UVU Conference on Autism

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About

Utah Valley University is pleased to announce the UVU Conference on Autism Presented by Vivint Gives Back on April 8, 2016, at the Sorensen Student Center on UVU's Orem campus. 

We are excited to announce Kristine Barnett as our keynote speaker and Stephen Shore and Sally Ozonoff as our plenary session speakers. The one-day conference will be held Friday, April 8, 2016 at the Sorensen Student Center on the UVU campus.

This one-of-a-kind conference provides service providers vital information to therapists, social workers, educators, students, and individuals interested in the many facets of autism spectrum disorder.

We encourage all to attend and share this unique opportunity to learn and discovery more about ASD.

Registration

Registration is now closed, however there will be same-day registration at the conference on Friday. The price will be $59 and includes lunch and parking.

**CEUs will be included free of charge

Parking Map and Instructions

Parking is free in the Parking Garage for conference registrants. You can find details on this map.

Keynote: Kristine Barnett 

Kristine Barnett Kristine Barnett wrote, “The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing Genius,” the powerful story of one mother’s love and her stubborn refusal to give up on her child. A remarkable memoir of a woman who followed her maternal instincts — even when those instincts ran contrary to her own husband, and the advice of all the professionals who told her it was hopeless — and even as Jake withdrew further into his own silent world. 

Plenary: Stephen Shore 

Stephen ShoreDiagnosed with "atypical development and strong autistic tendencies" and "too sick" for outpatient treatment, Stephen Shore was recommended for institutionalization. Nonverbal until four, and with much support from his parents, teachers, wife, and others, Shore is now a professor at Adelphi University where his research focuses on matching best practice to the needs of people with autism. 

Plenary: Sally Ozonoff

Sally OzonoffSally Ozonoff is a professor of psychiatry at the UC Davis MIND Institute. She is trained as a child clinical psychologist (licensed and actively practicing). Her program of research focuses on the clinical presentation of infants and toddlers with autism and methods for earliest detection of autism. She is developing an innovative autism screening instrument that uses video examples rather than written descriptions of behavior. Sally has authored more than 100 publications on these and related topics, as well as four books. She is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

Sponsors

Vivint Gives Back
ScenicView Academy
Brain Balance Achievement Centers of Utah
Chrysalis
UVU Melisa Nellesen Center for Autism
UVU College of Humanities & Social Sciences
UVU College of Science & Health
UVU School of Education

Sessions

Opening Keynote –  Kristine Barnett  – (Grande Ballroom – 9am – 10 am)
Kristine Barnett is the author of The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing Genius. When her son, Jake was two, he received a diagnosis of autism. Experts said he would never be able to tie his own shoes. Relying on the insights she developed at the daycare center she ran out of her garage, she pulled Jake out of special ed preschool and began preparing him for mainstream kindergarten on her own. She resolved to follow and fuel Jacob’s “spark”—his passionate interests, even if she could not make sense of them. Why concentrate on what he couldn’t do? Why not focus on what he could? This basic philosophy, along with her belief in the power of ordinary childhood experiences (softball, picnics, s’mores) and the importance of play, helped her help Jake overcome “impossible” odds. Only years later would she—and the experts—realize that Jake’s intense preoccupation with things like shadows on the wall and plaid fabric had been young Jake’s gateway to math, astronomy, and physics.

 Dramatic and inspiring, Kristine Barnett will discuss the power of love and courage in the face of overwhelming obstacles, and the dazzling possibilities that can occur when we learn how to tap the true potential that lies within every child, and in all of us.

Morning  Plenary Session – Dr. Stephen Shore (Grande Ballroom – 10am – 11am)
Diagnosed with "Atypical Development and strong autistic tendencies" and "too sick" for outpatient treatment Dr. Shore was recommended for institutionalization. Nonverbal until four, and with much support from his parents, teachers, wife, and others, Stephen is now a professor at Adelphi University where his research focuses on matching best practice to the needs of people with autism. In addition to working with children and talking about life on the autism spectrum, Stephen presents and consults internationally on adult issues pertinent to education, relationships, employment, advocacy, and disclosure as discussed in his books Beyond the Wall: Personal Experiences with Autism and Asperger Syndrome, Ask and Tell: Self-advocacy and Disclosure for People on the Autism Spectrum, the critically acclaimed Understanding Autism for Dummies, and the newly released DVD Living along the Autism Spectrum: What it means to have Autism or Asperger Syndrome.

Morning  Concurrent Sessions
11:00 am – Noon

Lifevest: Everyday Practical Tips for the Classroom – Dr. Nicole Wangsgard and Dr. Francine Baffa (SC 206 ABC)
This workshop is designed to support teachers in meeting the needs of diverse learners in their inclusive classrooms. Providing students with continued opportunities to learn and engage in all classroom activities is no small task, and this session is designed to support teachers by arming them with knowledge and practical strategies that they can implement in their classrooms to this end. Participants will leave with concrete tools for to help support children with autism and tangible modifications they can easily integrate into to their daily teaching routine.

Whose Life Is It? Self-Determination and Helping Your Son or Daughter Make Good Decisions – Esperanza Reyes and Maria Wiscombe (SC 213AB)

At age 18 all students with disabilities reach the age of majority and are now considered an adult with the right to make his/her own decisions concerning medical care, IEP’s, training, employment and other needed services. Students who may have relied on others to advocate for them in the past now have to learn to communicate their needs to others.  They need to learn to speak up for themselves and to be assertive.  Is your youth with autism ready?  In this presentation parents and educators will learn how to effectively support their students with autism in the post-secondary years.  Learn how to be a mentor to your child or student as they learn how to manage their responsibilities. A self-determined person can set goals, make decisions, speak for him or herself and solve problems. Parents and educators will gain skills to achieve this objective.

Maintaining Hope and Momentum When Your Teen or Adult Child has Severe Symptoms of Autism: A Panel Discussion – Karen Fairchild, Moderator (Centre Stage)
Join Karen Fairchild for a discussion with parents of teen and adults with more severe autism. These parents will come prepared to offer insights to issues such as: Getting services and help needed; handling financial strains; managing family stress; transitioning to more independent living; helping to secure meaningful work; social and leisure activities; dealing with behavioral and mental health concerns and finding sustaining joy, hope and humor on the journey!

Building An Empowering Paradigm: Autism and the Performing Arts – Anna Hargadon Peterson, Lita Little Giddins, MSW, CSW  (Ragan Theatre)
Anna and Lita will share their experience working with autistic students in the performing arts. Over the years they have seen the powerful ability of the arts to help students develop personal competencies such as exercising autonomy, making responsible choices, creating meaningful relationships and improving communication. As students perform and share with the audience they become empowered through the enjoyment and educational experience of live theater. Come and share the joy, the laughter, and the inspiration of theater – autism style!

LUNCHEON and Exhibit Fair (Grande Ballroom 12 Noon – 1pm)
Please join us for lunch and the presentation of the annual ARUCC (Autism Resources of Utah County Council) Heroes of Autism award. Then, before the Afternoon Plenary Session, take time to visit the Exhibit Fair in the Ballroom Commons area. Area service providers and conference sponsors will provide information on resources available to those on the spectrum.

Luncheon Plenary Session : Dr. Sally Ozonoff  (Grande Ballroom  1pm – 2pm)                                                                                                                                   Advances in the Early Detection of Autism Spectrum Disorder. This presentation will cover detection of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in infants and toddlers, summarizing existing research and describing new results from an ongoing prospective study. Recurrence risk of ASD in families who already have an affected child will also be discussed, as will developmental challenges beyond ASD that may occur in siblings. Dr. Ozonoff will conclude with clinical implications for screening and working with families.

Afternoon Concurrent Sessions
2pm – 3pm

Autism and ADHD – Forests and Trees – Jared Stewart, MEd (SC 206 ABC)
As many as 75% of individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder also qualify for a diagnosis of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.  But parents and professionals often encounter difficulty in understanding the differences, similarities, and overlap of these two conditions.  Join Jared Stewart as he compares and contrasts ASD and ADHD, and offers practical tips for addressing the inattention and hyperactivity that is present in both - with a focus on home and classroom applications.

Autism and Sexuality- Preventing Sexual Abandonment – Sue A. Chamberlain, LCM (SC 213 AB)
In the field of autism, the topic of sexuality is ignored far too often by caregivers, parents, and educators.  Whether because of personal or cultural discomfort, lack of training, or some vain hope that “if we don’t talk about it, they’ll never become sexual”, individuals with autism rarely receive the information they need about their own biology from legitimate sources.  This “Sexual Abandonment” is having significant negative consequences for individuals on the autism spectrum in the form of deviant behaviors, pornography and other sexual addictions, and high rates of sexual abuse.  Information about sexuality has to be presented to this population. Sexual Education increases the likelihood that people with disabilities will either have the skills to be safe, or at least be more likely to report victimization. This informal presentation will cover tips and topics to help caregivers and professionals feel more confident and motivated to address this crucial issue.

After Diagnosis: Navigating Services and Supports – Dr. Nichole Wangsgard and Dr. Francine Baffa (Centre Stage)
This presentation will provide an overview of resources, services, and supports available for people diagnosed with Autism. The presenters will emphasize education and public health options during early childhood, childhood, adolescents, and adulthood. Attendees will learn what is available, how to apply, and how to navigate the insurance and education system.

Neurodiversity: A Different Way of Thinking About Autism – Sarah Adia K. Heuser (Ragan Theatre)
Neurodiversity is a somewhat controversial movement that regards differences in neurology such as autism, as naturally occurring variations in human genomics, and not as something to be fixed or cured. Join Sarah as she discusses the history of the neurodiversity movement as it applies to autism, and presents current research as to why this relatively new way of thinking may be particularly efficacious when it comes to supporting people on the autism spectrum.

3:10pm – 4:10pm

Implementing Therapy Animals in Learning Settings for Students with Autism – Deborah Carr, MEd, BSN and Joanna Posey, MA, BS (SC 206 ABC)
During this presentation, Deborah will present guidelines and steps involved to consider in developing and maintaining therapy animal visitation services.  She will look at the benefits of human-animal interactions, then the considerations for finding therapy animals service providers.  Deborah will discuss important policies and procedures needed to ensure that a program is safe and mutually beneficial for all involved. With the aid of registered Pet Partner teams, she will show the benefits of working with students on the spectrum.

Sesame Street Presents: Autism – Frank Campagna (aka: Autism Daddy) (Centre Stage)
Almost every school and university in the country has students with autism. While the diagnosis is common, public understanding of autism is not. The lack of understanding around the condition contributes to discrimination, verbal abuse, even physical violence. A recent study reveals that children with autism are five times more likely to be bullied than their peers—treatment no child should endure. While the differences between people with autism and their peers may seem significant, children share something far more important: unique qualities and talents that make the world an interesting place. That’s why Sesame Workshop created Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children, a nationwide initiative aimed at communities with children ages 2 to 5. Developed with input from parents, people who serve the autism community, and people with autism, See Amazing in All Children offers families ways to overcome common challenges and simplify everyday activities. At the same time, the project fosters an affirming narrative around autism for all families and kids. Join Frank as he introduces the program and shares resources everyone can use to help build awareness and understanding.

Panel Discussion: Autism From All Sides (Jared Stewart Moderator)– Dr. Sally Ozonoff, Kristine Barnett, Dr. Stephen Shore (Ragan Theatre)
Join Moderator Jared Stewart and our plenary speakers in a joint discussion of autism from all sides – parents, educators, and those living on the spectrum. Speakers will receive questions from the audience. Expect a lively, informative and enlightening hour.

Presenters

Keynote

Kristine Barnett
Kristine Barnett is the author of The Spark: A Mother’s Story of Nurturing Genius. When her son, Jake was two, he received a diagnosis of autism. Experts said he would never be able to tie his own shoes. Relying on the insights she developed at the daycare center she ran out of her garage, she pulled Jake out of special-ed preschool and began preparing him for mainstream kindergarten on her own. She resolved to follow and fuel Jacob’s “spark”—his passionate interests, even if she could not make sense of them. Why concentrate on what he couldn’t do? Why not focus on what he could? This basic philosophy, along with her belief in the power of ordinary childhood experiences (softball, picnics, s’mores) and the importance of play, helped her help Jake overcome “impossible” odds. Only years later would she—and the experts—realize that Jake’s intense preoccupation with things like shadows on the wall and plaid fabric had been young Jake’s gateway to math, astronomy, and physics. 

 Dramatic and inspiring, Kristine Barnett will discuss the power of love and courage in the face of overwhelming obstacles, and the dazzling possibilities that can occur when we learn how to tap the true potential that lies within every child, and in all of us. 

 

Plenary Speakers

Dr. Stephen Shore
Diagnosed with "Atypical Development and strong autistic tendencies" and "too sick" for outpatient treatment Dr. Shore was recommended for institutionalization. Nonverbal until four, and with much support from his parents, teachers, wife, and others, Stephen is now a professor at Adelphi University where his research focuses on matching best practice to the needs of people with autism. In addition to working with children and talking about life on the autism spectrum, Stephen presents and consults internationally on adult issues pertinent to education, relationships, employment, advocacy, and disclosure as discussed in his books Beyond the Wall: Personal Experiences with Autism and Asperger Syndrome, Ask and Tell: Self-advocacy and Disclosure for People on the Autism Spectrum, the critically acclaimed Understanding Autism for Dummies, and the newly released DVD Living along the Autism Spectrum: What it means to have Autism or Asperger Syndrome. President emeritus of the Asperger's Association of New England and former board member of the Autism Society, Dr. Shore serves on the boards of the Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism Association, the Autism Services Association, and other autism related organizations.

Dr. Sally Ozonoff
Sally Ozonoff, PhD, is a Professor of Psychiatry at the UC Davis MIND Institute. She is trained as a child clinical psychologist (licensed and actively practicing). Her program of research focuses on the clinical presentation of infants and toddlers with autism and methods for earliest detection of autism. She is developing an innovative autism screening instrument that uses video examples rather than written descriptions of behavior. Dr. Ozonoff has authored more than 100 publications on these and related topics, as well as four books. She is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry.

 

Concurrent Session Presenters (In order of presentation)

Dr. Nichole Wangsgard
Nichole WangsgardDr. Nichole Wangsgard is currently an Associate Professor in the School of Education at Utah Valley University (UVU). She is coordinating the design and implementation of the new Bachelor of Science in Special Education at UVU, which will emphasize a concentration in Autism. Prior to joining UVU, Dr. Wangsgard was a professor at Southern Utah University for nearly a decade leading students through the special education licensure program. She began her teaching career in special education as a teacher in West Valley City, Utah, were she was department chair of special education and coach of several athletic teams. Dr. Wangsgards’ research and publications have been in the areas of special education law, assessment, reading motivation, reading strategies, professional learning communities, classroom and behavior management, and mild/moderate disabilities. She continues actively publish and coauthor journal publications in the aforementioned topics and collaborate with school districts and educators throughout the country.

Dr. Francine Baffa
Francine BaffaDr. Francine Baffa is a certified special education teacher and board certified behavior analyst as well as a licensed social worker. She has consulted school districts, organizations, and families as an educational and behavioral consultant to develop effective programming strategies for students in direct instructional settings as well as inclusive environments. She has extensive experience in the areas of self-determination and measureable objectives for outcomes; Dr. Baffa has developed programming with emphasis in the areas of self-management and self-advocacy. Dr. Baffa currently teaches undergraduate courses in autism and behavior analysis; additionally she has developed course sequence for both master level and undergraduate programs that meet the BACB 4th edition task list.  She supervises international and domestic candidates who are studying to become BCBA and BCaBA’s. Dr. Baffa works closely with colleagues developing multi-cultural approaches to service and support of this disability. She has expanded her practice internationally through her consulting service in India and supervision of BCBA candidates globally. Her areas of interest are applications of applied behavior analysis expand beyond autism to the areas of severe depression and substance use disorder as well as re-teaching activities of daily living to those patients with Alzheimer’s.

Esperanza Reyes
Esperanza ReyesEsperanza Reyes was born in Nicaragua, and her family moved to the United States when she was a little girl. She grew up in Miami, Florida and has been living in Utah for almost 10 years. She currently has a Master of Science in Human Development and Social Policy, along with a Graduate Certificate in Disability Studies, from the University of Utah. Her main academic interest lies in the transition to adulthood and employment for youth on the Autism Spectrum.  She currently works for the Utah Parent Center, and volunteers her time with both the Utah Autism Project and the University of Utah’s iSTAR research team.  Esperanza is the mother of a 5 year-old-boy on the Autism Spectrum.  She is also sister to a young man on the Spectrum.  Her life has been touched and shaped by these two individuals.  

Maria Wiscombe
Maria WiscombeMaria Wiscombe has been involved with helping families who have children with special needs/special healthcare needs connect to information and resources for more than 14 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 intellectual disability.

Karen Fairchild, MSW, LCSW
Karen FairchildKaren S. Fairchild, MSW, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) at Family Support & Treatment Center in Orem, Utah where she provides mental health counseling, offers Autism diagnostic assessments, and leads a support group for women married to men on the Autism spectrum. She is also a mental health consultant for the Kids Who Count early intervention program. After spending 20 years at home with 5 children, three with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Karen returned to school so that she could better serve families dealing with the challenges of Autism. She worked for Wasatch Mental Health’s GIANT Steps Autism preschool program for almost 10 years and for the Kids on the Move early intervention program for almost 5 years. She has been married to Don Fairchild for 35 years and is the proud grandma of three amazing grandsons. 

Anna Hargadon Peterson
Anna Hargadon Peterson
Anna Hargadon Peterson grew up in Northern California with a love for meaningful stories. She studied Theatre Education and Performance at BYU, with special focus on theatre with families and communities with autism. Additionally, she has trained in both the Expressive Arts and Special Needs Education. Her community service includes creating and facilitating numerous camps and programs for children with autism, working as an arts and autism specialist in schools, and teaching for the last five years at ScenicView Academy (school for adults with autism and LD). She performs regularly in various community theatre and film productions.

Lita Little Giddins:  MSW, CSW, Autism Movement Therapist
Lita GiddensLita received an Associates degree in Fine Arts, a Bachelor’s degree in Socio-cultural Anthropology, and her graduate degree in Social Work with an emphasis in Expressive Arts Therapy.  She is stage, recording and film artist, Lita works part-time at ScenicView Academy with adults on the autism spectrum and other learning “differences,”  but maintains a growing desire to understand and work with various types of people and cultures.  She continues to increase her need to work with people because people are her work. Lita is a wife and a mother.  She and her husband, Kevin, are the parents of three beautiful daughters and two handsome autistic young men.

Jared Stewart, M.Ed
Jared StewartJared 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.  After graduating Magna Cum Laude from BYU he has spent the past decade working with 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.

Sue A. Chamberlain, LCM
Sue ChamberlainSue Chamberlain, LCM, is a special education paraprofessional teacher with over twenty years of experience working with individuals on the autism spectrum.  For the past decade, she has been teaching at Provo’s ScenicView Academy, a transitional school for adults with autism and other learning disabilities.  Along with a wide range of art classes, Sue teaches a required class for all new students on Healthy Sexuality.  As a Licensed Christian Minister she has also led support groups for survivors of sexual abuse throughout Utah County.  Sue believes that shame-free sexual education is a critically important skill for individuals on the autism spectrum of all ages, because they are sexual beings who need and deserve the correct information to empower them to successfully navigate the unique challenges they face in our hyper-sexualized society.  

Sarah Adia K. Heuser
Sarah HeuserMs. Heuser is an undergraduate student of behavioral science with an emphasis in psychology who is currently in her last year at Utah Valley University, and a recent graduate of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network’s leadership conference. She is also the president of the campus’ Neurodiversity Club which offers support and friendship to those whose brains are just a bit different. Ms. Heuser received her autism diagnosis when she was eighteen years old. Since then she has had an intensive interest in counseling and championing the rights of others with ASD diagnoses.

Deborah Carr, Med, BSN
Debbie CarrDebbie Carr, M.Ed., BSN moved from the field of child psychiatric nursing to early childhood special education, where she specialized in working with young children with ASD. She completed a certificate in Animals and Human Health from the University of Denver. After 33 years of teaching, and servicing on the Board of Directors of Therapy Animals of Utah, she retired to become Executive Director of this service organization where she places animal/handler teams in different educational facilities, including those servicing students with Autism

Joanna Posey, MA, BS
Joanna PoseyJoanna Posey, M.A., B.S  is a special education teacher with experience in teaching K-12 students.   Joanna  enjoys academic research and creating new approaches to learning for her postsecondary students with Autism. She has presented her insights at local, national and international education conferences, including those approaches that partner with therapy animals in educational settings. Joanna serves as the Program Assistant to the Executive Director of Therapy Animals of Utah, a volunteer service organization.

Frank Campagna (aka: Autism Daddy)
Frank CampanaFrank Campagna, a 22 year children’s television veteran, is the Assistant Vice President of Special Project Production for Sesame Workshop.  He most recently served as the producer for all of the video content related to Sesame Street’s autism initiative.  Early in his career at Sesame Frank travelled the world working on Sesame Street international co-productions in China, South Africa, Brazil, Japan, Hungary, Canada and the UK.  However, when his son was diagnosed with autism 11 years ago he requested a job shift that would keep him at home to help his wife and son.  Frank is also the author of the wildly popular autism blog “Autism Daddy” where he talks about the realities of raising a child with special needs.  His claim to fame on his blog and Facebook page is giving people a realistic, non-sugar coated look at the world inside an autism household; “the good, the bad, the pee and the poop”.

 

Conference Material

Exhibitors

If you would like to have space in our Autism Conference Exhibitor Hall and you're a sponsor click here. If you're not a sponsor but would still like space click here.

If you have any questions about exhibit space or becoming an event sponsor please contact Toni Harris at 801-863-6816 or harristo@uvu.edu.

Call For Proposals

The proposal phase is now closed.

Conference History