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Annual Conference


Empowering Parents and Professionals for over forty years

19th Annual Autism Society of Greater Phoenix Conference
Empowering Parents and Professionals
October 19th and 20th, 2018

Dawn Winkelmann, M.S, CCC-SLP is a pediatric Speech and Language Pathologist and Feeding Specialist. She has treated thousands of kids across the globe by helping families overcome picky eating stages and food refusals, while adding new foods into their diet. Her high success rate is attributed to Ms. Dawn bringing her education, experience, sense of humor and her favorite feeding products to the family dinner table. She adapts complicated feeding/swallowing research and makes it practical & easy for parents. (Waiting for approval for CEUs for speech pathologists)





This course is offered for up to .55 ASHA CEUs (intermediate level, Professional area)

Pamela Crooke, PhD, CCC-SLP, Chief Strategy Officer
Pamela J. Crooke is the Chief Strategy Officer of Research, Content, Clinical Services and the Director of Social Thinking Training & Speakers Collaborative.

Pam has co-authored, with Michelle Garcia Winner, five award-winning books related to Social Thinking: Socially Curious and Curiously Social, You Are a Social Detective, Social Fortune or Social Fate, Social Town, and their most recent book geared to adults, Social Thinking at Work: Why Should I Care? She and Winner collaborate on writing articles and blogs that appear on the Social Thinking website and in a wide array of publications.

(Waiting for approval for CEUs for speech pathologists)




This course is offered for up to .55 ASHA CEUs (intermediate level, Professional area)

Friday includes Feeding Track with Dawn Wilkenmann; the Behavioral Track with discussion on Relationship Development Intervention, Floortime, ABA and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy; the Legal Track discussion on special education, inclusion, the DDD/AHCCCS appeals process, ABLE, special needs trusts, SSI and guardianship; and the Speech Track with discussions on aug com devices, Apraxia, social groups and PEERS.

Saturday includes Social Track with Pam Crooke who is a national leader and speaker for Social Thinking; the Medical Track with national speakers  Dr. Amy Serin, Dr. Frye, Dr. Sidney Rice and Jim Adams, Phd; and the Teen/Young Adult Track with discussion on transportation, apps and technology for success, a panel discussion on services available for adults and job coaching services.

Ability 360
5025 E Washington St, Phoenix AZ 85034
Free Parking  *Includes Breakfast and Lunch*Certificate of Professional development*Exhibitor Fair*

Pricing             Early Bird One Day     Early Bird Two Days       One Day     Two Day
Families              50                  90                             65           120
Professionals      75                 140                          100          190
Questions? Call 480-940-1093  Fax to: 480-304-4863 or email Katie Wrider







Register for conference                                                                               Register to be an exhibitor

Friday Feeding Track

9:00-10:00                           Dawn Wilkenmann
10:00-10:30                         Break
10:30-12:00                         Dawn Wilkenmann
12:00-1:00                           Lunch
1:00-2:30                             Dawn Wilkenmann
2:30-3:00                             Break
3:00-4:30                             Dawn Wilkenmann

Friday Behavioral Track
9:00-10:00                          Relationship Development Intervention™~ Guiding your Child through Developmental Milestones-Kim Isaac-Emery.  Relationship Development Intervention™ (RDI®) is a comprehensive family-focused program that supports the development of social, emotional, and cognitive development. The program teaches parents how to scaffold life experiences and situations so that they will provide a ‘just right challenge’ for their child. Through this process, the child learns that he or she can experience challenge and success. Based on the most current brain, developmental, autism, and outcome research we have learned that many families of children with autism and concluded that children with autism are unable to take part in the Guided Participation Relationship (GPR) because the autism has derailed the ‘feedback loop’ between child and caregiver. The RDI program is valuable for parents who have children of ALL ages.

10:00-10:30                         Break
10:30-12:00                         “The Power of Relationships: Using Floortime to help children with autism    engage with others with warmth, joy, and a sense of wonder.” Terry Matteo, Phd. 12:00-1:00                           Lunch
1:00-2:30                             Michelle Mackey (ABA)
2:30-3:00                             Break
3:00-4:30                            Anxiety Speaks: an understanding of how anxiety impacts individuals on the Autism Spectrum, and pathways to treatment-Paul Carollo,  Examining how Anxiety impacts daily functioning, and creates challenges to developing healthy connections to people, places and new situations.

Friday Speech Track
9:00-10:00                           AAC: From Evaluation to Implementation-Staci Neustadt.  Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) systems provide a way for people to communicate when oral communication is difficult.  One option is a speech generating device which provides voice output.  Through new technology and social media, people now have more information and access to AAC than ever before.  This is both exciting and overwhelming.  AAC: Evaluation to Implementation will provide you with tools and knowledge to better understand the process to receive an AAC system that works for you or your family member as well as what to do with the system once you receive it.
10:00-10:30                         Break
10:30-12:00                         When Children With Autism Have ApraxiaAnita Werner.  Some children find it is difficult to command their mouth to move the way they want it to, in order to speak correctly. The problem is with the “wiring” or the brain sending the signals to the mouth telling the articulators (i.e., lips, tongue, jaw, etc.…) what to do. This problem is called Childhood Apraxia of Speech and we are finding that more and more children with autism have this speech disorder.  What are the characteristics, how do you know if your child has it, and what is done to help children with autism that have apraxia?

12:00-1:00                           Lunch
2:30-3:00                             Break
3:00-4:30                            The PEERS Curriculum – Nicole Matthews.  PEERS Curriculum aims to teach participants how to make and keep friends, and to teach parents strategies for coaching their teens or young adults as they practice new skills in their natural environments. This presentation will describe the components of the PEERS curriculum, describe individuals for whom the PEERS curriculum is an appropriate treatment, and report findings from a study conducted at the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center (SARRC).


Friday Legal Track
9:00-10:00                           Navigating the Appeals Process in AHCCCS (DDD and Behavioral Health)-Ann Ronan, Esq.
10:00-10:30                         Break
10:30-12:00                        ABCs of Special Education Law:  Advocate Better for your Child-Hope Kirsch and Lori Kirsch-Goodwin.  In this workshop, we will provide a comprehensive overview of the laws applicable to special education so that parents can better understand their child’s rights and their rights as parents.   We will walk you through the laws that govern what schools must do, and what you can do to ensure that your child is receiving the education to which he or she is entitled in public schools and charter schools.  Key topics to be discussed include eligibility, evaluations, placement vs. location, IEPs v 504s, how to prepare for RED, MET and IEP meetings, communication techniques and dispute resolution.
12:00-1:00                           Lunch
1:00-2:30                            The Basics of Guardianship, Special Needs Trusts, and the ABLE Act Including an Update on Legislation-Emily Kile, Esq. and Jennifer Kupiszewski, Esq
2:30-3:00                              Break
3:00-4:30                             Susan Marks (Inclusion)

Saturday Speech Track
9:00-10:00                           The Informal Dynamic Assessment and Core Treatment Strategies-Pam Crooke
10:00-10:30                         Break
10:30-12:00                         The Informal Dynamic Assessment and Core Treatment Strategies-Pam Crooke
12:00-1:00                           Lunch
1:00-2:30                              The Informal Dynamic Assessment and Core Treatment Strategies-Pam Crooke
2:30-3:00                              Break
3:00-4:30                              The Informal Dynamic Assessment and Core Treatment Strategies-Pam Crooke

Saturday Medical Track
9:00-10:00                           Dr Serin
10:00-10:30                         Break
10:30-12:00                         Dr. Fry
12:00-1:00                           Lunch
1:00-2:30                              Sidney Rice
2:30-3:00                              Break
3:00-4:30                            GI and Nutritional Treatments for Autism-Jim Adams.  This presentation will focus on two recent major studies.  The first study is on the use of Microbiota Transfer Therapy to treat gastrointestinal problems in children with ASD.  The study resulted in an 80% reduction in GI symptoms, and a substantial reduction of autism symptoms, with benefits lasting well after treatment stopped. The second study is a 12-month study of a comprehensive nutritional treatment for children and adults with ASD.  Treatment included a special vitamin/mineral supplement, essential fatty acids, Epsom salts, carnitine, digestive enzymes, and a healthy allergen-free diet.  There were many major improvements in the treatment group compared to the control group, including substantial increases in non-verbal IQ and large gains in developmental age.


Saturday Teen/Adult Track
9:00-10:00                          Vanessa DiCarlo (apps)
10:00-10:30                        Break
10:30-12:00                        Ken job coach?
12:00-1:00                          Lunch
1:00-2:30                            VALLEY METRO 101-Deloros Nolan. Valley Metro bus and light rail can take you school, your job, entertainment and many places around the Valley…learn how!  Some of the topics to be covered:  Overview of the transit system, How to plan your bus/light rail trip, Fare policy – Youth & persons w/ disabilities and senior citizens get a reduced fare, Bus and light rail feature, Accessibility on vehicles, Neighborhood circulator, Dial-A-Ride and ADA certification.

2:30-3:00                             Break
3:00-4:30                             Partners in Transition-Betty Shoen will lead a team of experts-This presentation from the Arizona 3Community of Practice on Transition is a collaboration from the State agencies (Department of Economic Security, Division of Developmental Disabilities, Rehabilitation Services Administration; Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, Behavioral Health Services, Department of Health Services, Office for Children with Special Health Care Needs, for example) who provide services to youth with special needs as they move from secondary school to adult life.  Each agency representative will cover the basic eligibility information for agency services, and talk about the types of services available to those who qualify, plus how to gain access for your youth with special needs.


James B. Adams, Ph.D., is the Director of the Autism/Asperger’s Research Program at Arizona State University. His research focuses on the medical causes of autism and how to treat and prevent it including the areas of nutrition (vitamins/minerals, essential fatty acids, carnitine, digestive enzymes, special diets), oxidative stress, gut problems, gut bacteria, toxic metals,  and seizures.   He has published over 150 peer-reviewed scientific articles, including 35 related to autism.  He is also the President of the Autism Society of Greater Phoenix,  the President of the Autism Nutrition Research Center, the co-leader of the Scientific Advisory Committee of the Autism Research Institute, and chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Neurological Health Foundation.  He has an adult daughter with autism.

Paul Carollo is the Program Manager of the Relationship Based Autism Center at Child Family Support Services. Prior, he worked for Touchstone Behavioral Health for seventeen years where he was the creator and program manager of the Family Centered Autism Program.  Paul holds a B.A. in Sociology and a Master’s of Community Counseling.  He has completed his coursework at Northern Arizona University to become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.  He currently holds a certification as a National Certified Counselor and is a Licensed Professional Counselor.  Paul has experience working with individual and families with the following challenges:  ADHD, OCD, ODD, Autism, and Asperger’s syndrome. Paul is an experienced Functional Family Therapist receiving eight years of training in this area.  Additionally, he has experience leading social skills and parent education groups specific to the Autism spectrum. Paul has presented at various conferences on Autism as well as provided consultation to various schools in the valley. Paul has received training to administer the ADIR test. He has completed training to administer the ADOS-2. Furthermore, Paul is trained as a Level I and II trauma therapist. He receives continuing education in the field of Autism.

Emily B. Kile is a graduate of the Northeastern School of Law in Boston, Massachusetts. She graduated Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa from the University of Colorado, Boulder and holds a Masters Degree in Psychology from Boston College. She is a member of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys (NEALA), past President of the Arizona Chapter (2008), and a member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners and the Special Needs Alliance. Emily is Chair of the Foothills Caring Corps.  She is licensed to practice law in Arizona. She has been licensed to practice law since 1993. The Supreme Court of Arizona has re-appointed Emily to serve on the Fiduciary Board through December 31, 2016. The Fiduciary Board oversees the approval and discipline of fiduciaries licensed in the State of Arizona by the Supreme Court.Her practice is focused on estate planning and related matters, including Medicaid (ALTCS), VA and long term care planning, special needs planning, guardianship and conservatorship issues and estate settlement/probate.Emily’s niece, Marisa, has Down Syndrome; allowing Emily some insight into issues faced by people with special needs and their families.

Kim Isaac-Emery is an autism spectrum disorder specialist that specializes in parent training and in work with teens and adults on the autism spectrum. Kim has been in the field of autism since 1997, with experience as an autism therapist and consultant. As a graduate of both University of Maryland and Capella University, specializing in Psychology (B.S.) and Counseling Studies (M.S.), she is currently serving as private practitioner working with a broad spectrum of clients. She maintains a professional certification in Relationship Development Intervention™ (RDI®) and has been a Certified RDI® Program Consultant since 2005.  While Kim’s private practice, Autism with Excellence LLC, is based in Phoenix, Arizona, she also travels to nine different states within the country consulting with individuals, families, and schools.  Her areas of expertise are Relationship Development Intervention™ Programming, cognitive-behavioral / person-centered therapy strategies with teens and adults on the autism spectrum, parent and teacher education, training, general consultations and program troubleshooting.


Hope Kirsch is an attorney at the Arizona special education law firm of Kirsch-Goodwin & Kirsch where she partners with her sister Lori Kirsch-Goodwin.  Hope is a licensed special education teacher and 25-year litigation attorney. For over 15 years, she has represented students and their families throughout Arizona in all school related matters, from IEP advocacy to Due Process, appeals, 504s and OCR complaints, bullying, restraint and seclusion and personal injury.  The firm handles disciplinary matters (suspensions, long-terms suspension, expulsions) of both special education and general education students, and in higher education as well.  Hope was a special education teacher and special education coordinator for 18 years before embarking on a career in law.  She worked in the New York City public schools in settings ranging from self-contained classes to special education day schools, day treatment programs and hospital programs.  Throughout her career as an educator, Hope worked with students with autism, emotional disabilities and multiple disabilities.  She has written hundreds of IEPs, served as a witness for the NYC Department of Education at due process hearings, and supervised and trained teachers in curriculum, methodology, writing IEPs and behavior management techniques.  She earned a B.S. from Boston University in Special Education in 1975, an M.A. in Special Education from NYU in 1977, and post-graduate work in educational supervision and administration at NYU and Baruch College of the City of New York.  She obtained her law degree from Brooklyn Law School’s evening division while continuing her work in education.  Hope began her law career as a judicial clerk and then as a civil and commercial litigator as she began building a special education practice.  Hope is admitted to the state and federal district courts in NY, NJ and AZ, and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and AV® Preeminent™ rated (5.0  out of 5.0) by her peers and judges for the highest level of ethics and professional excellence.

Lori Kirsch-Goodwin has been a litigation/trial attorney for almost 30 years and has first chaired over 35 jury trials. She obtained her B.A. at Syracuse University and her law degree at the University of Bridgeport (now Quinnipiac University). She is admitted to the state and federal district courts in New York, New Jersey, Arizona and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Lori entered the special education arena over 16 years ago when one of her twin boys was evaluated for special education and related services, and has been advocating for and representing other families since. She is an AV® Preeminent™ rated attorney by peers and judges, representing the highest rating in legal ability and ethical standards.  Her legal advocacy ranges from obtaining eligibility for IEPs and 504s, assisting at IEPs, METs and 504 meetings, disciplinary matters, early dispute resolution of matters, due process hearings, and appeals.   Lori brings her litigation skills to the table as well as her sensitivity for the families she represents.

Jennifer Kupiszewski has an undergraduate degree from Arizona State University in Microbiology in 1997. She entered law school in 1997 on academic scholarship at ASU and graduating in 1999. Jennifer represented the represented the Arizona Department of Economic Security/Child Protective Services Division for  six years  in juvenile court cases involving dependency, severance and guardianship matters. At the Arizona Center for Disability Law as co-counsel on the class action lawsuit Jason K. v. Eden traveling to all corners of Arizona representing families in obtaining mental health services. Jennifer represented the Maricopa County Public Fiduciary in court cases involving adult guardianship and conservatorships Currently, in private practice since 2007 Jennifer is a Managing Partner with Kile & Kupiszewski Law Firm. Jennifer practices in areas of elder, juvenile, and probate law and navigating cases that as they move through and between these different court systems. Her practice focuses on cases involving adults and children with special health care needs and non-traditional families. Jennifer represents families in matters in which there has been abuse, neglect, and exploitation or when a family member is disabled or incapacitated and estate, trust and financial exploitation litigation. Jennifer currently serves on the Board of Raising Special Kids, the Board of Directors of the Maricopa County Bar Family Law Section, the Board of Directors of the AZ chapter of the National Association of Elder Law Attorneys and is the Chair of the State Bar Elder Law, Mental Health and Special Needs Planning Council. She is also on the Arizona Center for Disability Law’s Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness Council. Jennifer has a strong commitment to family and married into a large polish family. Jennifer is married to Steve Kupiszewski and they have a blended family of five children and one tiny Yorkie.

Nicole Matthews is a research scientist at the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC) in Phoenix. She earned her Bachelor’s degree in psychology at the University of California, Santa Barbara where she graduated with Highest Honors. She went on to complete her Master’s degree in social ecology and doctorate in developmental psychology at the University of California, Irvine. Nicole’s research interests include improving access to early autism screening and diagnosis, adaptive functioning and cognitive development in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and the transition to adulthood for individuals with ASD without intellectual disability. Nicole’s research has been published in multiple peer-reviewed journals, including the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities, Autism Research, Autism, and Developmental Science. She was the principal investigator of a randomized control trial of the PEERS curriculum funded by the Organization for Autism Research, and she is a certified provider of the PEERS curriculum for adolescents.


Anne Ronan has been practicing in the area of health law for the poor and uninsured since graduating from Arizona State University College of Law in 1979.  She worked with Community Legal Services for 11 years with an emphasis in representing low income individuals in obtaining health care through various State and Federally funded health care programs for the poor.  She worked for the Arizona Center for Disability Law (formerly the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest) for 13 years during which time Anne represented children and adults with disabilities in obtaining necessary and appropriate medical and mental health services.  Anne is one of the attorneys for the class of adults with serious mental illness in Arnold v. Sarn and the class of children entitled to Medicaid funded mental health services in J.K. v.Gerard, and in B.K. v. Tinsley a class action on behalf of foster children. Anne is now employed with the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest where she continues to represent children and adults in obtaining necessary health care.

Anita Werner, who founded Pediatric Speech and Language Specialists in 1989, has more than 30 years of experience as a speech-language pathologist. She maintains an active clinical practice with the goal of providing the most advanced, effective speech and language therapy available anywhere. In addition to specializing in social communication difficulties, Anita has extensive experience in the treatment of individuals with receptive/expressive language disorders, speech disorders, auditory/language processing disorders, childhood apraxia of speech and executive function difficulties