Autism Association ACT
Biennial Australian Autism Conference

Autism Spectrum: Pathways To Understanding

Rydges Lakeside Canberra


30 September, 2004


The timetable is now as follows:

8:00–8:30 am: Registration
8:30am–12:00pm: Workshops
12:00–1:00pm: Lunch
1:00–4:30pm: Workshops Continue


If you wish to attend these workshops, you should register.

Dr Jeanie McAfee

Navigating the Social World: A Workshop presenting social/emotional skills programs
More details ...

Prof Christopher Gillberg

Differential Diagnosis and comorbidity in Autism Spectrum Disorders
More details ...


Dr Isabelle Hénault

Healthy Sexuality: 
Adaptive Skills for Individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome

More details ...



Navigating the Social World: A workshop on social/emotional skills programs for parents and professionals who work with individuals with Asperger's Syndrome, High-Functioning Autism and Related Disorders

Jeanette McAfee, M.D.

A one-day intensive workshop covering social and emotional  skills programs for individuals with Asperger's syndrome, high functioning  autism, and related disorders.

A rare opportunity for participants to watch professionals demonstrate techniques for teaching social and emotional skills, and to practice these skills first hand during the workshop.

This course is designed for parents and professionals who work with  and care for individuals with Asperger's syndrome, high functioning autism, PDD-NOS or non-verbal learning disorder.  Its content is appropriate for family members, general education and special education teachers, speech pathologists, psychologists, and paraprofessionals.

Course Description:
During this dynamic workshop, you will be introduced to the in-depth social/emotional skills programs presented in Navigating the Social World. Also included are many of the techniques used by Dr. McAfee and her partner, Amelia Davies to teach social skills and theory of mind through the use of drama.

Participants will hear about a variety of social/emotional skills programs, see these programs demonstrated, and gain hands-on experience by practicing program steps during the workshop.
The approach used will blend elements of cognitive behavioral therapy, applied behavioral therapy, drama, and standard educational techniques as they apply to teaching social skills.
Highlights of the workshop include using external cues to improve theory of mind skills, teaching conversational skills, treating non-compliance, tracking and managing stress, dealing with anger and depression in individuals with AS/HFA, and more.


Differential Diagnosis and comorbidity in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Professor Christopher Gillberg
Dept of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Göteborg University, Sweden

Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) can be fairly easy to diagnose in clinically typical cases. However, more often than not, differential diagnosis can be complicated and require a considerable amount of assessments.

ASD are almost always associated with additional problems such as ADHD, tic disorders, and various kinds of learning disorders (including developmental coordination disorder, language disorders and mental retardation). In addition, there is quite often an associated medical conditon, such as epilepsy, tuberous sclerosis, fragile X syndrome, Moebius syndrome or another named condition within the group of so called behavioural phenotype syndromes. Psychiatric problems (including depression and anxiety) often ensue and need to be taken into account.

Many high-functioning indviduals with ASD are mistakenly diagnosed as suffering from personality disorder. The need for a multidisciplinary assessment (including a full medical examination) will be stressed during the work-shop which will include discussion of difficult clinical cases.

Healthy Sexuality: Adaptive Skills for Individuals with Asperger ’s Syndrome

Isabelle Hénault, M.A. Sexologist, Ph.D. in Psychology,
University of Quebec at Montreal, Canada

The last few years have seen rapid development in interventions related to Asperger's Syndrome (AS). However, programs incorporating themes related to interpersonal relationships and sexuality are very few in number despite the pressing concerns of families and couples affected by AS.

This workshop concerns the learning of appropriate sexual behaviours for people with high level autism and with Asperger Syndrome. The aim is to check how much intensive sex education could replace problem sexual behaviours by new behaviours that enhance social adaptation.

The presentation will elaborate on strategies to improve the social and sexual skills of individuals with AS. The following topics will be addressed:  (1) Friendship:  personal values, personality and interpreting different messages;  (2) Emotions:  using "Gaining Face" software, how to read emotions of the face, emotions related to sexuality;  (3) Communication:  verbal and nonverbal, Theory of Mind;  (4) Sexual behavior:  enhancing appropriate behaviors, hyper- and hyposensitivity of the body;  (5) Intimacy: in couples and families, misinterpretations, demands;  and (6) Interpersonal relationships in different contexts: school, work, friends, couples. Finally, case illustrations and examples will be discussed.

 The results indicate that a sex education program is beneficial in meeting the needs of the Asperger's population by decreasing inappropriate sexual behaviors and enhancing social skills. Overall, this program allowed individuals who have AS to become independent and achieve a socially appropriate level of functioning.

This page last modified 11 September, 2004
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