TCASE Autism Conference

Why should you attend?
  • Learn best practices and practical strategies for supporting students with autism spectrum disorder.
  • Collaborate with colleagues in other Texas districts to share best practices and supports for students.
  • Earn CEU’s by attending. CEU’s will qualify for professional certification as a Certified Autism Specialist or Autism Certificate.

Who should attend?

The TCASE Autism Conference is designed for educators and paraprofessionals who are responsible for supporting individuals on the autism spectrum.

Topics Include:

  • Strategies for supporting general education teachers;
  • Social communication and interaction;
  • Dealing with aggression and behavior issues;
  • Sexuality and education;
  • Video modeling and the use of apps;
  • Bullying from a legal and district perspective.

Featured Speakers:

Kathy Fad, B.A., M.Ed., Ph.D; Edward Clouser, MA, M.Ed, BCBA; Melanie Johnston, MA, SLP, CAS; Paula Roalson, JD

Register Online

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What it Means to be “Bad” – The Challenge of Special Needs and Criminal Arrest

By Carol S. Weinman, Esq., C.A.S., International Speaker and Author

“My son really is a good boy. And, now, he thinks he’s bad.” These were the words of a mom who recently witnessed her adult son – with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) – in handcuffs.  It got me thinking even more about the unspoken fallout of an ASD individual’s encounter with police. Boys with ASD experience “hits” to their self esteem at a very early age. They feel different, sometimes odd, and often ostracized and misunderstood. Highly vulnerable from a young age, they are more susceptible to the after effects of being arrested, handcuffed or fingerprinted. They transition to adulthood with a compromised sense of self-esteem and self-concept. The impact of being arrested and handcuffed cannot be minimized. It is traumatic for anyone at any age, but for an individual with ASD, it can be even more devastating.

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How Childhood Jobs Prepared me for Success as an Adult with Autism

By Anita Lesko, BSN, RN, MS, CRNA

I have the good fortune to be a friend of Dr. Temple Grandin. We have a lot in common. We are both autistic, and we share a very similar youth that played a big factor in our adult life. We both started having jobs at a very early age. Temple often talks about her early days, when her job was to greet guests at the door for her mom’s dinner party, and take their coats to hang up. Yes, it was a job. She was given a responsibility to carry out.

Among her numerous other childhood jobs was the one I, too, did for many years — mucking out horse stalls. In conversations with Temple on the phone, we’ve talked about those days of our teenage years spent shoveling out one stall after another. We both love horses and being around them. It was peaceful and it was also a form of therapy. In essence, it was our occupational therapy.

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Tips for Overcoming Challenges with Special Needs Hair Care

“Brush Up” with These Helpful Tips

By Elayne Pearson, C.A.S., Special-needs Preparedness Specialist, is an award-winning writer, poet, presenter, advocate, author, and actress.

In the late 1980s, individuals with disabilities were coming into the bright spotlight of media and society, and my husband, Rod, and I vowed we would never keep Heidi (our sweet little daughter with Down syndrome) “shielded” at home like families frequently did in the past. Her sisters were proud of her, too, despite frequent rude stares from others. One thing I always did to bolster our confidence before going out with my little chickadees was make sure their faces were clean and hair was brushed, with a bow, barrette, or headband added including little Heidi. Her munchkin-angel face looked even cuter with curls, ribbons, and bows.

Fast forward a few years. Heidi’s late-onset autism (unbeknownst to us) created an extreme sensitivity with anything around her face, such as lip balm, sunscreen, eyeglasses, and all hair accessories. First, her annoyance was baffling, then frustrating, then down-right aggravating. Heidi detested anything in her hair, and seemed oblivious to pain when she pulled out a barrette, curler, flower, elastic, or ribbon. It drove me crazy.

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Autism Training in Law Enforcement and the Call to Action

By Carol S. Weinman, Esq., C.A.S., National Speaker and Author

The willing desire to work together in unraveling the puzzle of autism is growing among law enforcement. The number of calls I receive to present on the topic of autism and police training increases every day. The reason: law enforcement officers want to better understand the complex mindset of those with autism spectrum disorder and more importantly, learn how to interact with them.

Hardly a month goes by anymore when the media isn’t reporting about someone with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who is arrested or has an unfortunate police encounter. That’s because what appears to be suspicious or criminal activity is behavior characteristic of an individual with ASD. So, how can a police officer know the difference? Well, the first step in prevention of these traumatic incidents among police officers and the ASD community is education.

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Leveraging Visual Support for Neuro-divergent Children

Creative Ideas To Offer Better Visual Support For Neuro-Diverse Children

By Guest Contributor Evan Brown

Leveraging visual support for neuro-divergent children entail using a visual item, such as a picture card or mood boards, to communicate with a child who exhibits a shortcoming in using or has difficulty understanding language. Visual supports can be in the form of lists, written words, objects, drawings and photographs. Ample research stands as evidence that visual supports provide one of the best communication mediums for children with developmental disorders. When employed for children on the autism spectrum, a visual support serves two main purposes: helping the child communicate with those around them, and aiding parents in communicating better with their child.

temple grandin

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Special Needs and Transitioning into Adulthood

By Elayne Pearson, C.A.S., Special-needs Preparedness Specialist, is an award-winning writer, poet, presenter, advocate, author, and actress.

It’s May, and some nice graduation announcements have arrived at the house. While I’m happy for each student, it occasionally picks at an old wound from Heidi’s high school graduation (or the lack there of). I ponder if I did the right thing by not having our painfully shy teenager participate in the formal commencement exercises like her Special Needs Educators had encouraged.

It’s hard to know whose advice to listen to.…

Back when Heidi was in preschool, Kim Peek, the autistic savant who inspired the Oscar-winning movie, Rainman, was traveling around the country sharing autism awareness. Kim was a phenomenon. When he and his father, Fran Peak, were invited to speak to a nearby Christian youth group, I was strongly prompted to attend.

The peaceful drive through rural towns with their snow-packed fields, farms, and shaggy horses felt surprisingly at home to me.

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The Magic of Better Speech & Hearing Month

By Kerry Magro, Self-Advocate, National Speaker, and Author

When we think of the impact of Autism Awareness Month in April, we sometimes forget May’s Better Hearing & Speech Month (BHSM) that had an impact on those with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Organizations have spearhead efforts to start a conversation for those with these communication challenges.

This month has a special connection to me as I was diagnosed with autism at four. Being in special education settings, I was often in classes with students with a wide range of speech, language and hearing disorders. Our supports were very challenging in our public school setting due to limited funding going to special education. Until 4th grade, before moving to an out of district school for those with learning disabilities, we only had one special education class ranging of students from the ages of 6-14. I often think about how this month could have truly benefited me as a student but also our educators. It’s the same way that I never knew about Autism Awareness Month in April as a child because it was never introduced to me or my classmates.

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Listen-Up: May is Better Hearing and Speech Month

What? Can you repeat that, please? Yes, May is Better Hearing and Speech month. Let’s participate by celebrating the two projections on the side of our head that do so much despite being so little. The importance our ears play in activities of daily living is often overlooked or taken for granted. From infancy, we utilize sounds to get our needs met and learn about the world around us. Hearing loss can have detrimental impacts on a child’s ability to learn and develop speech and language, as well as safety concerns.

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Dr. Theresa Regan Releases New Book and Discusses the Importance of the CAS

1) How hateresas earning the Certified Autism Specialist been meaningful and satisfying?

Earning my CAS has not only been a milestone in my own journey in autism specialization, but also a way of connecting with others in the international community who also serve ASD individuals and their family members.  Although the community of providers serving those with autism is experiencing needed growth, to have easy online access to an abundance of training opportunities, job openings, news, and best practices is essential to my own best practice.

2) How has the CAS credential affected your professional growth?

So many things have come together to help me grow professionally in the area of autism services. I have been an adult neuropsychologist at OSF Healthcare for 18 years and have grown in so many areas of brain behavior relationships. When I had my own son 11 years ago, my world opened up to many topics only pediatric specialists seemed to focus on. I began to recognize autism in the adult and geriatric patients within my own practice. Earning my CAS certification brought all my professional and personal experience together into a more cohesive practice model.  I have now published my book Understanding Autism in Adults and Aging Adults as a professional, a mother, and a certified autism specialist.

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