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Living with Autism Workshop 2012

On April 25, 2012, Metro Parent and Henry Ford Health System dedicated a day to unlocking the puzzle of autism, featuring keynote speaker Holly Robinson Peete and special guest speaker Lt. Gov. Brian Calley

Get all the details on the 2014 Living with Autism Workshop at the Troy Marriott.


April 25, 2012
8 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
(Registration and continental breakfast start at 7:30 a.m.)
Marriott Hotel
200 W. Big Beaver Road, Troy

Get Educated

Participants chose three breakout sessions from a choice of seven sessions on the latest trends and techniques related to autism (see list at right). People decided what sessions they wanted to attend on the day of the event.

Get Inspired

Actress and author Holly Robinson Peete was the keynote speaker, sharing her family's story of coping with her son R.J.’s autism diagnosis and getting him the help he needed to be his best self. Folks met Holly at the special post-event booksigning of My Brother Charlie, a children’s book about autism acceptance that she co-wrote with her daughter, Ryan.

Attendees also found out the latest information on autism insurance reform from special guest speaker Lt. Gov. Brian Calley. Inspired by his own daughter who has autism, Lt. Gov. Calley has lead the charge to get autism treatment covered by insurance.

Get Connected

Participants also got insights and advice from those working/coping/thriving with autism:

  • At the Experts Lounge, where people could get information and ask questions of session leaders, doctors, therapists and service providers.
  • By talking with other parents or professionals during the provided continental breakfast and lunch.




Session 1 (For everyone)

Hot Topics in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Speakers: Colleen M. Allen, Ph.D., CCC/SLP; Jules E.C. Constantinou, M.D., F.R.A.C.P.; Janet S. Reed, Ph.D., MHA;  Barry Wolf, M.D., Ph.D.; Tisa Johnson, M.D., F.A.A.P., Henry Ford Health System

Get a brief overview of current trends in evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders in this panel discussion with the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities (CADD) diagnostic team at Henry Ford Health System. The panel will discuss perspectives from medical, developmental, behavioral, communication and genetics disciplines. The majority of this session will be for audience Q&A. This is an opportunity for parents, family members and professionals to explore topics of interest to them and get expert advice from the CADD team.

Session 2 (Pick one of three options)

The Quest for the Request: Getting Kids Talking with Applied Verbal Behavior

Speakers: Nancy Kaufman, M.A., CCC-SLP and Kerry Peterson, M.A., CCC-SLP, BCBA, Kaufman Children’s Center for Speech, Language, Sensory-Motor and Social Connections, Inc.

Teaching a child with autism to make requests is a critical but often-missed first step in an early intervention program. In this session, we’ll show you how to teach a child this important communication step. Find out what vocabulary to teach and what to avoid teaching. Learn how to decide whether a child is ready to produce spoken words or if a child could benefit from being taught manual signs as a bridge to spoken words. Plus, we’ll show you how to prompt word approximations and use scripting in daily activities to help a child develop effective functional language.

Just the Facts: Debunking the Myths About Medication Options

Speakers: Robert Lagrou, D.O. and Kelly Rogalski, M.D., Henry Ford Health System

A variety of treatment options is available for children with autism spectrum disorders, but what medications are out there and what should parents and professionals know about these options? This session will focus on medication that is evidenced-based or considered common practice by psychiatrists specializing in children with autism. After the initial presentation, families, caregivers and professionals will have the opportunity to ask questions.

Let’s Be Friends!: Teaching Friendship Skills to Individuals with Autism

Speaker: Sarah Bretz, LMSW Clinical Supervisor, Autism Specialist, Judson Center

Learn how to help those with autism spectrum disorders navigate social relationships and develop friendships. We will also take a look at many of the tools used to develop these skills, including: the role of social imitation, inclusion opportunities and typical peers, curriculum-based instruction and video modeling. Get take-home tips and ideas that any parent or professional can use to start growing friendships.

Session 3 (Pick one of three options)

iTherapy: Using Technology to Facilitate Communication in Children with Autism

Speakers: Laura W. Chin, M.A., CCC-SLP; Emily Graham, M.A., CF-SLP; Jodie Parsons M.A., CF-SLP, Henry Ford Health System

Our children are in constant interaction with technology like iPhones, iPods, iPads and other Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices. In this presentation, we’ll discuss the different technological tools that could help children learn and engage, and we’ll describe how to appropriately use these technologies with children with autism as a communication device or motivator in their therapy. We’ll also share some of our favorite apps for children with autism. 

Make your next IEP T-riffic with these Tips, Tools, and Trends

Speakers: Beth Kimmel, B.A., CDF, SST, Autism ASK, beth@autism-ask.com; Thomas F. Kendziorski, Attorney at Law and Executive Director of the ARC of Oakland County

An Individualized Education Program is a child’s ticket to the best education he or she can get. In this session, we’ll offer you practical, tested, IEP team-friendly information certain to add value to your next IEP. Get goals that make a difference, tips for keeping the meeting student-specific, local and don’t-want-to-miss resource handouts PLUS a focused conversation on the personal curriculum and how it has been used to make the path to a diploma a reality.

The ABCs of ABA Therapy

Speakers: Tiffany Smiecinski, M.A., BCBA; Bryan Davey, Ph.D., BCBA-D; Abby Rodgers, M.A., BCBA, Henry Ford Health System

Whether you’re new to autism or an old pro, this presentation will either be a great first step to understanding applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy or a refresher course to remind you about the importance of getting back to basics. We’ll talk about the defining characteristics and principles of ABA therapy and how to effectively implement them with children diagnosed with autism. Plus, learn how ABA therapy can help you teach children important social skills and reduce behavioral problems.