top of page



30 Informative Sessions | Distinguished Guest Speakers | Resource Fair with Exhibitors & Vendors | Continental Breakfast | Catered Lunch | Professional Development Certificates

& CEU's for BCBA's | Complimentary Parking On-Site


All scheduled Presentations are designed for anyone seeking knowledge in the subject matter presented and attendees are welcome to participate in any session.  We have provided color codes as a general guide as follows: 

General Sessions (GS), Legal Issues (L), Business Development (B), 

Parent, Caregiver & Family Needs (PCF), CEU's for BCBA's (CEU)

9:00 AM

Know Your Rights! Fredrica Strumpf, J.D., Tammy Wray, J.D., Maricopa County Public Defender Law Office. Learn specifics of the AZ Justice System related to individuals with developmental disabilities, when parents (under 18) and parent/guardians (over 18) are allowed to be present and the differences in those circumstances. Discussion of scenarios where things can go awry for those with communication impairments, developmental delays and mental health issues associated with ASD.  (L)

Mindfulness and Autism, Sheri Dollin, M.Ed., B. Blair Braden, Ph.D. Mindfulness is the new wave in autism and its making a difference in positive ways. This session illustrates effective strategies and how mindfulness is articulated in daily life. A summary of research on benefits of mindfulness from a neuroscience perspective, the latest scientific studies and social emotional learning will be reviewed. (GS)

The Value of Value Based Purchasing, Don Fowls, M.D.  This session reviews Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) and the value of linking provider payments to improved performance. This form of payment attempts to reduce inappropriate care and to identify and reward the best-performing providers.  Medicaid (CMS) has successfully adopted and implemented VBP in hospitals and clinics, and specifically been introduced to providers as a method of payment over the last 2 years. VBP has been discussed within AHCCCS, and how it would impact, and be implemented here in AZ. All Medicaid/AHCCCS providers are encourage to attend.  Discussion of the benefits of VBP including time for audience Q & A is provided. (B)

Multidisciplinary Treatment Teams: The Good, The Bad and The Possible!, Robert Crippen, M.Ed., BCBA, Victoria Conditt, MHA.  This presentation discusses the safety planning, staff coordination, training, and treatment monitoring that is required to ensure efficacy of treatment including issues such as staff burnout, incident reporting and parent training. (CEU)


Bridging The Gap Between Home & School, Shawn Davis, M.Ed., Taylor Jacobs, M.Ed.  This session gives parents tools and tips to bridge the gap while keeping routines consistent and shares info on how to find the best school for your child's unique needs. Hands on items to utilize at home with your child and tips for increasing communication with AAC devices will be provided. (PCF)

10:00 AM

School Discipline: The Rights of Students With Autism, Hope Kirsch, M.A.(Ed.), Esq, Heather Pierson, M.Ed., Esq.  A parent attorney and school attorney team up to provide a comprehensive overview of the laws applicable to the discipline of students with disabilities and the unique problems of students with ASD. Topics include suspension, interviews, restraint, seclusion, and learn about MDR, FBA, and BIP. (L)


Importance of Care Coordination-Integrated Care Panel, Importance of Care Coordination-Integrated Care Panel, Paul Barnes, Ph.D., Arizona Complete Health, Robin Blitz, MD, UHC, Maureen Casey, DDD, Diana Davis-Wilson, DBH, Behavioral Health Centers of Excellence, Michael Hedden, MS, DBH, LPC, CCM, Mercy Care, Christy Lundeen, Mercy Care.  This panel of professionals will provide valuable information for effective care coordination in an interactive session providing time for audience Q & A.  Moderator: Ann Monahan, President, Arizona Autism Coalition. (B) (CEU)

Walk This Way: Teaching Safe Walking to Children With Autism, Christine Wentz, M.Ed., BCBA, Alicia Olivas, B.A. Elopement puts individuals at risk of injury or death and impacts opportunity to participate in the community.  This session provides an in-depth look at a study using differential reinforcement and reviews the results of participants that were able to master the goals. (CEU)


Autism, Career and Self-Reliance After Age 21, Jason Grygla, Parent/Educator. This presentation discusses how to understand, prepare and approach effective transition into adulthood through research and anecdotal experiences.  Topics include barriers to employment, maximizing ability, minimizing weakness, planning, education, finances, mentoring, and trends for "adulting autists." (GS)


7 Tips To Prepare For In-Home Services, Amanda Altieri, M.Ed, BCBA, LBA.  This session provides helpful tools on how to prepare your home, family and child for in-home services.  You will receive tools for successful implementation of therapies including Speech, OT, PT & ABA to maximize your child's potential for benefitting from these services. (PCF)

11:00 AM

AZ ABLE Program, Brittaney Chipley, AZ DES.  This session presents an overview of the AZ Able Program which creates tax-advantaged savings accounts for individuals with disabilities. (L) 


Third Party Coordination of Benefits, Ann Monahan.  Coordination of Benefits and TPL Billing has been an integral part of DDD/AHCCCS billing for many years here in AZ. With the implementation of additional integrated care services, more TPL billing is anticipated in the coming year(s). Understanding coordination of benefits with families, as well as who is responsible from a payer standpoint is a key to successful billing. Discussion, tips and important information for coordination of benefits is reviewed.  As always, Q &A will be a part of this session, so bring your questions, and be prepared for interactive discussions. (B)


Evidence-Based Practice & ABA: Cultural Competence & Clinical Practice, Hanna Rue, BCBA. This presentation provides information on integrating cultural competence and sensitivity into the practice of ABA.  Professionals and family members will learn about quality indicators of evidence-based practice and important questions to ask of their providers. (CEU)


Treating Cause Rather Than The Symptoms, Kara Rice, MOT, OTR/L, The focus of this presentation is to educate on the power of neuroplasticity.  Information is shared on neurological treatment and how movement based learning can improve behavior, function, language and decrease the developmental gap and rewire neural connections in the brain. (GS)

Adolescent Health & Socialization: Peers, Puberty & The Role of Parent, Nicholas Ascolese, BCBA.  This session for parents examines essential life skills for teens and teaches research based techniques and methodologies.  Parents will leave with practical strategies that address defects in social relationships and how to implement hygiene routines and other puberty concerns.  (PCF)


1:00 PM

Life Care Planning, Karen Starbowski, CLU, ChSNC, Jon Meyers, ARC AZ. Learn about the FINDS (Family & Individual Needs for Disability Supports) survey implemented by the ARC and how the survey results lead to effectively creating a Life Care Plan including financial and legal strategies for individuals and their families.  (L)

Advocating for Quality ABA: An Overview of Industry Norms Across Service Delivery, Parent Satisfaction & Employee Engagement, Diana Davis-Wilson, DBH, BCBA.  This presentation aims to identify existing standards to provide tools to measure the components of a quality service provider.  Results are discussed to provide a blueprint for service delivery. Participants will leave with tools needed to identify and select quality care for their child with autism. (CEU)


Creating an Integrated Clinic and It's Benefits, Kellie Band, DBH, BCBA, LBA, Tara Boyd, MA, CCC-SLP. Information is provided on best practices for integrating a curriculum of full wrap around services. Discussion includes the differences between interdisciplinary offices and effective ways on working together to help each child reach their full potential. (B) (CEU)


Helping Demoralized Scholars to Reclaim Motivation, Develop Persistence and Become "Gritty Learners", Jill McCollum, Developmental Specialist. This session taps into the powerful and game changing research on the development of motivation and persistence in children. (GS) 

Children with Autism Enrich the STEM-Focused Economic Sectors, Kenneth Mims, M.Ed. Securing satisfying employment is difficult for anyone, but for individuals with an autism spectrum disorder it’s even more of a challenge. This session provides valuable information on Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) fields of education and employment as a viable career path for students with ASD. (PCF)

2:00 PM

The Intersection of SSDI, Medicaid and Medicare, Cynthia Macluskie, Advocate and Licensed Agent.  Discussion and relevant information will be provided on the relationship between employment and Social Security Disability and the benefits of dual enrollment in Medicaid and Medicare. (L) 

Parent Coaching: The Southwest Autism Center of Excellence (SACE) Supports Across the Lifespan, Terrence Matteo, Ph.D., Julie Gonzalez, M.Ed., Kellie Bynum, BCBA, Allyson Wandell, BCBA.  Using DIR/Floortime & ABA to partner with parents in support of their child's/adult child's unique strengths and challenges. (GS)

It's All Just Behavior, Isn't It: Trauma Informed ABA, Erin Rourke, BCBA.  Up to 68% of youth, including those with ASD, experience potentially traumatic childhood events.  This session provides information on developing trauma informed ABA practice, FBA and caregiver training, and provides a forum for sharing questions, concerns and wisdom unique to trauma. (CEU)


OT, Technology & ASD, Matthew LeVac, M.S., OTR/L.  This session features ways to incorporate the use of technology as an enhanced benefit of effective treatment in ASD. (GS) 

Understanding Sensory Needs & Applied Interventions, Helen Nagle, M.A., Jordan Peterson.  This session offers hands on use of sensory interventions and is designed for parents and professionals with a "think outside the box" approach to sensory integration. how each of the major senses play a role in everyday functions and how treatment interventions can be determined to meet regulatory needs. (PCF)


3:00 PM

Planning for Children with Special Needs, Nick Favia, CFP, Megan Selvey, Attorney.  Topics presented include special needs trusts, wills, estate planning for families, guardianship, selecting trustees, financial planning and strategies to preserve access to government benefits. (L)


DIR/Floortime: Promoting Development Through Connection and Play, Stephanie Nilsen, Ph.D.  This presentation focuses on the research and strategies of the DIR/Floortime model.  Beginning steps, resources for connecting in play day to day interactions, and supporting development with individualized goals will be reviewed. (GS) 


Why I Worry About Anxiety, Courtney Peters, MA, BCBA, LBA.  With an increased risk of anxiety and anxiety disorder in ASD, this session discusses intervention plans that include coordination fo care with psychologists, counselors, teachers and parents.  Case examples and specific strategies that have been successful are reviewed. (CEU)


Physical Activity, Motor Function Development and ASD, Andy Albrecht, DPT, PCS.  The developmental benefits of physical therapy treatment from a sensory integration approach will be discussed as well as combining orthotic management with physical therapy intervention to achieve the highest results. (GS) 

Responders Unite!, Cricket Barrientos, Sargent Justin Hughes.  Responders Unite is an interactive presentation designed to bridge the gap between first responders and the autism community.  This campaign was created as a solution for education in the wake of a viral video showing a negative interaction between a Police Officer and a boy with autism in Goodyear, AZ. (PCF)

4:00 PM

Conference Conclusion


Parents / Family / Individuals with ASD

Coalition Members - $50

Non-Members - $75


Coalition Members - $125

Non-Members - $200

Thank you to our 2018 Sponsors!

Breakfast Sponsors

Lunch Sponsors

Beverage Sponsor

Coffee Sponsor


2018 Vendors

Arion Care Solutions, Arizona Autism Services, Arizona DES / DDD, Aurora Behavioral Health System, Autism Academy for Education & Development, Autism Society of Greater Phoenix, AZ Aspire Academy, Blossom Park, Breakthrough Academy, Caring For Angels, Centria Healthcare, Chapel Haven West, Echoing Hope Ranch, Elite Community Services, First Place AZ, Gayle Nobel-Author & Life Coach, Guthrie Mainstream, Heartspring School, HOPE Group, Life Development Institute, Milestone Pediatrics, Raising Special Kids, Science Prep Academy, Southwest Autism & Behavioral Solutions, Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC), TechieForLife, The ACES, The Opportunity Tree, Touchstone Health Services, Trumpet Behavioral Health, United Cerebral Palsy of Central Arizona

For any questions, please contact Mary at

bottom of page