2014 Conference on Autism

2014 Autism image

Conference Presenters

David Finch

David Finch is a humorist and author of the acclaimed New York Times best-selling memoir, The Journal of Best Practices. Married in 2003 and diagnosed five years later with Asperger syndrome, David has committed himself to relentless self-improvement, sometimes to a comical extent. A former semiconductor engineer turned full-time writer and speaker, David has written for The New York Times, Huffington Post, and Slate, and he writes a relationship blog for Psychology Today. But his greatest accomplishment by far has been learning how to thrive as a family man.

Laura Anderson and Cheryl Smith

Cheryl and Laura have been advocates for autism since 2003. They sit on several State and community committees relating to autism and are the President and President Elect of the Autism Council of Utah. Together they started the Big MAKS, (mom's of autistic kids) a networking and support kind of group for parents. They both have boys who have autism.

Laurie Bowen

Yael Calhoun

Yael Calhoun, MA, MS, RTY, is the Executive Director of GreenTREE Yoga, a nonprofit, and is an author and educator. In addition, she has developed manuals, curriculum, CDs, DVDs on yoga for trauma, children, autism, seniors, and cancer survivors. Yael also does professional development on yoga for compassion fatigue and trauma/vicarious trauma.

Teresa Cardon

Teresa has worked with individuals on the autism spectrum for over 20 years. Dr. Cardon completed her doctoral training in Speech & Hearing Science with an autism emphasis and is currently the Director of Autism Studies at Utah Valley University. Dr. Cardon has published her research on autism in peer-reviewed journals and presents at conferences both nationally and internationally.

Download materials from Teresa's Initiations & Interaction session here.

Holli Child

Holli Child graduated from BYU with a degree in Early Child Education. In addition to obtaining her degree Holli has also had four years of experience working with children on the Autism Spectrum. She is currently a teacher at Clear Horizons Academy. Holli has always had a love of working with children and fostering language development in the children.

Julia Connelly

Julia Connelly is the Clinical Director at the ASDC. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Utah in School Psychology in 2006 and has been involved with autism research and treatment since working with Dr. Sally Ozonoff as an undergraduate student. Her research has focused on interventions to treat problematic behaviors in individuals with autism spectrum disorders. Her current focus is on providing ASD assessments across the life span, providing behavioral consultations and supports, being a school liaison for families, and engaging in individual and family therapy addressing behavior problems and difficulties relating to mood disorders and anxiety in children, adolescents, and adults with ASD.

Kristina Cottle

Kristina Cottle is a graduate student at the University of Utah, School Psychology Ph.D. program. She works at the Autism Spectrum Disorder Clinic (ASDC) at the University of Utah, and is a Utah Regional Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (URLEND) trainees.

LauraLee Gillespie

LauraLee Gillespie, an attorney at the Disability Law Center, focuses her practice in special education and Vocational Rehabilitation disputes. As a former public educator she brings a unique understanding to her work with the Utah Department of Education. She received her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Weber State University in 1996. For seven years she taught first grade in Provo School District and held team and technology leadership positions. Following her teaching experience in Utah she taught Physical Education in Washington State to Kindergarten, First Grade and individuals with disabilities in a self contained classroom. While teaching she received her paralegal certificate at the University of Washington. A 2011 S. J. Quinney College of Law graduate and a 2012 Utah State Bar Licenses attorney, Ms. Gillespie loves the work she has been involved in at the Disability Law Center since 2009.

Tracy Golden

Tracy Golden completed her doctorate in Social Work at the University of Utah in December, 2011, and will be awarded her degree in May, 2012. Her research interests are around the unique patterns of relating that parents develop with their children with autism. Ms. Golden is currently a trainee at the Utah Regional Leadership Education in Neuro-developmental and Related Disabilities Program (URLEND) participating on the autism enhancement track. Ms. Golden has been involved in the disability field since 2004. She helped co-found Utah Families for Effective Autism Treatment and served as vice president. She is also a collaborating member of the Utah Autism Council, the State of Utah “Learn the Signs. Act Early” Team, the Maturation Work Group for Children with Developmental Disabilities, and the Utah Autism Project (a volunteer organization serving Latino families). Her interest in the Utah Act Early Program arose from her belief that parents should have opportunities for early detection in order to access early intervention. She is particularly interested in increasing identification of developmental disabilities in underserved populations. Ms. Golden joined the faculty in the Behavioral Science Department of the UVU College of Humanities and Social Sciences in 2013.

Rhonda J. Greenhaw

Rhonda J. Greenhaw, , MA, BCBA is the Director of the Hussman Center for Adults with Autism at Towson University, one of the world’s largest university-based centers for adult autism. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst who has focused her work with adults and adolescents on the autism spectrum. She conducts trainings nationally and internationally, recently becoming an international Professional Fellow of the U.S. State Department’s Empower Project, in which she provided trainings to disability organizations in Novi Sad, Serbia. She also consults with organizations around the country to assist them in providing assessments, services and programs for people on the spectrum from a strengths-based model of disabilities. In addition to leading the Hussman Center for Adults with Autism, Ms. Greenhaw presents at national and international conferences on the topics of autism, adults with autism, autism and culture, is a developer and trainer of programs about autism for first responders, and has written numerous articles and a soon to be released chapter in a text on autism. Ms. Greenhaw is also the parent of a daughter with autism who turned twelve in January which makes her work very personally rewarding.

Julia Hermansen

Julia is currently a Master’s student in the Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis program at Utah State University under the supervision of Dr. Thomas Higbee. Her thesis research investigated the use of activity schedules with adults with intellectual disability in a day program setting. Julia will graduate in April 2014. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Utah State University as well. She started working for Chrysalis in the spring of 2009 as a behavior assistant in Logan, UT. Most recently, Julia is working as a Behavior Analyst student for Chrysalis.

Hyun Uk Kim

Dr. Hyun Uk Kim is an Assistant Professor of Special Education program in the Department of Psychological & Educational Consultation. She has extensive experience working with children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). In 2009, she was awarded an international fellowship at the Bundang Seoul National Hospital in Korea, where she collaborated with mental health professionals and offered a series of workshops to the public on ASD.

Spencer Mack

Spencer F. Mack, CLU ChFC ChSNC is a financial planner and one of only two Chartered Special Needs Consultants in Utah. Spencer has served families with their financial needs since 1979. He focuses on connecting families with resources in their communities and on helping them build life plans for their special-needs children. He currently lives in Orem, Utah with his wife, Jane. They have seven children and twenty grandchildren -- two with autism and one with Down Syndrome.

Todd Mack

Dr. Todd K. Mack received a PhD in Iberian and Latin American Cultures from Stanford University in 2012. He specializes in the literatures and cultures of the Iberian Peninsula and in artistic representations of autism. He currently teaches at Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah where he lives with his wife and their four children – two of which are on the spectrum.

Bill McMahon

Dr. Bill McMahon is Chairman of Psychiatry at the University of Utah. He is a child and adolescent psychiatrist with over 3 decades experience as a clinician, teacher and research scientist. He has participated in Utah and national autism epidemiology studies and the international Autism Genome Project. He is currently completing the follow up study of Utah adults who were originally identified as children with autism in a statewide epidemiology study 30 years ago.

Esperanza Reyes

Esperanza Reyes is a Parent Consultant with the UPC and a member of the iSTAR research team. Her education includes a BA in Linguistics and one in Sociology. She is finishing her MS in Human Development and Social Policy, with a Graduate Certificate in Disability Studies. Her main academic interest lies in the transition to adulthood and employment for youth with ASD.

Chloe Ruebeck

Chloe Ruebeck is a graduate student at the University of Utah, School Psychology Ph.D. program, and is also a School Psychologist at a high school in the Salt Lake area. She also works at the Autism Spectrum Disorder Clinic (ASDC) at the University of Utah, where she co-leads the adolescent group. Chloe is also a Utah Regional Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (URLEND) trainee.

Mikle South

Mikle South received a B.A. in psychology from Yale University in 1994 and a PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Utah in 2005. After returning to Yale for a post-doctoral fellowship in neuroimaging of childhood problems, Dr. South began work at Brigham Young University where he is currently an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience. Dr. South’s research uses a variety of techniques to study links between the brain and behavior in autism spectrum conditions, especially regarding the influence of emotion on thinking in autism. When not working, Dr. South enjoys playing soccer, eating waffles, or watching the show White Collar on Netflix.

Jared Stewart

Jared Stewart, M.Ed., was named the 2011 Educator of the Year by the National Association of Private Special Education Centers (NAPSEC). He is the director of education at Provo’s ScenicView Academy, and an adjunct professor at UVU. After graduating Magna Cum Laude from BYU he has spent the past decade working with adolescents and adults with autism, and has shared his views on the techniques and mindsets that lead to improved outcomes for individuals on the autism spectrum with many local and national audiences. His passion for the subject arises from personal experience: he has family members on the spectrum and has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Maria Wiscombe

Maria Wiscombe has been involved with helping families who have children with special needs/special healthcare needs connect to information and resources for 13 years. She has been involved with the Epilepsy Association of Utah, Medical Home Project, Utah Family Voices Family to Family Health and Information Network, Family to Family Network and Utah Parent Center. She is currently a District Consultant for the Utah Parent Center and works with families in Alpine School District. Maria has a daughter who has a seizure disorder and autism.

Conference Sessions

Opening Keynote – David Finch, – (Grande Ballroom – 9am – 9:50 am)

David Finch, author of the New York Times Bestseller, The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man's Quest to Be a Better Husbandwill open our conference with a fun and informative look at living with autism. Filled with humor and surprising wisdom, David will share his candid story of ruthless self-improvement, a unique window into living with an autism spectrum condition, and proof that a true heart can conquer all.

Morning Concurrent Sessions

10 am

Preparing Individuals on the Autism Spectrum for Adulthood – Rhonda Greenhaw (Centre Stage – 10am-10:50am)

Based upon her experiences as a clinician, researcher and designer of programs for young adults on the autism spectrum, Rhonda Greenhaw will examine critical experiences, attitudes and information that young people living with ASD must be provided with and exposed to in order to maximize their capacities. Participants will develop understanding about the challenges young adults on the spectrum experience, what information these young adults are lacking, and how to create opportunity for young adults to grow and learn in unexpected ways that lead to incredible gains in abilities. Attendees will learn about the program experiences of the Hussman Center at Towson University, and the lessons they have learned developing one of the world’s largest university-based centers focused on adult autism.

10 Comprehensive Life Care Planning Steps – Spencer Mack (SC 206A 10am – 10:50 am)

Join Spencer Mack, one of only two Chartered Special Needs Consultants in Utah, as he gives an overview of the Ten Comprehensive Life Care Planning Steps which will help families build life plans for their special-needs children. Along with other valuable information, participants will have the opportunity to receive a template for preparing the Letter of Intent, which can serve as the family’s ‘Handbook of Instructions’ for the future.

Across Cultures: Rethinking Autism – Hyun Uk Kim (SC 206B 10am – 10:50 am)

Whereas the autism prevalence rate has been very closely monitored in the United States since the 1960’s, there are many countries where no equivalent work has been done. This may be attributed to the fact that autism is differently constructed and viewed socially in other cultures and countries. Based upon field notes, interviews, and observations of family members and professionals in three different countries, Dr. Kim will share her insight into this difference. These cultural explorations can teach us more about having less restrictive attitudes and to more appreciate individual difference or ‘neurodiversity’ in everyone.

Why Was I Fired? Job-keeping Social Skills for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders – Kali Hall and Lynnette Jewell (SC 206C 10am – 10:50 am )

In today’s workplace it is not enough to have an education or marketable work skills to be successful. While they are necessary to get hired, adults with ASD often lack the social understanding needed to keep their jobs. According to a study of a corporation who hire MBA’s, “the three most desired capabilities are communication skills, interpersonal skills and initiative – all of which are elements of emotional intelligence” (Caudron, 1999). This presentation will focus on challenges that adults with ASD face in the work place, how to teach resiliency, self-advocacy, workplace social rules, emotional management among other soft skills, and how to work with supervisors to get the best out of adults with ASD.

IEPs and Section 504 Plans - Maria Wiscombe and LauraLee Gillespie (SC 213A – 10am-11:50am)

Join Maria Wiscombe from the Utah Parent Center and LauraLee Gillespie from the Disability Law Center, for this useful and insightful discussion on common issues parents are confronted with in public schools (districts and charter schools) when seeking special education or Section 504 services. Questions such as: how can parents be effective members of the IEP team, what is an appropriate educational placement for a student with Autism, what are the differences between an IEP and a Section 504 plan, what are the common legal issues parents can face, and what are the rights under the law (including such areas as restraint, seclusion, suspension and expulsion) for students with an ASD diagnosis will be reviewed. NOTE: EXTENDED SESSION (110 minutes)

Download session material here

Autism: A Survival Guide for Caregivers – Laura Anderson and Cheryl Smith, Utah Autism Council (SC 213B 10am-10:50am) NOTE: This session will be repeated at 2pm in SC 213A

Finding and retaining caregivers for children and adults with autism can be challenging and frustrating. This presentation will preview the new Caregivers Survival DVD recently produced in collaboration with SaharaCares, Clear Horizons and the Autism Council of Utah. The purpose of this session, and the DVD, is to educate families and potential caregivers who may be interested in providing support and home respite services for the family caring for an individual with autism. Suggestions and professional recommendations for dealing with the unique behaviors and challenges associated with autism will be offered, along with messages from parents, volunteers and caregivers currently receiving or providing those services.

11 am

Initiations & Interactions: Communication Strategies for Children with ASD – Teresa Cardon, PhD – (Centre Stage 11am-11:50am)

Come and learn how to help your child discover the power of initiation! Learn to follow your child’s lead and create meaningful interactions out of everyday activities and special interests. We will discuss creating communication environments and providing intervention in natural settings. The session will focus on strategies to support the whole child including sensory and music activities, play skills, visual supports, emergent literacy and much, much more! Specific techniques, along with video clips, will be introduced so that participants leave the workshop with useful strategies they can implement in their own settings! No matter what your current role is, parent or provider, this session will provide tools that are meaningful and practical.

Download session material here

Creating Learning Environments – Holli Child (SC 206 A - 11am-11:50am)

Creating opportunities for students to have success is extremely important to social, emotional, behavioral and academic growth. This session will focus on creating environments where students can be successful. Join Holli as she demonstrates ways to foster academic growth through physical environment, effective communication, visual supports and social interaction.

Plan for the Future: Employment and Higher Education – Esperanza Reyes (SC 206 B - 11am-11:50am)

This session will help families and care givers to understand how vocational rehabilitation can be involved in a student’s current IEP or Section 504 plan as they plan for future and employment goals. Participants will also gain understanding about Vocational Rehabilitation programs and services, as well as the services for students with disabilities who plan on attending a college/university or college of applied technology.

Representations of Autism in Popular Culture – Todd Mack, PhD (SC 206 C – 11am-11:50am)

We are all aware that autism is being represented with increasing frequency in the media. In this entertaining, interactive and informative presentation, Dr. Mack will highlight how popular television shows such as Parenthood, The Middle, Big Bang Theory, Bones, Doc Martin and others can help us see autism from different angles – the angle of the parent, the angle of the person with autism, and the angle of the neurotypical outsider. In seeing how autism affects others, and in thinking about how other people work through the challenges associated with autism, viewers are also given the chance to reflect on how they are being affected and how they are working through those challenges in their own lives. This session will present tools that will help individuals learn from, and get the most out of, shows they quite possible already watch. NOTE: This session will be repeated at 3pm in SC 206 B

Activity Schedules – Julia Hermansen (SC 213B 11am – 11:50 am)

How many times has your calendar on your phone or computer buzzed at you to remind you to complete a task or attend a meeting? Often we require calendars, electronic devices and or the classic ‘Post-It Note’ to remind us to get started on something. People living with autism are no different in needing a little ‘nudge’ here and there to remind them to begin a task. The need for these reminders or prompts often becomes an obstacle to an individual’s ability to be more independent. This presentation will dive into one solution that has been found through research to be effective in helping people with autism do activities independently.

LUNCHEON (Grande Ballroom 12 noon – 1pm)

Afternoon Concurrent Sessions

1 pm

Adult Outcomes of Children Diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) – William McMahon, PhD (Centre Stage – 1pm – 1:50 pm)

Dr. McMahon will review results in the Utah statewide epidemiologic sample of children with ASD first assessed in 1984-1988, who have now been re-assessed as adults nearly 30 years later. In addition, new information will be reviewed regarding adults with autism spectrum disorder, who were not diagnosed with ASD as children.

The Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS) – Kristina Cottle, Chloe Ruebeck and Julia Connelly (SC 206B 1pm – 2:50pm) NOTE: EXTENDED SESSION (110 minutes)

This session will review the PEERS program, which is based largely on the structure and experiences of the evidence based Children’s Friendship Training (CFT) created by researchers at UCLA. The program uses developmental research principles to teach age appropriate friendship building and maintaining techniques. Parents and adolescents with high functioning autism spectrum disorder or related disorders benefit from the evidence based curriculum. Presenters from the Autism Spectrum Disorder Clinic will outline how they have adapted the program to meet the needs of adolescents in an outpatient setting, and the positive results they have seen.

Practicing Authentic Self-Care – Laurie Bowen (SC 206C 1pm-1:50pm)

Parents with children with special needs, including autism, often find themselves navigating in an unexpected world of responsibilities and altered expectations. Often in a desire to give their child every opportunity, it is common for the parent to dedicate a majority of their time to serving and assisting their child to become their best. This can add extra stress and burdens that other parents may not be facing or understand. This session will focus on helping caregivers ensure that they are practicing authentic self-care. Self-care principles such as using mindful prioritization, dedicated time investment, ways to increase personal support system building through strategic planning with be reviewed. Also ways and techniques to simplify areas of stress and burdens common to those living with Autism Spectrum Disorders will also be addressed.

Download session materials here

2 pm

Anxiety, Depression and Autism: Current Research and Implications for Treatment – Mikle South, PhD (Centre Stage 2pm-3:50pm) NOTE: EXTENDED SESSION (110 minutes)

Significant symptoms of anxiety and depression may occur in up to 80% of individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Often these difficulties with emotion regulation cause as much difficulty for individuals, families and care systems as the autism symptoms themselves. This extended session presentation will review findings on anxiety and depression in ASD, including information on prevalence – but more importantly on characterization of the nature of these problems in autism, for example related to cutting-edge applications such as ‘fear of negative evaluation’, and ‘intolerance of uncertainty’. Dr. South will summarize his new research program at Brigham Young University, and discuss how to translate his findings into meaningful interventions.

Download session materials here

Understanding Neurotypicals (NTs): A Primer – Tracy Golden, PhD and Teresa Cardon, PhD (SC 206A 2pm – 2:50pm) NOTE: This presentation is best suited for anyone who is touched by individuals with higher functioning autism (what is formerly known as Asperger’s Syndrome). NOTE: This session will be repeated at 3pm in SC 206A

Because individuals with autism constitute a minority of our population, it is easy to categorize them as ‘different’ and ‘other’. This categorization tends to marginalize and misrepresent individuals with autism by assuming that characteristics of people with autism need to be ‘normalized’. Through humor, this presentation will turn that perspective upside down by showing what is ‘normal’ about autism, and what may appear ‘crazy’ about neurotypical behavior.

Parent Panel – Jared Stewart, Moderator (SC 206 C 2pm – 2:50pm)

Join Jared Stewart as he leads a discussion focused on parenting the autistic adolescent or adult. Panelists will share their personal experiences ( triumphs, failures, joys and concerns) and ways they have approached the changes growing up brings to their children.

Autism: A Survival Guide for Caregivers – Laura Anderson and Cheryl Smith, Utah Autism Council (SC 213B 2 pm-2:50 pm) NOTE: REPEATED SESSION

Finding and retaining caregivers for children and adults with autism can be challenging and frustrating. This presentation will preview the new Caregivers Survival DVD recently produced in collaboration with SaharaCares, Clear Horizons and the Autism Council of Utah. The purpose of this session, and the DVD, is to educate families and potential caregivers who may be interested in providing support and home respite services for the family caring for an individual with autism. Suggestions and professional recommendations for dealing with the unique behaviors and challenges associated with autism will be offered, along with messages from parents, volunteers and caregivers currently receiving or providing those services.

Simple Yoga Breaks for Compassion Fatigue, and for Students, Clients and Families – Yael Calhoun (SC 206 B – 3pm- 3:50pm)

This session will provide professionals and caregivers with the tools to use simple yoga stretching and breathing breaks for both self-care and use with clients, students and/or families with ASD. The session will address the science of yoga, applications for working with people with ASD and will include experiential learning. It includes free support materials so that professionals can both use and share the yoga breaks easily and with confidence.

3 pm

Understanding Neurotypicals (NTs): A Primer – Tracy Golden, PhD and Teresa Cardon, PhD (SC 206A 2pm – 2:50pm) NOTE: This presentation is best suited for anyone who is touched by individuals with higher functioning autism (what is formerly known as Asperger’s Syndrome). NOTE: REPEATED SESSION

Because individuals with autism constitute a minority of our population, it is easy to categorize them as ‘different’ and ‘other’. This categorization tends to marginalize and misrepresent individuals with autism by assuming that characteristics of people with autism need to be ‘normalized’. Through humor, this presentation will turn that perspective upside down by showing what is ‘normal’ about autism, and what may appear ‘crazy’ about neurotypical behavior.

Representations of Autism in Popular Culture – Todd Mack, PhD (SC 206 B – 11am-11:50am)

We are all aware that autism is being represented with increasing frequency in the media. In this entertaining, interactive and informative presentation, Dr. Mack will highlight how popular television shows such as Parenthood, The Middle, Big Bang Theory, Bones, Doc Martin and others can help us see autism from different angles – the angle of the parent, the angle of the person with autism, and the angle of the neurotypical outsider. In seeing how autism affects others, and in thinking about how other people work through the challenges associated with autism, viewers are also given the chance to reflect on how they are being affected and how they are working through those challenges in their own lives. This session will present tools that will help individuals learn from, and get the most out of, shows they quite possible already watch. NOTE: REPEATED SESSION

Adult Relationships and Autism: A Panel Discussion – Jared Stewart, Moderator (SC 206 C – 3pm- 3:50pm)

Having a successful healthy relationship is a wonderfully challenging experience for all who pursue it. But how do things change when your partner is diagnosed with autism? Join Jared Stewart as he leads a discussion focused on marriage, partnership, dating and falling in love within the world of autism.

Teaching Self-Determination – Esperanza Reyes (SC 213 A 1pm-1:50 pm)

Join Esperanza as she discusses how to effectively support adults with disabilities in the post-secondary years. Learn how to be a mentor to the young adult as he/she learns how to manage his/her own life. A self-determined person can set goals, make decision, speak for themselves and solve problems on their own. But it’s up to those who care of them most to help lead the way. This session will help family members and care givers to achieve this objective.


Autism 2013

2013 Conference on Autism

The UVU Colleges of Humanities and Social Sciences and College of Science and Health are pleased to present the annual UVU Conference on Autism. This single-day event will be held on Friday, April 12th from 9am until 4pm in the Sorensen Student Center on UVU campus.

While still in the planning stages, the conference program is expected to feature a keynote presentation and 20 concurrent presentations intended to help participants investigate various aspects of ASD. The program will feature multiple-session tracks meeting the interests/needs of students, professionals, families and service providers. The conference also plans to feature informational booths sponsored by various service and support vendors from throughout the state.

Last year, over 40 presenters participated in the symposium, representing community members, professionals and educators specializing in research - all volunteering their time and insight. Nearly 600 participants attended. This year we expect the number to increase based upon public interest and previous participation.

For a listing of conference presenters click here
For a selection of photos from the conference click here


Autism 2012

2012 Conference on Autism

The Utah Valley University College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and College of Science and Health are pleased to present the 2012 Conference on Autism. The conference is planned for Friday, April 20th in the Sorensen Student Center on UVU Campus.

The conference is designed to provide basic information on a broad variety of topics associated with Autism. Presenters will include clinical professionals, medical and genetic researchers, service providers, parents of autistic children, educators and support organization representatives. Anyone with an interest in autism or a need for information on the topic will find valuable insight offered in this one-day conference.

Beginning at 9am, the conference will open with a Keynote address. Our keynote speakers will be Chris and Jacqui Gauthier, and special guest Lindsey Nebeker.

Concurrent sessions will begin at 10am. Featuring topics such as:

  • Autism in Adulthood: A Personal and Professional Look at ASD Across the Lifespan
  • The DSM-5 Proposal
  • Marital Strength Training: Keeping Your Marriage Strong When Your Child Has Autism
  • Bullet-Proof Parenting
  • Sibling Relationships and ASD
  • Building Your Unique Autism Community
  • Transitioning Adults With Autism Into Employment
  • Stress and Coping Strategies in Fathers
  • The Continuums of Autism: Cognition, Sensory Processing and Behavior
  • ....and much, much more!

A luncheon will be provided at noon with featured keynote speaker Dr. Valerie Hu. Dr. Hu is a leading researcher specializing in ASD. Her research is ground-breaking and has already had a positive impact on the future of ASD treatment and services.

Concurrent sessions will continue in the afternoon on the hour. The conference will conclude at 4pm.

The conference will also feature numerous informational exhibit booths hosted by Autism services providers. Conference attendees will have the opportunity to meet with these providers and secure much needed information on services available to meet the challenges facing individuals with autism and their families.

For a listing of conference presenters click here
To download a copy of the 2013 program click here
For a selection of photos from the conference click here


Autism 2011

2011 Conference on Autism

The Utah Valley University College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and College of Science and Health are pleased to present the 2011 Mental Health Symposium: Focus on Autism Conference. The conference is planned for Monday, April 11th 2011 in the Sorensen Student Center.

The conference is designed to provide basic information on a broad variety of topics associated with Autism. Presenters will include clinical professionals, medical and genetic researchers, service providers, parents of autistic children, educators and support organization representatives. Anyone with an interest in autism or a need for information on the topic will find valuable insight offered in this one-day conference.

Beginning at 9am, the conference will open with a 2-hour Forum Discussion. The Forum will feature presenters who will highlight key elements of their full concurrent session presentations scheduled for later in the day. It is designed to provide solid information in a very short timeframe for those who may be unable to dedicate the entire day to conference attendance.

A luncheon will follow the Forum at noon, and feature our keynote speaker JaLynn Prince. Mrs. Prince is the Founder and President of Madison House Foundation, named after her 20 year old son, Madison, who has severe autism. The Madison House Foundation benefits individuals with autism as they transition to adulthood. Madison House has sponsored many conferences and round table discussions, educating hundreds of parents and professionals on various aspects of autism. In 1999, Ms. Prince was named the National Young Mother of the Year. Her platform consisted of issues facing families of children with disabilities, which she presented to numerous national and international audiences. She is on the Johns Hopkins University School of Education Advisory Board, the Utah Valley University School of Humanities and Social Sciences Advisory Board, and the American Mothers Inc. National Board.

At 1pm the conference continues with a selection of concurrent sessions. Sessions will feature topics such as:

  • Legal Rights Workshop: what are the legal rights of autistic individuals and what sources of legal assistance are available to them
  • You Have a Diagnosis – Now What: designed to answer some of the initial questions parents have following a child’s diagnosis – what will my child’s future look like, how will they progress within the school system, how can I help them develop to their full potential – and more.
  • Genetic Research – what are the latest findings and trends in autism-related genetic research? How does it impact the future of autism-related services and education?
  • Teaching Basic Life Skills – how can I help my child understand the importance of ordinary life skills like personal hygiene, interpersonal contact, how to make friends and what is socially acceptable behavior? Autism professionals will offer insight and practical information to help answer these hard questions.

Sessions will run on the hour and the conference will conclude at 5pm.

The conference will also feature numerous informational exhibit booths hosted by Autism services providers. Conference attendees will have the opportunity to meet with these providers and secure much needed information on services available to meet the challenges facing individuals with autism and their families.

We invite anyone interested in autism and autism-related topics to join us. Registration fees are $19 for advance registration (until April 4th), and $29 at the door. This fee includes lunch, parking, shuttle transportation from the parking areas and all materials. Private shuttle transportation will be provided for conference attendees from the parking area to the Sorensen Student Center. The shuttle will pick-up and drop off every 15 minutes from Parking areas Y and V. A parking map and additional information can be found on our conference website under the tab titled Parking.

If you have questions or need additional information please feel free to call 801-863-6816.

We hope to see you on April 11th!

For a listing of conference presenters click here
To download a copy of the program click here