Autism spectrum disorder is a disability characterized by deficits in social communication and social interaction and restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior or activities. Individuals with ASD have a variety of learning characteristics that can provide challenges to teachers within the classroom. Fluency-based instruction is a teaching model that encourages educators to teach specific elements of behavior in repetition until the behavior becomes fluent and mastered. When a skill is fluent, that skill is retained, applied, stable, and endures. Research has shown that incorporating fluency-based strategies can help teachers enhance educational outcomes for students with autism. For example, fluency acts as a bridge between reading a story (decoding) and understanding the story (comprehension). When a student is unable to read the passage fluently, they will most likely need to go back and reread the passage and don’t have the ability to pay attention to what the text means. With fluent readers, they are able to recognize words and comprehend at the same time. Some fluency programs suitable for elementary instruction that will be discussed in this workshop include: Headsprout, Language for Learning, Reading Mastery, Mathletics, Typing Club, and Keyboard – Learning Without Tears.

This 3-hour workshop will provide an overview of ABA principles and strategies that can be implemented in the classroom to help enhance learning. An emphasis will be placed on strategies for classroom modifications, building relationships (pairing), creating motivation, visual supports, reinforcement, naturalistic teaching, data collection, and antecedent-behavior-consequence strategies. By the end of the workshop, participants should be familiar with basic principles and strategies of ABA and how to apply them into the classroom setting.

“Many adolescents struggle to work independently, and they may even dread homework. Students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), in particular, often lack the necessary organizational and self-management skills to complete homework assignments without extra support and/or supervision. A student’s inability to meet homework expectations can be frustrating and stressful for them, their families, and their school team.
This half day (three hour) workshop will review aspects of successful homework tasks and related strategies for assigning, motivating, training, and communicating.
The workshop is intended for school staff (resource teachers, classroom teachers, education assistants) who work with autistic students at the middle school and high school level.
Participants will:
•Discuss benefits and challenges related to homework completion for students with ASD
•Review factors related to successful homework assignments
•Examine pro-active measures to increase compliance and participation
•Learn strategies to build students’ own motivation
•Consider evidence-based approaches for supporting students in goal-setting
•Identify the underlying skills necessary for students’ independence in homework
•Learn strategies for directly teaching these essential skills
•Discuss various strategies for improving home-school coordination and communication”

Participants will develop a basic understanding of setting events, the ABCs of behaviours, principle of reinforcement and functions behaviour and their importance in developing a behaviour intervention plan.  Participants will be introduced to a planning template tool to incorporate a variety of appropriate preventative strategies, teaching strategies, and consequent strategies based on the hypothesized function for behaviour management.

“The presence of coexisting diagnoses in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) contribute to the vast heterogeneity within the disorder. This workshop will review research as to ASD and a co-existing low incidence disability (visual impairment, hearing impairment and intellectual disability).
A diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and a co-existing disability often exacerbates autism traits and complicates diagnosis and service delivery. Prevalence, diagnosis, and learner characteristics of these complex students will be discussed in relationship to the development of social communication and emotional regulation strategies.”

“Building and maintaining effective communication and successful partnerships between school staff and parents is key to supporting students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
In this workshop, we will:
-Discuss collaboration benefits and barriers
-Outline elements of effective collaboration
-Review roles and responsibilities of school staff
-Consider strategies for setting communication expectations and boundaries
This half-day (three hour) workshop is intended for school staff (e.g. educational assistants, student support workers, and teachers). Participants will be invited to join discussions in small “breakout” groups. There will also be an opportunity for interactive Q&A with the presenter.”

Preparing students with ASD for life after high school is a very important task for parents of teenager’s with ASD, and staff that support these individuals in the school setting. This 3-hour workshop will cover the current stats for life after high school of those with ASD when not given the opportunity to part-take in transition planning, what transition planning is and the steps involved, the various assessments available, what is required as best practice for a transition plan, what a transition plan may look like, how to incorporate these goals into your IEP, and the various evidence-based strategies available for teaching the skills necessary to reach their goals. We will also cover generalization and maintenance of these skills, as well as provide resources for successful transitions. There will also be time throughout the course for reflection and discussion.

Participants will learn how to assess and program for students at the high school age with ASD and mild to moderate cognitive delays in an inclusive setting. Participants will be introduced to assessment and teaching resources, evidence based teaching strategies, and how to incorporate IEP goals in the mainstream classroom.

Assessment of Functional Living Skills (AFLS) is an assessment tool developed by Dr. James W. Partington and Dr. Michael M. Mueller in 2012. The assessment looks at functional, practical, and essential skills of everyday life, such as daily living skills, community skills, and independent living skills among many others. The workshop will introduce AFLS to the participants and guide them step-by-step on how to assess and create individualized programs for their students.

“The Eden Autism Assessment is a series of assessment tools that measure a student’s current skill levels across multiple domains, including cognitive, speech and language, vocational, self-care, and recreation. The assessment allows the team to determine each student’s strengths and areas for improvements and to develop a plan to address those areas of needs. The Eden Autism Curriculum contains a number of teaching programs corresponding to the items listed in the assessment tools that support professionals in teaching those skills. Each program lists its prerequisite skills, criterion for advancement, measurement, materials, procedure, and prompting techniques. The workshop will introduce both the assessment and the curriculum closely and help participants become familiar in using them as part of their practice.

“Self-advocacy is the ability to speak up for oneself and is especially important for students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Self-advocacy is an significant skill that can be developed early on to foster independence and support lifelong success.

This workshop will provide strategies and teaching tips that contribute to the development of self-advocacy for students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Strategies discussed will include explicit instruction and role play to support effective communication skills, self-awareness, self-determination, critical thinking and problem-solving. Incorporation of these skills into the student’s individualized learning plan will also be addressed.

What is video modeling? How can it be helpful for students with ASD? What sorts of things could you or should you be using video models to teach skills to your students with ASD? Is it hard to create a good video model? These questions and more will be answered in this mini-workshop on video modeling. Essentially video modeling is making a video about a skill that your student needs to acquire so that they have a clear visual representation of that skill on hand as a reminder for their learning. So video models can be used in many different ways and for a myriad of skills. There are a number of tips and tricks that we’ll cover so that you learn a little bit about the art of making a good video that your students will want to watch again and again. Be ready for some hands-on learning – it can happen even in the virtual world!

This workshop will cover the critical skills required for adult independent living and will introduce a framework for planning the transition from high school to adulthood. The workshop will emphasize best practices that promote successful transition to adult living.

Friendships help all students develop socially, emotionally, and personally. Students with ASD often struggle to build and maintain friendships and have fewer friends than their typically developing peers. While many interventions focus on teaching social skills to individuals with autism, peer-mediated instruction and intervention focuses on teaching typically developing peers ways to interact with and support learners with ASD, which is turn increases social skills of the student with ASD and fosters friendships in the classroom. Participants will learn about the benefits of friendship, types of peer-mediated interventions, steps and strategies used in implementing peer-mediated intervention and promoting friendships in the classroom.

Sensory differences are not a core feature of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), yet most people with autism report sensory processing difficulties. Understanding how ASD impacts sensory systems can help you support autistic children. Participants will review the basics of the sensory system and sensory processing. They will learn to recognize the effects of over-sensitivity and under-sensitivity in different areas (e.g. sights, sounds) and will learn appropriate strategies to help kids cope at school. This half-day (three hour) workshop is intended as an introduction to the topic for school staff (e.g. educational assistants, student support workers, and teachers) working directly with autistic students.

This introductory workshop will provide an overview of Autism Spectrum Disorders, with time spent discussing the key diagnostic features of ASD, and the range of characteristics that may present in individuals with ASD. The workshop will then provide an overview of various classroom strategies for providing support to individuals with ASD, with an emphasis on the basics of understanding behaviour, collaborative development of a plan involving antecedent, teaching and consequence strategies, and an evidence-based framework for teaching a variety of skills.

This workshop will talk about the rationale behind data collection, how to use it to track IEP (Individual Education Plan) goals, and how to create simple data collection systems. During the workshop, participants will also have the opportunity to create data collection systems for their student’s IEP goals.

All kids need attention in large amounts, and students with autism are no different. Most of the time we are happy to give our attention to these students looking for it, but in classrooms, attention-seeking behaviours can become disruptive or overwhelming for staff, especially if they come in the form of challenging behaviours. This mini-workshop is designed to help educators reframe the idea of attention-seeking behaviours, while offering them ideas (sometimes silly ones) on how to treat these without making the disruptive or challenging behaviours worse.

Participants will learn how to program for and teach students at the elementary age with ASD and cognitive delays in an inclusive setting. Participants will be introduced assessment and teaching resources, evidence based teaching strategies, how to collect and analyze data for progress review.

Increasing motivation and engagement is an important area of focus for those who support individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This 3-hour workshop will address the following: reasons why student motivation and engagement may be impacted, how to plan positive experiences to increase successful school experiences, and strategies to promote a student’s meaningful participation in school.

“An Individual Education Plan (IEP) is an important document in schools that serves as a roadmap to student success. The BC Ministry of Education provides two IEP formats for the purpose of documenting services provided to students to support their education – the traditional IEP format and the Competency-Based IEP format. Regardless of the IEP format that your school district is using, all IEPs should take into consideration the framework and features of BC’s Redesigned Curriculum. This workshop will help Learning Support Teachers to:
-Understand the roles and responsibilities of the school team and parents/caregivers in the IEP process
-Reflect on important aspects of the BC’s Redesigned Curriculum that help inform the IEP process
-Understand components of the Competency-Based IEP Framework
-Engage in tools and resources that support planning, goal-writing, and collaboration during the IEP process”

Students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can have different sensory needs. This can significantly impact the student’s learning and social relationships. It is not only crucial for educators to recognize the students’ needs to self-regulate but also to teach them how to recognize their needs to self-regulate independently. By the end of this workshop, you will be able to identify the importance of self management in the classroom and will be equipped with a toolbox of skills and strategies to support and teach students with ASD to self-monitor/manage in the classroom.

Females with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are underdiagnosed and are commonly diagnosed at a later age compared to males with ASD. This significantly impacts the future outcome of the individual, as intervention starting at a young age has been linked to better outcomes in adulthood. The differences between males and females also requires females with ASD to acquire a different set of critical skills to support their daily living, such as social skills and personal hygiene. By the end of this workshop, you will be able to identify the characteristics of females with ASD and will be equipped with a toolbox of skills and strategies to support females with ASD at different ages.