Neurodiversity & Disability Symposium Session Descriptions

Neurodiversity Track

A Different Experience of the World: Sensory Processing in Autism

Presenter: Patrick Dwyer, PhD Candidate, University of California, Davis

This session will begin with a discussion of some of the many ways in which autistic sensory processing is important in the real world. However, autistic sensory processing can be atypical in many different ways in different individuals and contexts, and everyday English lacks terms for many of these unique sensory experiences, which can make it difficult for autistic people and those around them to understand the nature of their sensory experiences. The session will therefore include descriptions of various distinguishable forms of atypical sensory experience. The presenter will also describe how attentional differences in autism may be intertwined with these sensory experiences. The presenter will propose some practical strategies and suggestions based on a mixture of his lived experience and his understanding of the research literature.

Panel: Innovative Employers Creating Inclusive Workplaces and Embracing Neuro-Talent

Moderator: Betina Wildhaber, Chico State Career Advisor
Panel Members: Christina Goldschmidt, VP & Head of Product Design, Etsy | Weslie Ricks, Technical Sourcing Recruiter, Meta | Heung-For Cheng (“For”), Cloud Software Engineering Manager, Intel Corporation | Marcelle Ciampi, Lead DEIA Specialist, Paylocity

Did you know neurodivergent and autisitic individuals experience higher rates of unemployment and underemployment compared to the general population? Employers are beginning to make changes to create a more inclusive work environment. Hear from a panel of employers on what those changes look like and how they are breaking down barriers that get in the way for a meaningful and successful work experience.

Collaborative Approaches to Caregiver Coaching

Presenter: Sarah Dufek, Ph.D., Associate Professor, UC Davis MIND Institute

Caregiver coaching approaches have demonstrated positive child and family outcomes for young children with, or at high likelihood of having, autism (Zwaigenbaum et al., 2015; Burrell & Borrego, 2012). However, many intervention providers working with children with autism and their families have limited training in how to partner with parents or how to coach them in the use of evidence-based intervention strategies. Recent research has identified key elements for caregiver coaching and engagement (e.g., Pellecchia et al., 2020). This presentation will examine the literature on effective coaching strategies and provide examples of how to increase caregiver partnership in the use of Naturalistic Developmental Behavioral Interventions. The use of telehealth to deliver coaching will also be examined.

Physical Disability Track

Disabling Ableism: Microlearning Series

Presenter: Alycia Anderson

This microlearning series introduces the inherent benefits of disability inclusion, lessons on ableism, accessibility and innovation, the importance of language, understanding microaggressions, and how to move forward on the modern pathway to inclusion.

Disability Inclusion in Public Health: Bike, Pedestrian, and Car Seat Safety Programs

Presenters: Dr. Kerri Vanderboom, Public Health Educator, Senior, Butte County Public Health | Eunice Lopez, Supervisor, Prevention and Health Promotion, Butte County Public Health | Rosie Alaniz, Public Health Educator | Xoua Lee, Public Health Educator

Historically, public health focused on disability prevention in research, programs and practices. More recently, there has been a movement to change language and the emphasis to promote health of people living with disability. In this session, we will briefly cover this public health shift and the importance of the change. We will provide ways we incorporate disability inclusion in our local bike/pedestrian and car seat safety community education and events. Examples of our partnerships with community organizations, access to adapted equipment, pre/post planning, implementation, and being prepared for all users will be shared.

Yoga for EVERY Body

Presenters: Carli Ross, Kinesiology Lecuturer, California State University, Chico | Bill Travers, Adapted Athlete

Yoga can be an intimidating word for anyone. Yoga means 'union' and is used to signify any form of 'connection.' Conscious connection to something allows us to feel and experience that thing, person, or experience. What is sometimes seen in the Western world of Yoga is people doing crazy stretches and postures, posing in beautiful locations trying to capture that one epic shot. Thoughts then migrate to "I’m not flexible enough," "I’m not strong enough," or "My body doesn't bend that way," and yoga isn’t given a chance. Asana is the actual physical posture, which is only 12.5% of the yoga practice. More of the yoga practice involves mindfulness, movement between postures, and attention to breathing. Also, scientific research indicates that practicing yoga can lead to physical and psychological improvements in balance, strength, and stress reduction. Several recent studies note improved balance in people who practice yoga regularly, and that yoga will also contribute to positive mental health. Recent experience has revealed that with creativity, adaptability and modification in the asana practice our yoga routines can accommodate an ever greater range of bodies and abilities than is commonly portrayed. Together with proper breathing, relaxation, diet, and positive thinking or meditation EVERY Body can feel the benefits of Yoga. We are here to give you the tools to approach your first yoga class with confidence and ease.

Complex Needs Track

Manageable Behavior Tips for Home Life

Presenters: Christy Carr, Behavior Specialist, Butte County Office of Education | Amanda Maffiet, Program Specialist, Butte County SELPA | Erin Miller, Program Specialist, Butte County SELPA

Are you looking for strategies to help with behavioral challenges at home? Does your child have difficulties transitioning from home to school, activities outside of the home, and into the community? We'll look at some useful and practical behavior strategies to help navigate everyday life in the home setting, as well as support transitions to school, activities, and into the community.

Language Development in Fragile X and Down Syndrome

Presenter: Dr. Angela Thurman, Associate Professor, UC Davis Health, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

In this session, we review research on language development in individuals with Down syndrome and Fragile X syndrome. We will focus on describing patterns of performance across language domains and the factors that shape their development.

Self-Determination and Person-Centered Practices

Presenters: Rachael Newkirk, Case Management Supervisor, Far Northern Regional Center | Morgan Curtiz, Self-Determination Coordinator, Far Northern Regional Center

This session will discuss a new approach to service delivery within the regional center system called self-determination. Though this approach has been piloted throughout California for many years, it is now available as an alternative to traditional service delivery for all people who receive CA regional center services. Presenters will discuss the specifics of this service delivery system and outline how it relies on person-centered planning to achieve a person's hopes and dreams.