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2nd Annual Alaska Autism Conference
October 2017

The Autism Society of Alaska hosted the visit of Social Thinking Pioneer
 Michelle Garcia Winner
Michelle Garcia Winner, MA, CCC, is a speech-language pathologist who specializes in the treatment of students with social thinking challenges, including diagnoses of autism, Asperger Syndrome, ADHD, PDD and non-verbal learning disorder.

Winner's pioneering practical assessment and treatment strategies can easily be used by parents, paraprofessionals and professionals. Her work regarding social thinking is becoming the base from which instructional programs are developed across the U.S. and internationally, influencing a range of professions: education, counseling, speech and language therapy and behavioral teachings. 

Download a conference program for event details.

Below are links to the presentation handouts as provided by the presenters

Keynote Presentations

Michelle Garcia Winner 

8:30 am – 3:30 pm

Topic: Implementing Social Thinking Concepts and Vocabulary: A Day to Develop Team Collaboration ( 5 - young adult )

Learn over 20 unique Social Thinking Strategies and three core Treatment Frameworks! Help individuals advance their ability to understand the social context and tailor their behaviors accordingly. Help individuals improve their social observational skills, learn core Social Thinking Vocabulary concepts to encourage  social communicative competence to work better in groups, and share an imagination to better understand and respond to others. Discover tools for teaching self-regulation, executive functioning, emotional understanding and theory of mind/perspective taking. Work in teams to develop lesson plans to implement new strategies in your home, clinic, or classroom the very next day. People love this hands-on, engaging workshop! 

Michelle Garcia Winner  

8:30 am to 10:00 am

Topic: Focusing on Teens and Adults with Subtle but Significant Social Learning Needs

Explore how to help teens and adults with diagnosis such as ASD, Asperger’s Syndrome, ADHD, Twice Exceptional, etc. who have more “subtle but significant” social learning challenges learn to establish and manage their own public relations and self-management campaigns. We will also discuss related mental health challenges such as social anxiety. Strategies to encourage motivation and guide learning about one’s own executive functioning, perspective of self and others, friendship and the subtleties of social communication will be reviewed with case studies, related video, and hands-on lessons.

Michelle's speaking abstracts as provided for the keynote presentations. 

Breakout Sessions

Session 1 

10:15 - 11:30

Feel at Home: Unlock the Door to Healthy Living and Leisure

Amiee C. Smith, M.A: Alaska Autism Resource Center

Alphabet Soup: ABA, BCBA, RBT and EPSDT (Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Behavior Analysis and How Medicaid is Going to Cover It.)

Christie Reinhardt, Program Coordinator II: The Governor's Council on Disabilities & Special Education

Session 2 

11:45 - 1:00

Microenterprise Grant Application Process

Larrisa Cummings, Microenterprise Grant Fund Administrator: UAA Center for Human Development

Presentation Handout

Functional Neurological Interventions for Autism

Dr. Daniel Costello, DC: Alaska Brain and Spine

Session 3 

1:45 - 3:00 

What Can I Choose? Exploring Devices and Equipment Commonly Used to Influence Sensory Needs

Derrick Cannon, PT, DPT & Traci Roon, PT: Building Blocks

Presentation Handout

Living Puzzled: How Being Autistic has Shaped My Purpose in Life

Heidi Lieb-Wiliams: Speaker/Self Advocate, Mom, Self Employed Entrepreneur, Actress & Aspiring Filmmaker

Session 4 

3:15 - 4:30

Building Emotional Awareness and Regulation Skills for Children who Experience Autism

Matthew Sena, MS LPC. & Bill Couthran, Psy.D.: Hope Counseling Center

The New Dr. Brennan is a Woman and ECHO is a Community? What in the World is Going on in Public Health and What Does This Have to do With Me?

Christie Reinhardt, Coordinator II: The Governor's Council on Disabilities & Special Education


Autism Society of Alaska sponsored 10 people affected by autism to attend the conference.

Alaska Governors Council sponsored three people to attend the conference.

13 people affected by autism are able to attend the conference without a registration cost! 

Total Sponsorship Income: $18,100

$5,000  Diamond Sponsor

$2500-$4999 Platinum

 $1000-$2499 Gold

 $500-$999 Silver

 $250-$499 Bronze