Videos From Autism Science Foundation Annual Day of Learning

Videos From Autism Science Foundation Annual Day of Learning

The Day of Learning at the Autism Science Foundation (ASF), is a TED-style science conference that brings together leading autism researchers to present new findings to members of the autism community. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s Day of Learning was held virtually. Over 800 people from across the world took part in the event.

Below are links to recorded presentations paired with ways to learn more on topics on the INformation Network website.

Do We Need New Terms for Autism? – Dr. Catherine Lord – School of Medicine at UCLA

Dr. Lord called for a new term: “profound autism.” Announced publicly for the first time at the Day of Learning, the term is intended to help individuals with the highest level of needs gain access to appropriate services and to increase research participation by this understudied subpopulation.

Read More: What is ASD?

Autism Research in 2020: What Do We Know? What Do We Need? – Dr. James McPartland – Yale Child Study Center

Dr. McPartland explains that many of the advancements made this year amid the pandemic will benefit individuals on the autism spectrum long after the current crisis is over.

Read More: About the Diagnosis, What is Evidence-Based?

Developing Personalized Social Interventions for Adolescents with Autism – Dr. Matthew Lerner – Stony Brook University

Dr. Matthew Lerner explained how he and his team are moving toward an “evidence-based menu” of interventions to develop social skills in adolescents with autism, which will allow families to take more targeted actions to improve outcomes.

Read More: Transition

Is ABA Passe? – Dr. Melanie Pellecchia – University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Pellecchia outlined some of the historic problems of applied behavioral analysis (ABA) and showed how increased knowledge of childhood development has significantly improved the practice in recent years, with a greater emphasis on fun, play-based therapy sessions and a de-emphasis on “teacher-led, didactic” sessions.

Read More: Applied Behavior Analysis

Research on Adults with Autism in Natural Settings – Dr. Vanessa Hus Bal – Rutgers University

Dr. Hus Bal argued that while support for adults with autism often focuses on the transition to adulthood and associated milestones, there is not enough being done to provide adults with ongoing support throughout their lives.

Read More: Adulthood and Aging

Robots as Autism Therapy Partners – Dr. Brian Scasselatti – Yale University

Dr. Scassellati demonstrated the powerful effect that robots can have as autism therapy partners and explained what parents should look for in evaluating these solutions.

Read More: Technology

Cultural and Diversity Considerations

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On this page, you can explore the following topics (click on the topic of interest):

While there are no differences in ASD symptoms across different countries or ethnic groups, there are differences in the overall identification, particularly the cases of misdiagnosis or lack of diagnosis in minorities.

What is Cultural Competence?

Cultural competence focuses on understanding and appropriate response to the unique combination of cultural, linguistic and individual diversity that the professional and client/patient/family bring to interactions.

The terms culture and linguistics refer to patterns of human behavior, including language, thoughts, communications, actions, customs, beliefs, values, and institutions of racial, ethnic, religious, or other groups (e.g., gender identity/gender expression, age, national origin, sexual orientation, disability) (ASHA, 2017).

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Why is Cultural Competence Important?

Differences do not imply deficiencies or disorders. Culture and language may influence  behaviors and attitudes of individuals seeking care. In turn, delivery of services is influenced by the values and experiences of providers. Culturally competent care means providing service that is respectful of, and responsive to, an individual’s values, preferences, and language. Care should not vary in quality based on ethnicity, age, socioeconomic status, or other factors.

Federal and state regulations and programs, such as Medicaid, Medicare, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), require that providers render culturally and linguistically appropriate services. These programs are in accordance with broader legislation such as Title VI, Executive Order 13166, and National Standards on Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services (CLAS).

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Where to Start?

Massachusetts Act Early created a skills-based training curriculum, Considering Culture in Autism Screening, an interactive, case-based training about culturally competent screening, evaluation, and referral to intervention services for children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)

Several organizations have also developed an implementation guides to help providers consider and implement policies that focus on cultural competence. Here are some of them:

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What is Cultural Responsiveness?

Cultural responsive teaching or instruction refers to a “pedagogy that empowers students intellectually, socially, emotionally, and politically by using cultural referents to impart knowledge, skills, and attitudes” (Ladson-Billings, 1994, p. 382).  To be culturally responsive, teachers make content and curricula accessible to students in a way that students can relate to and understand, including embedding aspects of students’ daily lives into the curriculum. These could be language, prior knowledge, and interests. (ASCD, 2011).

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Additional Resources

National and Nationwide Resources:

State Resources:

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Nominate for DISI

Do you want to recognize an outstanding organization that:

  • Engages the community and promote innovative ideas in the field of Autism Spectrum Disorder?
  • Embodies the IIACC’s mission, facilitate sharing of information on autism‐related activities?
  • Drives the implementation of services aligned with the goals in the Indiana Comprehensive State Plan?

Follow the link to the nomination form.

Download the nomination form in a Word format to review and prepare responses (if needed). Please make sure you transfer the responses into the online form.

College & Vocational Training

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As an individual prepares for his/her transition from school to adult life, putting a plan into place will assist in a seamless and successful transition.  While a child can receive educational services through age 21, a transition plan should be discussed by age 14.

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When Should Planning for Transition out of School into Adult Life Occur?

A transition IEP’s main focus is to develop a plan to help the student move from high school to adult life. Caregivers should be discussing transition with school and therapeutic supports around the age of 14 years (in Indiana) and the student should be included in IEP meetings by this point. Caregivers should begin seeking a lawyer to assist with guardianship (if needed) and trust/estate planning around this time. Guardianship should be filed on the child’s 18th birthday.

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What Considerations Should be Made when Choosing Post-secondary Education or Employment Options?

  • What does the individual want?
  • What are the individual’s cognitive abilities?
  • What are the individual’s physical abilities?
  • What will allow the individual to be most successful and/or independent?

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How Can I Help Prepare my Child with ASD for College or Other Post-secondary Education?

Whether in middle or high school, if an IDEA-eligible student is planning to attend college, there are a number of critical steps to be taken to become college-ready. Early in the transition process, a student is encouraged to:

  • Take interesting and challenging courses that prepare him or her for college;
  • Be involved in school or community-based activities that allow him or her to explore career interests, including work-based learning or internship opportunities;
  • Meet with school guidance counselors to discuss career goals, such as vocational and educational goals, programs of study, college requirements, including the admissions process and any standardized tests required for admission; and
  • Be an active participant during the IEP meetings.

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Additional Resources

References

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