Autism experts slated for annual Michigan Autism Conference

contact: Mark Schwerin
| WMU News
Michigan Autism Conference logo.

Attendees can register for the conference online.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—The third annual Michigan Autism Conference in early October will bring leading scientists and treatment practitioners to the Radisson Plaza Hotel and Suites to share their expertise on the latest research on the neurodevelopmental disorder.

The conference is set for Wednesday through Friday, Oct. 7-9, and is dedicated to providing families, practitioners and researchers with the latest information on a variety of topics related to the assessment and treatment of autism. Experts will come from across the country and as far away as Germany to talk about the most effective scientifically proven treatments for children with autism. More than 500 people are expected to attend.

Of particular interest to parents with autistic children will be a free session from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. as part of the conference's Wednesday night kickoff. Held in the Arcadia Ballroom, the session will feature Dr. Susan Wilczynski, the Plassman Family Distinguished Professor of Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis at Ball State University, on how to evaluate the services their children are getting. Her presentation is titled "Working with Behavior Analysts to Get the Most Effective Treatment for Your Child" and will be preceded by a reception and light refreshments from 6 to 6:30 p.m. Parents wishing to attend should RSVP at michiganautismconference.org/wednesday-night-kickoff.

Keynote speakers

The conference also will feature several keynote presentations by Wilczynski and others.

Keynote speakers on Thursday, Oct. 8, include Dr. Mary Jane Weiss, a professor at Endicott College, where she is director of the Autism and Applied Behavior Analysis graduate program; Robert Schramm, lead supervising behavior analyst at Knospe-ABA, providing behavior analytic services across Europe; and Dr. Timothy Vollmer, a professor at the University of Florida and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis.

Weiss will address "Essential Competencies for Practitioners working with Individuals Diagnosed with Autism," while Schramm will discuss "Motivating Learner Participation with the Seven Steps to Earning Instructional Control." Vollmer's talk is titled "Five Groups of Evidence that Severe Problem Behavior is Often Predictable and Orderly."

Friday, Oct. 9, keynote speakers are Dr. Jane Howard, who received her doctoral degree from WMU, a licensed psychologist who has been involved with special education training, treatment and research for over 30 years; Dr. Mark Sundberg, also a graduate of the WMU doctoral program and an internationally renowned expert on verbal behavior and the application of behavior analysis; and Wilczynski. Howard's topic is "Intensive Behavior Analytic and Eclectic Interventions for Children with Autism: Some Data for Decision Makers," while Sundberg's talk is titled "What Constitutes a Behavioral Approach to Autism Treatment?" Wilcynski will address "Evidence-Based Practice of ABA: Where Science Meets Practice."

Several keynote speakers and others will lead workshops in the afternoon each day of the conference on a wide variety of topics pertaining to autism, while a long list of breakout sessions also will be offered. Subjects range from "Transitioning Children with Autism from One-on-One Settings to Full-Time Special Education Classrooms" to "Seven Steps of Instructional Control to Decrease Maladaptive Behaviors and Increase Skill Acquisition."

Conference sponsors include the Western Michigan University Department of Psychology and WMU Extended University Programs.

For more information or to register, go to michiganautismconference.org.

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