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Strength Over Struggle: Supporting Adults With Autism

Friday, May 04, 2018


The Greengard Center For Autism

The Greengard Center for Autism located in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, offers quality programs for adults and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder. The Greengard Center provides unique lifelong opportunities for individuals with autismto have a productive quality of life through ongoing education, meaningful work, and access to recreation, social and community acceptance and participation.

Keynote Presentation – Supporting Interdependent Adulthood for Individuals with Autism: The Promotion of Community Living Skills
Peter Gerhardt, Ed.D.

“The past decade has seen a dramatic increase in the prevalence of autism and related disorders. As these individuals grow up and age out of the educational system there is an increased demand for effective and individualized services for adolescents and young adults with ASD. Unfortunately, the need for such services continues to far exceed the available resources, leaving a generation of individuals with autism and their families in a programmatic, financial, and personal limbo. This presentation will provide an overview of issues related to the effective transition to life in the community with the ultimate goal being a life of dignity, competence and quality. Particular attention will be paid to what constitutes evidence-based practice in the areas of adaptive behavior, social competence, community-based instruction, employment and sexuality.

Sexuality with Individuals with ASD: What Professionals and Parents Need to Know
Peter Gerhardt, Ed.D.

Persons with ASD are sexual beings. However, individual interest in sex or in developing an intimate sexual relationship with another person varies widely across individuals at all ability levels. Unfortunately, despite much discussion about decision making skills in the self-determination literature there continues to be dearth of research regarding best practices in sexuality education and training for persons with ASD that Behavior Analysis can provide. This workshop will provide an overview of sexuality education, from the professional and personal points of view, in ASD with an emphasis on safety, knowledge, and social understanding.

Medical Co-Morbidity in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Margaret Bauman, MD

Autism is now understood as a spectrum in regard to clinical presentation etiology, underlying neurobiology and severity. The characteristics and symptoms include impairment in social skills, isolated areas of interest and delayed and disordered language. Currently, there is more recognition and appreciation that more individuals diagnose with autism spectrum disorder may have medically relevant disorders that negatively impact their progress and overall functioning. These medical conditions are frequently go undetected; yet when treated, can produce significant improvement in the quality of life for individuals and their families. This workshop will focus on the importance of understanding the co-occurring conditions for individuals on the spectrum and addressing the complex implications of specific medical disorders such as seizure disorders, sleep disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, metabolic disorders and hormonal dysfunction.

The Impact of Autism on the Family
Barbara Frankel, MSSW, Ph.D.

This workshop will provide the opportunity to gain an in-depth exploration and understanding of the impact of autism on the family system. While the challenges a family encounters are daunting, a family’s ability to adapt effectively are dependent on a number of factors that include: 1) the individual and collective resources of parents; 2) the culture of the community in which they live; 3) the availability of educational and treatment services; and 4) sufficiently supportive social systems that are constructive and congruent with the needs of the family. In addition, the impact of the significant controversies about autism on the family will be extensively explored.

Panel Discussion with all three presenters

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