By Ruth Anne Rehfeldt
This year has been marked by challenges of a seemingly insurmountable nature, and the science and practice of autism treatment around the globe have not been untouched by them. The 15th Annual Autism Conference program resonates with such themes—please join us February 28–March 2, 2021, for this online event.
First, the global pandemic has forced our field to conceptualize how high-quality services can be delivered to persons with autism spectrum disorders and their families when face-to-face service is not an option. A workshop by Stephanie Peterson and Becky Eldridge (Western Michigan University) and presentations by Jennifer McComas (University of Minnesota) and Matthew Brodhead (Michigan State University) will address evidence-based strategies for consultation via telehealth and the ethical challenges therein.
Second, the racial reckoning in the US has awoken us to the urgency of growing culturally humble professionals. Needed are transparent discussions about the experiences of people who have been disenfranchised, whether as members of their professional communities or service recipients themselves. Presentations by Jomella Watson-Thompson (University of Kansas) and Sarah Lechago (University of Houston-Clear Lake) will focus on this topic, and a women’s panel featuring Shahla Ala’i (University of North Texas), Doreen Granpeesheh (Center for Autism and Related Disorders), Erin Rasmussen (Idaho State University), and Denise Ross (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) will share insights on leadership in applied behavior analysis.
Third, as ABAI continues to support education and dissemination beyond the US, presentations by Ilana Gerschlowitz (the Star Academy, South Africa), Angeliki Gena (University of Athens, Greece), and Sergio Lara (Asopormen, Colombia) will showcase efforts to grow behavior analysis globally.
The program for each autism conference is formulated with input from ABAI’s membership and prior conference attendees. This conference will feature workshops and presentations on such important topics as effective supervision (Tyra Sellers, Behavior Analyst Certification Board), food selectivity (Mary Jane Weiss, Endicott College), special education (Ilene Schwartz, University of Washington), neurobiological indicators (Annette Estes, University of Washington), teaching approaches (Justin Leaf, Autism Partnership Foundation), academic skills (Kent Johnson, Morningside Academy), and state reimbursement for services, including for services using telehealth (Stephen Gillaspy, American Psychological Association).
Although we will not be able to meet in person, the virtual conference will provide opportunities for interaction and dialogue at the poster session, as well as an update on the important professional activities of ABAI’s Autism Special Interest Group (Joseph Cihon, Autism Partnership Foundation).
We look forward to seeing you at the 2021 Autism Conference, Synergy of Science and Practice Worldwide.