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Registration Includes:
  • Over 28 Presentations for Professionals & Families

  • Distinguished Speakers-Leaders in the Field of Autism Related Care

  • Guest Panel introducing the Autism Centers of Excellence 

  • Certificate of Attendance for Providers, Teachers & other Professionals

  • CEU's for BCBA Professionals

  • Resource Fair - featuring Exhibitors & Vendors

  •  Lunch, Continental Breakfast & Free Parking 


8:00-9:00 am     Registration, Continental Breakfast & Vendor Viewing
8:45-9:00 am     Welcome and Opening Remarks
9:00-9:50 am     Keynote Presentation

Gary Brennan, FACHE, CHC - Keynote 

Driving Change—From Specialization to Integration

With 30 years of management and executive experience in primary, acute,

behavioral healthcare and provider network organizations,

Gary Brennan shares his experience as we embark on a new era of

changes in the delivery of health care services. (BCBA-CEU)

10:00-10:50 am   Breakout Sessions  

Autism Center for Excellence Partner Organizations Interactive Panel (BCBA-CEU)

AHCCCS, Mercy Care, Touchstone Health Services, Southwest Human Development

Representatives will discuss this new partnership of integrated care for treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders in Arizona.


ESA’s and Scholarships: Empowering Students

Elizabeth Dreckman, Choose a School

Providing financial aid options to students looking for private schooling, therapy services, and tutoring using Empowerment Savings Accounts (ESA) and STO Scholarships. How to determine which option is right for your child or students at your school.  

Integrating ABA & Speech Procedures for Socially Appropriate Voice Modulation (BCBA-CEU)

Katie Turner, Brent Seymour, M.Ed, BCBA, SARRC 

Among the many variances of speech and communication difficulties within the ASD diagnosis, individuals with this disorder often present symptoms related to socially inappropriate voice modulation. This presentation will explore how one to incorporate ABA based teaching procedures along with speech-related target behaviors. 

Helping Demoralized Scholars to Reclaim Motivation, Develop Persistence and Become “Gritty Learners”

Jill McCollum, MA                 

Scholars who experience repeated failure are prone to significantly reduced motivation, persistence, and self efficacy. However, through systematic use of well documented, user-friendly techniques, challenged learners are demonstrating measurable improvements in their ability to persist, even for difficult or complex tasks.  This session offers practical tools for transforming student motivation, many of which are drawn from the seminal work of Carol Dweck on the importance of growth mindsets. The focus will be on applying these techniques to scholars with autism. 

11:00-11:50 am   Breakout Sessions

New Role For the BCBA: Leading Integrated Models of Treatment and Service Delivery for Those Affected by ASD (BCBA-CEU)

Kyle Lininger, MPA, BCBA, & Steve Sparks, LCSW, Intermountain Centers for Human Development

The presenters will cover promising preliminary evaluation data collected from the first year of a pilot program designed to meet the needs identified by the AHCCCS ASD Advisory Committee in that services are person-centered and family-focused, evidence-based practices are employed, building capacity is the focus, and consideration is given to address provider network sufficiency while promoting a best practice model for merging physical and behavioral health worthy of replication. 

Beyond the Yellow Brick Road!

Sharon Pierson, Docia Rojel, Arizona Division of Developmental Disabilities

The Arizona Early Intervention Program (AzEIP) has come a long way in data driven decision making, successful and measureable outcomes, accountability, fiscally responsible focused referrals/evaluations and more. We will share our challenges, (Dorothy had a few too) 

strengths (takes lots of courage) and lessons learned (thankfully we had the Scarecrow to help us).  

Join us as we explore AzEIP’s journey to OZ and beyond!

Advocacy Skills That Work: You Can Make a Difference 

Cynthia Thomas, All in the Family LLC
The focus of this training is to educate parents, families, and others in how to gain the practical skills needed to bring about and maintain change. The inherent value in advocacy training says you can make a difference and change the future for individuals and families whose life are touched by ASD.  The goal of this training is to show concrete steps to take that directly relate to being effective citizen advocates.


21st Century Learning: Targeting Technology Skills

Mai Ling Chan, MS, CCC-SLP, YappGuru University

All students benefit from developing a skill set which incorporates a strong basis in the use and incorporation of technology into their daily lives and career development. Learn how to identify student-appropriate and specific targets for tablet and AAC use which are aligned with essential skills defined by the Framework for 21st Century Learning including Innovation Skills, Information, Media and Technology Skills, and Life and Career Skills.


ADHD and Autism: How They Overlap

Raun Melmed, MD, Melmed Center, SARRC                  

Core symptoms of ADHD and ASD along with some of their neurobiological characteristics will be compared. Common problems including issues of co-morbidity and social challenges will be explored. Screening as well as integrative treatment practices will be described. This will support respectful intervention practices based on each individual’s descriptive and biological profiles. 

Legal Options; Turning 18? What’s Next

Janna Murrell, Raising Special Kids

Learn about the different legal options families should consider when their child becomes an adult at the age of 18. Become familiar with the steps of the guardianship process. Participants will learn how they can stay involved in decision-making with schools, doctors and other professionals.


12:00-1:00 pm   Complimentary Lunch & Vendor Viewing

1:00-1:50 pm   Breakout Sessions

Autism Medical Home – Updates from the Early Access to Care-Arizona Initiative (BCBA-CEU)

Robin Blitz, M.D., Diana Davis-Wilson, DBH

The Early Access to Care Arizona program was developed to provide empowerment to practitioners and aims to increase the use of universal autism screening across all patients, increase the pediatrician knowledge and confidence in treating children with autism and increase the families access to community resources. The priorities of the training program include addressing known barriers to early detection and access to care in communities that have traditionally been underserved, as well as to implement and evaluate programs that may lower the age of diagnosis of autism, improve access to evidence-based EI services, and focus on community-based models.

20/20 is not Enough: Vision and Learning in Autism

Christina Esposito, Optometrist,OD, Midwestern University

There are several visual abilities that are required for the learning process to take place. This presentation is focused on how to identify visual symptoms in patients with Autism and more importantly how we treat them. The importance of eye examinations and glasses prescriptions are the bare minimum needed to be successful in and out of the classroom. These visual abilities are not tested for with an eye chart and are often overlooked. This presentation walks through an eye examination, reveals the hidden disabilities, how they are tested and shows how they can be managed successfully.    


Behavior Skills Training in the Classroom

Heather Hall, Structured Autism Teacher, Paradise Valley School District

In this presentation you will learn the four behavior skill techniques that a teacher can use to help prepare their students with the appropriate behaviors they need to be successful. Through this presentation the audience will learn four behavior skills through hands on learning and some video modeling as well as learn ways to create classroom lessons.               


Full Inclusion: How to Fight for the LRE and What to do When You Get It

Amy Langerman P.C. 

IDEA declares that children with disabilities be educated with non-disabled children to the maximum extent appropriate. This session will review the legal requirements for LRE, when a parent/district should provide it, and how to make inclusive practices work. Real life examples will be provided including how to write goals, technology supports and peer tutoring/mentoring.

Unraveling Neurodevelopmental and Behavioral Disorders

Cameron Call, D.C., The Specific Chiropractic Center

Learn about the common threads of childhood neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism, ADHD, sensory processing disorder, OCD, ODD, dyslexia, and Tourette's. Leave with a strategy to improve the health and quality of life for those with a plan of action to help your child and/or those you work with get hope, get well, and live life.

2:00-2:50 pm   Breakout Sessions

The A Team!

Ann Monahan, Pathfinder Health Innovations, Arizona Autism Coalition

In this session you will learn about The A Team and "My Job - My Choice" initiatives.  Come to discuss and learn about various services, pre-employment training and transition to employment support, what is changing on a Federal and State level, and how you as individuals receiving services, and your families can get involved.  This session also features guest presenter Nathaniel Dawson, who will share his personal journey as a man with an autism diagnosis, and his employment challenges and successes.  

SEEDs for Autism: A Model of Integrated Care in Transitional and Vocational Services (BCBA-CEU)

Mary Ann LaRoche & Jennifer Espinoza, BCBA/LBA, SEEDs for Autism

A panel from SEEDs for Autism, including the Founder, a Board Member, a Volunteer, and a BCBA/LBA will discuss the SEEDs model for integrated care that provides transitional & vocational services – including working with schools, Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, BCBAs, Instructors who are working professionals in their field, and community partners. 

College Connection:  Developing Social Networks for Students with ASD

Maria Dixon, ASU Dept. of Speech & Hearing Science

When students with autism go to college, academic achievement might not be the issue for ultimate success. Social relationships and  interactions are key factors in the overall college experience. This presentation discusses the Autistics on Campus (AoC) student group at ASU.  The AoC mission to provide education and outreach about autism and a place for students to engage socially within the ASU community.

Pivotal Response Treatment: What, How & Why Should I? (BCBA-CEU)

Mallory Smith, BCBA-LBA, Arielle King, M.Ed., Next Step SW @ St. Dominic Savio Academy

This training will provide implementation strategies for Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT), an ABA based intervention for individuals with autism. Learn how to design sessions that motivate children, naturally decrease the frequency of problem behavior, and produce long-term improvements across multiple domains. The use of PRT has been reported to decrease child, parent, and therapist stress and increase skill generalization. We will clarify any misconceptions about the differences between Natural Environment Teaching, Discrete Trial Teaching, and PRT.

Come discover how to play and teach at the same time!                      


Supreme Court Rules: Higher Standards for Special Education Achievement

Parent Attorney Lori Kirsch-Goodwin, Kirsch-Goodwin & Kirsch, PLLC, and School Attorney Heather R. Pierson, Udall Shumway

The Supreme Court recently decided the case of "Endrew F" which addressed the FAPE standard that schools must provide. The case involved a child with autism. In this presentation, two nationally recognized special education attorneys will discuss how this case and other recent cases affect Arizona's students with autism, and the rights of parents in decision-making for their children's education, and the schools’ viewpoint. You will have a better understanding of what your child is entitled to, and how to better advocate for your child's needs.

How I Found My Inner Aspergers and Put the Fun Back Into DysFUNctional

Dave Bachmann, Banner Academy    

As an educator of thirty years working with high functioning autistic children, I have come to appreciate the importance of humor. This presentation will explore how humor can be a useful tool in teaching social skills, demonstrate how humor can be employed as a vehicle for increasing awareness in parents and providers of student's unique social challenges and will show how humor can rejuvenate and inspire those who work with autistic children. It will be informative, fast-paced and fun!

3:00-3:50 pm   Breakout Sessions

ACCELs Model Classroom Program

Mindy Malik, Ph.D. & Brad Reed, ACCEL

This presentation reviews the The Model Classroom Program© developed by ACCEL as an instrument for administrators and educators to evaluate and coach special education teachers in establishing and maintaining evidenced-based practices for students with autism spectrum disorders. The scope includes 7 domains: Classroom Management, Curriculum and Lesson Planning, Data Collection, Environmental Structure and Room Set-Up, Schedules & Visual Supports, Staff Management & Collaboration, and Effective Teaching Behaviors. 


Crisis Intervention & Be Safe Training

Cynthia Macluskie, Greater Phoenix Autism Society of America

This panel presentation highlights crisis intervention techniques and features important highlights of the Be Safe training program designed to empower individuals with autism and their families to interact with law enforcement and first responders.  This session also features guests from a family with first hand experience in this important issue who will share their story and lessons learned.      


Cleanliness Training to Support Bathroom Hygiene (BCBA-CEU)

Kristen Brya, HOPE Group

The presentation will briefly discuss previous studies and extend the findings on the effects of simulation and correspondence training for teaching hygiene skills. The importance of a learner mastering this skill set will also be discussed and data will be provided. 

Discrimination Training, Compliance and Flexibility, Reinforcement with Extinction (BCBA-CEU)

Brent Seymour, M.A., BCBA,  Kathryn Hoyle, SARRC

This presentation demonstrates how discrimination training is used to teach children with ASD to comply with negotiable versus non-negotiable demands in a classroom setting. During instances of noncompliance to non-negotiable demands, the clinician utilized escape extinction. Results demonstrate improvement in children’s compliant behavior to non-negotiable demands, as well as increased compliance with negotiable demands. 

Life Care Planning: The ABLE Act

Karen Starbowski, CLU, ChSNC, MassMutual Arizona SpecialCare Planning Team

Learn how to create a Life Care Plan and the benefits of the new ABLE Act for your loved one with Special Needs. This presentation shows how to ensure the appropriate legal documents, financial means and care resources are in place to take care of your loved one with autism throughout their lifetime.

Learning to Breathe: Benefits of Yoga for Autism

Melisa Doran Cole, Whole Child Yoga    

This presentation will focus on the benefits of a yoga practice specifically for children on the autism spectrum. We will discuss (and experience) how breathing techniques, gentle yoga poses and visualizations can create a sense of calm and security within our bodies. Yoga can help children to self-calm and self-regulate by increasing mindfulness of emotions and providing concrete tools that can be learned and prompted. Additionally, yoga increases body awareness, core strength, and can improve mental focus and self-esteem.

BCBA-CEU indicates session has been approved for CEU's for BCBA Professionals.  


All sessions are open for anyone interested in the topic of the Presentation.  We encourage attendance based on interest and welcome everyone regardless of professional or family member affiliation.

Thank you to our 2017 Sponsors!

Lunch Sponsors

Breakfast Sponsor

And Vendors & Exhibitors!
ACCEL / BISTA Center, ASU Autism/Asperger's Research Program, Autism Nutrition Research Center, AZANOW - Arizona Autism Network, Banner Academy, Behavior Support Solutions, Breakthrough Academy, Caregivers of Arizona, Catholic Charities, Chapel Haven West, DDD & AzEIP,  Hope Academy for Autism, Life Development Institute, Milestone Pediatrics, Pawsitive Friendships, Scottsdale Autism Services, Southwest Behavioral & Health Services, VISI

Click Here for Sponsor + Vendor Opportunities 

Exhibitor/Vendor space is limited at venue, register early for guaranteed confirmation.  Logos will be added upon receipt of registration.

Due to Fall Break schedules, discounted Early Registration is extended through October 28th.  Rates increase after Oct. 28th and are based on availability. 

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