ASA's 37th National Conference on Autism Spectrum Disorders (July 13-15, 2006)

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Thursday, July 13, 2006: 3:15 PM-4:30 PM
Ballroom E
#1953- Autism Network for Individuals with Hearing and Visual Impairments
Annual Meeting of the Autism Network for Individuals with diagnosed Hearing and Visual Impairments. Overview of the international network and transitional updates related to lifespan services. Focus on practical and functional skills for daily living to promote self competence and independence.

Presenters:Margaret P. Creedon, Ph.D., Consultant - Autism Spectrum Disorders, Clinical Psychologist - Margaret P. Creedon, Ph.D., FAACP is an attending staff at Michael Reese Hospital, Chicago and consultant to educational, therapeutic and liefspan services for individuals with ASD. She is a member of the ASA Panel of Professional Advisors and chaired annual meetings of this Network as well as serving as a professional contact for families.

Carol Schall, Ph.D., Virginia Autism Resource Center, Director - Dr. Schall has been supporting individuals with autism for over 20 years. As the director of the Virginia Autism Resource Center, she travels across Virginia helping teachers, families, and individuals with ASD. She is skilled in positive behavior supports, supporting individuals with sensory impairments and autism, and person-centered planning. Her practice and research interests include the use of positive behavior support in place of higher risk interventions such as psychotropic medication use and understanding the impact of dual diagnoses for individuals with ASD.

Terese Pawletko, Ph.D., Private Practice, Clinical Psychologist and Teacher of the Visually Impaired - Terese Pawletko, Ph.D. is a psychologist and former teacher of the visually impaired. At UNC-Chapel Hill, she served as a behavioral consultant to the CLLC. She worked as a psychologist at the Maryland School for the Blind developing programs for children with autism. She consults nationally and internationally.

Dolores Bartel, Autism Network for Individuals with Hearing and Visual Impairments, Network Parent Co-Director - Dolores Bartel, co-founder with Alan Bartel, M.D.of the computer based Network for Individuals with Hearing and Visual Impairments. Mrs. Bartel has connected families across the USA through numerous phone contacts. She continually updates information realted to services across the developmental lifespan for individuals like her son, a young man who is profoundly deaf and has autism.

The Network is a special interest group within ASA with family and professional members from 22 countries. The Network holds its meeting at the Annual Conference in response to requests from teachers and therapists as well as families for ways to update information and provide support. The Network also maintains a computer based membership that can provide contacts for parents and professionals possibly within their community. Network lists are available to research programs pending consent or response of the membership.

The Meeting will begin with updates related to the lifespan issues and availability or restriction of services in different states. These can sometimes provide a model or source of support, social and financial for attendees. Cautions and updates about testing across sensory modalities are also reviewed so that changes are not missed or overshadowed by other behaviors related to the existing physical impairment. New medical testing and intervention options will also be reviewed with consideration of their appropriateness and necessary accommodations for a person who is also on the autism spectrum. Compounding these difficulties is the possibility of sensory regulation issues that can reduce options for new procedures or using specialized formats for communication and mobility. A review of school placement issues will also address the need for specialized and integrated environments. Many individuals, particularly with hearing loss move back and forth between specialized services, those for the deaf and hard of hearing and those for persons with autism.

This year's meeting will also include a focus on functional or practical daily living skills and understanding potential difficulties related to interactions between the individual's experience of autism and their sensory loss. Individuals' travel needs with a sensory impairment must be considered in terms of safety for transport to and from schools and jobs as well as family or social outings. Orientation and Mobility are particularly critical for individuals with visual loss when devices or equipment issues are compounded by difficulties with attention and other sensory contact. Individuals who cannot respond to verbal contact and/or direction may also require guided traveling. Independent living skills will be reviewed for both groups of individuals and address developing daily routines such as getting up in the morning as well as sleep and nighttime behaviors. The promotion of self competence and social interactions requires learning skills in the many environments some individuals experience. Presenters are always willing to meet with families, therapists and educators to address individual situations, to provide support and to network or suggest other contacts.

Learning Objectives: 1. Families with individuals who have autism and a hearing or visual impairment will learn they are not alone and that support and services are available. 2. Professionals will learn they share similar frustrations and concerns with both families and others in educational and helping roles. 3. Families will learn to monitor wellness and function in each sensory modality. 4. Families and interventions will learn to identify routines that can to be established to promote more independence.

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