Autism Information from the CARD Conference 2013

January 14, 2013 by - Leave your thoughts

Happy Anniversary CARD Conference Information
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CARD Conference Programs

It was more than 20 years ago when the idea of a Florida Statewide Autism Resource Center was formed.  This weekend marked the 20th Anniversary Celebration Conference of that unique and progressive vision.  The Center for Autism & Related Disabilities (CARD) was created and flourishes through the collaboration of so many dedicated and energetic parents and professionals. Today, CARD is known as ‘Florida’s First Choice for Autism Support’.

What is CARD?

CARD is a comprehensive outreach and support program serving people with autism and related disabilities, their families, and the professionals who work with them. CARD seeks to provide support and assistance with the goal of optimizing the potential of people with autism, dual sensory impairment, and related disabilities.  CARD is a Florida State Grant Program that provides all services at NO COST to the people who use them.

Tradewinds Hotel

The CARD Conference

This years CARD conference was at the beautiful TradeWinds Island Resorts on St. Pete Beach in Florida.  Along with the amazingly gorgeous weather and views of the beach were some of the best conference presenters and information.  I attended the conference as a learner but under full transparency and disclosure, I also work for the University of Miami-Nova Southeastern University CARD Center. This is where a few of my passions intersected. I got to host 2 special sessions (for me very special) for presenters that I have only known ‘online’.  In this post, I will share some great resources and stories from those hosting experiences.  There were many other great presentations that I attended (info to be shared throughout the month) and some that I missed but ‘Hats Off’ to the conference planners because the conference was a treasure trove of informative lectures and networking opportunities.

Meeting My On-Line Professionals (Rockstars?, Mentors?, Idols?)

Hosted Session #1- Joel Shaul: A Year of New Social Skills Learning Activities & Games for Students with Asperger Syndrome.

Wow, I had ‘virtually  known’ Joel Shaul from his fabulous website, Autism Teaching Strategies, and meeting in person was better than expected. Joel Shaul,LCSW is a psychotherapist and consultant specializing in mental health services for children and teens on the autism spectrum. He does clinical work through the The Watson Institute in Pittsburgh, PA.  When I first found Autism Teaching Strategies, I immediately fell in love with the visual supports for language that were used to teach a variety of social skills (most available for free download).  I loved hosting this session and I even got a workout in the process (moving chairs, adjusting speakers, handing things out).  Many of the audience members commented about how much they loved getting to see and try out the materials that were passed out throughout the presentation. Although these supports are geared for autism spectrum disorders, they are really great for ALL children and young adults. Here are a few of my favorite things:

Hosted Session #2 Claire LaZebnik Two Decades Later: How the Dialogue Has Changed and Why I’m Glad it Has

Another Wow! You may know Claire LaZebnik through her many adult (5) or young adult novels (1 & 1 to be released next month), but the autism world knows her through the books she co-authored with Lynn Kern Koegel: Overcoming Autism: Finding the Answers, Strategies, and Hope that Can Transform a Life  & Growing Up On the Spectrum: A Guide to Life, Love, & Learning for Teens and Young Adults with Autism & Aspergers.  I was thrilled to learn that an update of Overcoming Autism is in the works. The information in the book is still absolutely valid however, much more research support is available as well as new examples and stories reflecting USE of the techniques. I learned this book was written partly to get out the information in an ‘easy to read’ format.  The goal was well accomplished in that the question/answer format and organization make this book fun to read and easily understandable.  This book is a must read for ALL speech pathologists as well as for parents of children with autism who want to learn how to facilitate spontaneous language (do not wait for the update, read now and then again). It is based on Dr. Koegel’s Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) as well as the experiences of Mrs. LaZebnik, who used the PRT strategies with her now grown son with autism. Mrs. LaZebnik was a phenomenal speaker who spoke eloquently about her journey with autism. Follow her blog, and on twitter @clazebnikwrites and on Facebook for life information. To learn more about facilitating spontaneous language and social learning, check out:  Overcoming Autism: Finding the Answers, Strategies, and Hope that Can Transform a Life  & Growing Up On the Spectrum: A Guide to Life, Love, & Learning for Teens and Young Adults with Autism & Aspergers. 



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This post was written by Robin Parker

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