Monday, November 30, 2015


Two weeks ago, I attended OCALICON for the second consecutive year. For those of you that don't know, OCALI is the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence and they have an annual conference in Columbus every November. I'm a nerd for research conferences and it was great to attend this year with great friends. Last year I went not knowing a single person, but so much has changed in the past year and I've made so many great friends and professionals in the autism community. There were lots of great presentations to choose from this year, so I packed as much as I could in over the three days.

There were a few reoccurring themes throughout the conference that stuck out to me. Some of the hot topics included: interoception, emotion regulation, UDL, anxiety, and peer-mediated intervention and instruction (PMII). I picked up a couple of great new books: Uniquely Human by Barry Prizant, PhD. and Interoception: The Eighth Sensory System by Kelly Mahler. Another book I'm planning on ordering is Kindergarten and ASD: How to Get the Best Possible Experience for your Child by Margaret Oliver. A few of my favorite presentations included Social Emotional Engagement Within a Universal Design for Learning in the Classroom by Emily Rubin, Uniquely Human by Barry Prizant, Self-Regulation Techniques from the Perspective of a Young Adult by my friend, Chloe Rothschild, Teaching Emotional Regulation: Essential Skills for Students with ASD by Lori Jackson, The Kindergarten Transition: How to Advocate for a Smart Start for the Child with ASD by Margaret Oliver, and Complexities Within Diagnosis and Treatment: Exploring Anxiety and ASD by Szanto, Gonda, Loudon, and Perren.

A few good apps I came across during the conference were KidConnect by The Connections Model, LLC ($11.99). It is designed for students with ASD as well as individuals with other behavior/regulation issues. It helps individuals understand their behavior by pairing the behavior with the underlying cause: their feelings. It is used to prevent kids from having to leave the classroom to work through their behaviors. LOVE this idea. Another great app is MindShift. MindShift (free) allows you to set up a personalized plan to help manage your anxiety and learn coping skills. The third app I learned about at OCALICON this year was the Therapeutic Listening app by Vital Links.

I'm sure I will be posting several more times on specific topics from OCALICON so stay tuned!

My friend, Chloe, and I.

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