Florida Tech to Host November Autism Conference, Present Noted Speakers

MELBOURNE, FLA.—Today, one child in 150 in the United States is born with autism, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Addressing this need to understand autism, the Florida Institute of Technology School of Psychology and Scott Center for Autism Treatment will host the third annual Autism Conference, “The Power and Potential of Communication,” on Nov. 6, followed by a series of workshops on Nov. 7.

The conference will present comprehensive, evidence-based information and feature noted autism experts speaking on a variety of related topics. Educators, providers and families will find support in developing effective educational and therapeutic programs for all individuals with autism spectrum disorders.

The conference starts Friday, Nov. 6, at 7:30 a.m. with registration in the Gleason Performing Arts Center on the Florida Tech campus. Featured speakers include Mark Sundberg, James Carr, Bridget A. Taylor and Rebecca Landa.

Sundberg will give the keynote address, “How to teach intraverbal behavior to children with autism.” He is a licensed psychologist in private practice who consults for programs and classrooms that serve children with autism in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has published more than 45 professional papers and is the founder and past editor of the journal The Analysis of Verbal Behavior.

Carr will present “Understudied intervention procedures in the early behavioral treatment of autism.” An associate professor of psychology at Auburn University, Carr is an associate editor of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. He has published more than 100 articles and chapters and received the 2002 B.F. Skinner New Researcher Award from Division 25 of the American Psychological Association.

Taylor’s presentation will be “Improving joint attention and reciprocal language skills in children with autism.” Co-founder and executive director of Alpine Learning Group, she has specialized in the education and treatment of children with autism for the past 24 years. She is also a member of the Autism Advisory Group for the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies and a member of the expert panel of the National Autism Center’s national standards project.

Landa will discuss “New advances in autism research and innovative programming.” The director of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders at Kennedy Krieger Institute in Baltimore, Landa also is an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She has published widely and is the lead investigator in several National Institutes of Health research studies and networks.

Conference pre-registration fees are $50 for parents and students and $150 for a professional; the fees for registration on-site are $75 for a parent or student and $175 for a professional.

Saturday Workshops
On Saturday, Nov. 7, workshops will meet from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Skurla Hall (College of Aeronautics) auditorium on campus. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m. The costs for pre-registration are $150, full day and $100, half day; the costs are $175, full day and $125, half day for on-site registration.

Workshops will include “Conducting a VB-MAPP language assessment and designing an intervention program based on the results,” led by Sundberg; “Transitioning to a successful life for adolescents and young adults: Post-secondary options,” led by Stephen Shore; and “Development of social communication skills in autism: Assessment and intervention,” led by Landa.

Stephen Shore also will lead a half-day workshop, titled, “Lifelong success with autism through improving communication, understanding the hidden curriculum and obtaining meaningful employment: An inside view.” In the afternoon session, Shore will conduct a workshop designed for individuals with autism. He will discuss self-advocacy and issues relevant to leading a fulfilled life.

Shore was diagnosed with atypical development with strong autistic tendencies and was nonverbal until age four. He is now a professor at Adelphi University. His books include Beyond the Wall: Personal Experiences with Autism and Asperger Syndrome, Ask and Tell: Self-advocacy and Disclosure for People on the Autism Spectrum and the critically acclaimed Understanding Autism for Dummies.

The conference and workshop qualify for professional education hours for teachers and continuing education credit for psychologists, mental health workers and behavior analysts. For more information or to register online, send e-mail to Theresa Travis at (321) 674-8104 or ttravis@fit.edu, or send e-mail to Cynthia Smith at csmith01@fit.edu. Visit http://411.fit.edu/autismconference.

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