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News From Regional & Continuing Education

Northern California Autism Symposium Brings Research, Advocacy Experts to Northern California

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Monday, August 27, 2018

Logo of the Northern California Austism SymposiumRegional & Continuing Education at California State University, Chico will present the second annual Northern California Autism Symposium on Sept. 28 and 29 on the University campus. The program will include concurrent, plenary, and keynote sessions for professionals, parents and guardians of individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and adults with ASD. Session topics from experts in the field and individuals with ASD include evidence-based practices, parent advocacy, self-regulation, building friendships, video modeling, and physical activity and exercise interventions.

The inaugural event saw over 400 participants from throughout Northern California and this year’s numbers are anticipated to be larger. Far Northern Regional Center, California Autism Professional Training and Information Network (CAPTAIN), and Chico State have worked to build a science-rich program focused on evidence-based research.

On Friday afternoon, the plenary speaker will be Dr. Leonard Abbeduto, director of the UC Davis MIND Institute. His presentation, “Technology as a Tool for Bringing Services and Research to Individuals with Autism and Developmental Disabilities, Families, and Communities,” will focus on the need to bring evidence-based therapeutic practices to scale and in a way that ensures equitable access to all people, regardless of race, ethnicity, language spoken or geography. Examples of the use of technology to meet this need and details from Abbeduto’s research on the use of video teleconferencing technology to deliver parent-implemented language interventions into the homes of children and adolescents with developmental disabilities will be shared.

On Saturday morning, Dena L. Gassner, LMSW, will present her experience as a female on the spectrum. She blends her message of empowerment with her personal journey and her professionalism to provide a well-rounded experience to all of her audiences. She is an advocate, writer, and national presenter to schools, families, and agencies throughout the country, and operates a private systems navigation practice—a one-of-a-kind program—in Nashville, Tennessee. Gassner embodies a commitment to encouraging healthier living for those with Asperger’s Syndrome, empowering persons to leave shame and inadequacy behind for a life embracing autistic authenticity. More importantly, Gassner lives a life of transparency, embracing her identity as a person with an autism spectrum condition.

Over the past 15 years, a growing number of children have been diagnosed with ASD. Current reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that about one in 59 children has been identified on the spectrum. Though new theories about what causes ASD continue to develop, there is no scientifically proven cause or cure. According to Josie Blagrave, assistant professor in the Department of Kinesiology at CSU, Chico and program director for the CSU, Chico Autism Clinic, Northern California has seen the same increase in ASD, but because of the region’s rural location, those living and working with ASD populations in the North State are removed from the research and resource hubs of Sacramento, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.

“The aim of this symposium is to feature a breadth of presenters who will share their expertise on interventions, services and supports with individuals with ASD, their families, teachers and service providers. Oftentimes getting out to the bigger conferences is an impossible barrier—we’re hoping to eliminate that,” Blagrave said.

The cost to attend the two-day symposium is $195. Individuals who are clients of the Far Northern Regional Center and Chico State students may register at a reduced cost. Please visit the website for more information. Additional information and online registration can be found at https://ncas.csuchico.edu or by calling Regional & Continuing Education at 530-898-6105.