Strategies for Success in Autism: Context Blindness and Behavior is the subject of AAPC Publishing’s upcoming conference in Chicago on May 14 and 15. The conferencewill offer practical strategies for helping individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) to succeed in the social world. 

Autism Awareness Month, coming up in April, also offers an opportunity to increase public awareness of the issues affecting those with an autism spectrum disorder.

The featured speakers at AAPC Publishing’s Spring Autism Conference are world-renowned authors, Brenda Smith Myles, PhD, Asperger Syndrome and Difficult Moments:  Practical Solutions for Trantrums, Rage and Meltdowns, and Peter Vermeulen, PhD, Autism as Context Blindness, both highly respected experts in the field of autism spectrum disorders.

Understanding and Preventing Behavior Challenges for Individuals With ASD, the subject of the first day of the conference, will be presented by Dr. Myles, author of Asperger Syndrome and Difficult Moments: Practical Solutions for Tantrums, Rage and Meltdowns and The Hidden Curriculum for Understanding Unstated Rules in Social Situations for Adolescents and Young Adults. Dr. Myles will discuss stress and anxiety, two of the most frequently observed symptoms in children and youth with ASD, and how they can lead to meltdowns and an escalating sequence of behaviors. The escalating sequence of behaviors seems to follow a three-stage cycle:  (a) rumbling, (b) rage, and (c) recovery. However, many children and youth with ASD are often unaware that they are under stress. Because of the combination of innate stress and anxiety and the difficulty that children and youth with ASD have in understanding how they feel, it is important that those who work and live with these children understand the cycle of tantrums, rage and meltdowns, as well as interventions that can be used to eliminate or reduce these behaviors.

Dr. Myles is an international speaker and recipient of the Autism Society of America’s Outstanding Professional Award, the Princeton Fellowship Award, and the Council for Exceptional Children’s Burton Blatt Humanitarian Award. She has made over one thousand presentations worldwide and written numerous articles and books on ASD; in addition, she was acknowledged as the second most productive applied researcher in the world on ASD in the latest survey conducted by the University of Texas.

The topic of the second day of the conference, Autism as Context Blindness, will be presented by Peter Vermeulen, PhD, who will introduce a framework for gaining a deeper understanding of the typical information processing style in ASD: context blindness. This groundbreaking concept offers a unique and practical understanding of autism, unifying the existing cognitive models in autism. Difficulty seeing and understanding context can explain why people with ASD have difficulty with communication, social interaction, flexible thinking and behavior in daily living. Participants will learn how the notion of autism as context blindness can help us find the most effective strategies of support for people with ASD and, in general, create a more autism-friendly society.

Dr. Vermeulen holds an MSc and PhD in psychology and educational sciences. He has worked in the field of ASD for more than 25 years and has written over 15 books and numerous articles on autism. He is the co-director of the Centre for Concrete Communications, a training and education center for ASD, in Belgium.

The two-day Spring Autism Conference hosted by AAPC Publishing will take place in Chicago on May 14 and 15 at the Wyndham Glenview Suites. Additional conferences are scheduled for Salt Lake City on May 16 and 17 and Phoenix on May 20 and 21. For more information, please visit: AAPCPublishing.net/conferences.

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