Keynote Presentations

2019 Michigan Autism Conference will be held on the October 9–11, 2019 (with pre-conference workshops on October 9) and will take place at the Radisson Plaza Hotel in downtown Kalamazoo, MI.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Linda A. LeBlanc

Linda LeBlanc

Creating and Managing Clinical Systems in a Human Service Organization

Large human service agencies provide amazing opportunities for organizational analysis and implementation of standard process, procedures, and cultural change interventions. This presentation will describe the process for developing clinical standards in several critical domains including client relationships and protections, assessment, data collection, and supervision. Strategies for implementation and ongoing management of the systems will also be reviewed.

Thomas S. Higbee

Thomas Higbee

Strategies for Promoting Complex Social Play in Children with Autism Using Photographic Activity Schedules

Play serves an important function in the lives of young children. Through play, children learn about the world around them and come to understand the social rules and conventions that define the human experience. Many young children with autism spectrum disorders, however, do not develop the skills necessary to play appropriately with other children or even when alone. Over the past several years, behavioral researchers have developed support strategies to teach young children with autism to play using a visual cuing system called photographic activity schedules in combination with social scripting and script fading. In the current presentation, strategies for using activity schedules and script fading to promote both independent and complex social play will be described and discussed. Recent research illustrating the effective use of activity schedules and script fading to promote complex social play between children with autism and their typically developing peers will also be presented and discussed.

Susan M. Wilczynski

Susan Wilczynski

Abuse and Autism Spectrum Disorders

Individuals with disabilities are at significantly greater risk for abuse than the general population. This presentation addresses the unique challenges of assessing, implementing prevention, and addressing abuse that involves individuals with ASD. In addition, societal variables such as power deferentials often existing between the roles of individuals with ASD and their care providers or limited resources to address abuse in our communities will be discussed because they place individuals with ASD at greater risk. Strategies practitioners and parents can use for decreasing the likelihood abuse will occur will be identified. Resources for increasing knowledge about abuse and disabilities will be provided.


Friday, October 11, 2019

Janet S. Twyman

Janet Twyman

Integrating Technology into Practice: Why, What, Where, When, How

Modern digital technologies such as apps, hardware, and adaptive devices can help persons with autism learn new skills and provide opportunities for practice, application, and problem-solving. These tools can individualize learning, and help learners schedule their day, participate in socialization opportunities with peers close by or across the globe, help and even help them find a voice. We now can know in “real time” what’s been learned or what might need more attention. Learners reap greatest benefit from technology when their teachers apply knowledge of behavioral concepts/principals to select and use these tools. Several digital and hardware technology tools will be reviewed within the categories of instruction/academics, social skills/behavior management, and communication/information. During demonstrations and interactive activities participants will learn about various applications and tools, identify any correspondence with evidence-based behavioral principles, and evaluate if and how each might be useful in their instructional context.

Dorothea Lerman

Dorothea Lerman

Preparing and Supporting Individuals with Autism for Success in Higher Education

An increasing number of individuals with autism are entering adulthood without adequate preparation for successful transitions to college. Behavior analysts have much to offer these individuals as they prepare for life after high school. This presentation will provide an overview of skills critical for successfully navigating post-secondary education environments. The presentation will focus on how to assess and teach a variety of important skills. Outcomes of research and practice for teaching social skills and for providing supports to college students with autism will be described.

Jonathan C. Baker

Jonathan C. Baker

Promoting Successful Aging Through the Lifespan for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

As all people age through adulthood and into older adulthood, they experience unique opportunities and challenges such as shifts in their career, shifts in their life focus, shifts in their social networks, and age-related physical changes. An important theme among researchers in gerontology (the study of aging) is evaluating how these changes impact quality of life, or how happy someone is with their life. Indeed, a great deal of research and effort has gone into understanding how people can experience the opportunities and challenges of aging while ensuring they maintain a high quality of life. Said another way, this research focuses on understanding how to age successfully. An important growing focus in gerontology research is expanding quality of life research to understand and support aging adults with autism spectrum disorder and intellectual and developmental disabilities. Applied behavior analysis, with its focus on improving socially important behaviors through the systematic application of behaviorally grounded interventions, is uniquely poised to provide empirical answers and evidence-based approaches to helping this population age successfully. This presentation will first discuss the current notions of aging successfully and how that applies to aging adults with autism spectrum disorder and intellectual and developmental disabilities. It will then cover existing knowledge of barriers to successful aging. The presentation will then focus on existing applied behavior analytic research and approaches that promote successful aging, as well as areas ripe for applied behavior analytic research and intervention.

Conference Archives