2021 Special Needs Conferences and Seminars for Professionals

What a difference a year makes! While most conferences and seminars were held last year in person, COVID-19 has changed the learning process for professionals seeking to improve their professional development. Almost all of the events listed below are being held via digital or virtual including international meetings and conferences.

Below are conferences that vary from practical information to research. Click on the information which is highlighted and it will take to you directly to the website.

February

Autism Awareness Centre, Inc.

The Brain and Autism: Linking Neurology and Interventions to Address Academic and Behavior Challenges
Date: February 11, 2021- 10 am – 11 am
Location: Virtual

International Conference on Special Education and Individual Needs
Date: February 15-16, 2021
Locational: Virtual/Digital

Special Needs Planning Symposium
Date: February 18-20,2021
Location: Virtual

Learning Disabilities Association of America
LDA 58th Annual International Conference
Date: February 18-21, 2021
Locational: Virtual

National Autistic Society
Understanding Stress and Anxiety in Autism
Date: February 23, 2021
Location: Virtual

Future Horizons
Webinar with Dr. Temple Gradin
Date: February 24, 2021
Location: Virtual

20th Annual Alabama Autism Conference
Date: February 26, 2021
Location: Virtual

Special Education Conference
Date: February 25-26, 2021
Location: Virtual

Association for Behavior Analysis International
15th Annual Autism Conference
Synergy of Science and Practice Worldwide
Date: February 28-March 2, 2021
Location: Virtual

March

International Conference on Special Needs, Education, Models, Standards and Practices
Date: March 4-5, 2021
Location: Virtual

Neurodiversity Conference (City University of New York)
Date: March 4-5, 2021
Location: Virtual

3rd European Autism Congress
Date: March 17-18, 2021
Location: Webinar

Council for Exceptional Children
Date: March 8-13, 2021
Location: Virtual Event

April

Autism Societies of Greater Wisconsin and Minnesota Autism Conference
Date: April 21-24, 2021
Location: Virtual

2021 Special Education- Home Edition
California Teachers Association
Date: April 30- May 2, 2021
Location: Virtual

May

8th World Congress on ADHD

From Child to Adult Disorder
May 6-9, 2021
Location: Virtual

International Conference on Special Educational Needs, Teaching and Different Approaches
Date: May 24-25, 2021
Locational: Virtual

June

Milestones National Autism Conference
Date: June 16-17, 2021
Location: Virtual

Special Education Law Symposium
Date: June 20-25, 2021
Location: Virtual

American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD)
Date: June 21-24, 2021
Location: Virtual

International Conference on Autism in Pediatrics
Date: June 24-25, 2021
Location: Virtual

July

National Down Syndrome Congress
Annual Convention
Date: July 8-11, 2021
Location: Phoenix, AZ

International Conference on Special Education
Date: July 29-30, 2021
Location: Virtual

August

National Autism Conference
Date August 2-5, 2021
Location: Virtual

International Conference on Special Education and Technology
Date: August 26-27, 2021
Location: Virtual

September

International Conference on Autism, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities
Date: September 20-21, 2021
Location: Virtual

October

Midwest Symposium for Leadership in Behavior Disorders
Autism Conference
Date: October 7-8, 2021
Location: Virtual

Signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children with Down Syndrome

Signs and symptoms of Down syndrome is fairly easy to detect especially since there are specific physical characteristics of the disorder. But what if there is also a diagnosis of autism?

Studies show that 5 to 39% of children with Down syndrome are also on the autism spectrum. There are overlaps in some of the symptoms which delays the signs and symptoms of autism. This observation is slowly growing and informing parents and educators  to observe for specific signs and symptoms.

It is possible that educators and therapist may be the first to notice that children with Down syndrome also display characteristics that are similar to autism.

Why is it important?

According to authors Margaret Froehlke and Robin Zaborek from the book, When Down Syndrome and Autism Intersect, The education approach in both Down syndrome and autism will be different than for children with a single diagnosis of Down syndrome including accommodations and writing the IEP. Teaching strategies will also differ. Teaching a student with Down syndrome who require tactile demonstrations, simple directions, and immediate feedback will now require concrete language, social stories, the use of few choices and the use of concrete language.

The importance of getting the diagnosis
Most often children with Down syndrome are treated for the characteristics of having Down syndrome which overlooks giving children the appropriate treatment for Autism such as social skills and sensory issues. A child or young adult with both diagnosis will likely experience aggressive behaviors, meltdowns, and show signs of regression during their early development. The following are signs and symptoms to look for in your child, or student:
  • Hand flapping
  • Picky eater
  • Echolalia
  • Fascination with lights
  • Staring at ceiling fans
  • History of regression
  • Head banging
  • Strange vocalization
  • Anxiety
  • Seizure Disorder

Signs of overlap include:

As the student gets older, there may be ongoing issues with sensory disorders and transitions leading to meltdowns

Additional Resources:

Autism and Meltdown Resources

Printable Down Syndrome Fact Sheet

 

Reference

When Down Syndrome and Autism Intersect: A Guide to DS-ASD for
Parents and Professionals

By Margaret Froehlke, R. N. & Robin Zaborek, Woodbine House, 218 pp.

Updated 1/12/2021

Autistic children may have to mute own perspective to grasp others’

Published by: Spectrum News
Written by: Barhar Gholipour

To understand another person’s point of view, children with autism need to actively suppress their own, a new study suggests1.

People with autism struggle with theory of mind — the ability to guess others’ thoughts and feelings. This may contribute to their social difficulties. The new work hints at the brain processes that underlie their difficulty.

The researchers used magnetoencephalography (MEG) to monitor brain activity in autistic and typical children, aged 8 to 12 years, as they performed a version of a classic theory-of-mind test. This test involves inferring someone else’s knowledge about the location of an object.

Typical children generally pass this test by the time they are 5. Most children with autism don’t pass until their teens, but those with high intelligence and strong language skills may figure it out sooner.

The autistic children in the new study perform the task as well as their typical peers do, but their brain activity differs: Unlike typical children, those with autism heavily recruit an area involved in inhibiting brain activity.  Click here to read the rest of the story

‘Theory of mind’ does not fade with age among autistic adults

Published by: Spectrum News
Written by: Peter Hess

Autistic people’s ability to understand another person’s thinking does not diminish with age, as it does for non-autistic people, a new study shows1.

Researchers evaluated ‘theory of mind’— or the ability to infer someone’s mental state — in autistic and non-autistic adults. Many autistic people struggle with this cognitive skill, research has shown.

In the new study, younger non-autistic people demonstrated greater theory of mind than both younger autistic people and older autistic and non-autistic people. Older and younger autistic people, though, were largely similar.

“Our results show that there seems to be no significant decline in understanding others’ minds with age in autism,” says study investigator Esra Zıvralı Yarar, assistant professor of psychology at the Social Sciences University of Ankara in Turkey.

The findings also suggest that the brains of autistic people do not age in the same way as those of non-autistic people, she says, at least with regard to some functions.

“This paper is a well-designed experimental investigation,” says Uta Frith, emeritus professor of cognitive development at University College London in the United Kingdom, who was not involved in the work. “Any paper that reports on older people with autism is welcome, because we are so ignorant about cognitive changes that come with age.” Click here to read the rest of the story.

Special Needs Children and Circle Time

 

5 ways to increase engagement in morning meetings

31 days of morning circle activities for the child with special needs

Adaptive circle time for children with autism

Circle time activities for a special education classroom

Circle time routine and daily schedule in a pre-k inclusive classroom

Creating and implementing an interactive inclusive circle time

How to run a special education morning meeting

Making a circle time accessible for all students

Making the most of the morning meeting

The importance of circle time for children with special needs