Fall 2023 Conference

Blue background with white and green words. What's New in ASD in the Northeast Region. A meeting of minds from the Northeast on the lastest in Autism. October 14, 2023 9 am -3 pm, SCSU Adandi Student Center Ballroom


A Conference Presented by The Center of Excellence on Autism Spectrum Disorders at SCSU
October 14, 2023
9:00 AM -3:00 PM

Box lunch included

Event Description: Southern Connecticut State University Center of Excellence on Autism Spectrum Disorder will host a conference consisting of a day of speakers and panel discussions for researchers, educators, service providers, and parents. This event is designed to bring together some of the latest in Autism research and practices happening in the Northeast region.

Location: SCSU Adanti Student Center Ballroom

Date: October 14, 2023; 9:00 am - 3:00 pm

Cost: $100 (includes box lunch)


For questions contact: ASD-Center@southernct.edu or 203-392-5929 

Talk Presenters and Descriptions

Title: New Models of Medical and Mental Health for Adults and Youth with ASD

Presenter: Fred Volkmar, MD

Description: Adolescents with autism/ASD face many challenges as they transition to adulthood.  These include appropriate vocational support, independent living, and access to medical and mental health care.  In this presentation, Dr. Volkmar will review the work on the best approaches to supporting the transition to adulthood and factors that predict positive outcomes.  The special mental health challenges many young adults face will be summarized and approaches to care including new approaches will be discussed.


Title: The Psychopharmacology of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Presenter: Christopher McDougle, MD

Description: The purpose of this presentation is to describe the target symptoms associated with autism spectrum disorder that may be amenable to treatment with medications; the types of medication that may be helpful for improving target symptoms associated with aSD, and the potential side effects associated with these medications. The associated target symptoms will include ADHD, irritability (aggression, self-injury, property destruction, tantrums, and mood swings), and Anxiety. Sleep Disturbances, and Language  Impairment, among others.  


Title: Connecticut’s New IEP, CT-SEDS: What’s It All About

Presenter: Jeff Forte, JD

Description: In July 2022, the Connecticut State Department of Education implemented a new IEP form and data collection system. Attorney Forte will walk through the new IEP form, page by page, and explain what is new and what you need to know to be a knowledgeable member of a PPT team.


Title: Essential Technology for Life and Learning

Presenter: Lauren Tucker, EdD

Description: This session will provide an overview of assistive technology to support learning and life.  We will focus on essential tasks… reading, writing, transitioning activities, and daily living skills.  For each task, technology options will be demonstrated and explained how they can support an individual. 


Title: Skills and Strategies Needed for a Successful Transition to Adulthood

Presenters: Katherine DeCarlo, Jackie Peck, & autistic individuals 

Description: This panel discussion will bring together autistic individuals, parents, and service providers in a discussion of the needed skills and strategies to see a successful transition to adulthood. Representatives from Chapel Haven Schleifer Center and Adelbrook Behavior Health Center will highlight the skills they see as most valuable to individuals in this age group. Autistic individuals and their families will weigh in on their experiences from the transition from childhood to adulthood and how they manage all that is involved. 

Title: A Roadmap for Equity in Autism Diagnosis and Care

Presenter: Kate E. Wallis, MD

Description: In this talk, I will describe disparities in autism diagnosis and interventions by race and ethnicity, sex, socioeconomic status, and cognitive ability, based on published studies. I will describe potential mechanisms through which disparities in autism diagnosis and care are perpetuated. And I will then discuss potential solutions to improve equity in autism identification and care.


Title: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy/Treatment - Developing Psychological Flexibility within a Values-Based Framework

Presenter: John Molteni, PhD

Description: Acceptance and Commitment Therapy/ Treatment is an approach to addressing higher-order concept formation and psychological flexibility. As a therapeutic approach, it offers a focus on individual values as a guide for behavior change and a process for differentiating thoughts and emotions from the person (e.g., I am experiencing anger vs. I am angry).

Acceptance and Commitment Therapy is a member of the third wave of behavior therapy focusing on mindfulness, committed actions, and acceptance of uncertain or potentially aversive outcomes. Application of ACT principles can be applied to build flexible verbal and behavioral repertories that support resilience in the face of stressors and self as the focus of interventions. In this presentation, we will discuss various applications of ACT across intervention contexts.


Title: Measurement in Neuropsychiatric Biomarkers in Autism

Presenter: Adam Naples, PhD

Description: This talk will introduce attendees to current research in biomarker research in Autism Spectrum Disorders. Dr. Naples will discuss findings from large-scale biomarker research studies in autism and progress in adapting biomarker measurement to heterogeneous, including previously ineligible, populations.


Title: Early Development in Autism.  

Presenter: Suzanne Macari, PhD

Description: Social, emotional, and behavioral development in young children with autism is the focus of this presentation. Dr. Macari will discuss recent research on psychological development in very young children with autism, including work from longitudinal infant sibling studies.