstrate success in alleviating these challenges.

Target audience: Educators, Parents

How to Manage Burn-Out and Fatigue for Parents and Caregivers | Calandra Plattner, M.S., BCBA, Sacha Shaw, M.S., BCBA, & Sara Sato, M.S., BCBA

Caregivers of children with special needs can experience fatigue and burn-out which can ultimately interfere with the quality of daily life as well as negatively impact the parent-child relationship. Research studies have demonstrated that parents of a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) experience higher levels of stress and depression than those parents of typically developing children. Many of the factors that contribute to these higher levels of stress have been exacerbated during the COVID-19 pandemic. During this presentation, we will explore ways to identify, manage, and react to these stressors. Additionally, we will discuss an evidence-based intervention that can be used as an opportunity to improve the parent-child relationship through a play based approach. Caregivers and clinicians will benefit from discussion and exploration of ways to combat everyday stressors and those associated with COVID-19 as well as ways in which a play-based approach may improve the parent-child relationship.

Target audience: Practitioners, Educators, Parents

Trauma-informed Care & Neurodiversity | Brian Middleton, M.Ed., BCBA, The "Bearded Behaviorist"

Trauma-informed care is a basic expectation across multiple human services fields, but understanding what it and how it applies to radical behaviorism is essential. There are some false assumptions that have been made about neurodiverse individuals, and without addressing these assumptions or looking at best practices we are missing important opportunties to do what is best for our clients.

Target audience: Practitioners, Educators, Researchers, Parents, Individuals on the Autism Spectrum

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