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Breakout Sessions

Please select one of the following breakout sessions to learn more about the presentations:



Breakout session one

Coaching School Teams to Success: Supporting Effective Implementation of Behavioural Strategies in Schools (Interactive Lecture)

Date/Time: Thursday, Nov. 4 | 10:45 a.m. to 11:45 a.m.
Presenter:
Shelley McLean, M.Ed., BCBA
CEUs: 1

There is an extensive body of research indicating that interventions based on the science of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) and behavioural principles have the highest likelihood of effectiveness when helping individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) build new skills or change behaviours that may interfere with learning and school success (Steinbrenner et. al, 2020; National Standards Report, 2015). We often think about the application, and implication, of behavioural principles for learners, and do not necessarily consider a much bigger picture - that the fundamental principles that form the foundation of ABA represent the basic science of learning and behaviour for everyone. So, while educators often consider how to make strategic use of behavioural principles and interventions to support learners with ASD, diverse needs, and behavioural challenges, the value of intentionally incorporating those same principles and strategies to help teachers and school teams build new skills may not always be considered. The science of human behaviour can provide school and district leaders, coaches, mentors, leads, and others who support teachers and school teams with a set of tools to help all educators incorporate high-impact instructional strategies and improve student outcomes at all levels. Getting there requires an intentional, systematic, and deliberate approach to coaching in the school context, which will be the focus of this session.

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Aging and Autism: Strategies for Research, Practice, and Policy for Autism in Later Life (Interactive Lecture)

Date/Time: Friday, Nov. 5 | 9 a.m. to 10:10 a.m.
Presenter:
Caroline Jose, Ph.D.
CEUs: N/A

Many autistic individuals experience health and cognitive dysfunction beginning in childhood. Many of these same health and functional issues are often observed in the neurotypical population including the elderly. Some of these ongoing and emergent issues include immune and gastrointestinal disorders, reduction in bone density, sleep disorders, sensory sensitivities, weight management as well as challenges in executive and cognitive function. Over the past decade, there has been a growing interest in adults on the autistic spectrum, and more recently, the challenges related to aging in this population. A two-day Think Tank meeting, focused on aging in autism, was convened amongst international leaders in the field of autism research and practice. This meeting included a series of presentations addressing the current status of aging research, followed by discussions regarding priorities going forward. Attendees shared their thoughts and concerns regarding community services, government policies, societal perspectives and physical and mental health. The goal of these discussions was to consider systematic approaches aimed at providing meaningful supports that can ensure a quality of life for seniors on the autism spectrum. Common practices in research, community services, policy, and societal discourses have variably and often insufficiently rendered autistic adults as central in commentary and planning about aspects pertaining to their own lives, including how autistic individuals are viewed and supported. The group argued that 'engagement as central' needs to underpin adult and aging-based research and policy decision-making in autism. During this presentation, I will discuss specific aspects of this 'engagement' need and examples of best practices.

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Breakout session two

Mental Health on the Spectrum (Interactive Lecture)

Date/Time: Thursday, Nov. 4 | 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Presenter:
Aaron Bouma
CEUs: N/A

This presentation will be on Autism and Mental Health, and will focus on the personal journey of presenter Aaron Bouma. It will also include discussions of what it was like being a part of the York University Autism Mental Health Literacy Project.

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Implementing Meaningful and Respectful Interventions: Creating goals that matter across the lifespan (Lecture-based)

Date/Time: Thursday, Nov. 4 | 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Presenter:
Shanna Bahry, M.A., BCBA, LABA, SLPA
Co-presenters: Jessica Cauchi, M.S., BCBA & Natalie M. Driscoll, M.Ed., BCBA, LABA
CEUs: 1

This presentation will discuss the process for choosing and individualizing goals that matter. Tools will be provided to empower parents to advocate for goals that are highly individualized and important to them. Additionally, supports will be outlined to help professionals work with parents throughout this goal selection process to promote social validity and the best outcomes possible for individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities.

Examples and non-examples of functional, socially valid goals will be presented, as well as recommendations on how to individualize goal writing and apply clinical judgment to use assessments and curricula as guides and not roadmaps. The focus will be on the dynamic nature of meaningful outcomes for individuals with disabilities across the lifespan. Methods to create programming to support meaningful goals will be shared, as well as recommendations regarding use of individualized strengths and learning style within teaching applied skills.

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It Takes a Village to Reach Success (Lecture-based)

Date/Time: Thursday, Nov. 4 | 12 p.m. to 1 p.m.
Presenter:
Dorothy Chitty, Ph.D., Registered Psychologist
CEUs: N/A

Efficient intervention for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is about involving their communities starting with their families and caregivers. Nova Scotia Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention (NS EIBI) is a program for preschoolers with ASD; it has a strong focus on building capacity in evidencebased intervention that has had a positive ripple effect for the communities within this province. The approach of the NS EIBI program has been a gradual influence that started with creating a program that can be supported in the community and moved to being able to influence the broader supports including schools and other services for these children. This presentation will discuss the components of the NS EIBI program that have contributed to setting the village (i.e., the child’s community) up for success to better support the children.

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Breakout session three

Adapting CBT for ASD: Adapting CBT and Related Mental Health Treatments for Individuals on the Autism Spectrum (Lecture-based)

Date/Time: Friday, Nov. 5 | 9 a.m. to 10:10 a.m.
Presenter:
Barbara D’Entremont, Ph.D., L.Psych.
CEUs: N/A

Individuals with ASD have higher rates of co-occurring mental health conditions than the general population. Common co-occurring conditions vary with age but include depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorder, eating disorders and oppositional defiant disorder (Brookman-Frazee et al., 2018; Nahar et al., 2018). Individuals with ASD are also at higher risk of exposure to potentially traumatic events and experience higher rates of suicide than the general population (Cassidy et al.,2014; Hoch-Yousseff, 2020. Unfortunately, Canadian mental health services are failing to meet the needs of these individuals (Lake et al., 2014). Providing training to professionals to increase their confidence in adapting psychological therapies for autism is one way to fill this gap (Cooper et al., 2018). I will present a model for understanding the mental health challenges of this population as well as a case conceptualization model (Gaus, 2019). I will then divide treatment approaches into 3 areas: addressing issues related to ASD; addressing cooccurring mental health problems; addressing emotion regulation problems. Within each area, I will provide specific suggestions for adaptations. I will attempt to include material relevant to children and adults but the presentation will not be lifespan per se. This presentation is intended as an introduction to the topic for those who provide mental health services for autistic individuals. I hope that attendees will acquire a framework for understanding and treating mental health conditions of autistic individuals, as well as some concrete ideas to make their practices more "autism friendly".

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Pairing Before Instruction: A Process to Build Rapport, Strengthen Engagement, and Support Learning (Interactive Lecture)

Date/Time: Friday, Nov. 5 | 9 a.m. to 10:10 a.m.
Presenter: Catherine Breault, M.Ed., BCBA
Co-presenters: Anam Shuaib & Natalie Leger, Learning Specialists for Provincial Autism Training, Autism Learning Partnership Branch, EECD
CEUs: 1

Pairing is the process in which an educator associates themselves with reinforcement. An important first step in working with students with autism spectrum disorder, pairing helps build and maintain rapport and occurs when the educator engages the student in fun ways while providing items and activities the student likes. Sometimes overlooked or dismissed, pairing is a critical component for engagement and learning, as it helps build a positive working relationship that supports cooperation with demands, reduces the likelihood of challenging behaviour, and sets the stage for better learning outcomes. This presentation will provide an overview of the research that supports the rationale for pairing as a means for improving engagement and cooperation during instruction; recommendations for how individuals can pair themselves and learning environments with reinforcement; and suggestions for determining how often and how long to engage in pairing to meet individual students' needs.

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Generalize for Generalization's Sake: Using generalization strategies to generalize the application of your interventions

Date/Time: Friday, Nov. 5 | 9 a.m. to 10:10 a.m.
Presenter:
Rachel Platt, BCBA
CEUs: 1

Receiving clinical interventions and attempting to add them into your currently busy day can be overwhelming. Research has demonstrated that embedding generalization into an intervention can increase the likelihood that the skill will generalize to new people, environments, stimuli, etc. Although more clinicians are adding certain elements of generalization training in their interventions this presentation will demonstrate how the use of less popular generalization techniques can be used to expand the reach of their intervention. This approach will focus on how clinical interventions can use generalization techniques to aid in their implementation with parents, teachers, early childhood educators and other clinicians in a motivating way despite the barriers life presents.

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Breakout session four

ASD-Specific Housing (Lecture-based)

Date/Time: Friday, Nov. 5 | 10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.
Presenter:
Sharon Penney, Ph.D.
Co-presenters: Kimberly Maich, Ph.D. & Robyn Cossitt, M.A.
CEUs: N/A

This presentation will provide the qualitative findings of a needs assessment conducted in Newfoundland and Labrador (NL), Canada, exploring the experiences of adults with autism attempting to secure and maintain housing. The research team interviewed adults with ASD, parents and caregivers of adults with ASD, and service providers to adults with ASD. These interviews explored the current needs, barriers and experiences participants faced when accessing and maintaining housing across four regional health authorities. Thematic analysis of the interview transcripts reviewed three key themes: accessibility, developmentally appropriate practices, and persisting discrimination and vulnerability.

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Making Mealtimes More Enjoyable: Addressing Food Selectivity Challenges

Date/Time: Friday, Nov. 5 | 10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.
Presenter:
Dr. Lisa Tereshko, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Co-Presenter: Dr. Mary Jane Weiss, Ph.D., BCBA-D
CEUs: N/A

Difficulties with eating and with tolerating a variety of foods is common in children with autism. Behaviors can be challenging, and family time can be disrupted. In this presentation, we will review a variety of intervention approaches that can be implemented by caregivers to address these issues. Furthermore, we will discuss intervention choices in the context of acceptability by family members, social validity, and generalization. Ethical considerations will also be reviewed.

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Assent in ABA: The Role of Assent in Behavior Analytic Practice

Date/Time: Friday, Nov. 5 | 10:15 a.m. to 11:15 a.m.
Presenter: Anna Linnehan, M.Ed., BCBA, LABA
Co-presenters: Asim Javed, M.S., BCBA; Sheila Klick, M.Ed, BCBA; & Ashley Creem, M.Ed., BCBA. LBA, LABA
CEUs: 1

Given the recent call to foster compassionate care (Taylor, et al., 2018 ) and equity in the therapeutic relationship, the field of behavior analysis has reached a critical point of shifting toward an emphasis on collaboration between the practitioner and the client. Under these conditions, it is imperative to consider the many questions that arise related to the role of assent within the therapeutic relationship. As behavior analysts, we can look within our own science to build a framework for establishing equity; balancing essential rights between choice and habilitation (Bannerman, et al., 1990), establishing an individual's rights to effective treatment (Van Houten, et al., 1988) and analysis of programs to reduce coercion (Goldiamond, 1976). Within this framework, we will discuss how to increase choice alternatives for reinforcement (degrees of freedom) and ultimately, optimize happiness for practitioners and clients.

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