The fifth Asia Pacific Autism Conference (APAC 17).

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

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Dr Josephine Barbaro

Dr Josephine Barbaro is a Research Fellow at the Olga Tennison Autism Research Centre, La Trobe University, and Project Leader within Core Program 1 of the Autism Cooperative Research Centre (CRC). Dr Barbaro's research interests are in the early identification and diagnosis of autism in infants and toddlers, and family health and well-being following a diagnosis. Her developmental surveillance program for autism, the Social Attention and Communication Study (SACS), has been developed over the past 12 years, and is used amongst healthcare professionals in Australia, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific. Dr Barbaro's early detection program has led to the development of ASDetect; the world's first, empirically-based, autism surveillance mobile app for infants and toddlers. ASDetect has won the AIIA Research and Development Project of the Year Award at the Victorian and National iAwards, and was one of ten finalists for the Google Impact Challenge 2016.

Presentation title
Identification and Diagnosis of Autism in Australia: Driving change in developmental outcomes through Social Attention and Communication Surveillance (SACS)

Presentation summary
A critical step in the pathway to early intervention and support services for children with autism and their families is early identification and diagnosis. We will first examine trends over time in the age and frequency of autism diagnoses in Australia to illustrate the substantial gap between the age that a reliable and accurate diagnosis of autism is possible, and the age at which children currently receive a diagnosis. We have been working within the Autism Cooperative Research Centre (Autism CRC) to reduce the age of diagnosis through the Social Attention and Communication Study-Revised (SACS-R). The SACS-R utilises developmental surveillance to monitor the early signs of autism between 12- to 24-months-of-age within the Victorian Maternal and Child Health system. The results of this 4-year research program will be presented, with subsequent evidence provided for the long-term developmental outcomes than ensue following early identification and diagnosis of autism. Finally, we will discuss the translation of our work into a free app for parents called ASDetect, which also serves to educate and raise awareness of the early signs of autism in Australia and abroad.

Abstract: Identification and Diagnosis of Autism in Australia: Driving change in developmental outcomes through Social Attention and Communication Surveillance (SACS)


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Michael John Carley, M.F.A

Michael John Carley graduated from Hampshire College and Columbia University. As the Founder, and first Executive Director of GRASP, the largest organization in the USA comprised adults on the autism spectrum, he has spoken at over 100 conferences, hospitals, universities, and health care organizations. In January, 2011 he became the Executive Director of the Asperger Syndrome Training & Employment Partnership (ASTEP), working with large companies to help train them to either better manage existing spectrum employees, or to increase their confidence in hiring new ones.

Michael John Carley was one of two people on the spectrum to address the US Congress in their first-ever hearings on autism, he has addressed the United Nations, and his articles have been published in magazines such as Autism Spectrum News, Autism Spectrum Quarterly, and Autism/Asperger Digest.

Michael John Carley has a column with Huffington Post ("Autism Without Fear"). He is also the author of four books: "Asperger's from the Inside-Out" (Penguin/Perigee 2008), "Unemployed on the Autism Spectrum," (Jessica Kingsley Publishers 2016), "'Why Am I Afraid of Sex?' Building Sexual Confidence in the Autism Spectrum... and Beyond!" (late 2016), and "The Last Memoir of Asperger's Syndrome" (unsigned). More information can be found at www.michaeljohncarley.com

Keynote Presentation title
Old Ways of Looking at Autism, New Ways of Looking at Autism - The New Look at the Needs of Adults and Teens on the Autism Spectrum

Pre Conference Workshop Title
To be confirmed

Presentation summary
Michael John Carley examines the many ways we look at the entire autism spectrum, and guides us through the confusing mixed messages we receive today. He discusses obstacles faced by adolescents and adults, the myths surrounding their capabilities, and briefly goes over the sociological history of why we react the way we do to words like "autism" and "Asperger's."

Abstract: Old Ways of Looking at Autism, New Ways of Looking at Autism - The New Look at the Needs of Adults and Teens on the Autism Spectrum


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Lee Casuscelli

Lee is currently the National Manager for Positive Partnerships, a Commonwealth Government initiative to build capacity among teachers and parents of school aged children, managed by Aspect. Lee has a deep understanding of educational practices that best support students on the autism spectrum. She has been working in the education and disability field for over 30 years across all education sectors and K-12 settings in NSW. Lee's many roles have included classroom teacher, itinerant support (Autism and behaviour), consultant and a variety of executive positions, including Principal. Lee adopts a thoughtful, informed approach to working with communities and values the importance of collaboration. She is committed to building strong sustainable relationships and dedicated to working in the autism space.

Presentation title
Using 'strong and deadly' partnerships to raise awareness and increase understanding of autism in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia

Presentation summary
Together with June Riemer, Lee Casuscelli will share how the partnership between Positive Partnership and the First People Disability Network has led to the creation of culturally respectful and relevant content, materials and approaches to support Aboriginal communities.  The use of the word "deadly" in the title is an Aboriginal acknowledgement of the highest possible praise for this work.

Abstract: Using 'strong and deadly' partnerships to raise awareness and increase understanding of autism in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia


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Dr Trevor Clark

Dr Trevor Clark is a special educator, researcher and author with comprehensive experience and knowledge of educational programs, service provision and research related to the education of students on the autism spectrum.  He is Aspect's National Director for Research.  He completed his PhD in autism at the University of New South Wales in 2001 which involved a curriculum designed to make functional use of savant and splinter skills in children on the autism spectrum.

Trevor Clark's career in autism spans 3 decades and 3 countries - New Zealand, England and Australia. He is currently responsible for the Aspect Research Program which is currently involved in 29 research and evaluation projects, and which includes 17 Autism Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) for studies. He is also the Senior Education Consultant to the Aspect schools program (9 schools, 117 satellite classes with student enrolment of 1068 students). He presents nationally and internationally on education and research in autism. Trevor is the co-author of A Practical Guide for Teachers of Students with an Autism Spectrum Disorder in Secondary Education and has a new book published in 2016 by Routledge UK based on his PhD thesis - Exploring Giftedness and Autism - study of a differentiated program for autistic savants.

Presentation title
IN PURSUIT of HAPPINESS & INDEPENDENCE - identifying the strengths and exceptional abilities of people on the autism spectrum to enhance positive post-school outcomes.

Presentation summary
Great human achievement is associated with innate natural abilities, intensive interest and practice. This session will overview the strengths, and for some, the high or exceptional abilities of children, young people and adults on the autism spectrum, and which will be illustrated with a number of cases of applied abilities in adult on the spectrum.

Abstract: IN PURSUIT of HAPPINESS & INDEPENDENCE - identifying the strengths and exceptional abilities of people on the autism spectrum to enhance positive post-school outcomes


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Professor Cheryl Dissanayake, BSc Hons, PhD Monash, MAPS

Professor Dissanayake is the Founding Director of Australia's first research centre dedicated to ASDs established in 2008. She has been an autism researcher since 1984, when she began her PhD at Monash University. On completion she undertook a postdoctoral fellowship in the Sigman lab at UCLA, and has established and led an active research program since joining La Trobe University in 1996. In addition to her scholarly activities, with numerous grants and publications, Prof. Dissanayake was instrumental in bringing together Victorian and Australian autism researchers, having co-founded the Autism Victoria ASD Research Group (in 2003), the Australasian Autism Research Alliance (in 2005), the Australasian Autism Research Collaboration (in 2009) and the Australasian Society for Autism Research (2011), a member based society of which she is vice-President. She is also a Project Leader in Core Program 1 of the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism.

Presentation title
Identification and Diagnosis of Autism in Australia: Driving change in developmental outcomes through Social Attention and Communication Surveillance (SACS)

Presentation summary
A critical step in the pathway to early intervention and support services for children with autism and their families is early identification and diagnosis. We will first examine trends over time in the age and frequency of autism diagnoses in Australia to illustrate the substantial gap between the age that a reliable and accurate diagnosis of autism is possible, and the age at which children currently receive a diagnosis. We have been working within the Autism Cooperative Research Centre (Autism CRC) to reduce the age of diagnosis through the Social Attention and Communication Study-Revised (SACS-R). The SACS-R utilises developmental surveillance to monitor the early signs of autism between 12- to 24-months-of-age within the Victorian Maternal and Child Health system. The results of this 4-year research program will be presented, with subsequent evidence provided for the long-term developmental outcomes than ensue following early identification and diagnosis of autism. Finally, we will discuss the translation of our work into a free app for parents called ASDetect, which also serves to educate and raise awareness of the early signs of autism in Australia and abroad.

Abstract: Identification and Diagnosis of Autism in Australia: Driving change in developmental outcomes through Social Attention and Communication Surveillance (SACS)


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Dr Yuebo Fan

Dr Yuebo Fan is Director of the Autism Research Centre at South China Normal University, senior paediatrician, guest professor of a couple of universities, founder and previous Principal of Guangzhou Cana School (Guangzhou Rehabilitation & Research Center for Children with ASD), which is the first public special education school for children with autism in China mainland.

Dr Yuebo Fan's researches has included a focus on neuropsychological mechanism, diagnosis & evaluation, rehabilitation & education of ASD, operation and management of autism rehabilitation & education programs, and personnel development in related fields. She is the vice Chair of Association of Services for People with Autism affiliated to the China Association of People with Mental Illness and their Families and Relatives (CAPPDR), the Vice-chair of Guangdong Rehabilitation & Education Association of Autism GREAA, and the Director of Guangzhou Guidance Center for Inclusive Education for Children with ASD. Dr Yuebo Fan has published more than 30 papers nationally and internationally, 15 of which were accepted in SCI/SSCI, 2 autism guidebooks, 1 translated book; and has led 12 autism research programs.

Presentation title
Current Situation of Services Related to Autism in China and Reflections on Its Future Development

Presentation summary
Based on data collected in some major surveys in China, this article explores development history of services related to autism in China and analyses its current situation. It will also show progresses and problems in relevant fields, including that of medical diagnosis and early intervention, intervention concepts and techniques, educational allocation, needs of families with autistic children, service institutions and centers for children with autism and their families, employment, relevant laws and regulation, etc..Combining 10 years' practices of the first autism school in China, and experiences learnt from developed counties and regions, the author concludes some suggestions and advices for the future development of relevant fields based on her observation and reflection.

In the recent 10 years, the author has witnessed a huge progress in fields related to autism. Nevertheless, great demand from increasing numbers of autistic individuals and their families is far beyond the development of service capability. Most regions in China are crying for doctors who are able to give accurate diagnosis, teachers who are able to provide appropriate education and support, and other relevant professionals who can assist in helping people with autism. In addition, service institutions and centers need to be more professional and systematic, and public awareness need to improve. Most of all, there is an imperative need to constitute and enforce relevant laws and regulations that protect rights and interests of individuals with autism. Until then, could all fields related to autism undergo a rapid yet solid development, thus the living quality of individuals with autism and their family can be significantly improved.

Abstract: Current Situation of Services Related to Autism in China and Reflections on Its Future Development


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Dr Emma Goodall

Dr Emma Goodall is an autism consultant and researcher. She is the senior autism advisor for Department for Education and Child Development (DECD) in South Australia. Emma is an experienced educator and educational advisor with a passion for helping teachers and families to understand the autism spectrum and help children achieve their potential. Her doctoral research investigated teachers and teaching students on the autism spectrum. She is also on the executive committee for the Australian Society for Autism Research and for the Autistic Self Advocacy Network of Australia and New Zealand/Oceania.

Emma has Asperger and having lived in 10 countries, she now lives in Adelaide. Emma is also an author / co-author of three books; one for parents and teachers of children on the autism spectrum, one for adults on the autism spectrum exploring gender, sexuality and relationships and one around mental health and the autism spectrum, as well as co-authoring a tool for assisting in the development of targeted supports for adolescents and adults on the spectrum. Emma also blogs about the autism spectrum. (healthypossibilities.net)

Presentation title
Dinner, dating and relationships - Being safe and being sexual

Presentation summary
When young adults don't have access to accurate or enough information, it makes them more vulnerable to exploitation, abuse, sexually transmitted diseases and figurative heartbreak. This presentation shares some common misunderstandings around dating and relationships to avoid and highlights areas that need to be made more explicit for autistics to be empowered to make safe sexual relationship choices.

Abstract: Dinner, dating and relationships - Being safe and being sexual


Jake Gratten

Dr Jake Gratten

Dr Jake Gratten is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Molecular Bioscience, University of Queensland. His research aims to improve understanding of autism and other psychiatric disorders through whole genome analyses. He leads an Autism CRC-funded project on the systems genomics of autism. He received a NARSAD Young Investigator Grant to work on 'Genomic analysis of sex differences in psychiatric disorders" and a NHMRC grant to work on 'Genomic analysis of the relationship between parental age and risk of psychiatric disorders'. As part of a NHMRC Career Development Fellowship he also works on 'Understanding the etiology of psychiatric disorders through whole genome analyses'.

Presentation title
Genetics, paternal age and the gut microbiome: latest research in autism

Presentation summary
In recent years, large-scale genetic studies, including genome sequencing in families with a child on the spectrum, have identified many genes that contribute to the disorder. Genetic studies are also shining light on the role of advanced paternal age in ASD. The potential role of the gut microbiome in ASD is also gaining attention due to evidence that the gut-brain axis is involved in brain development, and because gastrointestinal conditions are common in children with ASD. This talk will provide an overview of recent progress in these three important areas of autism research, and will discuss where the field is headed next.

Abstract: Genetics, paternal age and the gut microbiome: latest research in autism


Saima Wazed Hossain

Saima Wazed Hossain

Saima Wazed Hossain, recently appointed as WHO's Goodwill Ambassador for Autism in South-East Asia region, is a licensed school psychologist. She has been involved in active advocacy for supporting the needs of people with disabilities since 2009. She is an expert on neurodevelopmental disorders and mental health, and an accomplished speaker and author. With the support from the government of Bangladesh and Bhutan, Saima has recently organized ANDD2017, an extremely successful international conference on autism and neurodevelopmental disorders in Bhutan, in partnership with WHO-SEARO. She had organised another such conference in 2011 in Dhaka in partnership with the Government of Bangladesh, WHO, and Autism Speaks. Her relentless effort has led to adoption of an International Declaration on Autism, 3 international resolutions on autism adopted by WHO-SEAR (SEA/RC65/R8), the United Nations General Assembly (67/82), and World Health Assembly (WHA67.8). In 2013, she was the designated Speaker for the Government of Bangladesh at the Special High Level Event on Disabilities at the United Nations General Assembly, New York. In 2014 she was the first recipient of Excellence in Public Health Award by WHO-SEARO, and in 2015, she was made WHO-SEARO's Regional Champion for Autism. Prior to that she was a member of WHO's Expert Advisory Panel on Mental Health. She is currently the Chairperson of the Bangladesh National Advisory Committee for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders, and Shuchona Foundation, which is a not-for-profit advocacy, research, and capacity-building organization based in Dhaka.

Presentation title
Addressing the complexity of ASD through multisectoral partnerships in the era of Sustainable Development Goals.

Abstract: Addressing the complexity of ASD through multisectoral partnerships in the era of Sustainable Development Goals


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Dr Wenn Lawson, PhD, CPsychol. AFBPsS MAPs

Psychologist, lecturer and author, Dr Wenn Lawson has run his own business for 25 yrs. At 2 years, misdiagnosed as intellectually disabled, at school of being incapable of doing as he was told, at 17 years misdiagnosed with schizophrenia; in and out of mental health institutions; eventually age 42 years, diagnosed with an autism spectrum condition (ASC), ADHD, dyspraxia and learning difficulties.

Dr Wenn is passionate about the rights of those who so often cannot speak for themselves. He is the parent of four children (youngest son has ASC), and grand-parent to three, including two gorgeous little girls, both with ASC. He is currently a Teaching Fellow with Birmingham University. He resides on the Autism Open Access board and the board for SEAL, (Community College in Warrnambool). He is participant and advisor for Autism CRC, Australia. He has written numerous books (and papers) on ASC.  See: www.wennlawson.com

Presentation title
The Autism Spectrum and Gender Dysphoria (pre-conference workshop)
Becoming peer researchers - the what, how and why? (pre-conference workshop)
The autism spectrum: Issues of ageing (keynote)

Presentation summary

  • The Autism Spectrum and Gender Dysphoria (pre-conference workshop)
    Dr Wenn Lawson explore connections between autism, sexuality and gender variance with reference to the latest research, personal story and anecdotal accounts.
  • Becoming peer researchers - the what, how and why? (pre-conference workshop)
  • The autism spectrum: Issues of ageing (keynote)
    Dr Wenn Lawson will explore how individuals on the autism spectrum may need various types of support to ensure that growing old happens with safety, dignity and in the way they personally hope for.

Abstract: The Autism Spectrum and Gender Dysphoria

Abstract: The Autism Spectrum: Issues of Ageing


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Mark Lever

Mark Lever joined the National Autistic Society as CEO in March 2008. Since then he has led the organization through significant strategic change. The NAS is the UK's leading organisation for people affected by autism. It runs 6 independent autism specific schools, has developed inclusion units in mainstream settings and opened 2 free schools with a 3rd free school in development. In addition, the Society delivers thousands of packages of community based support for adults affected by autism.

The NAS is a highly effective campaigning organisation and champions the rights and interests of all people with autism. It provides individuals with autism and their families help, support and services that they can access, trust and rely upon and which can help them lead the life they choose.

Mark is a member of the National Autism Programme Board which oversees the implementation of the strategy for adults with autism.

As a founder member and CEO of the NAS Academies Trust he has led the development of the organisation's autism specific free schools. The first, Thames Valley School in Reading, opened in September 2013 with the second, in Cheshire, opened in 2015. A third free school is in development in London.

Prior to the NAS Mark worked for 12 years at the Women's Royal Voluntary Service (WRVS), holding a range of roles, including, Director of Strategic Development and Operations and then CEO. He was previously a partner at accountancy firm Kidsons (now Baker Tilly). He is a Cranfield MBA, a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants and the Chartered Institutes of Personnel and Development, and Marketing.

Presentation title
Too Much Information - Changing public awareness in the UK (Headline presentation)

Presentation summary
Mark Lever will discuss the National Autistic Society campaign launched to change public attitudes and behaviour toward autistic people in the UK in April 2016.

Abstract: Too Much Information - Changing public awareness in the UK


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Dr Samuel L. Odom

Dr Samuel L. Odom is Director of Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute and Professor in the School of Education at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He is Principal Investigator of the National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders, Project AFIRM, The Efficacy Study of Elementary Learners with Autism (TESELA) Project, and the Center on Secondary Education for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

He is the author or co-author of more than 150 journal articles or chapters and editor or co-editor of ten books on early childhood intervention and developmental disabilities. His current research is addressing treatment efficacy for children and youth with ASD, early intervention for toddlers with disabilities and their families, and professional development for teachers of children and youth with ASD. In 2013, he received the Arnold Lucius Gesell Prize awarded for career achievement in research on social inclusion and child development by the Theordor Hellbrugge Foundation, Munich, Germany, and in 2016 he received an honorary doctoral degree from Stockholm University, Sweden.

Presentation title
Are School-Based Interventions the "Best Hope" for Children and Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder? (Keynote Plenary address)

Families Supporting Early Communication of Toddlers with ASDS: Joint-attention Mediated Learning Intervention (Headline Presentation)

Presentation summary

  • Are School-Based Interventions the "Best Hope" for Children and Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder?
    Dr Odom will describe a process for identifying evidence-based intervention, four projects that promote teachers' use of evidence-based practices in preschool, elementary, and high school settings, and outcomes resulting for their use in the United States.
  • Families Supporting Early Communication of Toddlers with ASDS: Joint-attention Mediated Learning Intervention
    This session will introduce the Joint Attention Mediated Learning Project (JAML) and the four early communication skills that JAML coaches introduced to parents in weekly home visits across an 8-month period : focusing on faces, turn taking, responding to joint attention, and initiating joint attention. Examples of parents' facilitation of joint attention skills and data on the effects of the intervention will be provided.

Abstract: Families Supporting Early Communication of Toddlers with ASD: Joint-attention Mediated Learning Intervention

Abstract: Are School-Based Interventions the "Best Hope" for Children and Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder?


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Ms Denise Phua

Ms Denise Phua is the President of Autism Resource Centre (Singapore) and a Board member of Autism Association (Singapore). She supervises two special schools for persons with autism, the Pathlight School - which she co-founded - and the Eden School. Denise Phua is a Member of the Singapore Parliament and a Mayor of Central Singapore District where one million people reside.

As an MP, Denise has focused on advocating for the vulnerable, especially for persons with special needs, the elderly and others who are at risk of being left behind. She is part of the team behind Singapore's three 5-year Enabling Masterplans which chart services and programmes for persons with disabilities. Prior to her current portfolio, Denise acquired more than 20 years of corporate management experiences in Hewlett-Packard, the Wuthelam Group and founded the Centre for Effective Leadership (Asia).

Presentation title
Education and Employment Models for Persons with Autism: The Singapore Odyssey

Presentation summary
Significant strides have been made in Singapore, in support of persons with autism and their families. As one of the architects in shaping Singapore's autism landscape in the last 1.5 decades, Denise Phua will share about the major developments in the education and employment of persons with autism.

Abstract: Education and Employment Models for Persons with Autism: The Singapore Odyssey


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Dr Barry M. Prizant, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Dr. Barry Prizant has more than 40 years' experience as a scholar, researcher and international consultant for individuals with autism. He is an Adjunct Professor, Brown University, and Director of Childhood Communication Services, a private practice. Formerly, he was an Associate Professor of Child Psychiatry in the Brown University School of Medicine.

Barry is co-author of four books, including The SCERTS Model: A comprehensive educational approach for children with ASD (2006). He has published more than 130 articles and chapters, presented more than 700 seminars and keynote addresses internationally, for 20 years, he has co-facilitated an annual weekend retreat for parents of autistic children.

Barry has received many awards including the 2014 Honors of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, 2005 Princeton University-Eden Foundation Career Award in Autism, and the 2013 "Divine Neurotypical Award" of the Global and Regional Asperger's Syndrome Partnership. Barry's latest book, Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism, has received critical acclaim from renowned researchers, practitioners, parents and autistic people.

Presentation title
Uniquely Human: A different way of seeing Autism (keynote)
Family Support (headline presentation, with Elaine Meyer)

Presentation summary
Uniquely Human: A different way of seeing Autism (keynote)
In this presentation, Barry will challenge myths surrounding 1) behaviours observed in autism, 2) the view of autism as a tragedy and 3) the belief that autism is only experienced by the individual with the ASD diagnosis. He will also offer a paradigm-shifting perspective.

Abstract: Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism

Abstract: "Reflecting on the Journey": 21 Years of a Parent Weekend Retreat

Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism

There are many misconceptions about autism and the experience of autistic people. In this presentation, myths surrounding 1) behaviors observed in autism, 2) the view of autism as a tragedy and 3) the belief that autism is only experienced by the individual with the ASD diagnosis will be challenged and a paradigm-shifting perspective will be offered. ASD is defined by a checklist of impairments, and this perspective leads to treatments that often focus on ridding a person of “autistic” symptoms. Instead of classifying behavior as deviant and pathological, we will examine such patterns as part of human development and human behavior— a range of strategies to communicate and to cope with a world that feels confusing, overwhelming and frightening. Informed by published research, four decades of experience working with autistic people and their families, and first person accounts, the experience of autistic people is addressed in a manner leading to more respectful and developmentally appropriate approaches. The notion of autism as a tragedy for the individual and family will also be challenged by parental accounts of raising and living with family members with autism. Finally, the notion that autism is best understood as a shared human experience rather than a condition within a person will also be considered. The presentation will conclude with a summary of evidence that leads to a compelling new way of understanding and living with autism, by honoring the uniqueness of each individual, by building on interests and strengths and by providing a range of appropriate supports. Specific educational/treatment implications will be presented that challenges approaches that focus on "fixing" people with autism and that measure progress primarily on the basis of eliminating symptoms.

 


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Dr Selim Pullu

Dr Selim Pullu has a PhD in Ancient History from the University of Istanbul and a Master's Degree in Ancient History from the University of Missouri. He has been teaching ancient history and archaeology for more than two decades. Dr Selim Pullu has dedicated his last four years to understanding and helping his son Ege who was diagnosed with autism. He extensively researched about autism, the education system, community networks in conjunction with schools, teachers, therapists, specialists as well as non-governmental organisations. Dr Selim Pullu and his wife Handan worked with Positive Partnerships, a Commonwealth Government initiative to build capacity among teachers and parents of school aged children, to develop resources for culturally and linguistically diverse communities. Their own story was also filmed for use at Positive Partnership workshops. He received Aspect's 'Parent/Carer of the Year Award' in 2016.

Dr Selim Pullu as published extensively, undertaken numerous archaeological excavations and taught widely on archaeology, Anatolian civilisations, and the Gallipoli War including the strategic and historical significance of Gallipoli.

Prior to moving to Australia, Dr Selim Pullu was the Chairman in the Department of Ancient History at the University of Afyonkarahisar in Turkey from 2010-2013. 

Presentation title
Our Journey with Autism: Works and Experiences

Presentation summary
Dr Selim Pullu will share how his son's diagnosis impacted his world and ultimately led the whole family to moving to Australia to get better services and education for his youngest son.

Abstract: Our Journey with Autism: Works and Experiences


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Jeanette Purkis

Jeanette Purkis is an author, public speaker and autism advocate who has a diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome and atypical schizophrenia. Jeanette has worked full-time in the Australian Public Service since 2007 and has a Master's degree in Fine Arts. Jeanette is the author of three books on elements of autism and hosts an internet radio show. She has been speaking about autism since 2005.

Some of the events Jeanette has presented at include TEDxCanberra 2013 and presenting alongside Professor Temple Grandin and artist Tim Sharp in Melbourne in 2015. Jeanette has also been a keynote presenter at a number of events, including the Aspect Autism in Education Conference and the Victorian Autism Conference in 2016. Jeanette facilitates a support group for women on the autism spectrum in Canberra. Jeanette is the 2016 ACT Volunteer of the Year.

Presentation title
Mental Health and Autism: Strategies and Self-care

Presentation summary
The presentation will suggest strategies to help enable mental health clinicians to provide more effective and inclusive services to autistic people with mental illness. It will also provide strategies that people on the autism spectrum and those who love and care for them can use to address mental health issues and get the most out of clinical services.

Abstract: Mental Health and Autism: Strategies and Self-care


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June Riemer

June Riemer is a descendant of the Dunghutti people of the Kempsey region of Northern NSW and comes from a long line of strong Aboriginal women, the empowerment and education of her people has been her life's journey. Currently she is the Deputy Chief Executive Officer for First Peoples Disability Network (Australia). June's work through policy change and Aboriginal community development programs over the last 20 years supports this Peak activity work. With previous experience as policy officer at NSW Council of Social Services and development programs overseas in Israel with holocaust victims for a period of 10 years, has enabled her to develop a diverse skill set for management and Aboriginal community engagement.

Presentation title
Using 'strong and deadly' partnerships to raise awareness and increase understanding of autism in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia

Presentation summary
Together with Lee Casuscelli, June Riemer will share how the partnership between Positive Partnership and the First People Disability Network has led to the creation of culturally respectful and relevant content, materials and approaches to support Aboriginal communities.

Abstract: Using 'strong and deadly' partnerships to raise awareness and increase understanding of autism in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities across Australia


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Professor Jacqueline Roberts

Jacqueline Roberts holds the Chair of Autism in the Autism Centre of Excellence (ACE) at Griffith University. She worked in Aspect schools for children with autism as a teacher, speech pathologist, principal and Director of Services, as a consultant and held several short-term fractional research appointments at different universities teaching autism studies and leading/managing research projects.

Presentation title
Autism and Education: The Art and The Science

Presentation summary
Educational outcomes for young people with autism in terms of employment, transition to tertiary education, and quality of life continue to be poor relative to their potential. Jacqueline Roberts will review the state of education for children and young people on the autism spectrum, the wicked problems and the emerging trends.

Abstract: Autism and Education: The Art and The Science


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Dr Stephen Shore, Ed.D.

Diagnosed with "Atypical Development and strong autistic tendencies" and "too sick" for outpatient treatment Dr Shore was recommended for institutionalization. Nonverbal until four, and with much support from his parents, teachers, wife, and others, Stephen is now a professor at Adelphi University where his research focuses on matching best practice to the needs of people with autism. In addition to working with children and talking about life on the autism spectrum, Stephen is internationally renowned for presentations, consultations and writings on lifespan issues pertinent to education, relationships, employment, advocacy, and disclosure. His most recent book College for Students with Disabilities combines personal stories and research for promoting success in higher education.

A current board member of Autism Speaks, president emeritus of the Asperger's Association of New England, and advisory board member of the Autism Society, Dr. Shore serves on the boards of the Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism Association, The US Autism and Asperger Association, the Scientific Counsel of OAR, and other autism related organizations.

Presentation title
Bullying (pre-conference workshop)

Success with Autism: Using our Strengths for Achieving a Fulfilling and Productive Life - Just like Everyone Else (keynote)
 
Presentation summary

Workshop:
Bullying: Practical solutions for eradicating bullying for individuals with autism

Abstract: Bullying: Practical solutions for eradicating bullying for individuals with autism


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Judy Singer

Judy Singer identifies as being "in the middle of 3 generations of women somewhere on the autistic spectrum". Her 1998 Honours Thesis from the University of Technology Sydney, was the pioneering sociological study of this then new kind of disability. In her thesis, Judy Singer argued that AS was not a new medical condition, but a "socially constructed" disability which emerged due to social changes in the post-modern era. She was credited with coining the term "Neurodiversity" to call for a new "liberation" movement for people who were neurological atypical. Judy was the founder, via the internet, of the world's first support group for people raised by autistic parents. She was Secretary of Sydney's Inner West Autism and Asperger's Support Group for several years, and co-founded ASteen, a Sydney-wide social club for teenagers with AS, which is now affiliated with Aspect.

Meet Judy Singer a NeuroDiversity Pioneer: An Interview with the Australian Sociologist who coined the term 'Neurodiversity'

Presentation title
Uniquely Human Interview - Lived Experience

Presentation summary
Judy Singer is being interviewed by Dr Tom Tutton at the beginning of Barry Prizant's key presentation 'Uniquely Human: A different way of seeing Autism'


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Peter Vermeulen, PhD

Since 1998 Peter Vermeulen has been working as an autism consultant, lecturer and trainer at Autisme Centraal, in Belgium. He is also the Chief Editor of "Autisme Centraal", the bi-monthly magazine of Autisme Centraal.

Peter Vermeulen holds a Master in Psychology and Pedagogical Sciences (University of Leuven, Belgium - 1985) and a PhD in Psychology and Pedagogical Sciences (University of Leiden, The Netherlands -2002). Peter Vermeulen is the President of the editorial board of the Belgian-Dutch Journal of Special Education, Child Psychiatry and Clinical Psychology. He published more than 15 books and several articles on autism, a.o. " Autistic Thinking: This is the Title" (2001), "I am Special: handbook for psycho-education" (2000, revised edition 2013), and "Autism as context blindness" (2012), a book than won several awards in the USA.

Before joining Autisme Centraal, from 1987 till 1998, Peter Vermeulen was working for the Flemish Autism Association, first as home trainer for families with a child with autism, later as director of the home training centre and finally as trainer / lecturer.

Presentation titles
Autism and the Predictive Mind (pre-conference workshop)
Autism and happiness: from neurodiversity to neuroharmony (keynote plenary address)

Presentation summary

  • Autism and the Predictive Mind
    Peter Vermeulen examines how recent discoveries about the brain have led to a Copernican revolution, replacing the old idea of a receptive mind with the new idea of a predictive mind. That new idea invites us to take a different look at the autistic brain, but - more importantly - also to rethink some of the strategies we have been using in autism for decades. Peter Vermeulen will illustrate this in the areas of sensory issues, communication and emotion recognition, three areas known to be difficult for people with ASD.
  • Autism and happiness: from neurodiversity to neuroharmony
    Peter Vermeulen will examine how all the research and all the information about how different, specific and unique autism is, has made us forget that people with autism share more than we think with all the other people, especially when it comes to basic needs such as happiness.

Abstract: Autism and happiness: from neurodiversity to neuroharmony

Abstract: Autism and the predictive mind


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Winthrop Professor Andrew Whitehouse

Andrew Whitehouse is the Angela Wright Bennett Professor of Autism Research at Telethon Kids and Professor of Autism Research at The University of Western Australia. He is also Chief Research Officer of the Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism (Autism CRC) and Adjunct Professor at Curtin University and Edith Cowan University. At the Telethon Kids Institute  he leads a large team that use a wide range of methodologies to investigate the early identification and intervention of children with Autism Spectrum Conditions, including molecular genetics, neuroscience, endocrinology, behavioural experiments and clinical trials. Andrew has published over 150 peer-reviewed journal articles and attracted over $35 million in competitive research grants. He currently presents an internationally syndicated video series called '60 Second Science", which has was viewed by over 1 million people in 2016. He is an advisor to State and Commonwealth Governments on policies relating to children with Autism Spectrum Conditions, and he is currently the Chair of the committee that is generating Australia's first national guideline for autism diagnosis.  Andrew has published one edited book with his twin-brother (Ben), and a popular science book that examined the science behind some of the myths of pregnancy and child development (Will Mozart Make My Baby Smart?). Prior to coming to the Telethon Kids Institute, Andrew was a Fellow at the University of Oxford.

Presentation title
Australia's first national guidelines for autism diagnosis (keynote)

Presentation summary
In 2016, the National Disability Insurance Agency partnered with the Autism Cooperative Research centre to conduct a 12-month consultation process to develop national guidelines for autism diagnosis. After consultation with hundreds of autistic adults, family members, clinicians, and policy makers, Professor Whitehouse will present for the first time the new national guidelines for autism diagnosis in Australia.

Abstract: Australia's first national guidelines for autism diagnosis


 


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