Rowan's Inaugural Conference on Autism to bring together educators, advocates, parents, therapists

Rowan's Inaugural Conference on Autism to bring together educators, advocates, parents, therapists

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More than 100 educational professionals, advocates, parents and therapists from throughout South Jersey will come together for Rowan University's Inaugural Conference on Autism on Monday, March 15.
More than 100 educational professionals, advocates, parents and therapists from throughout South Jersey will come together for Rowan University's Inaugural Conference on Autism on Monday, March 15.

Presented by the College of Professional and Continuing Education (CPCE), the conference will include a keynote address by Scott Michael Robertson, a Penn State doctoral student on the autism spectrum.

During his address, which begins at 9 a.m. in the Eynon Ballroom of the Chamberlain Student Center, Robertson will offer recommendations and strategies for supporting youth and young adults on the autism spectrum as they transition from secondary school to adult life, college, and employment.

Robertson is the Vice President of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network and has conducted research in the fields of disability studies, human/computer interaction, and computer-supported work/learning. His research focuses on understanding and improving the lives of people with neurological and developmental disabilities.

Robertson actively serves the cross-disability and autism communities as a mentor, teacher, advocate, public speaker and writer. Currently, he is pursuing his doctorate in information sciences and technology at Penn State's University Park campus. He also holds a bachelor's degree in computer science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a master's degree in human-computer interaction from Carnegie Mellon University.

The conference will include 16 break-out sessions in two tracks: education and behavior analysis. Conference participants can choose either track or mix and match the sessions depending upon their interests.

Sessions will include everything from presentations on effectively supporting students with autism in inclusive environments to the use of social skills groups for students with Asperger Syndrome to the use of functional behavioral assessments to understand challenging behaviors.

Scholars in the field, parents, authors, educators, and therapists will all serve as presenters.

According to Rowan professor Jay Kuder, chair of the special education services/instruction department in the College of Education, the purpose of the conference is twofold.

"First, and most important, is the need to train professionals to serve the rapidly growing population of children identified as autistic in South Jersey," says Kuder.

"Secondly, we wanted to make the public aware of the programs and services that Rowan can offer in the area of autism. We offer professional training programs, clinical services, and programs to support college-age students with autism. We want to be known as a center for autism training and services in the region."

Kuder, whose research focuses on autism, serves on the conference planning committee along with psychology professor Michelle Ennis Soreth and J. Harold Sahm, director of continuing education for CPCE.

For information about the conference, visit http://www.rowan.edu/colleges/cpce/continuing_ed/school_district.php and click on the conference link.


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