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

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Thursday, July 13, 2006: 1:30 PM-2:45 PM
Narragansett Ballroom A
#2288- Autism Technology Panel Discussion: Overview of Products, Best Practices, Research, & Future Directions
Experts from universities, companies, and institutions involved in the research and development of technology for children in the autistic spectrum, will discuss research, methods and techniques used to teach this population of children. Panelists will present an overview of their products, projects and research, and entertain questions from the audience.

Presenters:Karl W. Smith, Autism Software Developers Association, President - Karl Smith is a founding member and initial president of the Autism Technology Developers Association. Mr. Smith is an engineer, the father of a son with autism, and is also the developer of the DT Trainer, a product targeted at individuals with autism. Mr. Smith's mission is to create effective and affordable software for individuals with autism. He also works to advance technologies that could help individuals like his own son.

Robert Stromer, Ph.D., University of Massachusetts Medical School, Senior Scientist at Medical School’s Shriver Center , Professor of Psychiatry - Robert Stromer (Ph.D., Utah State University) is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and a Senior Scientist at Medical School’s Shriver Center in Waltham, Massachusetts. He has published extensively and served on the editorial boards of several professional journals. His work focuses on translating research findings into practice, including the development of computer technologies for teaching children with autism and other special needs.

Ron Oberleitner, n/a, Talk Autism, General Manager

The presentation will be organized by the Autism Technology Developers Association (ATDA). The organization includes individuals from companies, universities, and teaching institutions. ATDA was formed to advance the research, development, and adoption of technology for individuals with autism and for the educators, parents, and care givers of individuals with autism. ATDA will help create the relationships to advance this cause, and also work to disseminate the information about technologies to the autism community.

Areas of technology include educational, assistive, informational, communications, and enabling. Technology has the potential of providing direct education and assistance, improving the quality of the training of our educators, parents, and care givers, enabling our experts to increase their impact, reducing costs of providing quality education and care, and in general improving the outcome for individuals with autism.

This year's panel discussion will continue on from last year's discussion and provide an update on the research and products available and under development.

The panel discussion and interaction with the audience is perceived as an important element in driving technology research, development, and adoption forward. Already from last year's ASA's support of the launching of the ATDA, a number of relationships have been formed to advance autism technology.

The ATDA includes representatives from companies and organizations like UltimateLearning for Kids, CompuThera Software, TeachTown, Special Minds Foundation, Social Skill Builder, Accelerations Educational Software, HelpSoft, Silver Lining Multimedia, Millennium Software, Gracy LLC, Autism Coach, PALS, Tech Connection, Talk Autism, and University of Massachusetts – Shriver Center.

The session moderator will briefly introduce typical issues related to the range of educational needs of individuals with autism, and with teaching these individuals via the computer.

Each panel member will have 5-7 minutes (depending on final number of participating companies) to overview their software or research. Each member will have access to a computer and projection system.

Each technology vender representative will overview their product or products. The overviews will cover what is being taught, who would benefit, how the individual uses the software, what methods are incorporated to accommodate the educational needs of an individual with autism, what is the supporting research or educational practice, how is the program configured for the individual, and what is the price structure.

Research panelists will present research on methods and not on research related to specific products. Each researcher will overview their research related to computer based instruction. They will overview the specific educational goal, the general characteristics of the individual, the fundamental methods of teaching individuals with autism with software, and general conclusions.

After the overviews, the panel will focus on a discussion of the individual theories and methods, how they compliment each other, strengths, weakness, future directions etc. The panel will also discuss the limitations of mainstream software.

The final 15 minutes will be opened up to questions from the audience.

There are several goals for the panel presentation. * To educate the potential users of software on what to look for in determining appropriate software for specific students. * To improve software offerings through the interaction with other software developers, researchers, and the audience. * To bring attention to the research and development of technologies for individuals with autism.

The panel members would include some of the participants from last year as well as some new panelists.

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