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Educators, parents, psychologists to attend Autism Spectrum Disorders Conference March 10-11


BLACKSBURG, Va., Feb. 25, 2005 – A conference designed to assist those who are supporting students from preschool through high school with autism spectrum disorders including Asperger's Syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) will be held March 10-11 at the Southwest Virginia Higher Education Center in Abingdon, Va.

Sponsored by the Virginia Department of Education's Training and Technical Assistance Center at Virginia Tech, the Autism Spectrum Disorders Conference will bring together more than 200 educators, psychologists, parents, speech pathologists, and students. Attendees and presenters will share information and strategies to empower them with the tools they need to better support the educational, social, and communicative success of their children and/or students with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Jed Baker will present "Social Skills Training and Behavior Management for Children with Social-Communication Disorders," a full-day session on Thursday March 10 beginning at 9 a.m.

Baker is the director of the Social Skills Training Project, a private organization serving individuals with autism and social communication problems. A behavioral consultant for several New Jersey school systems where he provides social skills training for students with pervasive developmental disorders, emotional difficulties and learning disabilities, he is on the professional advisory board of ASPEN, an information network for parents of children with Asperger's Syndrome. In addition, Baker writes, lectures, and provides training throughout the country on the topic of social skills training for individuals with Asperger's Syndrome and related Pervasive Developmental Disorders. He recently published both a manual on social skills training for children with Asperger's Syndrome and a social skills picture book to aid in this training.

Phil Timp, director of the Beth Foundation, will deliver the keynote address on Friday, March 11 from 9 to 10 a.m. Timp's motivational message, "In All Her Silence" is an inspiring story about his daughter, Beth Timp. She is an unlikely teacher who has a regressive disability called Rett Syndrome. Her lessons deal with valuing diversity, adapting to constant change, taking a positive approach to tragedy, staring death in the face, and finding the power of peace in life.

Breakout sessions covering teaching strategies, communication, and social skills will continue through 4 p.m.

For more information, contact Diann Eaton, Training and Technical Assistance Center at Virginia Tech at dweaton@vt.edu or (540) 231-1846.