2018 Conference

Jump to breakout sessions at:

8:00 – 8:45


8:45 – 9:15

Welcome Announcements, Opening

9:15 – 10:30

Home-Based Multi-Component Interventions to Reduce Challenging Behaviour: Strategies to Enhance Parent Treatment Fidelity and Adherence  CEU

Julie Koudys, Ph.D., C. Psych., BCBA-D, Raluca Nuta, BA, M.ADS

Presentation Abstract

While challenging behaviours such as aggression, tantrums, and non-compliance, are not part of the diagnostic criteria for autism spectrum disorder (ASD), these types of behaviour problems are common in children with this diagnosis. These challenging behaviours are a great source of family stress, at times more so than the adaptive skill deficits associated with ASD. Behavioural interventions have demonstrated great efficacy in reducing these challenging behaviours. However, the significant behavioural improvements observed in the clinical setting do not always transfer to the home environment, where these gains would arguably be most beneficial. For this reason, effective strategies to train parents to implement interventions with good fidelity, and to adhere to these interventions overtime, are essential. However, little research has investigated the fidelity of parent implementation of multi-component behaviour interventions in the home environment. Even fewer studies have explored the difficulties associated with parental adherence to complex intervention protocols at home. Given the impact of challenging behaviours on family quality of life, research in this area is essential.

This presentation will review current approaches to train parents to implement behaviour interventions with good fidelity. Considerations for enhancing parent adherence in the home environment will also be discussed. Preliminary results from a study in which the mother of a six-year-old child with ASD was taught to implement a multi-component behavioural intervention in the home, will be presented. Finally, limitations and challenges that have arisen during recruitment, assessment, and training of parents of children with ASD to implement behavioural interventions in their own homes will be discussed.

11:00 – 12:00
Break Out Sessions

Tools for collaboration to support the transition from ABA services to employment services.

Gilah Haber, Meggie Stewart, Elizabeth Irwin Kerry’s Place Autism Services & Ready Willing and Able

Presentation Abstract

Ready, Willing and Able (RWA) will speak about how to help staff and caregivers navigate services and access available resources in order to ensure smooth transitions to adulthood. RWA will share information about various employment supports, and discuss how to collaborate with other community agencies to ensure quality supports. This presentation will begin with a framework of how the current Adaptive Daily Living curricula for Working Together and Employment & Volunteerism can prepare learners with pre-employment skills by practicing fundamental communication and social skills in real life scenarios within the community, as well as bringing in community resources to share information and set learners up for success. There will be a panel discussion including a JVS ASD Job Readiness Program graduate, Corbrook, ODSP employment support provider, Worktopia, pre-employment program for individuals with ASD, RWA, Autism Outreach Coordinator and Kerry’s Place Autism Services Autism Consultant. The overall outcome is to provide participants with the tools to navigate services in Toronto and the GTA, empower staff and caregivers to collaborate and to equip themselves with knowledge of the existing systems to provide a continuum of support.

Symposium: Treatment Packages

1. Using response interruption and redirection to decrease motor stereotypy in a 5-year old child with autism spectrum disorder

Caitlin Gough, Natasha D’Souza, & Katie Oake / Surrey Place Centre (North 1)

Presentation Abstract

Stereotypic behaviour is commonly displayed by individuals with developmental disorders, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  Engagement in stereotypy can be disruptive, impact learning, and may be viewed as socially stigmatizing.  Response interruption and redirection (RIRD) is a procedure whereby a sequence of demands is delivered contingent on stereotypy, and has been shown to be effective in reducing this behaviour.  A parametric analysis was conducted to compare the effectiveness of RIRD using a 3 demand procedure, to RIRD with 1 demand, with a 5-year old child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  The intervention phase included the implementation of the RIRD-1 procedure, in addition to modelling appropriate play with toys.  Levels of motor stereotypy fell below 10% after implementation, in addition to an increase in functional play skills.

2. Facing Your Fears – CBT Group anxiety treatment for youth with ASD

Drs. Abbie Solish and Nora Klemencic / Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab Hospital

Presentation Abstract

Children and adolescents with ASD frequently experience high levels of anxiety.  “Facing your Fears” is a group CBT anxiety treatment program designed for children ages 8-14 who have ASD and average to above-average intellectual functioning. A brief overview of the “Facing your Fears” program will be given. Preliminary results of a 5-year program evaluation project based out of Holland Bloorview Kids Rehab Hospital in collaboration with partner agencies in Toronto, Ontario will also be presented.

Connections For Student(CFS) – A Case Study

Lucita Gonsalves, Sara Yelland, Salim Bassoo, Anna Cargnelli, Sunita Persad
and Amy Finkelstein / Surrey Place Centre, Toronto District School Board, Etobicoke Children Centre

Presentation Abstract

This Case Study will be presented from the perspective of each individual participant on the team. The entire team consisting of ASD Consultant, School Board Consultant, Parent, OAP Senior Therapist, School Teacher and the Educational Assistant. All of the members on the team will talk about their role on the Connections For Students (CFS) team and how the team worked together to support the successful transition of a student from a clinical program to a school environment.

Teaching Activities of Daily Living to Children with Autism Using Precision Teaching

Shiri Bartman, Sarah Bellamy, Eva Lattanzio, Taylor Magee, Jaime Santana, Kelly Sheard, Bianca Tersigni, Tara Weir, Brittany Yard /  Shining Through Center for Children With Autism

Presentation Abstract

This collection of studies aims to explore the utility of precision teaching in the learning of complex behavioural chains in children with autism. Three cases are presented that target different activities of daily living which often require extensive training due to the complexities of the tasks. With each of the participants, problematic component skills were taught to fluency prior to being included in the chain. Two of the studies used a forward chaining approach while the other used a backward chaining approach. All data was charted on the SCC and daily decisions made based on learner progress

The Implementation and Impact of a System-Wide Clinical Quality Assurance Process in a Regional Intensive Behavioural Intervention Program  Supervision CEU

Jon Roland, M.A., BCBA / Kinark Child & Family Services

Presentation Abstract

Organizations overseeing multiple clinical teams doing similar work have the challenge of creating an environment of consistent, high quality clinical work across those teams. Kinark developed an internal clinical audit system for all Direct Service Intensive Behavioural Intervention teams in the Central East region of Ontario providing services to children with autism. This system defined the behavioural expectations of staff, created resources and a structure for monitoring those behaviours, and provided a mechanism for performance feedback and process improvements. This presentation will walk participants through development process for this system, steps taken to make this type of monitoring and feedback more acceptable to staff, and the impact of this system on clinical services.

12:00 – 1:00


(On Your Own)

1:00 – 2:00

Break Out Sessions

From Functional Analysis to Intervention: An interactive workshop on reducing problem behaviours  CEU

Shany Biran, BCBA, M.Ads, MBA, Valdeep Saini, PhD, BCBA-D (Collaborator) / Surrey Place Centre

Presentation Abstract

This interactive case-based workshop is intended to be fun, while challenging the audience to work through problems encountered during real behaviour reduction cases. Two TRE-ADD client cases will be presented and participants will brainstorm answers to questions through small break-out group discussions (3-6 people per group). You will be presented with bio-psycho-social information as well as behavioural data on the clients, which will inform your analysis of the cases. Groups will be given thought-provoking questions to ‘workshop’ around the FA design and treatment considerations. Participants will also be given relevant snippets of video and relevant portions of research to guide discussions. Finally, results for the TRE-ADD clients in question will be presented. Emphasis is on audience members thinking through the cases with their peers and developing reasonable, creative and evidence-informed ideas.

PECSP2GCore: Let’s Jam

Linda Buskin, Margaret Ettorre, Olivia Hagemeyer / Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital, Surrey Place Centre

Presentation Abstract

Through client case studies and videos this workshop will demonstrate ways to mesh PECS and P2G training with a core vocabulary approach. Participants will learn effective partner strategies and be provided with resources and tools to build a client’s functional and independent communication.

Health Concerns and Health Utilization in a Population Cohort of Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Barry Isaacs / Surrey Place Centre

Presentation Abstract

This study used administrative data to compare health profiles in young adults with ASD (18–24 years of age) to same age peers with other developmental disabilities and those without developmental disabilities. Results showed that health and health service use patterns for young adults with ASD was unique compared to the other study groups. Young adults with ASD were more likely to have almost all the examined clinical health issues and health service use indicators compared to peers without developmental disability. They were more likely to have at least one psychiatric diagnosis, and visit the family physician, pediatrician, psychiatrist, and emergency department for psychiatric reasons, compared to peers with other developmental disability. Planning for the mental health care of transition age adults with ASD is an important priority for health policy.

From Clinical to Classroom Settings: The Evolution of IBI Goals and the Development of the IEP

Jennifer Stevenson, Christina Mathura & Michelle Adams / Toronto District School Board

Presentation Abstract

This session aims to support clinical practitioners in understanding the long-term impact of treatment goals established in an IBI setting. As students transition to the classroom through the Connections for Students process, IBI goals and the transferring of mastered skills is an important consideration for teachers. The discussion will include the development of IEP goals, relevant data collection practices and assessment tools that can be effectively implemented in classroom settings. A case study will be explored as an example of the ways in which IBI goals evolve between clinical and classroom environments. This session will be facilitated by teacher-consultants from the TDSB’s Autism Services Team and one of their partners from Surrey Place’s School Support Program.

Family Services and Training: Following Real Families through the Toronto Autism Services Pathway CEU

Heidi Hoile and Courtney Vibert, M.Ed., BCBA / Surrey Place Centre

Presentation Abstract

Within the new Ontario Autism Program, families have access to more training and support opportunities than ever before. We will start with a brief review of the literature on effective parent education methods. We will then present an overview of Family Services and Training in Toronto Autism Services by following real families on their journey through the service pathway. The range of services available to families will be reviewed, including outcome measures. We will also discuss brand new service offerings for families, including brief behavioral consultations and one-to-one follow up sessions that are available after attending group workshops. Some preliminary data on these new services will be examined. Videos, feedback , and written testimonials from families will be presented so they can describe their experiences in their own words.

2:30 – 3:30

Break Out Sessions

Behaviour Analysis in Medicine CEU

Nicole Aliya Rahim & Alvin Loh / Surrey Place Center

Presentation Abstract

Behaviour therapists often support individuals with an intellectual disability who are on psychotropic medication for challenging behaviours. Behaviour therapists should continue to work alongside medical practitioners as our analyses and interventions can help inform their work. This talk will review some differences in our paradigms, basic principles of applied behavioural pharmacology and some practical tips from our behavioural medical clinic (BMACKE) such as:

  1. commonly prescribed medications for challenging behaviours, sleep and constipation.
  2. considerations for PRN protocols
  3. considerations for medication trials
  4. benefits and challenges for behaviour therapists working with medical practitioners

ABA in the Classroom: Creating an environment to promote learning and generalization of skills to prepare children for a school setting  CEU

Alicia Antunes, M.ADS., BCBA, Julia Berlin, Brett Chartrand, Donnette Goldschmid, Fatema Hogue, Tracey Lyng, Nadia Narducci, Ashka Raval, Katrina Starecky and Vidya Yohanandan / Adventure Place

Presentation Abstract

Children with Autism learn through various strategies based on principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA). Educational settings would benefit from incorporating ABA strategies in the classroom. That is, these methods and principles, when combined effective curriculum increases the likelihood that learning or behavior change takes place (Lindblad, 2006). Some of the strategies which have been combined in the classroom include prompting and fading, reinforcement, modelling, natural environment teaching and strategies to promote observational learning. When teachers and instructors have a background in the principles of ABA, they can use any combination of strategies necessary to help a child reach their individual goals. This presentation will demonstrate how to arrange a classroom to promote independent skills. Participants will learn how to create opportunities to promote observational learning and classroom routines.

Engineering Learning Using The Competent Learner Model  CEU

Kevin S. Cauley / Adventure Place

Presentation Abstract

Developed over a 25 year period by Vicci Tucci, the Competent Learner Model (CLM) integrates what is commonly considered “best practices” in both regular and special education settings. These empirically-validated practices include Applied Behavior Analysis, Direct Instruction, and Precision Teaching. CLM focuses on developing repertoires, rather than individual skills or at times disconnected skills, that are essential for our learners to be able “to act effectively in novel circumstances… and continue to learn in new life situations” (Tucci and Hursh, 1991, p. 350). Tucci (1991) identified seven repertoires that contribute to a learner’s ability to act effectively in numerous day to day contexts: talker, listener, participator, problem solver, observer, reader, and writer. Through a careful study of the Competent Learner Model, educators are well positioned to formulate, deliver, and monitor their instructional efforts and engineer effective learning environments for both teacher and learner success. This data and video-based presentation will highlight some of the critical features and benefits of the Competent Learner Model for both teacher and learner.

Off to school! Going beyond the treatment setting

Denise Forbes (ASD Consultant, School Support Team, Surrey Place Centre), Teresa Lee (ASD Consultant, School Support Team, Surrey Place Centre), Jessica Lenarcic (Consultant, Autism Services, TDSB), Mary Oliver (Consultant, Autism Services, TDSB)

Presentation Abstract

Connections for Students(CFS) is a joint Ministry initiative between the Ministry of Children and Youth Services and the Ministry of Education. Surrey Place Centre and the TDSB work collaboratively to support children as they transition from Autism Intervention Programs (AIP) in to the school system. This presentation will describe some of the different classroom settings teacher/student ratios, program expectations by board, and process for placement) a student may transition to during the CFS process. Since an important component of Connections for Students includes generalizing mastered skills across environments, this presentation will also explore common skills and protocols that are transferred to classrooms. The aim of this presentation is to provide more information about a student’s next steps to help inform current programming and support future success.

Symposium: Mediator Model

1. Effective Strategies in Parent Training

Elaine Echevarria, Gina Reyes, Elise Ward, Jessica Giglio / Geneva Centre for Autism

Presentation Abstract

Parent training is an integral part in the treatment of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Lovaas, Koegel, Simmons and Long (1973) published one of the early journal articles citing the importance of training parents in order to support their child’s learning and maintain their treatment goals. In addition, effective parent training increases the quality of life for the family. While parent training occurs in our intensive programs, the training tends to be informal and focuses on generalization step of a particular skill acquisition program. The parent training model implemented on our team focused on some key components: parent-selected goals/targets; systematic simple instructions; and practice of the target skill with coaching and feedback. This presentation will focus on some of the effective strategies implemented by the team and a discussion on future strategies that may assist in further collaboration between the clinical team and parents.

2. Introducing the Picture Exchange Communication System in a group home setting: An application of the mediator model and integration of the Ontario Autism Program’s guiding

Leah Plumley / Surrey Place Centre

Presentation Abstract

In this presentation the process of introducing a functional communication system (i.e., Picture Exchange Communication System) for a pre-teen client in a group home setting will be discussed. Discussion will include a review of the mediator model with respect to teaching group home staff how to implement the communication system and disseminate the information to untrained staff. Incorporation of the guiding principles from the new Ontario Autism Program (OAP) will also be presented as a contributing factor to the successes experienced during service delivery. Benefits, challenges, and ideas for future directions of mediator model-based continuous service within the OAP will be examined, particularly as it pertains to focused individual behavioural service within Toronto Autism Services.

3:30 – 4:00

Autism Services: A Family Perspective

Tina Tatone & Azed Majeed

Presentation Abstract

This parent prepared video presentation follows a young man as he participates in various Toronto Autism Services programs. Parent experience and perspectives are featured with vignettes of participation in: comprehensive behavioural services (Intensive Behavioural Intervention), focused group and individual behaviour services using Applied Behaviour Analysis, transition to school supports, family-centred services and supports, parent education, mediator training and coaching.

4:00 –  4:30

Closing Remarks