Session Descriptions Communication Interventions for Adolescents and Adults With Autism

2017 Autism Online Conference - Registration - August 2-14

These pre-recorded lectures are on-demand and last only an hour, so you can listen to them whenever time permits!

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Stuck in the Middle: An Overview of Communication Challenges Faced by Adolescents With Autism Spectrum Disorder 
Nancy Brady, PhD, CCC-SLP

Clinicians face unique challenges when serving adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). This overview session will discuss recent research on developmental trajectories through adolescence, including communication problems that frequently persist into adolescence as well as new concerns that emerge in this population due to changing social, educational, and work demands. The session also will present evidence-based intervention strategies, including social clubs and video modeling.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • describe expectations for communication development during adolescence, based on research findings
  • describe a strategy that promotes social communication in authentic contexts 
  • identify two resources for additional information on assessing and treating communication disorders in adolescents and adults with autism

Acquisition of Complex Language and Conversational Skills
Kim Murza, PhD, CCC-SLP

What does it take to manage a conversation? Quite a lot, actually! Fortunately, most of us take for granted the ease with which we are able to hold a conversation. For our students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), pragmatic language challenges are likely impacting their ability to hold a conversation. Participants in this session will learn how to determine the cognitive and language underpinnings of complex language including conversation in their assessment and intervention planning while considering evidence-based practices.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • identify the cognitive and linguistic underpinnings of complex discourse and conversational skills
  • discuss the role social inference plays in conversational skills
  • identify evidence-based practices for addressing complex language and conversational skills development in adolescents with ASD

Classroom Engagement for Adolescents
Jessica R. Dykstra Steinbrenner, PhD, CCC-SLP

Adolescents on the autism spectrum often struggle to maintain engagement in classroom settings. However, there are evidence-based practices and strategies that can support engagement in individual, small group, and large group settings in the classroom. This session will describe a variety of practices and strategies that can be implemented and evaluated in classroom settings.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • select evidence-based practices and strategies to use based on characteristics of the adolescent, setting, and/or activity
  • implement evidence-based practices and strategies to support engagement in the classroom
  • evaluate the impact of practices and strategies on the engagement of adolescents

Managing Frustration and Anxiety
Jed E. Baker, PhD

Individuals with ASD and other social behavioral challenges often experience debilitating anxiety and frustration. This session details how to de-escalate these difficult moments and set up prevention plans for seven common triggers of anxiety and frustration.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • explain ways to address challenging behaviors to ensure better outcomes
  • identify triggers to fear and frustration
  • design effective prevention plans to prevent debilitating anxiety and frustration

A Sociocultural Understanding of Autism
Betty Yu, PhD, CCC-SLP

Autism is a disability that primarily affects sociality, an aspect of the human experience that is inseparable from the sociocultural context. Yet autism is rarely discussed in sociocultural terms. The experiences of individuals on the autism spectrum, including their developmental and functional outcomes, also are rarely contextualized within larger cultural and situational frames. This session examines autism through a sociocultural lens by reviewing the current scholarship in this area and its implications for clinical research and practice. It also explores the lived experiences of adults on the autism spectrum and their families who identify as racial and/or ethnic minorities.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • identify at least two major contributions of a sociocultural approach to the understanding of autism
  • explain the implications of this way of understanding autism for clinical research and practice

AAC: Assessment Considerations and Intervention Strategies for Adolescents
Jane K. Quarles, MS, CCC-SLP

The use of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) with adolescents with ASD can be beneficial to support communication, reduce challenging behaviors, and foster independence. This session will discuss considerations for AAC assessments, partner instruction, interdisciplinary intervention, and preparation for medical encounters from a medical-clinical perspective. Participants will gain a better understanding of how to select and modify communication supports for clients with ASD, empower caregivers to support their AAC users, team with other SLPs and behavioral health colleagues to achieve body readiness for communication, and prepare clients for medical encounters and participating in the workforce.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • determine features on a communication overlay that promote continuous, efficient communication
  • identify two strategies to empower caregivers to facilitate AAC use with their adolescent clients
  • describe three ways to prepare clients for medical encounters
  • identify activities to incorporate into intervention sessions when working with an individual with ASD who is an emergent AAC user

Exploring Positive Social Outcomes by Addressing Executive Functioning: A Case Study of an Adolescent With a Late Diagnosis of ASD
Michelle Garcia Winner, MA, CCC-SLP

This session will use a case study to explore 2 years of teaching social executive functions using Social Thinking’s methodology, including what it means for a student to “learn a strategy.” The session will discuss specific strategies, including ones that can shift an individual’s focus away from another person’s actions and toward modifications of his or her own behavior and allow for the student to practice new social skills while making his or her own narrative observations of others and self using social media. We also will address goals and shifts in treatment planning in the past and present as the student’s journey continues.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • define how to teach students about the power of a strategy, using the movie “Inside Out” as a backdrop, to motivate students to increase their self-regulation/executive functioning
  • explain how social observation can create motivation for social behavioral change
  • describe how learning social skills is embedded into social learning and does not stand out as a separate part of the treatment program

Strategies for Accessing Curriculum and Improving Learning
Jennifer Collier, MA, CCC-SLP

Students with ASD have communication challenges that are complex and more complicated than those of other language-impaired students. This session will identify these challenges and discuss how they affect students’ ability to learn and access curriculum. The speaker will present realistic intervention strategies to address these challenges.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • identify classic characteristics of ASD and how they impact learning and accessing curriculum
  • analyze the elements of an effective intervention approach and compare and contrast existing models
  • select strategies to address learning and curriculum-access challenges and create a realistic treatment plan

Interprofessional Collaboration to Support Adolescents and Adults
Jean Blosser, EdD, CCC-SLP

Effective collaboration, coordination, and communication among professionals and families can help ensure positive outcomes for adolescents and adults with ASD. A proactive strategy based on the principles of interprofessional education and practice (IPE and IPP) leads to high-quality services through shared knowledge, meaningful relationships, continuity of services and programs, reduced redundancy and fragmentation of services, and, ultimately, enhanced intervention, education, and training. This session highlights several dynamic tools and explores how they can be used to strengthen networks, extend services, solve mutual problems, and engage professional colleagues as partners.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • explain the value and benefits of IPE and IPP for adolescents and adults with ASD
  • develop a plan to incorporate IPP and IPE principles in your own work setting with your own clients
  • apply a framework for appraising the quality of team collaboration and initiate steps to continuously improve coordination, collaboration, and communication.

Using Narrative to Support Learning in Adolescents and Adults
Lynne E. Hewitt, PhD, CCC-SLP

Adolescents and adults need to be able to complete complex language tasks for success in secondary and post-secondary contexts, and narrative contexts are ideal for addressing these higher-order language learning needs. Expository narrative supports subject content learning, fictional narrative provides both rich and rare language as well as social knowledge, and narratives of personal experience are key elements in day-to-day interactions. This session will outline strategies for assessing language and social abilities using narrative as well as using narrative materials in intervention for higher-order language, social, and educational objectives.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • select appropriate narrative materials for assessing adolescents and adults
  • identify what aspects of ASD lead to impairment in narrative comprehension and production
  • design interventions using expository, fictional, and personal experience narratives that support language and social learning outcomes

Perspective-Taking Challenges
Timothy P. Kowalski, MA, CCC-SLP

Individuals with ASD often experience challenges with perspective-taking – the ability to understand that others think and act differently than you. This session will discuss perspective-taking as it relates to social processing, specifically, visual processing, “zero-order skills,” mirror neurons, first-person accounts, and theory of mind. The session will examine difficulties in the evaluation process as well as a variety of treatment strategies.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • define the concept behind “multi-situational social-pragmatics”
  • explain the limitations for testing perspective-taking skills
  • list major social difficulties adults with high-functioning autism experience
  • describe how Theory of Mind can influence intervention strategies
  • describe treatment intervention for perspective-taking

Developing and Conducting Social Skills Groups
Meher H. Banajee, PhD, CCC-SLP

Many clients with ASD who have limited social communication skills can communicate comfortably in one-on-one interactions with their clinicians but are unable to generalize while interacting with larger groups of peers (typically developing or with ASD). This session will provide strategies for developing and conducting a social skills group that promotes interactions with peers as well as with other individuals within the community.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • develop strategies for developing and starting a social skills group for adults and adolescents
  • use strategies for conducting a social skills group with adults and adolescents
  • identify potential issues encountered while conducting social skills groups and how to resolve them

Communication Interventions to Assist With the Transition to Post-Secondary and Vocational Settings
Lisa Audet, PhD, CCC-SLP

Adolescents and young adults with ASD face many challenges as they transition out of high school and into vocational or post-secondary settings. Learning how to self-advocate, self-disclose, resolve conflicts, remain safe, establish friendships, and set and attain goals can be overwhelming given underlying communication, learning, and executive functioning needs. This session will explore the various needs of adolescents and young adults with high-functioning ASD and present specific strategies to assist them during this transitional time.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • describe a framework for understanding the social and communication challenges adolescents and young adults with high-functioning ASD face
  • describe at least four therapeutic strategies to increase social communication, conflict resolution, and planning skills in adolescents and young adults with high-functioning ASD

Employment Success for Individuals With ASD
Maia L. Magder, MS, CCC-SLP, and Sarah Shick, BS, CESP

SLPs and job coaches can collaborate in unique ways to maximize their joint expertise and support individuals with ASD to ensure success in meaningful work opportunities. This session will describe a model of interprofessional practice using job coaching and speech-language pathology services to help adolescents and adults with ASD achieve their vocational goals.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • describe the function of the SLP and job coach as it relates to vocational rehabilitation
  • explore how this partnership creates opportunities to affect an individual's success on the job
  • identify the professionals you need to form successful collaborations

Using Self-Modeling in Intervention
Tom Buggey, PhD

By definition, individuals with ASD have language and social challenges that can complicate instruction. Specifically, attending to task may present challenges for individuals with ASD. Video-based instruction may help SLPs address these challenges, especially when individuals can serve as their own model (using the technique known as video self-monitoring [VSM]).

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • create a self-modeling video using available video editing software
  • use a smartphone or tablet to record, edit, and demonstrate behaviors
  • create a video archive of behaviors and skills using point-of-view modeling

Reading Between the Lines: Facilitating Reading Comprehension
Shari Robertson, PhD, CCC-SLP

Reading comprehension is a critical skill for success in academic, social, and vocational settings. However, comprehension problems for readers with ASD who learn to decode early and spontaneously are often overlooked during the period when most children are learning to read. As these individuals progress in school and into secondary education and the workplace, the content of what they must read to be successful becomes increasingly complex and abstract, putting them at risk for frustration and failure. This session will provide an overview of how the core deficits of individuals with ASD affect the development of later reading comprehension. The speaker will discuss and demonstrate assessment techniques and evidence-supported strategies for facilitating reading comprehension for adolescents and adults with ASD.

After completing this session, you will be able to:

  • compare and contrast reading development for typically developing readers and those with ASD who learn to decode early and spontaneously as it relates to later reading comprehension
  • identify and apply appropriate methods of reading comprehension assessment for adolescents and adults with ASD
  • implement evidence-supported strategies to facilitate reading comprehension for adolescents and adults with ASD

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