Autism2012 final


Wednesday April 4, 2012 at 12:00 PM EDT
Wednesday April 25, 2012 at 2:00 PM EDT

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One webinar: $40

Two webinars: $65

Three webinars: $85

Four webinars: $100


*Price is per slot in the webinar, so it is encouraged to participate as a group from one computer!
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Carla Benway 
Youth Advocate Programs, Inc. 

Michelle Heim 
Michelle Heim has been working with Youth Advocate Programs for 6 years.  She graduated with a Masters in Counseling Psychology, with a specialization in Marital and Family Therapy from Kutztown University of Pennsylvania.  Previously, Michelle has worked as a Behavior Specialist Consultant and Mobile Therapist with Individuals with Autism Spectrum diagnoses.  She is now an Autism Trainer and Field Support Coordinator through which she supports staff and families in 15 counties in PA.  In addition to this, Michelle has been trained as a Communication Mentor with Networks for Training and Development.  She also volunteers as a Board Member for Autism Spectrum Connections.

Pat Amos 
Pat Amos, M.A., has been an advocate for people with disabilities and their families for over 25 years. She is a founder of Autism Support and Advocacy in Pennsylvania (ASAP) and the Family Alliance to Stop Abuse and Neglect, past president of the Greater Philadelphia Autism Society, a founder and past president of the Autism National Committee, a founder of the Coalition of Inclusion Advocates (CIA), a former member of the Executive Committee of Pennsylvania’s Developmental Disabilities Council, and recently completed two terms as a Board member of TASH (where she remains serving in an ex oficio capacity).  Her involvement in the movement to prevent restraint and seclusion is longstanding, and she has worked with the national Alliance for the Prevention of Restraint, Aversive Interventions, and Seclusion (APRAIS) since participating in its founding in 2004.  She currently works as an Inclusion Specialist with the Youth Advocate Program’s Autism Institute, where she trains direct service staff and also offers trainings to community members.  Pat draws on her graduate work in anthropology and the study of narrative to bring new insights to her consulting and writing, which focus on quality of life and the impact of culture in shaping and interpreting disability. Her best teachers have been her four children, three of whom experience significant sensorimotor differences and all of whom are enjoying rewarding lives.

Moya Kinnealey
Moya Kinnealey Ph.D., OTR/L is an occupational therapist, researcher and expert on sensory and motor issues of people of  all ages. She has presented nationally and internationally on this topic and published articles on its impact on quality of life. Her clinical work has been with children, youth and adults with disabilities. She illuminates the sensory and motor differences of adults with autistic spectrum disorder in order to minimize potential obstacles to achieving their goals.  Her perspective was developed through extensive interviews with youth and adults with autism in order to more deeply understand and apply her knowledge to the autistic experience.

Nick Pentzell
An honor student at Delaware County Community College, Nick Pentzell is a "diffability" advocate who has presented at conferences for organizations such as YAP, the Society for Disability Studies, and the Autism National Committee (AutCom). His work has been published in several books about autism and facilitated communication, as well as in journals; two online articles can be accessed at <> and <>. Nick's award-winning documentary "Outside/Inside" has been shown at disability film festivals worldwide.


Relationships Matter: Living Well with Autism 

Michelle Heim, MS
YAP Autism Trainer & Clinician
April 4, 2012 @ 12:00pm EST

"All Behavior is Communication" will lead the participants through a discussion of what constitutes communication and how people are already communicating. This training will teach participants to discover the many ways individuals on the spectrum are trying to tell us things the best way they know who - through their behaviors. While examining stereotypes and myths of autism, the participants will learn how to build upon skills people already have and how to strengthen their own understanding in order to better support those without a voice or with limited communication.

1) Background basics of communication

2) Effective listening

3) Strategies to better understand others and aid them in their communication



Pat Amos, MA
Consultant, Parent-Advocate
April 11, 2012 @ 12:00pm EST

Parents and professionals have long been aware that most individuals on the autism spectrum experience a high degree of daily, chronic anxiety.   This anxiety may manifest itself in activities that are mistaken for “behaviors” or “traits” of autism, leading to unproductive responses that may only serve to intensify the problem.   Anxiety is closely associated with sensorimotor challenges and sensitivities, and many of the most productive approaches to its alleviation rely on an understanding of the neurological basis of these experiences.  Anxiety is also associated with various mental health challenges frequently found among people with autism, such as obsessions and compulsions, and when unrecognized or improperly treated it can lead to depression.   The identification and alleviation of anxiety can provide a gateway to the prevention or reduction of these closely related conditions.   While some people respond well to medication and medical management, the mental health community emphasizes the importance of fostering the habits and attitudes of personal awareness and emotional resilience as sustainable approaches to coping with anxiety.   People with autism, as well as their families, teachers, and supporters, can benefit greatly from exploring and adapting positive mental health strategies that can be implemented in typical everyday settings.      

1) Identify the signs and symptoms of anxiety, and explore the experience of anxiety in their own lives and through the words of self-advocates with autism

2) Understand the “brain basis” of anxiety, and its connection with the sensory and motor challenges associated with the autism spectrum

3) Recognize the environmental factors that can trigger and exacerbate anxiety, and consider practical strategies to reduce their impact 

4) Consider a wide range of supports and strategies that can help people on the spectrum become more self-aware and resilient in the face of anxiety

5) Explore socially valued activities that respect and use the positive aspects of vigilant behavior to achieve desired goals.




Moya Kinnealey, PhD OTR/L
Consultant, former Chair of the Department of Rehablitative Svcs at Temple University
April 18, 2012 @ 12:00pm EST

Most people with autism have extreme sensory sensitivities that can be painful and anxiety producing. People with autism may also have a range of motor inefficiencies or movement patterns that interfere with accomplishing routine daily activities.  Motor in-coordination may interfere with communicating through gesture or speech.  Understanding the sensory and motor foundation underlying what is commonly referred to as behaviors can frame effective approaches and insight for self regulation and performance.

1) Be able to describe sensory sensitivities and sensory discomfort and its impact on social behavior.

2) Be able to problem solve strategies to improve sensory comfort for adults with autism.

3) Be able to recognize and articulate obstacles to physical performance of some people with autism that are frequently regarded as behavioral.

4) Be able to problem solve environmental adaptations and supportive interaction to enable intended responses of adults with autism. 



Nick Pentzell
College Student, Self-Advocate
with Moya Kinnealey, PhD OTR/L
Consultant, former Chair of the Department of Rehablitative Svcs at Temple University
April 25, 2012 @ 12:00pm EST

The need for human connectedness is important for health, growth, development of identity, establishing a social role.  This webinar, co-developed and presented by an autism self advocate and an occupational therapist, will provide examples of people with autism who are participating and contributing to their social community and living meaningful lives.  The essential elements of this process and how to create successful community experiences will be clarified using real life examples.

1) Give examples of adults with autism living meaningful and productive lives in the community.

2) Identify essential elements underpinning community living.

3) Identify 4 factors to address when preparing for successful community experiences.

4) Be able to plan collaborations with the person with autism to minimize obstacles to attaining his/her goals.