The Help Group-UCLA Semel Institute On Asperger's Disorder Instructs Educators On Best Practices In Education

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Intensive, 4-day interactive summer workshop teaches essential methods for educating children and adolescents with Asperger’s Disorder.

The challenge to effectively educate students with Asperger’s Disorder has never been greater. In July, leading experts from The Help Group and UCLA Semel Institute will offer an intensive, interactive four-day workshop, designed to give teachers and other education professionals the essential tools to promote social, behavioral and academic success in the classroom for students with Asperger’s Disorder. The Help Group-UCLA Semel Institute Chairs are Barbara Firestone, Ph.D., President and CEO, The Help Group and David Feinberg, M.D., Associate Professor, Clinical Psychiatry, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA.

Some of the workshop highlights include a comprehensive overview of current best practices in education for Asperger’s Disorder; interactive sessions focusing on social skills training and behavior modification in the classroom; and the latest research findings and the implications for educational practices.

Attendees will also have an opportunity to tour The Help Group’s Village Glen School which was established 10 years ago to serve students with Asperger’s Disorder and high-functioning autism, a time when Asperger’s Disorder was considered a new diagnostic category and little information was available about the most effective ways to educate these children. Today, Village Glen is at the forefront of the field in developing innovative, educational and therapeutic programs that are recognized as the model of excellence both nationally and abroad. The school offers a full curriculum that follows the academic state standards while incorporating daily social skills lessons and positive behavioral strategies in the highly structured and supportive environment.

“Children with Asperger's Syndrome often are puzzling to teachers and educational staff because they differ widely in how they present in the school setting,” said Event Chair Laurie Stephens, Ph.D., Director of The Help Group Autism Spectrum Disorder Programs, and a leading authority on Asperger’s Disorder. “Students with Asperger’s Disorder experience challenges in behavior, social skills, pragmatic language, and may have a unique combination of giftedness and learning disabilities. Because they may not respond to traditional learning paradigms, they often need a great deal more support than first appears necessary.”

The Help Group-UCLA Semel Institute on Asperger’s Disorder will give educators the tools to better understand and help their students with Asperger’s Disorder so they can achieve their fullest potential.

The Help Group faculty includes Dr. Stephens; Mary Bauman, Ph.D.; Pamela Clark, M.A.; Limor Dankner, M.Ed.; Denise Kwan, OTR; Philip Levin, Ph.D.; and Sarae Shenkin, M.A. UCLA Semel Institute experts include Susan Bookheimer, Ph.D.; Fred Frankel, Ph.D.; Connie Kasari, Ph.D.; and Bhavik Shah, M.D. In addition, there will be two special guest presenters: Emily Iland, B.A., co-author, Autism Spectrum Disorders from A to Z, along with her son, Tom Iland, a former Village Glen student and current college student.

The Help Group-UCLA Semel Institute on Asperger’s Disorder will be held Thursday through Sunday, July 20 – 23, 2006 (optional two-day registration available) on the Sherman Oaks campus of The Help Group in addition to one-day of lectures at the Semel Institute at UCLA. Because the classroom series will have several hands-on elements, the number of attendees is limited to 100. Registration and additional information can be found at

Media interested in attending and observing the workshop can register by contacting Deborah Smith-Roges at smithdpr @

ABOUT THE HELP GROUP. Founded in 1975, The Help Group is the largest, most innovative and comprehensive nonprofit organization in the United States serving children with special needs related to autism, Asperger’s Disorder, learning disabilities, ADHD, mental retardation, abuse and emotional problems. The Help Group’s six specialized day schools offer pre-K through high school programs for more than 1,100 students. The Help Group’s wide range of mental health and therapy services, child abuse, foster family and residential programs extend its reach to more than 5,000 children and their families each year. With over 700 staff members, The Help Group’s state-of-the-art schools and programs are located on four major campuses in the Los Angeles area. The Help Group serves 500 students ages three to 22 with Autism Spectrum Disorders on a daily basis and offers diagnostic assessments, intervention, family support, after-school social skills programs and summer day camps. Through its professional training programs and efforts at the state and national levels, The Help Group touches the lives of children with special needs across the country and in other parts of the world. At the heart of its efforts is the commitment to helping young people fulfill their potential to lead positive, productive and rewarding lives.

ABOUT THE SEMEL INSTITUTE AT UCLA. The Semel Institute of Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA is an interdisciplinary research and education institute devoted to the understanding of complex human behavior, including the genetic, biological, behavioral, and socio-cultural underpinnings of normal behavior and the causes, phenomenology and consequences of neuropsychiatric disorders. In partnership with the UCLA Departments of Psychiatry, Neurology, Neurosurgery, Pharmacology, Human Genetics, Neurobiology and other cognate disciplines within the UCLA School of Medicine, and with the School of Arts and Sciences, the Institute provides an outstanding research and training environment for the study of neuroscience and behavior. Since the 1950s, UCLA has played an important role in the history of research on autism. It set the standard for many of the research and treatment models currently used in the education and treatment of individuals with autism spectrum disorders. In 2003, UCLA established the Center for Autism Research and Treatment (CART) to promote research into the origins of the social, communicative and language deficits and to focus on the design of treatment interventions. UCLA is one of eight Studies to Advance Autism Research and Treatment (STAART) Centers in the country as well as one of the original Collaborative Programs for Excellence in Autism (CPEA).


THE HELP GROUP-UCLA SEMEL INSTITUTE ON ASPERGER’S DISORDER. Intensive, 4-Day Interactive Workshop Teaches Effective Methods for Educating Children and Adolescents with Asperger’s Disorder

WHEN:     July 20-23, 2006; 8:30 a.m. daily

WHERE:    The Help Group, Sherman Oaks, CA and UCLA, Los Angeles, CA

COST:    $350 / Full 4-Day Workshop; $235 / Optional 2-Day Workshop

CE:    Continuing Education will be offered

HOTEL:    Event rates have been arranged with the Beverly Garland’s Holiday Inn and Universal Studios Hollywood. The Help Group will provide daily complimentary shuttle service from both hotels daily.

The Help Group, one of the leading education models of excellence for Asperger’s Disorder is teaming up with UCLA’s Semel Institute to offer an intensive four-day workshop in July, designed to give teachers and other education professionals the essential tools to promote social, behavioral and academic success in the classroom for students with Asperger’s Disorders. Because the classroom series will have several hands-on elements, the number of attendees is limited to 100. Registration and additional information can be found at or by calling (818) 779-5212.

Editor’s Note: High-resolution logo images are available.

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Deborah Smith-Roges
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