Friday, April 10, 2009

ASA-GPC Annual Autism Conference

This conference was great and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested. I was only able to go one day instead of both days but I felt like I walked away with a lot more knowledge than when I walked in.

The day started off with this:

"Navigating the Social World: Managing emotions andstress in students with Asperger’s Syndrome, highfunctioning autism, PDD-NOS, and related disordersJean McAfee, M.D.,
Sunday Keynote

Jeanie McAfee, M.D., will introduce the step-by-step emotional skills and stress management programs presented in her internationally acclaimed book, Navigating the Social World. Attendees will learn to use elements of cognitive behavioral therapy, applied behavioral therapy, and other techniques to help individuals with high functioning autism and related disorders to identify and deal with stress, anger, and other emotions."

I started off the day listening to a speaker that has walked a mile in our shoes. It was also nice to be in a room with people who have been there. However, there were also educators who are not parents of children with ASD and as always, I found them very insensitive.

Then, I went to this room:

"Enhancing Everyday Communication with Visual Supports

Teresa Cardon, M.A. CCC-SLP has worked with individuals on the autism spectrum for over 16 years. She has helped many parents and teachers develop intervention strategies so they can increase social communication skills in the children, teens, and adults they work with. Teresa Cardon is the author of three major books for ASD, Top Ten Tips: A Survival Guide for Families with Children on the Autism Spectrum (2008), Initiations and Interactions (2006), and Let's Talk Emotions (2004). Teresa currently works as a Speech Language Pathologist for the Infant Child Research Programs at Arizona State University, with a primary focus on working with children with autism."

I found this great as it gave me many ideas on how to use visual supports. I am new to this so I only have a daily picture schedule for Joey, as well as, I made a book with a story in it for Joey to understand when his Dad left. They gave me ideas such as using pictures in sequence to get a task done. For example, put up pictures on the bathroom mirror and each can show a step in getting something done like brushing his teeth or taking a bath. I also learned about doing a "First and Then" board so Joey can understand the sequence of events that need to happen.

The best thing I learned from the visual supports meeting is that instead of taking the "Time with Daddy" sticker off his board and out of the mix, I can put a red circle with line through it, like a "No Smoking" sign, this way Joey doesn't think I am just hiding the sticker but maybe will understand that it's just not an option at this time.

Quotes taken off the ASA-GPC website.

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