PATC 2012: 5th Annual Pennsylvania Autism Training Conference

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Presented by Megan Martins, PhD, BCBA

Symptoms of anxiety and depression are very common in individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). Without intervention, these symptoms can significantly interfere with

an individual’s functioning and persist across the lifetime. Over the last several years, research has emerging that supports a variety of psychological and psychiatric interventions for treating anxiety and depression in individuals with ASDs. This workshop will present current best practices for individuals with ASDs with a co-occurring psychiatric disorder and discuss applying these techniques in home, community, and school environments.

Presented by Wendy Ross, MD

Community inclusion is a top priority for families when thinking about the futures of individuals with autism. This session will describe the importance of collaboration among professionals and community members in creating meaningful opportunities for community integration over the lifespan. Strategies, successes, challenges, and lessons learned will be discussed in the context of examples of community programs. Together we will explore principles of effective inclusion and emerging best practices.

Presented by Peter Gerhardt, EdD

Positive Quality of Life (QoL) is a complex, highly individualized conceptualization of the outcomes that should be expected from effective and appropriate transition services. This presentation will provide an overview of the parameters most closely associated with QoL and how best to demonstrate progress and evaluate outcomes. The importance of evidence-based practice across domains will be emphasized.

Presented by Benjamin Yerys, PhD

This presentation will cover changes to ASD diagnostic criteria, as well as recent genetic findings in ASD that have improved our understanding about the causes of ASD. This presentation will cover how genetics predispose brain regions important for social interactions to develop atypically, as well as areas of the brain that are responsible for generating flexible behavior and interests. Potential treatment implications of these genetic findings will also be discussed.

Presented by Peter Gerhardt, EdD

Individuals on the Autism Spectrum are sexual beings. However, individual interest in sex or in developing an intimate sexual relationship with another person varies widely across (and within) individuals at all ability levels. Unfortunately, despite much discussion about decision-making skills in the self-determination literature there continues to be “lack of evidence [supporting the] effectiveness of sex education and training for persons with developmental disabilities” (Duval, 2002) which behavior analysis can provide. This workshop will provide a brief overview of issues associated with sexuality education and the role behavior analysis can play in this complex and important area.

Presented by Julie Lounds Taylor, PhD

The transition to adulthood is a major turning point for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and their families. This session will summarize current research on adult outcomes for individuals with ASD, including employment, post-secondary education, relationships, and independent living. The session will then focus in on the years surrounding high school exit, and will summarize new research examining the impact of transition on the development of the individual with ASD and the psychosocial functioning of the family. This presentation will identify factors associated with a positive transition, as well as suggestions for future research and intervention targets.