VOLUME 1, 2018 SUMMIT
VOLUME 1, 2018 SUMMIT
Developmental Pediatrician, Founder of Parent Child Journey Program
Therapist, Author of The Life Recovery Method
Developer of RDIconnect®
Clinical Neuropsychologist & Licensed Psychologist
Clinical Neuropsychologist with The Stixrud Group
Author of The Out of Sync Child, Sensory Expert
Child & Adolescent Psychiatrist
Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Certified GAPS™ Practitioner
Director, Pediatric Movement & Physical Activity Lab, Auburn University
Pediatric Neuropsychologist, Author of Not What I Expected
President of AAPC Publishing, World-Renown Speaker on Autism
Psychologist and Behavior Analyst
Co-Author of The Incredible 5-Point Scale
Author of Wired Differently, Founder of TiLT Parenting
Tedx Speaker, Creator of the Mom Is In Control Podcast
Clinical Psychologist, Co-Developer of RDI®
Speech-Language Pathologist/ Associate Clinical Professor
Clinical Director Family Guidance & Therapy Center, Founder Love & Autism
Speech-Language Pathologist Audiologist, Author of Au-mazing Gift
Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Registered Play Therapist, Certified EMDR Therapist
Family Change Agent, Encourager of the Worn, and Mom Whisperer
Author of the NYT Bestseller, Look Me In the Eye
Executive Function and Parent Coach, Co-Author of Unstuck & On Target
Developer of CollegeWebLD
Teen & Adult Coordinator at Milestones Autism Resources
School Psychologist, Advocate for Children
Clinical Director, Optimum Performance Institute
Child & Adult Psychiatrist, NYT Best-Selling Author
RDI® Consultant, Parent Coach, Special Needs Care Navigator
Join thousands of parents improving life for their children with autism, as well as themselves and their families.
DR. DAN SHAPIRO, MD
Autism is an incredibly complex neurodevelopmental difference that has an impact on nearly every aspect of a child’s profile. And while the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of the American Psychiatric Association (aka the DSM-5) puts forth strict criteria for diagnosing someone with autism, the reality is that the experience of autism encompasses many areas of functioning. In this interview, Dr. Shapiro describes some of the core features of autism, including social difficulties, restricted and repetitive interests, sensory issues, difficulties with language processing, and challenges with mood regulation. You will learn about different types of autism, and why “high functioning” and “low functioning” may not be the best way to describe the different ways that autism affects a child. Dr. Shapiro also addresses the impact of autism on family dynamics, and talks about the importance of nurturing a child’s strengths. “If you understand autism, you understand all of human development and behavior.”
Dr. Dan Shapiro attended medical school at George Washington University in D.C. His Pediatric Residency training was at Children’s Hospital in DC. Then he practiced Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine in Silver Spring, Maryland for 13 years before shifting his focus to Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. He enjoys seeing children and consulting with parents in his home office. He also observes children and collaborates with educators at dozens of area schools. He developed the Parent Child Journey Program and offers this behavior management training group throughout Greater Washington. He is author of Parent Child Journey: An Individualized Approach to Raising Your Challenging Child. Dr. Shapiro is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics and a member of the Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics. He’s married with 4 children and 2 grandchildren — all wonderfully different.
ROBERT COX, MA, LPC, NCC
There is growing research that shows that the experiences of individuals with autism affect the brain and functioning in the same way that enduring trauma does. This is remarkably telling as to what much of life with autism is like for your child, as well as why many of their behaviors occur.Listen as Robert Cox and Penny Williams talk about what autism feels like to your child, using the way the autistic brain works as evidence. Learn how sensory struggles and fear impact kids with autism, why it’s virtually the same experience as traumatic events, and how to help your child cope.
Robert Cox, LPC, NCC, CCT, is a therapist and owner of Life Recovery Consulting, LLC a company that specializes in the treatment of trauma, addictions and autism in the NW MO area. He has worked for over 23 years with autism, developmental disabilities and addictions in one capacity or another. In his work and research, Robert noticed that sensory issues and social exclusion begin to shape the brain in the same ways as developmental trauma and recently released his first book from that work, The Life Recovery Method: Autism Treatment From A Trauma Perspective.
STEVEN E. GUTSTEIN, PhD
Have you noticed that your child struggles to adapt to the constant changes that are part of everyday life? Situations that can cause difficulties for people with autism are often situations where what will happen is unpredictable. This is one reason social situations are such a challenge – other people are unpredictable! In this presentation, Dr. Steven Gutstein Ph.D. will help you understand the critical importance of being able to encode your memories, organize them, and then retrieve those memories for analysis so you can figure out which parts of those experiences match the current situation, so you can anticipate how to navigate your current situation. As you listen, you will learn strategies for teaching your child how to master this critical life skill.
Dr. Steve Gutstein is an internationally renowned pioneer in the field of developmental disabilities. As the developer of RDIconnect®, he has brought over twenty years of experience in treatment planning, program development, clinical expertise and education to his innovative approaches for treating at-risk children, adolescents and adults. Over the course of his career he has trained thousands of dedicated professionals, supporting them as they work with families around the world. It is Dr. Gutstein’s belief that every individual with developmental disabilities merits a second chance to realize success in a world where their choices and decisions are entirely their own.
SALYA NAMAZI, PhD
Autism can make it really hard for a kid. And sometimes there’s more going on than just autism. It makes sense that trying to navigate the world of typically developing kids while autistic would make a child incredibly anxious, but anxiety might also be a co-occurring condition that makes everything harder. Listen to this conversation with Dr. Salya Namazi, as she describes some of the other challenges that frequently co-occur with autism, including attention regulation and executive dysfunction (ADHD), anxiety, depression, seizures, gastrointestinal issues, and sleep disorders, to name a few. You will also learn why some autistic kids can appear to be oppositional when anxious, or to lack empathy despite being incredibly empathetic. Dr. Namazi describes the challenges inherent in these conditions, how they present, how to get an accurate diagnosis, and how to get appropriate treatment.
Dr. Salya Namazi is a clinical neuropsychologist and licensed psychologist who specializes in the evaluation of individuals ages 11 and up with learning, attention, autism spectrum, and neurological disorders, as well as emotional difficulties. Dr. Namazi has diverse experience in pediatric and adult clinical neuropsychology. She joined the Stixrud Group after completing a two-year postdoctoral fellowship in clinical neuropsychology where she received extensive training in neuropsychological and psychological assessment, cognitive rehabilitation, and psychotherapy. She also trained in pediatric neuropsychology under William R. Stixrud, Ph.D. Prior to her fellowship, Dr. Namazi completed an American Psychological Association (APA) accredited internship where she specialized in neuropsychological and psychological assessment. Dr. Namazi earned her Ph.D. from the APA accredited California School of Professional Psychology at Alliant International University. Dr. Namazi’s undergraduate alma mater is The Catholic University of America where she graduated with honors, with concentrations in psychology and philosophy. She is licensed to practice psychology in the state of Maryland.
DONNA HENDERSON, Psy.D.
Girls with autism are underdiagnosed, and when they are diagnosed it is nearly two years later than their male counterparts. One reason for the delay is that they present very differently from boys; you can’t focus on their outward behavior, and instead have to ask them about their internal experiences.Dr. Donna Henderson, Ph.D. helps us understand girls with autism – the differences in social presentation, the types of repetitive and restricted interests, how rigidity presents, and when the differences become apparent. Listen to this interview to learn about how the social expectations of girls compound the challenges that autistic girls face, leading to much higher rates of anxiety. Get ideas for how to help your autistic daughter navigate the hormonal, physical, and emotional changes of adolescence, which can be more intense for girls with autism. At the end, you will hear ideas for how to support your child and help her learn to face new challenges.
One day, my kids were asking me to explain what I do at work. I didn’t think they wanted to hear about neuropsychological tests and report writing, so I explained it this way: I’m a detective. The mystery is always that a wonderful, bright person is not doing well in school or at work, and I need to figure out why and help them do better. I can only look for clues by spending time with that person, asking them to do different kinds of tasks. I have been doing neuropsych evals for over twenty years and I can honestly say that I am enjoying it now more than ever. No child or adult should have to go through life with an undiagnosed problem, feeling badly about themselves and not knowing how to make things better. In addition to my formal training, I have had additional training at home for the past 19 years with my three children, who have taught me all about parenting kids with autism and ADHD. I meant to add a line about what I do in my spare time, but having a wonderful husband, three amazing children, and a gratifying career leaves little free time (and I wouldn’t have it any other way)!
CAROL STOCK KRANOWITZ, MA
When a child’s behavior is tearful, messy, wacky, sluggish, impetuous, or damaging, our initial response is often negative because we’re rushed, exhausted, frustrated … and human. Let’s flip this and find the energy to respond positively, with understanding and awe. Tearfulness should be honored because the tee-shirt tag may really burn, because the music evokes deep emotions, or because another child is hurting and our boy cries with him. Listen as Carol Stock Kranowitz and Sarah Wayland discuss the eight sensory systems (visual, auditory, taste, smell, touch, proprioception, vestibular, and interoception) and the impact that an imbalance in any of these systems can have on your child. Learn strategies you can incorporate into your daily routine that will help your child learn to function in a world that is filled with unexpected sensory experiences.
During her 25-five year career as a preschool teacher, Carol Stock Kranowitz introduced Sensory Processing Disorder to parents and educators around the world through her groundbreaking book, The Out-of-Sync Child. This first book in the “Sync” series has been translated into many languages and has sold one million copies. Her most recent book is The Out-of-Sync Child Grows Up. Carol speaks nationally and internationally, explaining SPD’s effect on learning and behavior and how we can support our growing children. A graduate of Barnard College, Carol earned her master’s degree in Education and Human Development at The George Washington University. She lives in Bethesda, Maryland, is a cellist, and dotes on five grandchildren.
Dr. GONZALO LAJE, MD, MHSc, FAPA
While there aren’t yet any medications that directly target the core differences of autism, there are medications that can help with some of the co-occurring challenges, including attention, and anxiety, and mood disorders, to name a few. Unfortunately, a lot of kids with autism respond atypically to medication which can make it difficult for a doctor to find the right drug. In this presentation, Dr. Gonzalo Laje will describe some of these atypical responses, and will explain how the field of pharmacogenetics is revolutionizing psychiatric treatment. He will help you understand some of the differences in how individuals with autism respond to medications, so you can work with your doctor to find the medications that will help your child function at their best.
After completing his medical education at the University of Buenos Aires in Argentina, Dr. Laje moved to the U.S. and worked at the Anxiety Disorders Clinic at Columbia University. He completed his training in general psychiatry at New York University/Bellevue Hospital, and his training in child and adolescent psychiatry through the combined program NIMH/Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, DC. He completed a research fellowship at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in psychiatric genetics and became and Associate Clinical Investigator. His research has focused on pharmacogenetics, clinical trials and neuroimaging, as well as, pharmacological interventions to address behavioral and emotional difficulties in genetic disorders. Dr. Laje is author and co-author of peer-reviewed publications in major psychiatric and genetics journals. Dr. Laje earned a Master of Health Sciences in Clinical Research from Duke University.
He is a member of the American Psychiatric Association, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, American Society of Human Genetics and the International Society of Psychiatric Genetics. He is a Board member of the Washington Psychiatric Society (WPS), the Winter Conference on Brain Research (WCBR), the Montgomery County Public Schools Educational Foundation, the Scientific Advisory Boards of Madison House Autism Foundation, Parents and Researchers Interested in Smith-Magenis Syndrome (PRISMS) and the Editorial Board of the journal Child Psychiatry & Human Development. He is the co-founder of Autism Spectrum Partners and the Maryland Institute for Neuroscience and Development.
JENNIFER SCRIBNER, NTP CGP
There are a lot of things in our environments that affect kids with autism spectrum disorder, and it’s not limited to sensory issues. Toxins can have a negative impact, while a healthy diet and lifestyle can have a positive impact. Join Jennifer Scribner and Penny Williams as they discuss what products in our homes could be negatively impacting kids with autism, what a healthy lifestyle looks like for individuals with autism, and how to get picky kids to try more foods and diversify their diet.
Jennifer Scribner is a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner, Certified GAPS™ Practitioner, and Restorative Wellness Practitioner. She’s the author of the book From Mac & Cheese to Veggies, Please. How to get your kid to eat new foods, end picky eating forever, and stay sane in the process, which is based on her work with hundreds of clients and details how any parent can dramatically change the diet of their pickiest kids. Jennifer teaches families how to make step-by-step changes to create a non-toxic lifestyle. Her focus includes food choices, non-toxic home products, and mindset and stress management tools, including EFT Tapping. Learn more and connect with Jennifer on her website and blog at www.bodywisdomnutrition.com.
MELISSA PANGELINAN, PhD
Does your child enjoy sports? Or are they one of those kids who hangs off to the side, not sure how to participate? There are a lot of reasons that kids with autism might have trouble with sports – difficulty with fine or gross motor skills, the sensory aspects of play, coordinating with others, not to mention the fast pace. In this presentation, Dr. Melissa Pangelinan, Ph.D., describes accommodations and strategies – including visual and behavioral supports – that you can use to help your child learn complex motor skills and be more physically active. Dr. Pangelinan will also describe the work she has done with programs in the US & Canada to implement these strategies so kids of all abilities can join in and play.
The Pediatric Movement and Physical Activity Lab at Auburn University, under the direction of Dr. Melissa Pangelinan, Ph.D., employs state-of-the-art brain and body imaging, as well as neurocognitive and movement assessments, to better understand how motor skills and physical activity participation affect brain and physical development. The goal of this research is to develop age-appropriate interventions that will promote motor competence and physical activity participation, which will impact the long-term development of brain and physical health. Dr. Pangelinan runs several research studies and outreach programs for typically-developing children/adolescents and those with developmental disabilities or neurological conditions. These programs include adapted tennis through ACEing Autism, and adapted bicycle training, adapted swimming lessons, and adapted gymnastics through iCanShine.
Just because your child can speak doesn’t mean they can understand you. And it doesn’t mean that they are necessarily good at all language tasks. Sometimes talking repetitively about the same topic is a coping strategy for language-based learning disability – it’s a lot easier to learn how to properly talk about a single topic than to flexibly respond to a wide variety of topics. In this session, Speech Language Pathologist Maria Dixon, MA, CCC-SLP describes different types of language learning disabilities that are common in children with autism – from odd pronunciations and prosodic patterns, to category-specific vocabulary deficits, to difficulty with understanding the order in which things should happen, challenges understanding pronouns, or verb tense endings… not to mention social pragmatic skills like when to respond, how to read body language, and how to control your own body to keep an interaction going. In addition to describing these challenges, Ms. Dixon will give tips for parents to help their kids learn to communicate more effectively.
Maria V. Dixon is a faculty member in the Department of Speech and Hearing Sciences at Arizona State University. She is a licensed and certified Speech-Language Pathologist with over 10 years of clinical experience and expertise evaluating and treating children with a variety of speech and language disorders. Maria’s clinical and research interests are in child language development and disorder in general and in autism spectrum disorders. She has designed and implemented social language groups for young children, adolescents and young adults who have social language difficulties.
RITA EICHENSTEIN, PhD
When your child is diagnosed with a disability like autism, it’s easy to focus all your energy on how to help them. But before you can help your child, you need to process your own emotions and recognize how those emotions may be shaping your decisions. In this interview, Dr. Eichenstein explains the importance of parents as a critical component of a child’s treatment. Listen as we talk about the stages that they go through as they come to terms with their children’s diagnoses: what each stage feels like, what to look for, how to help when family members are in a different stage than you are, and how to address the challenges you will face. Dr. Eichenstein reminds us that, “Your well-being is part of your child’s medicine.”
Dr. Rita Eichenstein is a Pediatric Neuropsychologist in Los Angeles, an author of award-winning book “Not What I Expected: Help and Hope for Parents of Atypical Children” with a foreword by Dr. Dan Siegel, a mom of three grown kids, and a grandmother of two. She has a busy private practice at Cedars-Sinai Medical Towers in Los Angeles, where she specializes in neuropsychological assessments and she works with children, teens and parents of all types, investigating their brains and their lives. She works to infuse passion, purpose and hope into every client. Her client base is international and families visit her from around the world. She blogs at “Positively Atypical” and speaks around the country about Parents Brains, Neurodiversity and Learning Differences. Her motto: It takes an army of love to raise an atypical child. But that doesn’t mean you don’t get to have a life.
BRENDA SMITH MYLES, PhD
When your child is losing it, there are predictable stages they go through – from rumble through rage to recovery. If you have a child who is easily or unpredictably triggered to fight, flight, or freeze, it’s hard to know how to respond. In this presentation, Dr. Brenda Smith Myles helps us understand that meltdowns are not purposeful behavior – they are neurologically based – and need to be addressed as an involuntary response to something in the environment that they are having trouble with. Learn to identify the behaviors that indicate that a child is starting to rumble and how to handle it. If you can’t address the rumble, learn how to identify the signs of a rage, and how to avoid making that worse. Learn why restraint is not helpful during a rage, and what to do to help your child safely get through it to recovery.
Brenda Smith Myles Ph.D., is president of AAPC Publishing – a small niche company that publishes books on autism spectrum disorder. Formerly, a professor in the Department of Special Education at the University of Kansas, is the recipient of the Autism Society of America’s Outstanding Professional Award, the Princeton Fellowship Award, The Global and Regional Asperger Syndrome (GRASP) Divine Neurotypical Award, American Academy of Pediatrics Autism Champion, and two-time recipient of the Council for Exceptional Children, Division on Developmental Disabilities Burton Blatt Humanitarian Award. She served as the editor of Intervention in School and Clinic, the third largest journal in special education and has been a member of the editorial board of several journals, including Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, Remedial and Special Education, and Autism: The International Journal of Research. Brenda has made over 20000 presentations all over the world and written more than 300 articles and books on ASD. In addition, she served as the co-chair of the National ASD Teacher Standards Committee and collaborated with the organizations who identified evidenced based practices for autistic individuals. Further, in the latest survey conducted by the University of Texas, she was acknowledged as the second most productive applied researcher in ASD in the world.
HOLLY MOSES, MS, BCBA, LPC, LPA
There are many possible causes of challenging behavior when your child has autism. The reality is that it’s the way his or her brain works. Often, it’s a symptom that expectations are out of scale for the child’s actual capability — something that can be improved. Join Holly Moses and Penny Williams as they discuss behavior challenges, what behavior means, and how to address behavior challenges effectively. They discuss developmental age and how to use it to determine appropriate expectations for your child. They also talk about unwanted behavior and some red flags that behavior isn’t a choice, and outline what to do to improve your child’s behavior.
Holly Blanc Moses, MS, BCBA, LPC, LP, is a psychologist and behavior analyst with over 20 years’ experience in ADHD and Autism. Her specialty areas include challenging behavior, anxiety, and social skills deficits. She is also a mother of two differently wired boys.
KARI DUNN BURON
Kids with autism sometimes have a hard time understanding how their actions appear to others. But when we point out how it is coming across, they can become defensive or upset, because no one likes being told they are doing something wrong, especially in front of their peers. In this interview, Kari Dunn Buron describes several techniques she likes to use to help kids with autism learn how they are coming across, and how to self-regulate. These include the Incredible 5-Point Scale, paired with a social story that describes what the different scale levels look like and how to change your level to one that is expected for the current environment. She also describes how to use video self-modeling in which children make a video of themselves using the techniques they have chosen to successfully self-regulate. With real-life stories, she helps us understand that kids want to learn these skills – we just have to do it in a way that makes sense to them.
Kari Dunn Buron taught in K-12 with students on the autism spectrum for 30+ years and was a founding member of the MN Autism Project. She developed an Autism Spectrum Disorders Certificate program for educators at Hamline University in St. Paul, MN. In 2003, Kari received a fellowship that allowed her to spend a year interviewing and working internationally with a number of scientists and researchers in the area of Social Cognition and Education, with a focus on autism and challenging behaviors. In 2012, Kari was inducted into the Illinois State University Education Department Hall of Fame.
Kari is the co-author of The Incredible 5-Point Scale and the author of When My Worries Get Too Big-Revised, A 5 Could Make Me Lose Control and A 5 is Against the Law! Kari is the co-editor of a textbook for educators entitled Learners on the Autism Spectrum: Preparing Highly Qualified Educators and a co-author of Social Behavior and Self-Management. Kari recently released a social skills curriculum called The Social Times Curriculum (based on the Social Times magazine and winner of a National Indie Excellence Award).
Raising kids with autism is an intertwined “mess” of your child’s struggles, tangled with your own. This special parenthood is complicated, and messy. Not tangling your own parenting emotions and struggles with your child’s to further complicate your this life is the topic of discussion in this session with Debbie Reber and Penny Williams. This is not a conversation about resolving every painful feeling and struggle. Instead, awareness and clarity are offered, and the realities of life raising a child with autism, doing the best you can, and making the most of it are discussed.
Deborah Reber is a parenting activist, New York Times bestselling author, speaker, and the founder of TiLT Parenting, a website, weekly podcast, and social media community for parents raising differently wired children. The TiLT Parenting Podcast has more than 500,000 downloads and a slate of guests that includes high-profile thought leaders across the parenting and education space. Debbie’s newest book is Differently Wired: Raising an Exceptional Child in a Conventional World.
Prior to launching TiLT, Debbie spent more than fifteen years writing inspiring books for teens including Doable: The Girls’ Guide to Accomplishing Just About Anything and Chill: Stress-Reducing Techniques for a More Balanced, Peaceful You and speaking and creating content on issues like self-esteem and confidence. Before that, she worked in TV and video production for Nickelodeon, Cartoon Network, UNICEF, and CARE. She has an MA in Media Studies from the New School for Social Research and a BA in Communications from Pennsylvania State University.
HEATHER CHAUVIN BSW
There’s no more powerful parenting message for raising kids with challenges than recognizing that there’s nothing to be “fixed” and accepting your child for who they are. Achieving that is truly freeing, for both you and your child. This is crucial to not only being the parent you want to be for your child, but also for your own physical and emotional wellbeing. In this session, Penny Williams talks with “Mom Is In Control” maven, Heather Chauvin, about the importance of this acceptance and what it takes to gain that freedom.
Heather Chauvin BSW has been named the next generation’s thought leader in parenting and women’s leadership. Her mission is to crack women open to their deep potential and help them understand and decode their child’s behavior.
Heather is a Tedx Speaker and the creator of the Mom Is In Control Podcast. She has been featured on the OWN Network, Huffington Post, TV outlets, and others.
With wit and wisdom, Heather inspires a global community of women to take back control of their lives and evolve how they lead, work, play, and parent.
RACHELLE SHEELY, PHD
When parents are intuitively in sync with their children, they naturally know how to push their children enough that they are challenged, but not so much that they fall apart. In autism, the children don’t give feedback that the parents can understand when the parents push their kids farther and faster than they can handle. In this session, Dr. Sheely explains why this breakdown occurs, and provides strategies that work to re-establish your role as your child’s guide.
Rachelle K. Sheely, Ph.D., President of RDIconnect® serves as the President of RDIconnect® as well as the head of professional training and supervision. For the past fifteen years she has been a leader in the development and logistical implementation of programs for both families and professionals working with children, adolescents and adults with developmental disabilities. Along with her extensive clinical training, Dr. Sheely brings an accomplished background in education, art, music and poetry allowing her to inject creativity and originality into the teaching, training and management of the thousands of professionals and families she reaches on a daily basis. Profoundly affecting, Dr. Sheely has spent a lifetime working with children on a professional and personal level. With a gift for moving from observation to intuitive precision, her work extends far beyond treatment, and into the everyday moments that resonate in the lives of her clients.
Through no fault of their own, kids with autism struggle to effectively navigate the social world. They make mistakes that cause other kids to avoid interacting with them, to think they are mean or rude, or even selfish. Very often autistics know that they are doing something wrong, but they have no idea what they should do. If you’ve been in Autism World for a while, you’ve probably enrolled your child in a social skills group or two, perhaps without much success. Sometimes, we teach our kids to do social “appropriate” things that actually end up making them look terribly awkward. (For example: walking up to another child, introducing yourself and asking if you can play. Sounds good but that’s not how socially skilled kids join in and play.) In this session, Speech Language Pathologist Kathy Dow-Burger, MA, CCC-SLP will describe social skills interventions that actually work to help kids avoid making social blunders.
Kathy Dow-Burger, M.A., CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist (SLP) and an Associate Clinical Professor at the University of Maryland-College Park. She is also the Co-Director of the University of Maryland Autism Research Consortium (UMARC). Kathy is the founder and program designer of the Social Interaction Group Network for All (SIGNA) http://umdsigna.weebly.com/. She and the SIGNA and UMARC team are conducting outcome research on the SIGNA programming and virtual reality (VR) projects related to ASD. She was a speech-language pathologist at Kennedy Krieger Hospital, the Kennedy Krieger Center for Development & Learning Programs & Services and the Kennedy Krieger School in Baltimore, Maryland. In addition, she has worked as an SLP at the Katherine Thomas School in Rockville, Maryland as well as in Prince George’s County Public Schools.
JENNY PALMIOTTO, PsyD, LMFT
We try our hardest to be good parents, but we sometimes fall short of our own unrealistic expectations, not to mention the unrealistic expectations of others. And when this happens, we feel shame. Our children feel it too. It doesn’t feel very good. Listen as Dr. Palmiotto describes how to rediscover your authentic self, and shift away from the notion that you (and your child) have to be “perfect”. Blame and shame erode loving connections. By focusing on ourselves, acknowledging our experiences, asking for what we need, and accepting our needs without shame, we can create meaningful change for our children and our families.
Jenny Palmiotto, Psy. D., LMFT is the clinical director of The Family Guidance & Therapy Center which provides services in Southern California and Central Texas. She is the founder of Love & Autism; a social change movement and national conference where autistic people are positioned as leaders. As a clinician, Jenny is driven by her values of authenticity, adventure, and belonging. She wholeheartedly invites joy into each therapy session using family-focused, relational methods such as Relationship Development Intervention (RDI), Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT), Movement Method (MM), and The Daring Way. With seventeen years of experience, she brings a depth of understanding and compassion to autistic people and their families. Its more important than ever to grow loving-kindness in our families, homes, and communities; Jenny enjoys helping people do just that.
DR. ALISHA GRIFFITH, Au. D, CCC SLP, CPC
Kids with autism who are fluently verbal also struggle with communication. When you add in traits like concrete thinking and inflexibility, it can be tough for them to make connections with others, inside and outside the family. Join Dr. Ali Griffith and Penny Williams as they discuss strategies to foster the parent-child connection with your child with autism, as well as social connections. Dr. Ali speaks on this subject from the expert perspective of a speech-language pathologist and audiologist, and also as a mom who is living it herself.
Dr. Alisha “Ali” Griffith is an autism parenting expert, strategist, and coach. As a compassionate professionally trained educator, speech language pathologist, and audiologist for nearly two decades, she has worked in schools, homes, offices, and in her own practice connecting those with sensory challenges. Through her work, Dr. Ali has helped many to SHIFT their self-talk towards BELIEVING in their unique strengths and gifts.
In August 2016, Dr. Alisha Griffith added #1 Best-Selling author to her list of credentials with her book AU-MAZING GIFT: A Journey to Autism Acceptance. She is an Autism Mom Coach, Communication Expert and dynamic Motivational Speaker, due to her authentic practice of applying her passion, willingness to serve others, and her dedication to ignite a change to autism acceptance and inclusion, globally. She is a maverick and catalyst for bold changes, a great connector within the autism community and igniter of positive energy. Dr. Ali has created a movement to shift inner dialogues from negative to positive with appreciation through the power of listening and embracing differences and unique gifts. Dr. Ali previously launched two other programs, So Smart Kids, Inc., and a 501 c (3) non-profit organization, Smart Fit Fam. Both are programs that inspire, educate and transform children and families on the autism spectrum on wellness, nutrition and fitness. She believes the KEYS to parenting success are maintaining a positive mindset, finding your strengths and gifts through life’s journey and powerfully staying in ACTION.
JACKIE FLYNN, EDS, LMHC, RPT
It’s super tough to be the sibling of a child with autism. It’s the nature of autism to require more time and energy of a parent than a neurotypical child, which leads siblings to often feel less loved and less important. Join Jackie Flynn and Penny Williams as they discuss what growing up with an autistic sibling is like for a child, and strategies to ensure that your neurotypical kids know for certain how much you love them and how important they really are to you and the family.
Jackie Flynn EdS, LMHC, RPT is the founder and director of a group private therapy practice in Central Florida, Counseling in Brevard. She is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Registered Play Therapist, Certified EMDR Therapist, Couples Counselor, Education Specialist, Certified Hypnotherapist, and a Former Elementary and Middle School Counselor. Her passion for helping people through a variety of therapeutic modalities inspired her to open a heart-centered, private practice group where she provides caring, thoughtful counseling and therapy to individuals of all ages, families, couples, and groups.
Why is it that moms feel guilty and ashamed of taking some time to take care of themselves, much less nurture themselves? Self-care is a parenting strategy. Self-care is paramount to your family’s wellbeing, not just your own. Listen as Vikki Spencer, aka The Mom Whisperer, and Penny Williams bust the myths of mom self-care, offer ideas for self-care activities and how to make it a regular part of your life, and give you permission to make yourself a priority, too.
Vikki Spencer is a family change agent, encourager of the worn, and mom whisperer. She helps moms subtly and powerfully shift family life so it becomes as phenomenal as they are. Vikki teaches parenting strategies, identity work, and self care practices to moms of toddlers through the teen years.
JOHN ELDER ROBINSON
It’s tough to be a kid with autism, and it’s tough to parent a kid with autism. John Elder Robison has experienced both sides of the equation – growing up as an undiagnosed child with autism, and then raising his son, Cubby, who is also autistic. We asked Mr. Robison to join us to help parents understand how to support their kids while embracing the things that make them unique. During this interview you will hear about the pain of growing up thinking that you are “less” instead of “different”, and some of the challenges John faced while raising an autistic child while being autistic himself. You will learn about the importance of finding a place for your child to explore their interests and the joy of exploring and sharing mutually enjoyable experiences with your child. As John observes, “Knowledge of autism is empowering. Knowledge of your behavior without understanding where it comes from hurts.”
John Elder Robison is an autistic adult who teaches neurodiversity and works to shape autism research and treatment policy. He is an active participant in the ongoing discussion of ethical and legal issues relating to autism therapy, services, and intervention. He is particularly interested in improving quality of life for those people living with autism today – both autistic people and family members. John is the Neurodiversity Scholar in Residence at the College of William and Mary, and an advisor to the Neurodiversity Institute at Landmark College. He’s a member of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee of the US Department of Health and Human Services, and he serves on other boards for the US National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control, and private organizations.
John is best known for his New York Times Bestselling books, including Look Me In the Eye.
MONICA ADLER WERNER, MA
Do you ever feel like your kid is being deliberately oppositional because they refuse to do something that is clearly in their best interest? It’s usually not a matter of WON’T, but rather CAN’T, and difficulties with executive functioning can make it even harder. In this conversation with Monica Adler Werner, M.A., you will learn about the seven executive functions (shift, inhibit, emotional control, initiation, working memory, planning and organization, and monitoring) and what they look like in everyday situations. Once you know what your child is struggling with, you will learn about the scripts that the creators of the Unstuck and On Target curriculum have found will help your child develop these incredibly important skills.
Monica Adler Werner specializes in program development, executive function interventions in autism and parent coaching and support. She currently works at the Center for Assessment and Treatment (CAAT) as an executive function and parent coach. She also consults extensively to schools, and works with the Ivymount Outreach Program. Formerly she was in the leadership at the Ivymount School where she served as Director of Training, Consulting and Program Development (2017-18) and the Director of the Model Asperger Program (MAP, 2011-2017). In that capacity she led the 2 year old, new program, into becoming an innovative, child centered school that integrates social learning curriculum throughout the day and emphasizes problem solving, self advocacy and self regulation — while keeping students on track academically. She also collaborates with a multidisciplinary team to develop and establish the evidence basis for curricula that support the development of executive functions.
She is a coauthor of Unstuck and On Target, a curriculum to enhance cognitive flexibility and problem solving in students with Autism and Solving Executive Function Challenges: Simple Ways to Get Kids with Autism Unstuck and on Target. She is the coauthor on numerous papers and posters about working with children with Autism. Prior to Ivymount, Monica co-founded Take2 Summer Camp, a program designed to pilot the development and application of evidence based social skills programs. Monica has an undergraduate degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master’s degree from Johns Hopkins. She completed the coursework for her BCBA at Florida Institute of Technology.
JUDITH S BASS, CEP
Graduating from high school is a time of transition for kids and their parents. Figuring out how to successfully launch your young adult into a life of independence and fulfillment is a daunting task, even when they don’t have autism. Young adults with autism who get good grades may not do well in college because they don’t know how to do the activities of daily living, how to organize and plan their time in an unstructured setting, or know how to meet other kids who share their interests. Listen as Judy Bass, a Certified Educational Planner, describes how to figure out what level of support a child will need, and how to choose a post-secondary option that will allow them to grow and become independent. Learn why it is important to prepare for options that are realistic for your child – by focusing on their strengths, and steering them to careers where they can do what they are passionate about in a setting where they can be successful. Ms. Bass describes four different types of post-secondary programs available to students with disabilities: (1) college with supports, (2) programs where students learn life skills while taking a college class or two, (3) programs for students who do not want a diploma, but who need to develop career skills, and (4) gap year programs. As Judy says, “All students develop on different time lines. There is no one path to independence.”
Judith S. Bass, CEP is an internationally recognized expert in the field of college placement for students who learn differently. For the past 18 years, Ms. Bass has provided comprehensive college and post-secondary planning for students who learn differently. Ms. Bass has developed CollegeWebLD, www.collegewebld.com , a one-stop source of information on college disability services at over 400 colleges in the US. Ms. Bass is the current Chair of the Commission on Credentialing for AICEP (www.aicep.org) and is a past Board Member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association (IECA). She also serves as a consultant to several independent high schools in the Washington, DC area. Ms. Bass is a contributing author in the recently published book, Navigating the Transition from High School to College for Students with Disabilities. Her articles have appeared in numerous magazines, including Washington Parent and ATTENTION Magazine. Ms. Bass received her undergraduate degree in Spanish and Education from Stony Brook University, earned a Graduate Level Certificate in College Counseling from UCLA and holds the designation of Certified Educational Planner.
HALEY DUNN, MA, LPC
Preparing a teen with autism for living independently and supporting themselves can be a daunting task (really many tasks in that one goal). There are many facets that go into preparing kids for the transition from high school to the workforce, all of which need to be considered in the teen years, if not sooner. Haley Dunn and Penny Williams discuss how to teach the skills necessary to succeed in the workforce, how to support the transition, the resources available to families to assist with navigating the transition, and when to start. Haley recommends that you start building these skills much earlier than you would think.
Haley Dunn MA, LPC works as the Teen and Adult Coordinator at Milestones Autism Resources. Her passion is helping individuals with autism transition to adulthood. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor who has worked with children birth to five, school age and young adults providing diagnosis and treatment of mental health. She has a deep passion for connecting people to their community, whether it is through employment, volunteering or life enrichment activities.
DEBRAH MARTIN, MA
During the week, your child spends half of their waking hours at school, so you want to be sure that that time is well-spent. Sometimes that means altering the classroom or assignments to support and accommodate their learning differences, and sometimes that means providing additional services to help them learn missing skills. Either way, the relationship between families and educators can have a big impact on a child’s experience. In this interview, Ms. Martin describes the differences between 504 Plans and Individualized Education Plans (IEPs), and how to gather evidence of measurable progress to help a team decide on appropriate supports and interventions. Learn how to document your child’s story, and how to involve the school team in understanding your child. You will learn about the importance of written documentation in building this understanding, and also about the processes and timelines that will help you get support for your child.
Debrah Martin has been an advocate for children for more than 36 years. She is a School Psychologist who founded Best Solutions Educational Services after retirement from Fairfax County Public Schools. As President of Best Solutions, her goal is to help ALL students reach their potential. One of her primary goals is to help parents navigate through the services provided in school systems by providing consultations, advocacy services, and parent workshops. Best Solutions also provides individualized tutoring and academic coaching for students who need support in the area of executive functioning. Debrah Martin also supports several community endeavors which include serving as the President of the Board of Directors for SPEC Foundation Inc. and as the Ministry Leader for The Safe Place Ministry at Woodstream Church (for families who have children with special needs). She has been a part of several community- based organizations that support the special needs community and served on the Board of Directors for the Arc of Prince George’s County for five years.
It’s common for parents to consider homeschooling their child with autism when mainstream school isn’t a good fit. The idea of homeschooling can be overwhelming and daunting, however. What most don’t realize is that homeschooling isn’t the only creative option when it comes to alternatives to traditional education. Join Shawna Wingert and Penny Williams as they discuss different educational alternatives available, the basics of homeschooling, how to get started, and the potential pros and cons of educating your child differently. Learn the truth about hybrid schooling and homeschooling — positive and negative — so you can make an informed decision.
Shawna Wingert writes about motherhood, special needs and the beauty of everyday messes at nottheformerthings.com. She is a special needs advocate, speaker, and writer and has participated in parenting discussions on Today.com, Simple Homeschool, Autism Speaks, The Mighty, For Every Mom, and The Huffington Post. She is the author of three books, Everyday Autism, Special Education at Home, and Parenting Chaos: Practical Support And Encouragement For Parents Of Explosive Children. Shawna lives in Southern California with her voice actor husband and two awesome sons.
ALISA FOREMAN, LMFT
Life is pretty predictable for kids. They live with their parents who take care of basic needs like housing, food, and clothing. They get up and go to school every morning, spend the day with other kids, come home and do their homework, eat dinner, and go to sleep. Until they finish high school, there aren’t a lot of decisions to be made. That structure ends when they graduate, and many young adults with autism struggle with the transition to adulthood. Alisa Foreman, LMFT, will help you understand why the transition is so difficult, and how to help your child move forward with their life. She describes the importance of a social network, and how to build it, how to help black and white thinkers consider a range of options, and how to teach the skills of daily living to kids who need those skills to function in the adult world. Listen to learn how to support your child through this transition so that they will be self-sufficient and have the confidence to take on whatever challenges life brings.
Alisa is the Clinical Director at the Optimum Performance Institute (OPI) and has worked at OPI for over 9 years. She received a Master’s Degree in Marriage and Family Therapy from Phillips Graduate Institute. She has a strong passion for the field of psychology and for supporting others on their life path through the power of therapy. She began her work at the California Counseling Center providing therapy to children, adolescents, couples and families. She also served as a child therapist, for the Los Angeles Unified School District, where she conducted both individual and group therapy for students at an elementary through high school level. Her passion for the mental health field began as an undergraduate student at UCSB where she volunteered as a Paraprofessional Counselor, for the Family Service Agency Suicide Crisis Helpline. She also worked as a research assistant at Verdugo Mental Health Clinic. She has had extensive training in Social Skills and Violence Prevention/Anti-Bullying and has run countless social skills groups and parenting workshops.
Alisa is enthusiastic about the work that she does at OPI and the opportunity to help young adults on their journey to independence. She believes in the importance of finding joy and balance in life and building a healthy repertoire of skills to manage day-to-day life.
DR. EDWARD HALLOWELL
It is time, long since past due, to follow a strengths-based paradigm as we understand children’s minds, especially the minds of those children who struggle to learn. It is time to reject the pathology-based model of disabilities, disorders, and diseases and replace it with a more comprehensive and neurologically capacious model that emphasizes talents, interests, and strengths as well as the obstacles that get in the way of their developing. Listen in as Dr. Hallowell and Penny Williams discuss how parents can shift to a positive, strengths-based approach with their kids with autism.
Edward (Ned) Hallowell, MD, is a board-certified child and adult psychiatrist, a thought leader, a NY Times bestselling author, a world-renowned keynote speaker and a leading authority in the field of ADHD. He is the Founder of The Hallowell Centers in Boston MetroWest, New York City, San Francisco and Seattle. He has authored 20 books on various psychological topics, including ADHD, the power of human connection, the childhood roots of adult happiness, how to help your people SHINE, forgiveness, managing worry and managing your “crazy busy” lives.
SARAH WAYLAND, PhD
Sarah Wayland, PhD, is a certified RDI Consultant, parent coach, and Special Needs Care Navigator at the company she founded, Guiding Exceptional Parents. She helps parents learn how to confidently and effectively help their children at home, at school, and in the community by learning about everyone in the family and collaborating with them to develop customized strategies that work.
Poor working memory, executive functioning deficits, and lagging skills like time blindness can lead to much nagging and many family battles. These deficits and delays can be combatted and combatted successfully while creating the opportunity for more successful independence for you child. It all comes down to creating external structure for your child and within your family — through schedules and routines. When the process is habit, you no longer have to depend on executive functions to complete a task successfully. It removes those hurdles for your child. In this session we’re discussing more about why external structure is such a powerful parenting tool, how to create the schedules and routines, and what tools and strategies will lead to more success and independence for your child (and more sanity for you).
Penny Williams trains and coaches parents raising kids with ADHD and/or autism. She’s the award-winning author of four books on parenting ADHD — Boy Without Instructions, What to Expect When Parenting Children with ADHD, The Insider’s Guide to ADHD, and The Hidden Layers of ADHD. Penny hosts the Parenting ADHD Podcast, the Happy Mama Retreat, and is also a frequent contributor on parenting and ADHD for ADDitude Magazine and other parenting and special needs publications.