Autism Spectrum Disorders In Children – Kalispell 2014 TRAINING COMPLETED


When:       Saturday, Oct 4th 2014
         9:00am – 4:30pm
      Red Lion Hotel (20 N Main St), Kalispell MT (Click for Directions)
Cost: $50 for parents / $75 for professionals (includes CEUs)

Course Description

This conference is designed to expand understanding and awareness of Autism Spectrum Disorders in children and develop competencies for parents, mental health professionals, teachers and healthcare providers. Participants will be able to better understand and treat children diagnosed with symptoms on the Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Social, emotional, behavioral and medical factors affecting children with ASD will be discussed. In addition, this learning seminar will identify ways to collaborate and integrate services from multiple agencies.

Course Objectives

  • Identifying treatments barriers and successful strategies to work around inhibiting factors.
  • Discuss social, emotional, behavioral and medical factors affecting children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).
  •  Identify ways to collaborate and integrate services from multiple agencies.
  •  Identifying therapeutic strategies and interventions for treating youth and supporting their families.
  •  Identify ways in which nutrition impacts learning cognition and behavior.

Who should attend?

Parents, Educators, Psychologists, Therapists, Mental Health Professionals, Healthcare Providers, Medical Professionals.

Continuing Education

Up to 6 CEU credits and OPI renewals are available for social workers, therapists, psychologists, educators, and healthcare providers.


Speaker: Shawna Heiser, M.S. BCBA
Behavioral/Autism Consultant
Bozeman, MT

Presentation title: “Positive Behavioral Support for Children with Autism”

Course Description:
This workshop is designed to provide participants an overview of positive behavioral supports and strategies for children with Autism. We will look at the common causes of behavioral difficulties and successes. An explanation of the link between behaviors, motivation and cognition will also be discussed.

Course Objectives:

  • Identify potential causes of non-productive behaviors for children will Autism.
  • Explain the potential replacement behaviors that children with Autism can engage in to assist them in exhibiting more adaptive behaviors in their social, emotional and behavioral development.
  • Identify steps to helping individuals with Autism better self-regulate and be in control of their own behavioral and emotional growth.
  • Identify steps to healing through nutrition intervention.

Speaker Biography:
Shawna is a board certified behavioral therapist who works in a private practice in Bozeman MT. She teaches juniors and seniors at Montana State University-Bozeman as an adjunct professor of Psychology. She also consults with school districts across the state of Montana helping students with Autism.

Speaker: Julia Turner, MMSc, RD, LN
Brain Health Nutrition Expert
McLeod, MT

Presentation title: ”Nutrition for Cognition”

Course Description:
This workshop will provide participants with an overview of causes and contributing factors in the development of autism from a biochemical perspective, an explanation of the relationship between digestive health and brain function, and an outline of steps to healing through nutrition assessment and intervention.

Course Objectives:

  • Identify potential causes and contributing factors in the development of ASD.
  • Explain the potential negative effects of poor digestive/gut health on brain function.
  • Identify steps to healing through nutrition intervention.
  • Identify autism diets, indications for use, and potential benefits/concerns.

Speaker Biography:
Julia Turner is a registered dietitian and licensed nutritionist with a private practice based in Montana. She consults with clients nationally and internationally to address various health issues affecting all ages through nutrition intervention. She specializes in brain health nutrition, autism, ADHD and related disorders, food allergies/sensitivities and digestive disorders.

Abigail Hood, P.L.A.Y. Consultant/Autism Specialist – Easter Seals Goodwill – Missoula, MT
Kelly Melius, P.L.A.Y. Consultant/Autism Specialist – Easter Seals Goodwill – Missoula, MT

Presentation title: “Intensive Developmental Intervention/P.L.A.Y. Project/Kids Connect Social Skills Sessions”

Course Description:
Intensive Developmental Intervention/P.L.A.Y. (Play and Language for Autistic Youngsters) project is based on the DIR/Floortime approach that has remarkable success in drawing children with ASD out of their solitary worlds and into a shared one. Kids Connect social skills groups support children to gain more confidence and positive self-esteem while improving their communication, listening skills and ability to respond to social cues.

Course Objectives:

  • Explain and discuss purposeful two-way communication.
  • Identify ways to share attention, problem solve, engage and relate with others.
  • Discuss communication strategies using logical thinking.
  • Discuss strategies for improving self-confidence and building self-esteem.

Speaker Biographies:
Abbey received her B.A. and Master’s in Social Work from the University of Montana. She completed intensive training in the developmental intervention P.L.A.Y. Project with its creator, Dr. Richard Solomon, and his staff and is a certified P.L.A.Y Project Home Consultant. Abbey is a certified SibShop Facilitator with the Sibling Support Network and is trained to implement the “Social Thinking” curriculum for Social Skills groups to school aged children with Social Cognitive Learning Challenges. She provides support and intervention services to families in western Montana. Before joining ESGW, Abbey worked at Easter Seals Metropolitan Chicago’s Autism Therapeutic School, where she participated in extensive training with Structured Teaching. She also worked for many years with families and children affected by autism as a Direct Support Provider. She will be graduating in Spring 2014 with her Master’s in Social Work.

Kelly is an Easter Seals-Goodwill Northern Rocky Mountain PLAY® Consultant offering services in the Billings community and surrounding areas. Kelly is a graduate of Montana State University-Billings with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary and Special Education. She received a Certification as a Family support Specialist in January 0f 2009 and completed intensive training in The P.L.A.Y. ® Project with its creator, Dr. Richard Solomon and his staff in April 2009. She has also received a certificate of mastery in the Basic Course on the DIR/Floortime Model that the PLAY Project intervention is based on. Kelly is also trained in the Michelle Garcia Winner, Thinking Social curriculum. Prior to joining Easter Seals-Goodwill as an Autism Specialist Kelly worked for Billings Public Schools Early Childhood Intervention (ECI) as a Family Support Specialist and at STEP, Inc. as Group Home Coordinator and also as a Habilitative Aide.


Saturday, October 5th, 2014

8:00 a.m. – 9:00 a.m. – Registration
9:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Shawna Heiser – Keynote Address
10:30 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. Break
10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m. Kelly Melius & Abigail Hood – Keynote Address
12:15 p.m. – 1:15 p.m. Lunch (on your own)
1:15 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. Julia Turner – Keynote Address
2:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. Break
3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Panel discussion and Q & A session on: Nutrition; Positive Behavioral Support; Intensive Developmental Intervention/P.L.A.Y. Project – Kids Connect Social Skills Sessions; Community Resources & Support Systems – Speakers: Kelly Melius, Abigail Hood, Shawna Heiser & Julia Turner.


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