2016 Autism Conference Overview



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2016 Autism Conference

Hosted by: The Matthew Reardon Center for Autism

Conference Venue: Coastal Georgia Center 301 Fahm St. Savannah, GA 31401

Conference dates: February 11th and 12th, 2016

Registration fee: $75

Registration dates: September 1, 2015 through November 30, 2015

Late Registration fee: $100

Late Registration dates: December 1, 2015 through January 31, 2016

Targeted audience/ four learning tracks:

  • First responders
  • Parents/family
  • Educators
  • Teens and young adults

Summary/purpose: The 2016 Autism Conference will feature experts presenting strategies and tools for improving the delivery of support services to individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). The conference will provide opportunities for individuals with ASD and Asperger’s to hone social skills and will serve as a catalyst for establishing networks between conference participants. In-depth, 3 and 6 hour workshops will target parents, caregivers, educators, emergency response personnel, and teens and young adults with ASD and Asperger’s.

Attention LAW ENFORCEMENT & FIRST RESPONDERS: Space for the 6 hr training with Dennis Debbaudt is limited. Please be sure to select the corresponding ticket when checking out during registration. 



Speaker Date Time Presentation Name Learning objectives Learning track
Dennis Debbaudt 2/11/2016 9:45am to 12:45pm

2:00pm to 5:00pm

Autism Risk and Safety Management  *listed on following page Law Enforcement and First responders
Dr. Roy Sanders 2/11/2016 9:45am to 12:45pm Sexuality for people Living with ASD *listed on following page Parents & Families, Teens & young adults
Maranda Porter, MSP 2/11/2016 9:45am to 12:45pm The Tough Kid: Practical Behavior Management *listed on following page Educators
Faye Montgomery 2/11/2016 2:00pm to 5:00pm Advocacy and Supports in the Community  *listed on following page Parents & families, Teens & young adults
Peter Gerhardt, BCBA, Ed.D 2/11/2016 2:00pm to 5:00pm Transitioning to Employment and Life in the Community: Targeting Necessary Skills and competencies *listed on following page Educators, Teens & young adults
Daniel Wendler 2/12/2016 9:00am to 12:00pm Social Skills and Strategies for Teens and Young Adults *listed on following page Teens & young adults
Stacey Ramirez 2/12/2016 9:00am to 12:00pm Person-Centered Planning *listed on following page Parents & families, Teens & young adults
Amanda Parker, M. Ed, BCBA 2/12/2016 9:00am to 12:00pm Modifying Curriculum, ABA in schools  *listed on following page Educators
Temple Grandin, PhD 2/12/2016 2:15pm to 3:45pm Autism Spectrum  *listed on following page All conference attendees



Learning Objectives and outcomes: 


Dennis Debbaudt, Autism Risk and Safety Management, 6 hrs total contact:

Bio: Dennis Debbaudt was first to address the interactions between law enforcement and people with autism in his 1994 report Avoiding Unfortunate Situations. He has since authored a full length book, nearly 40 reports, book chapters and produced innovative and acclaimed training videos for law enforcement and first responders such as paramedics, fire rescue, police, and hospital staff who may respond to an autism emergency. Dennis has written for the FBI’s Law Enforcement Bulletin, the International Association of Chiefs of Police and is a cited resource for the Department of Homeland Security. He has developed training and consulted to the NYPD and Chicago Police Department. Since 1995, he has presented his multi-media training at the invitation of the Illinois Attorney General, the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children’s Team ADAM, Ontario Association of Chiefs of Police conference, Fire Safety Educators of the Rockies Conference, Project Lifesaver International, Houston, Cincinnati, Toledo and New Hampshire training academies and in training rooms throughout North America and in Australia, New Zealand, Iceland and the United Kingdom.

Learning Purpose:

  1. Recognize predictable field contacts with police, fire-rescue and public safety personnel.
  2. Learn to develop a safety plan that can be implemented at home and in educational, 
recreational, employment and community settings that can be shared with public safety 
  3. Become familiar with trends of victimization and strategies to reduce victimization and 
build safety skills for persons with autism and care providers.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify issues of autism-related risk
  2. Provide strategies to help manage ASD risks at home, school
  3. Disclosure options: ID cards, 911 registries, and field disclosure
  4. Discuss prevention, alert and response plans for dangerous wandering
  5. Identify and minimize victimization of persons with autism
  6. Identify tools and options for parents, care providers, educators and persons with autism to develop partnerships with law enforcement, first response, and criminal justice agencies.


Dr. Roy Sanders, Sexuality Issues for Individuals Living with ASD, 3 hrs total contact:

Bio: Roy Sanders, M.D., Psychiatrist, Decatur Family Psychiatry. Dr. Sanders is the former Associate Medical Director and Director of Psychiatric Services at the Marcus Institute in Atlanta, GA and Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Emory University School of Medicine. Dr. Sanders is the author of How to Talk to Parents about Autism.

Purpose: To familiarize and engage parents and professionals as well as young adults with autism about sexuality and transition issues for folks living on the spectrum.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Be able to discuss in a general way topics important related to sexuality for people on the spectrum
  2. Develop some level of comfort with discussing sexuality and other issues related to intimacy for folks on the spectrum
  3. Gain knowledge about resources that can help with promoting healthy sexuality and transition for folks living on the spectrum and their families


Maranda Porter, The Tough Kid: Practical Behavior Management, 3 hrs total contact: 

Bio: Maranda Porter, MS, previously served as Behavior Consultant and Outreach Coordinator for the Mathew Reardon Center for Autism. She is the founder of FRIENDS, an organization dedicated to providing social opportunities to children with ASD through summer camp.

Purpose: “Tough Kids” training specifically targets excessive undesirable classroom behaviors, shed perspective on the functions of those unwanted behaviors, juxtaposes those with behavior deficits, and then provides practical solutions that educators can actually use to achieve positive, desired outcomes.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Be able to use effective reductive techniques that reduce classroom problem behaviors
  2. Be able to design motivation-based interventions to improve the academic abilities of Tough Kids
  3. Be able to include and integrate Tough Kids into less-restrictive educational environments

Faye Montgomery, Advocacy, People, and Community, 3 hrs total contact:

Bio: Faye Montgomery, Advocacy Director, The Matthew Reardon Center for Autism, 2015 Partners in Policymaking graduate, author of CoastalGeorgiaAutismNetwork.com, and autism mom, works directly with families in the coastal Georgia region, and collaborates with regional, statewide, and national advocates for improving the lives of individuals living with ASD.

Purpose: Teach parents, family members, and other supportive role members the meaning of advocacy and why it is critical that they continue to advocate for their family member or child with ASD or other “dis”-abilities. Provide advocates with insights to understanding the relationship between the individual and their community. Learn how and what resources at the local, state, and national level can provide supports that fit into the individual’s life.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify your role as an advocate (including how you protect, support, and build community for the individual)
  2. Identify what persons and resources exist in your child’s life at this moment, from which you can continue to foster relationships
  3. Understand the relationship of the individual with current systems (ie school, Medicaid), and how these systems can impede independence
  4. Learn what resources exist at the local, state, national levels, and how with appropriate advocacy these resources can support and contribute to a successful life

Peter Gerhardt, Transitioning to Employment and Life in the Community: Targeting Necessary Skills and Competencies, 3 hrs total contact: 

Bio: Peter Gerhardt, edD, Director of Education – upper school for the McCarton School in New York City. Dr. Gerhardt has over 30 years experience utilizing the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis in support of adolescents and adults with ASD in educational, employment, residential and community-based settings.



Daniel Wendler, Social Skills and Strategies for Teens and Young Adults, 3 hrs total contact: 

Bio: Daniel Wendler, Self-advocate, Published author, presenter at TedxUniversity of Arizona, mentor and advocate for teaching social skills and strategies for teens and young adults. Daniel is author of the ebook, Improve your Social Skills.


Stacey Ramirez, Person Centered Planning, 3hrs total contact: 

Bio: Stacey Ramirez is State Director of The Arc in Georgia; formerly Director of Individual and Family Supports, Center for Leadership and Disability at Georgia State University, Person Centered Planning. Stacey also provides training to law enforcement personnel on autism and fetal alcohol syndrome. She is currently a board member of the Crisis Intervention Team with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation, chair of the Georgia Futures Facilitators and was appointed by the Governor to serve on the Olmstead Planning Committee.

Purpose: To define Self-Determination and the need to respect the dignity in risk. Define Person-Centered Planning and its philosophies. Introduce Person-Centered Planning tools for families, individuals, persons of support such as educators, therapists, and friends. Learn to share stories of person-centered realities.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify the building blocks of a purpose filled life
  2. Replace previously held preconceptions with the ability to see the capacity and gifts in every person.
  3. Understand that all successful person-centered plans are unique
  4. Begin to see how every person has a valued role in the community


Amanda Parker, M. Ed., BCBA, Modifying Curriculum, ABA in Schools, 3 hrs total contact: 

Bio:Amanda Parker, M.Ed, BCBA, owner of Chicago Autism & Behavior Specialists. Amanda is founder of Chicago Education Project. In addition she has received certifications in Relationship Development Intervention (RDI), Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT), Professional Crisis Management Instructor (PCM), Picture Exchange Communication Systems (PECS), and The Association Method. She frequently presents on ABA and its applications throughout Illinois, Indiana, and Georgia

Purpose:To demonstrate and give a grounding in the ABA teaching skills and methods needed to help students with autism best succeed in an inclusion classroom setting.

Learning Objectives:

  1. Identify student skills necessary for successful inclusion
  2. Identify how to modify curricula based on student’s strengths
  3. Implement strategies for teaching/learning in group settings

Temple Grandin, PhD, Autism Spectrum, 1.5 total hours contact: 

Bio: Dr. Temple Grandin is an American proffesor of animal science at Colorado State University, a best-selling author, an autistic activist, and a consultant to the livestock industry on animal behavior. She also invented the “hug box”, a device to calm those on the autism spectrum. The subject of an award-winning, 2010 biographical film, Temple Grandin, she also was listed in the Times 100 List of the one hundred most influential people in the world in the “heroes” category.


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