Autism Awareness Centre Inc. Calgary Conference 2019

Friday, November 15

Ryan Hendrix

ZOOMING IN: Strategies for Concrete Learners Ages 5 - Young Adult

This day focuses on developing rule-based social learning activities that connect to educational standards and support the student with significant social attention and social interpretation challenges. We will concentrate specifically on students who are described as Challenged Social Communicators (CSC) or Emerging Social Communicators (ESC) on our Social Thinking–Social Communication Profile. These students are more literal, more aloof, miss sarcasm, are less organized, show marked difficulty reading social contextual cues from people and situations, comprehending reading material, and expressing themselves through writing, and they appear more awkward in their attempts to socially engage with their peers. (See this article for more common characteristics of people described as described as Challenged Social Communicators or Emerging Social Communicators.) The day will explore the power of social attention using video clips to provide explicit and practical examples for teaching basic social concepts to encourage the development of theory of mind (perspective taking), sharing social attention, and awareness of trickery.

Participants will be able to:

1. Describe two or more core characteristics of Challenged and/or Emerging Social Communicators and explain the impact on social and academic learning.
2. Explain the connection between academic standards, social learning, and the challenges of literal learners using the Social Thinking Social Learning Tree.
3. Explain the process for creating a rubric for measuring outcomes related to perspective taking (point of view) for students who are more literal learners.
4. Describe two practical lessons for developing theory of mind.

Saturday, November 16

Lauren Kerstein

Supporting Anxiety in Children and Adolescents with ASD

Anxiety disorders are a challenge for many children and adolescents on the autism spectrum. Unfortunately, anxiety is often mistaken for willful behavior, which can lead to ineffective interventions. Anxiety can include:

• Physical symptoms such as stomachaches, difficulty breathing, sleep disruption, and headaches.
• Cognitive symptoms such as distorted thinking, difficulty making decisions, trouble concentrating, and challenges learning new tasks.
• Behavioral symptoms such as challenges with separation, refusal, increased rigidity, and shutting down.

With this presentation, attendees will learn how to identify characteristics of anxiety in their child or adolescent. Specific intervention strategies will be demonstrated and modeled that are rooted in:

• Cognitive Behavioral Therapy,
• Dialectical Behavior Therapy,
• and Positive Psychology.

Strategies will apply to home, community, and school settings. Although this presentation will primarily focus on children and adolescents who communicate verbally, interventions will be offered for children and adolescents who are not as verbal. Participants will leave this presentation with a new toolbox of strategies that they can put to immediate use.


Delta Calgary South Hotel
135 Southland Dr SE
Calgary AB  T2J 5X5

Date & Time:

November 15-16, 2019 7:30 a.m.-4:00 p.m.

For more information and to register, go here.