Green Tree Partnerships and La Salle University’s Annual Autism Conference Shares Best Practices for ASD Individuals

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6th annual autism conference, Building Bridges, will tackle rarely discussed issues such as sex education for persons with developmental disabilities.

The focus on knowledge sharing has made Green Tree Partnerships and La Salle University’s joint venture a fruitful and prominent one. Once again, both institutions have teamed up to present the Sixth Annual Autism Conference--Building Bridges: Supportive Practices from Birth to Adulthood--on Friday, May 4 at 8:00 a.m. Taking place at La Salle University’s Student Union Building, this annual gathering has become the go-to place for professional development, education and inspiration.

The conference attracts not only parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), but it also garners the attention of teachers, psychologists, advocates, doctors and many others desiring to learn about best practices and therapies that will subsequently aid in creating a better quality of life and future for individuals on the spectrum. The event offers 19 different workshops, a tailor-made children’s program, ACT 48 and APA Credits and an exhibit hall filled with resources for the autism community.

Dr. Peter F. Gerhardt’s keynote address will provide a brief overview of some of the more relevant challenges to effective intervention with adolescents and young adults. He will offer recommendations toward improving outcomes leading to lives of competence, dignity and quality. In a separate breakout session, he will instruct on issues associated with sexuality education and the role behavior analysis can play in this complex and important area. "Individuals on the Autism Spectrum are sexual beings. However, individual interest in sex or in developing an intimate sexual relationship with another person varies widely across (and within) individuals at all ability levels," says Gerhardt. He is the Upper School director of the McCarton School based in New York City and is also the founding chair of the Scientific Council for the Organization for Autism Research.

The Center for Disease Control estimates that an average of 1 in 110 children in the U.S. has an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Autism Spectrum Disorders are a group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. They affect each individual in different ways and can range from mild to severe.

When Green Tree Partnerships, a division of Green Tree School, one of Philadelphia’s oldest institutions for autistic and special needs students launched the conference, it did so in hopes of strengthening and supporting individuals on the autism spectrum, their families and the professionals who assist them.

Registration for this event is underway. The cost is $40 for parents/students; all others pay $80. Registration includes a continental breakfast, lunch and all workshops. Children must be six years old and up to participate in activities. Scholarships are available for parents needing financial support.

Independence Blue Cross and CORA Services are two sponsors of this conference.

To register and review a detailed list of workshops, visit http://www.gtpartnerships.org/GTP_NewsEvents.html or call (609) 518-1259.

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Lavinia Awosanya
Event Mood, Corp.
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