The Southern California Augmentative and Alternative Communication Network... a support group for professional development, problem solving, leadership, mentoring, and training in the use of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) to develop communication in non-speaking and minimally verbal individuals in the Southern California Region.

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Autism Conference - SCAAC-N Presents!

SCAAC-N's own, Gwendolyn Meier, will present on Communication Via the iPad 
This August 10 at the 7th Annual "Back to School & More" Conference!

Autism Conferences of America

7th Annual "Back to School & More" Autism/Asperger's Conference
The Most Comprehensive Autism Conference Series in Southern California!
August 10-11, 2012 | Pasadena Convention Center 
Featuring Keynotes Dianne Craft, MA, CNHP and Jed Baker, PhD
and over 20 other great local and national speakers!
The conference is open to parents, professionals, individuals on the spectrum and interested community members. Attendees  will have an opportunity to learn suggestions on therapy, treatment, and practical strategies to help your child/student/client with Autism. Come join us for a very packed 2 day conference. You do not want to miss it! Read more.        

Featured Track

10:45 - 12:15 p.m. - Movie Time Social Learning: Watching Movies to Build Social Understanding- Anna Vagin, PhD.
Movie Time Social Learning teaches social cognition concepts using popular movies. Levels and tasks appropriate for preschool through high school children will be outlined, as well as crucial nonverbal, visual and verbal supports. Multiple video clips will show examples of mediating strategies as well as individual and group movie work.

Anna Vagin, Ph.D. is a licensed speech/language pathologist. She received her Ph.D. from UC Berkeley, writing her dissertation on "Mother-Child Interaction in Children with Bilateral Cleft Lip and Palate." Her work focuses on social cognitive abilities of children from 6 months-high school. She is the author of Movie Time Social Learning.

1:30 - 2:15 p.m. - Communication Options Using the iPad- Gwendolyn Meier, M.A., CCC-SLP, MT-BC
Tablet computers have revolutionized augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) options for individuals with autism. There are more than 100 communication apps available for Apple iPad, and the decision-making process can be a challenge. Basic, intermediate, and full-featured communication apps for the iPad will be demonstrated and reviewed for their features, merits and drawbacks.

As director of the Villa Esperanza Services' Speech and Language Center, Gwendolyn Meier specializes in augmentative and alternative communication in autism. In 2010, Gwendolyn co-founded the Southern California AAC Network and in 2012 received an Outstanding Achievement award from the California Speech-Language Hearing Association for supporting SLPs who use AAC.

2:15 - 3: 00 p.m. - Mysterious Power of Music- Gwendolyn Meier, M.A., CCC-SLP, MT-BC
Why does that song make my child's face light up? How can I get my class to focus on a group lesson? Why does he understand only when I sing it? Individuals with autism are often limited in their passions, yet a love of music and song is common. This presentation will outline ten helpful elements inherent in music that provide aid to autistic learners' brains and ideas of how to make the most of them.

Gwendolyn Meier is a speech-language pathologist and board-certified music therapist who has used music and song to build social and communication skills in individuals with autism and related disorders over thirteen years. She speaks extensively on the power of music as a tool in early childhood and special education settings.

3:30 - 4:15 p.m. - What's the Next Step - Best Step towards Inclusion - Barbara Palilis, MA
Circle of Friends, The Path to Inclusion (CoF) addresses the segregation faced by students with special needs in their educational and social environment. CoF is a multi-layered approach to bringing a better understanding and acceptance of differences to all campuses and into community life. It provides opportunities to improve social language and problem solving skills by building friendships with trained non-disabled peers. Circle of Friends makes a significantly positive impact on the campus climate and decreases bullying.

Barbara Palilis received her Master's degree in Communication Disorders from USC and worked as a Speech/Language Pathologist in the schools for 25 years. She created Circle of Friends, an inclusion program for students of all ages with disabilities.  It changed lives in such a profound way that a non-profit was created to bring this program nationwide.

4:15 - 5:00 p.m. - Comprehensive Care on a Budget, in the Public Schools - Maria Sasaki Reilly, M.P.H., BCBA
In today's economic crunch, a public school district and NPA have joined together to provide a comprehensive social skills program in the public school system, for children with mid to high-functioning Autism. The program merges evidence-based practices such as Applied Behavior Analysis, social skills groups, and self-monitoring, with the emerging practice of Social Thinking. Learn about how the program was developed and continues to be monitored, as well as future directions for the program.

Maria is a board certified behavior analyst (BCBA), working with children with Autism and related disabilities. She is the co-founder of The Reilly Behavioral Group, LLC, and an adjunct faculty member at the University of West Florida, where she teaches courses in Applied Behavior Analysis.
Featured Keynotes: 

Dianne Craft, MA, CNHP
Unlocking the Abilities in Children with Autism and Asperger's Using a Unique, Three -Pronged Approach  
Dianne Craft holds a Masters Degree in Special Education and is a Certified Natural Health Professional. In this dual role as educator and nutritionist, Dianne has had many unique experiences working with children on the Autism spectrum. In addition to consulting with Colorado schools, she has been president of the Denver consulting firm, Child Diagnostics, Inc. for the past 14 years, and has presented her educational and nutritional approaches nationally. She has authored the Brain Integration Therapy Manual and the Right Brain Reading Program and has developed a step by step nutritional program for children called The Biology of Behavior. 

Additional Sessions with Dianne Craft, MA, CNHP
  • Brain Integration Therapy: Improving Hemispheric Connections
  • Right Brain Teaching Strategies: Training the Student's Photographic Memory
  • The Biology of Learning and Behavior: Kids Act How They Feel
StratJed Bakeregies to Teach Social Skills, Increase Peer Acceptance, and Reduce Bull ying and Challenging Behaviors 
Jed Baker, Ph.D. is the director of the Social Skills Training Project, a private organization serving individuals with autism and social communication problems. He also directs social skills training for Millburn Public Schools in New Jersey. His work has also been featured on ABC World News, Nightline, the CBS Early Show, and the Discovery Health Channel. He is an award winning author of five books: Social Skills Training for Children and Adolescents with Aspergers Syndrome and Social Communication Problems, Preparing for Life: The Complete Handbook for the Transition to Adulthood for Those with Autism and Aspergers Syndrome, The Social Skills Picture Book, The Social Skills Picture Book for High School and Beyond, and No More Meltdowns: Positive Strategies for Managing and Preventing Out-of-Control Behavior.

Additional Sessions with Jed Baker, PhD
  • No More Meltdowns
  • Key Components of Social Skills Training
  • Play, Empathy, Friendship, Dating, and Employment Readiness

Additional Tracks Include:

Teen/Adult Track
Biomedical Track

Conference Location 
Pasadena Convention Center
300 East Green Street
Pasadena, CA 91101
Continuing Education Units (CEUs) 
CEUs for professional development are available for the following professionals (up to 7 contact hours/day).  
  • (SLPs) Speech Language Pathologist and Audiologist, CA SLP-Audiologist Board PDP #230 
  • Nursing, CA Board of Registered Nursing PDP #15094 
  • MFT- Marriage and Family Therapists and LCSW - Licensed Clinical Social Workers, CA Board of Behavioral Sciences PCE #4429
Exhibitors and Advertising 

Exhibitors are encouraged to submit their exhibitor application early!
Phone/Fax 562-804-8790 or E-Mail  

The Westin
(official conference hotel) - $99/night*
191 North Los Robles Avenue, Pasadena, CA 91101
 Phone: (626) 792-2727
*Must mention  2012 Autism/Asperger's Conference to get preferred rate. Subject to availability, book rooms by July 9th for best rate. 
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