2019 Living With Autism Workshop: Session Notes

Thank you for attending the 2019 Living With Autism Workshop on April 5 at the Detroit Marriott in Troy! Below are links to the session notes as well as information about all the exhibitors. If you attended the session and would like to provide feedback for the 2020 event, please fill out our survey.

The Breakout Sessions

Maximizing Potential: Collaboration Between ABA and Therapies in Intervention for Young Children with ASD (Christy Schweitzer, Stuart Segal, and Chelsea Sporn, Henry Ford Health System)

Many different therapies are often recommended when young children are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Parents often have difficulty deciding which ones to choose and how to obtain the best help for their child. This presentation explains the functions of applied behavior analysis (ABA) and speech therapies for young children with ASD – and describes a collaborative model between ABA and speech therapy to help children make the most gains in early communication skills.

Health Care Transition Steps for Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder (Tisa Johnson, M.D., Henry Ford Health System)

Health care providers consistently show they lack a systematic way to support youth, families, and young adults in transition from pediatric to adult health care. Youth, especially YSHCN, are ill- prepared for the change from a pediatric to an adult approach to health care. The result is gaps in needed medical care, decreased quality of health care, and increased urgent or emergent health care utilization. Dr. Johnson shared her experience with a health care transition (HCT) quality improvement initiative and provide a framework for youth and their families to begin to think about HCT.

Boosting Motivation & Overcoming Life’s Stressors for Those with Autism (Ron Sandison, Adult with ASD and author of “A Parent’s Guide to Autism”)

Learn practical methods to motivate individuals on the spectrum to learn new life skills, prepare for transition and gain independence. Ron examines the common hindrances to growth, decision-making and independence and ways to overcome them. Many young adults with autism experience severe depression and anxiety due to their lack of social interaction, a failure complex, perfectionist mindset and sensory issues. Educators and parents will be equipped to help individuals on the spectrum overcome issues like fear of failure, perfectionist mindset and other issues that are holding them back from fulfilling their full potential.

Four Principles of Fostering Individual Advocacy in Those with ASD (Gary Abud Jr. and Janice Abud, MAT CTP-E)

Learn how to not only get your child’s needs met – but also get them truly seen. This session boosts your advocacy skills to the A game. But it’s not just about parent and professionals. Get tips on how to help those with autism learn how to self-advocate, so they too can ensure their needs are met and their given a fair chance to succeed. Remember: It’s about equity, not equality, and every person on the spectrum deserves the services, considerations and accommodations to help level the playing field and improve their quality of life.

Behavior Management Bootcamp for Parents and Caregivers (Sarah Porter and Mariana Fraga, MEd, BCBA, Henry Ford Health System)

We outline simple behavior management strategies that can help you manage your child’s challenging behaviors at home. We’ll share our knowledge, expertise and “lessons learned” after working with and training many caregivers of children with autism spectrum disorders.

The Big Picture: Preparing Adolescents for Life After ABA and IEPs (Elizabeth Bistrong, M.Ed, Jennifer Longoria, Ph.D.; Henry Ford Health System)

Navigating the transition between adolescence and young adulthood can be particularly challenging for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) due to the decline in available programs and services. We will discuss obstacles to transitions that should be on the horizon for families regarding planning for occupational, academic and independent living pursuits. Learn more about how local and statewide programs for young adults with ASD can help your child after high school graduation.

Self-Management Strategies for Students with ASD (Maureen Ziegler, Ed.S., START at Grand Valley State)

PART 1: The first of this two-part session with one of Michigan’s top special education experts will focus on pivotal self-management strategies to aid those on the spectrum who struggle with behavior challenges and emotional outbursts that get in the way of their education and their life as a whole. Although teachers and family members initially may play a major role in the implementation of a self-management system, ultimately, the responsibility for ongoing use of the system should be passed to the student as much as possible. This session provides participants with instruction on how to individualize a self-management system for a student with ASD. This includes the steps needed for a student to learn to discriminate between appropriate and inappropriate behaviors, monitor and record their own behaviors, and reward themselves for meeting a specified goal.

PART 2: The second of this two-part session with one of Michigan’s top special education experts will focus on pivotal self-management strategies to aid those on the spectrum who struggle with behavior challenges and emotional outbursts that get in the way of their education and their life as a whole. Although teachers and family members initially may play a major role in the implementation of a self-management system, ultimately, the responsibility for ongoing use of the system should be passed to the student as much as possible. This session provides participants with instruction on how to individualize a self-management system for a student with ASD. This includes the steps needed for a student to learn to discriminate between appropriate and inappropriate behaviors, monitor and record their own behaviors, and reward themselves for meeting a specified goal. Download presentation

Job Ready: A Pilot’s Checklist for Caregivers (Tammy Morris, Chief Program Officer, Autism Alliance of Michigan)

The Autism Alliance of Michigan has worked with thousands of adults on the autism spectrum through case management and the Upbound at Work employment program. The insights of adults with autism have offered more insight and understanding of autism than any clinical resource. Through case review, valuable lessons learned about prioritizing supports and services, and even the way that we look at an autism diagnosis, are revisited.

How to Teach Your Child to Eat Different Foods at Home (Hannah Tilton and Mariana Fraga, MEd, BCBA, Henry Ford Health System)

Is mealtime a constant battle at home? This presentation teaches some simple tips to help make mealtime a better experience for parents and children. Using the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA), we will teach you what to do (and what not to do) to help your child break his or her food selectivity.

Unplugging: Setting Limits for Media Use (Elizabeth Bistrong, M.Ed, Jennifer Longoria, Ph.D., and Jannel Phillips, Ph.D. ABPP-CN; Henry Ford Health System)

From iPads to televisions to smartphones, screens have become an ever-present part of our daily lives. As use of screens has become integrated even into school curriculum, it can be confusing and overwhelming to set limits and understand appropriate use. When does screen time become too much? How does the use of screens differ in a child with ASD? In this talk, we will discuss answers to these questions by describing how screen use differs in children with ASD – and how to set appropriate limits for screen use.

Parent Panel: The Greatest Advice for the Toughest Topics (Jennifer Lovy, Maria Montoya, Ron Sandison)

Looking for potty training tricks? Stimming solutions? Ideas for finding time to unwind or maybe even “get down” with your spouse? Nothing is sacred in this parent-to-parent session where the questions and answers will fly. Tap into other parents’ trial-and-error experiences to find out what’s worked for them and how it might for you, and share your tried-and-true tips for making a difference in the lives of other autism families.

The Exhibitors

AIM HIGH SCHOOL 29230 W. 12 Mile RoadFarmington Hills248-702-6922aimhighschool.com

Aim High School, for grades 6-12, is dedicated to the academic and social success of sixth- to 12th-grade students with a variety of learning differences including autism, anxiety disorders and attention de cits. We believe strong teacher-student relationships and small classes are key to developing students’ abilities, talents and interests. We design personalized curriculum and engage students in a learning experience that combines strong academics and social and life skills. Whether college or work bound, we aim to produce graduates with integrity and character ready to lead independent and rewarding lives. Students don’t just survive school; they thrive at Aim High School.

ATTENDANT CARE COMPANIES51145 Nicolette DriveChesterfield Township586-228-9991 attendantcareautism.com

In 2018, after learning about children with autism and other disabilities who were in need of quality care services and being under-serviced within our community, Attendant Care Autism Services was created. Attendant Care began developing its treatment team to include professionals experienced in autism spectrum disorder service delivery, including ABA, occupational therapy and speech therapy. Our team believes in utilizing the tools and techniques of ABA to promote each child’s independence and individual success. We do not believe in a “one size fits all” approach to treatment; we work to empower individuals to advocate for the best possible care.

AUTISM ALLIANCE OF MICHIGAN30100 Telegraph Road, Suite 250Bingham Farms877-463-2266aaomi.org

Autism Alliance of Michigan offers the only free professional case management MiNavigator to families across Michigan. A Navigator is a professional guide that helps families across the lifespan of challenges and hurdles related to raising a child or growing up with autism. A team of specialists from autism-related fields assists with finding resources, understanding policies and helping overcome barriers to care and inclusion. MiNavigator is offered statewide and offers additional resources online, through professional and caregiver training and via outreach events within the community. If your family does not already have a Navigator, please call us or email navigator@aaomi.org to connect with a Navigator to assist along your autism journey.

AUTISM CENTERS OF MICHIGAN363 Douglas DriveTraverse City231-668-4909autismcentersmi.com

Autism Centers of Michigan is Michigan’s leading provider of intensive, evidence-based applied behavior analysis treatment for individuals with autism spectrum and related disorders. Our goal is to improve an individual’s quality of life by providing and transferring critical knowledge, skills and abilities. Our company’s core values of teamwork, authenticity and evidence-based solutions are exemplified in all aspects of our behavioral interventions. Contact us to learn more today!

AUTISM HOME SUPPORT SYSTEM 43334 W. Seven Mile Road, Suite 200 Northville844-247-7222 autismhomesupport.com

At Autism Home Support Services, we can help your child overcome the behavioral challenges that may be holding them back. Our therapists provide customized therapy for individuals with autism and related disorders. Our outcomes-focused model can create a positive difference in your child’s overall development and long-term success by using the evidence-based practices of applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy. In-home, center-based or a combination of each to help your child excel in every environment. Learn more by calling or visiting our website.

BUILD UP MICHIGAN 240 S. Bridge St., Suite 250 DeWitt888-320-8384 buildupmi.org

Children grow and develop at different rates, but most will reach several milestones between the ages of 3 and 5. Developmental milestones can help identify when a child is struggling and provide direction to find out why. Build Up Michigan helps parents and their children, ages 3 through 5, get additional educational support as they begin and continue to learn the skills needed to enter kindergarten. We partner with the Michigan Department of Education within the Of ce of Special Education to identify eligible children through targeted outreach efforts.

CAMP TALL TREE10407 Fenton Road Fenton 734-249-8094 camptalltree.com

Camp Tall Tree provides a traditional overnight summer camp for children and young adults with an autism diagnosis. Our Main Camp serves kids age 7-17, Explorers provides additional life skills experience for campers 18-30, and we have unique programs for neurotypical siblings and peers to attend, as well! Activities include lake swimming, horseback riding, a high ropes course, climbing tower, tie dye and much more. Registration for 2019 is online.

CLINTON VALLEY LITTLE LEAGUE CHALLENGER BASEBALL57249 Junction CourtWashington Township586-781-5547cvllchallenger.com

CVLL Challenger Baseball is a little league baseball program for individuals with physical and developmental challenges. Players enjoy the full benefits of little league participation in an athletic environment structured to their abilities. The league is comprised of two divisions: the little league division for ages 4-17 and the senior division for ages 18 and up. Season play is June through August. We play at our own beautiful adaptive field located in Clinton Township. During the playing season we also attend special-needs baseball camps, Detroit Tigers games and jamborees. For more information, contact Marilyn at mwitt26@msn.com.

DUTTON FARM 2290 Dutton Farm Rochester 248-608-4173 duttonfarm.org

Dutton Farm is a nonprofit with a mission to empower and support adults with disabilities to live a life of purpose, inclusion and dignity through education, employment and advocacy. Our team works to help our participants determine goals for their lives and to implement a program designed to educate, train and provide vocational opportunities both offsite and at the farm. On the farm, our farmers work hard to plant, tend and harvest flowers and herbs. Next, they create essential oils to produce handcrafted bath and body products. Those products are then sold, and 100 percent of the proceeds go back into our nonprofit program.

EASTERSEALS MICHIGAN 2399 E. Walton Blvd. Auburn Hills800-75-SEALS eastersealsmichigan.com

For nearly a century, Easterseals Michigan has been helping individuals with disabilities or special needs and their families through a vast array of services and programs. We serve all ages, from birth through advanced age, treating a variety of disabilities including autism spectrum disorders, behavior health disorders, substance abuse, developmental delays and more. Easterseals Michigan’s children and family program offers services for children and parents through the P.L.A.Y. Project, ABA, speech and language therapy, occupational and sensory-integration therapy and early intervention programs.

GATEWAY PEDIATRIC THERAPYBingham Farms: 32100 Telegraph Road, Suite 205Dearborn: 19853 W. Outer Drive, Suite 110 Livonia: 13973 Farmington Road Shelby Township: 49970 Van Dyke Ave. Sterling Heights: 33464 Schoehnerr Road, Suite 180Lansing: 405 W. Greenlawn Ave. Suite 200 248-221-2573 gatewaypediatrictherapy.com

Gateway Pediatric Therapy is Michigan’s premier center for ABA therapy and the treatment of autism spectrum disorder. We offer 55,000 square feet of fully customized, first-class treatment space at six locations across metro Detroit and Lansing, as well as private, home-based care services at a schedule that works for you and your child. Gateway’s expert team of board-certified behavior analysts and ABA technicians is solely committed to showing each of our clients the highest level of compassion, respect and quality of care. At Gateway, you and your child are more than just familiar faces – you’re family.

HEALING HAVEN30755 Barrington St. Madison Heights 248-965-3916 thehealinghaven.net

Healing Haven is a Behavioral Health Center of Excellence providing high-quality ABA therapy for individuals with autism between the ages 2 and 16. We place an emphasis on parent training and stress management for all individuals involved in the child’s care. By addressing the individual child’s behavioral, communication, socialization and play skill de cits, as well as providing emotional support for caregivers navigating a diagnosis, we provide a comprehensive approach to the growing population of families impacted by autism. Additionally, we offer speech therapy, occupational therapy and academic instruction services, providing one service location for families.

HEALTHCALL OF DETROIT 28000 Woodward Ave., Suite 100 Royal Oak248-395-3777hchs.com

HealthCall Behavioral Services provides
state-of-the-art, comprehensive behavioral
support for families with children who
have developmental differences, including

HENRY FORD HEALTH SYSTEM Henry Ford Medical Center – Hamtramck: 9100 Brombach St., Hamtramck Henry Ford Medical Center – Southfield: 22777 W. 11 Mile Road, Southfield Henry Ford Medical Center – Cottage: 159 Kercheval Ave., Grosse Pointe Farms313-972-9009 henryford.com/autism

The Henry Ford Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities (CADD) is committed to improving the lives of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and developmental disabilities. CADD provides comprehensive primary care, thorough diagnosis, and evidenced- based treatment options for children from birth through adolescence. CADD is recognized by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan an approved center of excellence for the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder. Henry Ford’s diagnostic team of experts includes a developmental pediatrician, pediatric neuropsychologist, pediatric psychiatrist, speech-language pathologist and care coordinator. Henry Ford’s Board Certified Behavior Analysts provide individual treatments to meet each child’s unique developmental needs.


The KCC is a leader in innovative programs that help kids live their very best lives, offering speech and language therapy, social skills instruction and applied behavior analysis (ABA) treatment for autism. The KCC was one of the rst ABA providers in the state and enjoys a reputation of excellence for our early intensive behavioral intervention programs. Our bright, family-friendly facility includes two side-by-side clinics, one dedicated entirely to autism services. Staff is highly trained and known for enthusiasm, expertise, outstanding clinical skills and insights into children. Therapists work together in a true team approach, creating the best possible outcomes for children.

MASSMUTUAL MICHIGAN METRO 33533 W. 12 Mile Road, Suite 100 Farmington Hills248-324-9323 massmutualmichiganmetro.com

At MassMutual Michigan Metro, our associates are here to provide you with the services and resources you need to help you realize your dreams and achieve your goals. Many of our experts hold prestigious industry designations or advanced degrees. They are supported by a team of professionals with many years of experience in financial and retirement services, estate planning, annuities, charitable giving, business insurance, executive compensation, special needs planning and employee bene ts. We work to help you achieve financial freedom in a complex and constantly changing world by designing strategies to help you achieve what is most important to you. We begin with a thorough audit of your present financial situation to give you an accurate picture of where you stand. We listen to gain a thorough understanding of personal goals for you, your family and your business. Only then do we match a diverse array of products to help meet your specific needs.

METRO EHS229 N. Sheldon Road Plymouth 313-278-4601 metroehs.com

Metro EHS takes pride in helping others who are seeking clinical support for oneself, a loved one or staffing needs. Endless settings may be serviced, including clinics, schools, daycares, home-school cooperatives, center-based programs and virtual therapy via our HIPAA-compliant web-based platform. Our highly qualified team is strategically designed for efficiency, complementary client satisfaction and conscientious care when it comes to special education, staffing and pediatric therapy in metropolitan Detroit. Individuals with developmental delay, apraxia of speech, autism spectrum disorder, attention de cit disorder or attention de cit hyperactivity disorder are some of the clients who bene t from our therapy services.

NICK’S ART PROJECT P.O. Box 183065 Shelby Township 586-703-3866 nicksartproject.com

Nick’s Art Project was founded in 2010 by Nicholas Gammicchia as a means of giving back to his community. As a young child, he was diagnosed with severe autism. Various interventions assisted him over the years; however, the two that opened doors for him were art and music therapy. His early self-portrait, Smile, is used as the trademark piece by the organization because it signifies an early breakthrough for him to communicating his feelings to others in the only way possible at that time – through his drawing and painting. As an aspiring artist, Nicholas realized he could use his passion to help other.

OAKLAND UNIVERSITY CENTER FOR AUTISM OUTREACH SERVICES (OUCARES)425C Pawley Hall, 456 Pioneer Drive Rochester248-370-2424oakland.edu/oucares

The Oakland University Center for Autism Outreach Services (OUCARES) strives to promote understanding and awareness of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in order to improve quality of life for people impacted by ASD. OUCARES offers many support services for people with ASD ages 3 through adulthood, including recreational sports, social and life skill programs, employable skills training and summer camps (including life skills camp). In addition, OUCARES offers many supports for the ASD community, including parent workshops, evening enrichment presentations, Family Fun Day and volunteer opportunities.

SKYLINE CAMP AND RETREAT CENTER 5650 Sandhill RoadAlmont810-798-8240campskyline.org

Since 1964, Skyline has made camp possible for children, families and adults. The month of June celebrates weeklong overnight sessions for campers with special needs beginning at age 13. Skyline is a recreational/social program across 156 acres with traditional camp activities, excellent food and lots of music. Our camper population includes a range of cognitive/ developmental needs. Skyline is Accredited by the American Camp Association.

SPARK CENTER FOR AUTISM 24555 Hallwood Court Farmington Hills 248-238-9772 sparkcenterforautism.com

Spark Center for Autism is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for children diagnosed with autism through early, effective, evidence-based intervention. We provide ABA services to children from 18 months through age 10. We take pride and joy in the outcomes generated through the services that our passionate, dedicated team is able to provide. We uphold the highest standards in our training and employ the highest educated individuals, who undergo rigorous training and continued education at our centers. Let us help you take that first step and be the spark that helps you and your family.

THE ARC OF MACOMB COUNTY 44050 N. Gratiot Ave.Clinton Township586-469-1600 arcservices.org

The Arc of Macomb County, Inc. (The Arc) is a nonpro t advocacy agency serving intellectually and developmentally disabled individuals since 1953. We emphasize community inclusion through employment, independent living and community participation – so that each person served is a valued member of the community and will be able to achieve their greatest potential. In keeping with this basic philosophy, The Arc offers person-centered services and supports regarding an individual’s vocational, social, educational and residential needs and desires.

TOTAL SPECTRUM 650 W. Grand Ave. Elmhurst, Ill. 844-263-1613 totalspectrum.com

At Total Spectrum, we specialize in
providing in-home and center based
applied behavior analysis (ABA) services to
children with autism. We think that every
child deserves individualized attention in
order to achieve their maximum level of
independence. Through our services we
work to reduce behavior challenges and
increase skills important to a child’s daily
life. Overall, our goal is to use aba therapy
to set up an environment where a family
can be comfortable and successful.

TRUMPET BEHAVIORAL HEALTH 3601 E. 11 Mile RoadWarren855-824-5669tbh.com

Trumpet Behavioral Health is a national
autism treatment provider that provides
applied behavior analysis therapy to
individuals with autism spectrum disorder
and developmental delays. As an ABA
provider, Trumpet hires compassionate
and experienced Board-Certi ed
Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®), Board-
Certi ed Assistant Behavior Analyst®
(BCaBA®) and Registered Behavior
TechnicianTM (RBT®) professionals to
deliver comprehensive autism treatment
services. We deliver individualized autism
treatment services in our center and in
client’s homes. We specialize in early
intervention to help children achieve the
best outcomes. In addition, we also offer
social skills groups and parent training.

UNIVERSITY PEDIATRICIANS AUTISM CENTER21600 Novi Road, Suite 800Novi248-305-6172 upautism.com

University Pediatricians Autism Center is an Approved Autism Evaluation Center (AAEC) by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan that provides applied behavior analysis. Our well-rounded experienced team is comprised of psychologists, board-certified behavior analysts (BCBAs), master’s level practicum students, board- certified assistant behavior analysts (BCaBAs) and registered behavior technicians (RBTs). Parents know their child best, and we want children to be successful beyond the ABA center. We see children as young as 18 months and old as 21. Depending on age and skill level, we focus on communication, school readiness, social skills, independent living skills and pre-work skills. We provide both clinic-based and in-home ABA services.

Metro Parent Editorial Team
Metro Parent Editorial Team
Since 1986, the Metro Parent editorial team is trained to be the go-to source for metro Detroit families, offering a rich blend of expert advice, compelling stories, and the top local activities for kids. Renowned for their award-winning content, the team of editors and writers are dedicated to enriching family life by connecting parents with the finest resources and experiences our community has to offer.


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