Autism Summit slated June 7

BOWLING GREEN, O.—Health officials expect more than 25,000 new cases of autism to be diagnosed this year, making it the number one disease affecting children today.

Armed with that sobering statistic, parents, professionals and educators will have an opportunity to explore assessment, diagnosis and treatments of autism at the seventh annual Autism Summit of Northwest Ohio, sponsored by the Bowling Green State University College of Education and Human Development, BGSU Continuing and Extended Education, the Wood County Educational Service Center, and Robert and Nancy Williams.

The conference, “Thinking about YOU, Thinking about ME,” is Saturday, June 7, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. in BGSU’s Bowen-Thompson Student Union. Michelle Garcia Winner, a speech language pathologist from San Jose, Calif., is the keynote speaker.

Garcia Winner specializes in the treatment of students with social cognitive deficits including autism, Asperger Syndrome and non-verbal learning disorder. Her goal is to help educators and parents appreciate how social thinking and social skills are an integral part of a student’s academic and social experiences.

The workshop will explore the skill of perspective taking and how it is related to all social contact and interpretation in persons with social cognitive deficits, including high functioning autism, Asperger Syndrome and ADHD. Participants will discover what it means to be able to “take perspective” and how a deficit in this area impacts students in every environment, including home, school, community and work.

Garcia Winner will introduce a model explaining three levels of perspective taking deficits, along with overall prognosis for each level.

Separate breakout sessions for parents and teachers are included in the conference, and representatives from state and local autism groups will deliver an update regarding “What’s Happening with Autism.”

Continuing education units have been approved for MRDD, psychologists, social workers, counselors, speech pathologists and occupational therapists.

The conference fee is $69 with CEUs, $49 without CEUs and $15 for students. For more information or to register, visit http://pace.bgsu.edu or call Continuing and Extended Education at 1-877-650-8165 or 419-372-8181.

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(Posted May 20, 2008 )