Submitted by TConnolly on November 5, 2012 - 17:35
Nov 5 2012
March 20, 2013
New York City
Pathways to Independence: Education, Employment, and Social Engagement for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Wednesday, March 20, 2013 8.30 a.m. - 4.30 p.m.
UJA-Federation of New York
Seventh-Floor Conference Center
130 East 59th Street
New York City
With the population of individuals on the autism spectrum rising, educators, employers, and other communal institutions must adapt to include this growing segment of society. Higher education opportunities have often been out of reach for these individuals. Now, new models are being explored that have the potential to benefit students as learners and future employees. New models of employment are also being crafted and tested to include people with disabilities. While recognizing that education and employment remain key elements to enabling individuals on the spectrum to find fulfillment, it is also paramount to create and maintain opportunities for social, spiritual, and other meaningful pursuits.
Keynote Address - Transition to Adulthood: Employment and Residential Patterns of Adults with Autism
Marsha Mailick Seltzer, Ph. D., Director, Waisman Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Over the last decade, Professor Seltzer has researched a 14-year longitudinal study of over 400 adolescents and adults with autism and their families. In this presentation, she will discuss the results of her research and will focus on changes accompanying the transition out of high school, patterns and predictors of post-high school employment and residential outcomes, independence in daily living skills, and social integration. Implications for families, service providers, policy makers, and future research will be discussed.
Featured Talk - Services for Adults with Autism in New York City: What Do We Know? What Do We Need?
Alison Singer, Executive Director, Autism Science Foundation
In this presentation, Autism Science Foundation's Alison Singer will unveil the results of a 2012 New York citywide survey of the service needs of adults with autism. What's working well? Where is there need for improvement? Learn about what you and your family members had to say about adult autism services. The survey was sponsored by the UJA-Federation of New York, the Autism Science Foundation, the Hilibrand Foundation, the FAR Fund, and the Interactive Autism Network.
Featured Talk - Autism & Internet Safety
Dennis Debbaudt, Investigator for Autism Training for Law Enforcement and Emergency Responders; and Author, Autism, Advocates and Law Enforcement Professionals: Recognizing and Reducing Risk Situations for People with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Learn about necessary precautions to take when individuals with autism are on the Internet. This presentation will outline suggestions, options, and specialized tactics associated with autism and Internet safety.
The afternoon sessions of the Sixth Annual UJA-Federation of New York Symposium will be devoted to looking at a number of other areas that are significant to obtaining independence for individuals with autism. By focusing on a disability program within the college system, employment models, and more, these presentations will explore innovative ways for individuals with autism to create a meaningful and independent life.
Additional speakers include:
Rabbi Marc Penner, "Spirituality: One Family's Odyssey with Autism"
Professors Martha Mock and Meg Grigal, "Think College: Really? Yes!"
Representatives from Just-A-Buck Franchise, "Providing Productive Work Opportunities to Individuals with Disabilities
Widely used autism interventions are supported by moderate evidence. Head-to-head trials of competing autism treatments are needed to identify which programs are superior and additional work should follow study participants long-term to further examine the effectiveness of treatments.
A large, prospective study found that children with and without ASD were developmentally similar at 6 months based on clinical tests. Lead author Dr. Rebecca Landa reported, “for those children who went on to develop autism, the earliest signs of atypical development were non-specific to autism, such as general communication or motor delay.”
Peer-mediated treatments are considered best practice in improving social skills in children with ASD, but parents and school staff have voiced concerns about the social outcomes of typically developing students who serve as models for their autistic peers. This study addresses these concerns, showing that typically developing children maintain stable and positive social status after acting as peer buddies in a social skills intervention for children with ASD.
Researchers discuss the association between schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and ASD, and suggest the conditions share etiologic factors. Family history of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder was associated with increased ASD risk across three data sets. Individuals with schizophrenic siblings were 12 times more likely to have autism compared to those with no family history of schizophrenia.
This study uncovers a possible fMRI endophenotype of autism, showing that compared to typically developing controls with no family history of ASD, adolescents with autism and non-autistic siblings had atypical patterns of brain activation during the Embedded Figures Task.