Autism Spectrum Disorders Conference set in Minot this Month

The Anne Carlsen Center and North Dakota Department of Human Services invites parents, educators and treatment professionals to attend North Dakota’s third annual Autism Spectrum Disorders Conference Oct. 26-28 in the Grand Hotel in Minot.

Participants will learn about current information on autism, effective evidence-based treatment and successful interventions. Presentations are organized in tracks to match the interests of parents, educators, treatment providers and first responders. Experts, parents of children who are newly diagnosed, and people who are new to the field will all leave the conference with information they can apply.

The conference will begin each day with a morning keynote presentation featuring an expert in ASD from 8:30 a.m. to noon. Concurrent sessions lasting 1.5 hours each will begin at 1:30 p.m. and will run through 4:45 p.m. daily. Conference schedule details are online at

Speech-language pathologist Emily Rubin, who is the director of educational outreach at the Marcus Autism Center, which is affiliated with Emory University and is a National Institutes of Health Autism Center of Excellence, will give the opening keynote session on Oct. 26 at 8:30 a.m. She will share her expertise on social and emotional learning and engagement in the classroom. She will also present “Fostering Social Emotional Development in Natural Routines at Home” at 1:30 p.m., followed by “Implementing the Social Emotional Engagement: Knowledge and Skills Program” at 3:15 p.m.

Other speakers that day will share information about planning for the transition from pediatric to adult medical care, do-it-yourself transition plans, using iPad apps in the classroom for individuals with autism, ASD overview and online resources, assessment and treatment, ethics and autism and preparing for the world of work as adults on the autism spectrum.

Stephen Shore, an Adelphi University professor, author and speaker who shares his first-hand knowledge about life on the autism spectrum, will give the morning keynote on Oct. 27. Titled “Obstacles Into Opportunities: A Lifespan Approach in Turning Away from Closed Doors and Opening New Ones,” his presentation will examine how challenges and characteristics related to autism can be reframed into strengths to support success in school, employment, self-advocacy and community engagement.

At 1:30 p.m., Shore will discuss “Evaluating Different Approaches for Supporting Children with Autism,” and at 3:15 p.m., he will present “Senses and Sensibilities: an Inside View on Recognizing and Supporting Individuals with Sensory Issues.”

Also at 1:30 p.m. on Oct. 27, assistive technology specialist Marcy Szarkowski and occupational therapist Connie Lillejord of the Anne Carlsen Center will lead a three-hour, hands-on session titled “Make, Take and Generate.” Session participants will be able to create low-tech, low-cost tools and strategies to support a child with self-organization and behavior regulation.

Other concurrent training sessions that afternoon include iPads as augmentative communication devices; a self-advocate’s personal story; autism safety training for parents, caregivers, and emergency responders; teaching outsiders how to understand autism; supporting families and accessing services; and ASD for first responders.

Programming on Oct. 28 features the internationally recognized managing director of the Nurtured Heart Approach in the United Kingdom, Alastair Gardiner, who will present from 8:30 a.m. to noon on transforming challenging, aggressive and violent behavior in the family home and workplace using the Nurtured Heart Approach.

The afternoon concurrent session topics from 1:30 to 3 p.m. include North Dakota’s Autism Spectrum Disorder Database, autism screening, implementing musical interventions, and tools and strategies for when people with ASD come into contact with the criminal justice system. From 3:15 to 4:45 p.m., attendees can learn more about evidence-based interventions, as well as the Medicaid Autism State Plan, including who qualifies, how to access services and who provides services.

Registration ranges from $75 per day for a one-day registration to $150 for two days and $200 for the full three-day conference. People can register online at and should direct registration questions to Continuing Education Associates at 218-760-4892 or 218-282-1200.

General continuing education units have been approved. Counselors, social workers, peace officers, nurses, first responders, and other professionals should check in advance with their governing boards regarding CEUs.

The 2016 ASD Conference is provided with major funding from the Anne Carlsen Center. Other co-sponsors include the Department of Human Services, Prairie St. John’s, Family Voices of North Dakota, SPARK and the University of Minnesota, Acumen Fiscal Agent, the Red River Valley Asperger-Autism Network, Trinity Health, IPAT, Minot Center for Pediatric Therapy, Pathfinder Services of ND, the North Dakota Autism Center, the University of Mary, Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch, Autism Speaks, Autism Village, Red Door Pediatric Therapy, the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences and Courtagen.


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