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APRIL 3rd and 4th, 2024 • GREENVILLE, SC

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You’re invited to attend the 6th annual Converge Autism Conference.

Springbrook Autism Behavioral Health invites professionals from across the nation to converge for two days of presentations and breakout discussions covering a wide range of topics related to Autism—from diagnosis, behavioral health, and treatment and therapy results.

Our A-list of speakers will represent a variety of fields including Occupational Therapy, Behavioral Analysis, Special Education, Speech and Language Pathology, and Youth Psychiatry.

Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn to receive updates about the conference! You can also submit your e-mail via the contact form below to be added to our mailing list for Converge Autism Conference updates.

Space is limited! Early Bird Registration is now open.
Follow us on social media to stay up to date!

15% Early Bird Discount Rates

Expires February 29th

Regular Professional Ticket: $299.00
with 15% discount: $254.15

Regular Parent Ticket: $199.00
with 15% discount: $169.15

For 15% discount use promo code:

earlybird24

Virtual Sessions

This year we are proud to announce that we are offering virtual sessions. All Keynote and Family Breakout Sessions will be available for virtual viewing live during the conference and for six months following the event. Please be aware that the Whova Event Application is necessary in order to access these sessions. Please see the Whova App information below.

Virtual Professional
Ticket

$125.00

Virtual Parent
Ticket

$75.00

THE NATIONAL CONVERGE AUTISM SUMMIT SCHEDULE 2024

The 2024 schedule is still in the process of completion but a copy is now available for download. We will provide a complete copy as soon as possible.

Click the button below to download a copy of the schedule.

Day 1

7:30-8:30 – Registration/Refreshments
8:30-9:45 – Keynote I

James Ball, Ed.D., BCBA-D
"You Can't Make Me"

9:45-10:00– Break/Networking/Visit Vendors
10:00-11:00 – Breakout Session 1

Parent:
Brody Swift, MS, OTR/L and Julie O'Connor, MS, OTR/L — Promoting Safety and Independence for Young Adults with Autism
Education:
Dr. Donna Berghauser, Psy.D. — The Who’s and What’s of ASD Evaluations and Diagnoses
Clinician:
Quatiba Davis M.Ed., BCBA, LABA — Autism in the Classroom: What a Clinician Should Know

11:00-11:15 – Break/Networking/Visit Vendors

11:15-12:15 – Breakout Session 2

Parent:
Dr. Michael Cummings, MD, and Janell Van Cleve, MSEd, CAS – Diagnostic Overshadowing: What It Is and How to Avoid It in the ASD Population
Education:
Megan Spann, MSpEd, Ed.S., and Beverly Brown, M.Ed. — Multi Sensory Learning and the Autistic Student
Clinician:
Jill Jones, LISW-CP — The Intersection of Autism with Sexual and Gender Identity Differences: Clinical Implications

12:15-1:30 – Lunch/Entertainment

1:30-2:30 – Breakout Session 3

Parent:
James Ball, Ed.D., BCBA-D - Enhancing Social Skills Throughout the Educational Years to Adulthood
Education:
Carolyn Long, MCD, SLP-CCC— Self-Identity, Self-Esteem, and Social Communication: Re-thinking How We Teach Social Skills
Clinician:
Seph Bartholomew, MS, BCBA— The Keys to Success: Early Access to ABA Services

2:30-2:45 – Break/Networking/Visit Vendors

2:45-4:00 – Keynote II

Rosemarie Griffin, CCC/SLP, BCBA, COBA
The Power of Joint Attention

Day 2

7:30-8:30 – Registration/Refreshments
8:30-9:45 – Keynote III

Dr. Peter Vermeulen, PhD
Sensory Issues and Autism: Are They Really Sensory? A Completely New Look at Sensory Issues in Autism from a Predictive Brain Perspective

9:45-10:00 – Break/Networking/Visit Vendors
10:00-11:00 – Breakout Session 4

Parent:
Krisshonda Odufuwa, M.Ed., BCBA, SLPA, LBA — Challenging Behaviors in Children with Autism
Education:
Holly Blanc Moses, MS, LCMHC, LPA, ADHD-CCSP, ASDCS — Effectively Supporting Autistic Children in the Classroom
Clinician:
Dr. Matthew Fisher, MD
— Psychopharmacology and Autism

11:00-11:15 – Break/Networking/Visit Vendors

11:15-12:15 – Breakout Session 5

Parent:
Dr. Peter Vermeulen, PhD — Autism, Friendship and Close Relationships: Clarifying the Challenge and the Challenge of Clarifying
Education:
Jonas Cooper, MSW, CHFS – DCC — De-Escalation Fascination
Clinician:
Jeanetta Bryant, BS – Grieving the Diagnosis: What a Professional Should Know

12:15-1:30 – Lunch/Entertainment

1:30-2:30 – Breakout Session 6

Parent:
Ryan Platt, MBA, ChFC®, ChSNC™, CFBS — Planning for Two Lifetimes
Education:
Dr. Mary Holden Jones, MD, FAAP, ASDCS — Implicit Bias and How it Contributes to Delayed Diagnoses of Autism in Black and Other Minority Youths
Clinician:
Holly Blanc Moses, MS, LCMHC, LPA, ADHD-CCSP, ASDCS – Assessing and Understanding Autistic Girls

2:30-2:45 – Break/Networking/Visit Vendors

2:45-4:00 - Keynote IV

Carrie Cariello
Autism: Life After High School

CONTINUING EDUCATION

The following are agencies we have applied for Credit Hours from and are pending approval.  This list will be updated for the 2024 Summit as approvals are received (Attendees must stay for the entirety of each session in order to receive credit. There will be a check-in and check-out station located at the door of the session.)

  • S.C. Board of Examiners for Counselors,
    Therapists, & Psycho-Educational Specialists
  • *Greenville County School District
    (*Teachers attending can submit for credit through the
    county’s normal process)
  • SC Occupational Therapy Association
  • Autism Society of America (ASA)
  • Pending: National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC)
  • Pending: SC Board of Social Workers
  • Pending: SC Board of Examiners in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology
    (May submit for national credit to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association)
  • Pending: SC Board of Nursing

If you are interested in earning credit hours, make sure to download the Whova App as each session will have an in-app survey you must fill out. Please make sure to check in and check out of each session and submit your answers to the survey in order to receive credit. Approved credit hours will be emailed after the conference has ended.

Get our official conference app

For Blackberry or Windows Phone, 
Click here

For feature details, visit Whova

AUTISM CONFERENCE SPEAKERS AND SESSIONS

Autism Advocates • Applied Behavior Analysis • Child & Adolescent Psychiatry • Clinical Genetics • Occupational Therapy • Family Therapy • Education

Applications for speakers at the 2024 Converge Summit is closed. If you are interested in speaking at a future conference we would love to hear from you. Please use the contact form at the bottom of the page. Thank you for your interest!

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS

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Dr. James Ball, Ed.D., BCBA-D
President/CEO - JB Autism Consulting

Dr. James Ball, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral, is the President/Chief Executive Officer of JB Autism Consulting. He has been in the field of autism for over thirty-five years  providing behavioral, educational, residential, and employment services to children and adults affected by autism. He provides private consultation to organizations, schools, and families regarding staff training, parent training, home support services, classroom design/support, functional behavior assessment and behavior management.

"You Can’t Make Me."

This presentation will discuss behavioral strategies and how it relates to teaching students with a behavioral disorder.  It will focus on teaching specific skills, enhancing motivation, positive behavior supports, social skills development and generalization training.  Specific evidence based strategies will be explored and demonstrated.  A step by step demonstration will be presented using real life examples.   Modifications will be explored that allow this particular program to be effective with students significantly challenged with behavior issues, as well as those students with Asperger's Syndrome.  Because of the nature of this presentation, a question and answer period will be provided.

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Rosemarie Griffin, MA, CCC/SLP, BCBA, COBA
Founder - ABA Speech

Rosemarie Griffin, MA, CCC/SLP BCBA, is an ASHA certified Speech-Language Pathologist and Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She is the founder of ABA SPEECH. ABA SPEECH offers a professional development membership called the ABA SPEECH Connection, trainings and consultations geared towards helping autistic students find their voice. Rose is also the host of the Autism Outreach Podcast, a weekly show all about autism and communication. She is a sought after speaker who enjoys connecting with audiences at the local, state and national level. Rose is passionate about the mission of ABA SPEECH, which is to help all students become more independent communicators.

"The Power of Joint Attention"

Joint attention is an essential skill for clinicians to address for autistic students. Joint attention involves shared attention between at least 2 people on an object or event, with both people knowing they are attending to the same entity. Understanding how to incorporate direct intervention on joint attention will be discussed in this course.
White et al. (2011) recommended that the topography of joint attention skills selected for intervention must be “supported in the environment in which [the] child spends most of his time,” (p. 1293) and should take into consideration developmental and cultural norms. Videos and lecture will be used to illustrate this intervention.
In addition, White et al. (2011) notes that intervention for joint attention should take place in a play context. This presentation will focus on how we can use a play based format using books, music and play to embed work on these skills during our sessions.

Reference: White, P. J., O’Reilly, M., Streusand, W., Levine, A., Sigafoos, J., Lancioni, G., Fragale, C., Pierce, N., & Aguilar, J. (2011). Best practices for teaching joint attention: A systematic review of the intervention literature. Research in Autism Spectrum Disorders, 5, 1283–1295.

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Dr. Peter Vermeulen, PhD
Founder - Autism in Context, Speaker, Chief Editor of "Sterk! In Autisme"

Dr. Vermeulen has a Master in Psychology and Pedagogical Sciences at the University of Leuven, Belgium (1985) and PhD in Psychology and Pedagogical Sciences at the University of Leiden, The Netherlands (2002).
From 1987 till 1998 he worked for the Flemish Autism Association, first as home trainer for families with a child with autism, later as director of the home training centre and finally as trainer / lecturer. From 1998 till 2018 he worked as senior autism consultant / lecturer /trainer at Autisme Centraal.
Founder and director of ‘Autism in Context’.

Dr. Vermeulen presents all over the world and has given keynotes on many international conferences, including Autism Europe Congress, World Autism Congress, Asian Pacific Autism Conference, National Autistic Society, Scottish Autism..

He is the Chief Editor of "Sterk! In autisme" (Strong in autism), bi-monthly magazine and has written over 150 articles on autism. He is also the author of more than 20 books on autism with translations into more than 10 languages, a.o. "This is the title: on autistic thinking” (2001), “I am Special: handbook for psycho-education” (2000, revised edition 2013), “Autism as context blindness” (2012), a book than won several awards in the USA, “The predictive brain and autism” (2022), and “What really works with autistic children” (to be published in the USA in 2024)..

Dr. Vermeulen received the Passwerk Life Time Achievement Award in 2019 for his more than 30 years contribution to the autism community in Belgium.

"Sensory Issues and Autism: Are They Really Sensory? A Completely New Look at Sensory Issues in Autism from a Predictive Brain Perspective"

In this presentation, not only will we briefly explain what the predictive mind is, but also how the predictive coding framework will change our ideas about perception and sensory issues in autism. In the light of the new brain model, uncertainty and unpredictability are more contributing to sensory overload than the stimuli themselves.

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Carrie Cariello, MPA
Author, Speaker, Multi-Media Contributor

Carrie Cariello is the author of What Color Is Monday, How Autism Changed One Family for the Better, and Someone I’m With Has Autism. She lives in Southern New Hampshire with her husband Joe and their five children.

Carrie is a regular contributor to the Huffington Post, TODAY Parents, the TODAY Show, Parents.com, Love What Matters, and Grown and Flown. She has been interviewed by NBC Nightly News and has a TEDx talk.

She speaks regularly about autism, marriage, and motherhood, and writes a weekly blog on her website. One of her essays, “I Know What Causes Autism,” was featured as one of the Huffington Post’s best of 2015, and her piece, “I Know Why He Has Autism,” was named one of the top blog posts of 2017 by the TODAY Show.

"Autism: Life After High School"

College and vocational opportunities are limited for neurodiverse students. Using a letter I wrote to my son Jack, I'll take the audience through the practical and emotional process of finding a program for him.

BREAKOUT SESSION SPEAKERS

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Dr. James Ball, Ed.D., BCBA-D
President/CEO - JB Autism Consulting

Dr. James Ball, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral, is the President/Chief Executive Officer of JB Autism Consulting. He has been in the field of autism for over thirty-five years  providing behavioral, educational, residential, and employment services to children and adults affected by autism. He provides private consultation to organizations, schools, and families regarding staff training, parent training, home support services, classroom design/support, functional behavior assessment and behavior management.

“Enhancing Social Skills throughout the Educational Years to Adulthood.”

This presentation will discuss the Skill Streaming social skills teaching program. It will focus on teaching specific social skills, enhancing motivation, and generalization training. A step by step demonstration will be presented using real life examples. Modifications will be explored that allow this particular social skills program to be effective with students significantly challenged with autism, as well as those students with Asperger's Syndrome. Because of the nature of this presentation, a question and answer period will be provided.

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Dr. Peter Vermeulen, PhD
Founder - Autism in Context, Speaker, Chief Editor of "Sterk! In Autisme"

Dr. Vermeulen has a Master in Psychology and Pedagogical Sciences at the University of Leuven, Belgium (1985) and PhD in Psychology and Pedagogical Sciences at the University of Leiden, The Netherlands (2002).
From 1987 till 1998 he worked for the Flemish Autism Association, first as home trainer for families with a child with autism, later as director of the home training centre and finally as trainer / lecturer. From 1998 till 2018 he worked as senior autism consultant / lecturer /trainer at Autisme Centraal.
Founder and director of ‘Autism in Context’.

Dr. Vermeulen presents all over the world and has given keynotes on many international conferences, including Autism Europe Congress, World Autism Congress, Asian Pacific Autism Conference, National Autistic Society, Scottish Autism..

“Autism, Friendship and Close Relationships: Clarifying the Challenge and the Challenge of Clarifying”

Engaging in relationships, especially close relationships like friendship, is a tough challenge for children and young people with an autism spectrum disorder. Many of the relational skills and knowledge that neurotypical people seem to develop effortlessly and spontaneously are clogged by the way an autistic brain understands the world. In this presentation, we explore the challenges autistic people are facing when building relationships. We will describe how many of these challenges are linked to the specific way of information processing in the autistic brain, which we call context blindness. Relational competence is not just a matter of social skills and Theory of Mind, but a case of making good guesses. The virtue of context sensitive guessing.
In order to make the smart guesses that are needed to successfully engage in close relationships, we need to clarify a lot of things that seem to be natural and obvious to non-autistic people. We will describe some general principles for helping young people with autism to understand and build relationships. In particular, we will focus on the importance of clarifying for autistic people the abstract, vague and context sensitive rules and ingredients of relationships.

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Dr. Donna Berghauser, Psy.D., NCSP
Psychologist

Dr. Donna Berghauser is a Florida licensed and Nationally Certified School Psychologist (NCSP) with over 10 years’ experience working in public schools and community settings. She earned a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Florida State University and a Doctorate of Psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Donna has served on the Florida Association of School Psychologists’ (FASP) executive board in many capacities since 2011, including President. Her professional interests include systems change, restorative practices, and culturally sensitive assessment and intervention. In her leisure, she enjoys travelling, local coffee shops, reading, and hanging out with her fluffy boy – Cosmo.

“The Who’s and What’s of ASD Evaluations and Diagnosis”

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental condition characterized by persistent challenges with social communication, restricted interests, and repetitive behaviors. Its impacts are lifelong, though symptoms are typically present and consistently visible by age 3. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2021), 2.2% of the U.S. population have been identified as having ASD. Early identification and intervention are critical for supporting individuals on the spectrum, but obtaining an evaluation is an essential first step. Yet, many adolescents and adults report being overlooked or misdiagnosed due to its complex nature. This presentation will provide an overview of ASD and the various assessment considerations needed for diagnostic decision-making and treatment planning across service settings.

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Seph Bartholomew, MS, BCBA
Director of Business Development, Key Autism Services

Seph Bartholomew is a seasoned professional with a diverse career spanning various sectors, including healthcare organizations, public school systems, and private practice. His journey began after graduating from UNC Wilmington, where he embarked on a mission to make a meaningful impact in the lives of individuals with autism.
Seph's career took root in a TEACCH model classroom in Wilmington, NC, marking the inception of his dedication to autism support. Over the course of almost two decades, he delved deep into the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), honing his skills and knowledge. His academic pursuits led him to complete graduate coursework at Northeastern University, further solidifying his expertise.
A pivotal moment in Seph's career came when he assumed the role of Director of the Autism Services at Boston Public Schools. In this influential position, he spearheaded a transformative 5-year strategic plan aimed at revolutionizing programming and support structures for students with autism. His visionary leadership and dedication were instrumental in creating a more inclusive and supportive environment for autistic students.
Seph Bartholomew's career reflects his steadfast commitment to bettering the lives of individuals with autism and their families. His expertise, gained through various experiences and academic achievements, has made a notable impact on the field of autism support and Applied Behavior Analysis.

“The Keys to Success: Early Access to ABA Services”

In the presentation titled “The Keys to Success: Early Access to ABA Services”, Seph Bartholomew will explore the impact of early intervention ABA services for autistic children and their caregivers. This presentation highlights the pivotal role that early access to ABA services plays in enhancing the overall quality of life for individuals on the autism spectrum. Attendees will gain an understanding of the specific barriers and challenges caregivers face in their pursuit of early intervention services, including issues related to awareness and diagnostic services.
The presentation emphasizes the transformative power of early ABA intervention, demonstrating how it leads to remarkable improvements in individuals’ lifespans, fostering independence, social connections and more. Participants will also learn about evidence-based strategies and best practices, with a particular focus on the evolving concept of neurodiversity within the field of ABA.
Collaboration and coordination among various providers, caregivers, and support systems are highlighted as essential elements in maximizing the impact of early intervention services. The critical role of legislation, policy and advocacy in ensuring equitable access to these services is discussed, emphasizing the need for broader community engagement.
Drawing from clinical experiences, real-life examples are shared to illustrate positive outcomes achieved with these services. Additionally, the presentation addresses the ethical considerations involved in both delivering and promoting early access to ABA services, including specific references to the BACB Ethics Code for Behavior Analysts.
By the end of this presentation, attendees will be equipped with a comprehensive understanding of the transformative potential of early access to ABA services for individuals with autism, along with practical insights to enhance the quality of care and support for those in need.

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Carolyn Long, MCD, SLP-CCC
Speech-Language Pathologist

Carolyn Long, MCD CCC-SLP has worked in school districts, private practice and healthcare for 23 years. She is passionate about the use of nonverbal and verbal communication to create and navigate social relationships. She developed Social Optics, a neurodiverse affirming social communication curriculum in 2015 and the software in 2022. She believes in the inclusion of student voice in the development of interventions leading to better outcomes based on engagement, research and data. She lives in Montana with her husband and 2 amazing teenage daughters. She enjoys fly-fishing, horseback riding and watching other people plow snow.

“Self-Identity, Self-Esteem and Social Communication: Re-thinking How We Teach Social Skills

This program will give an overview of the relationship between social communication and the development of self-identity in children and adolescents with autism. At a time when all students are struggling with emotional health and well-being, it is even more critical to address the social communication needs of autistic students through a neurodiverse affirming lens. Knowledge and understanding of self-concept, self-identity and self-esteem in children and adolescents allows SLPs, OTs, counselors, teachers and school support staff to design more supportive social interventions. Strategies that support self-identity and self-esteem in students who participate in social skills groups will be discussed. Participants will leave with a broader understanding of social pragmatic competency development and interventions that align with development of self.

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Jill Jones, LISW-CP
Psychotherapist, Clinical Social Worker

Jill Jones grew up in a neuro-divergent household and taught in public schools for 14 years before getting her MSW degree in 2002. Since then, Jill has been a clinical social worker for various agencies including, lead therapist on the team that developed the autism services at Springbrook Autism Behavioral Health. Jill has been serving individuals, families, and groups in private practice at Bay Laurel Center for Psychotherapy in Greenville SC since 2014, with neurodiversity still being a major practice focus. Jill sponsored and supported autistic adults to develop the Upstate Adult Aspies Meetup social group which now has over 200 members. Over the years she has also led autism education workshops, study groups, and trainings for therapists, mental health workers, parents, autistic adults, law enforcement, and workplaces. She is also a Certified Provider for Safe and Sound Protocol (auditory vagal nerve stimulation).

“The Intersection of Autism with Sexual and Gender Identity Differences: Clinical Implications

Sexual and gender identity differences occur in the autistic population at a higher rate than the general population. Why is this? What does the latest research on the intersection of these differences teach us about the impact on the health and wellness of autistic LGBTQIA+ individuals? How can we as clinicians help address this impact with our patients? Get answers and join the clinical conversation.

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Holly Blanc Moses, MS, LCMHC, LPA, ADHD-CCSP, ASDCS
Neurodivergent Therapist

Holly Blanc Moses is a neurodivergent therapist, speaker and online course creator who specializes in supporting neurodivergent children, teens, adults and their families. Over the last 23 years, she has provided mental and behavioral health services in the areas of emotional regulation, anxiety, depression, social interaction, and school success. Holly is the host of the popular podcast - The Autism ADHD Podcast where she provides helpful information for parents, educators and mental health therapists. She is the owner of Crossvine Counseling in Raleigh, NC, a therapy group specializing in evaluations and therapy for neurodivergent individuals and she is also the mother of two neurodivergent boys.

“Effectively Supporting Autistic Children In The Classroom”

Autistic children have unique academic, social and mental health needs, which require understanding, patience, individualized
accommodations, and modifications in the classroom. In this presentation, we discuss characteristics of autism, educator self-awareness,
and neurodiversity affirming approaches. Attendees will learn effective strategies to accommodate and support learning differences,
observable and non-observable behavior challenges, independence, social success and self-advocacy skills.

“Assessing and Understanding Autistic Girls”

Autistic girls often go undiagnosed and misdiagnosed. In this presentation, we discuss unique considerations when assessing autistic girls and assessment techniques. Attendees will learn effective strategies for supporting communication, mental health, social interaction, academics, self-advocacy and safety needs. The presenter will utilize lecture, case study review and audience participation to support the learning objectives and facilitate learning.

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Krisshonda Odufuwa, M.Ed., BCBA, SLPA, LBA
CEO, Blue Melo LLC

Krisshonda has proven her passion and support for the autism community by producing a published article in the highly sought out magazine titled “Autism Digest Magazine” this article title “Managing Tantrums in Public” can be viewed in the Aug 2023-Oct 2023 issue. In addition, Krisshonda has spoken on the topic of “Managing Emotions”  at the well-renowned  Dallas Texas Women’s Leadership Conference for educators and social workers. Other ways that Krisshonda has contributed to the autism community are by being the writer of a blog for the “Mocha Autism Network.” Krisshonda continues to be active with future endeavors which include speaking at the talk tools feeding conference in Nov of 2023 as well as the anticipated release of “Emotional Regulation” article which will appear in the Autism Parenting Magazine in Feb 2024.

“Challenging Behaviors in Children with Autism”

It is inevitable that a parent will experience tantrums in public. The stares, comments and suggestions while their child is in behaviors can be overwhelming and down right unwanted. What if there was a way to help children and parents before the challenging behaviors actually occurred? Well, you’ve got questions? I‘ve got answers!

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Ryan Platt, MBA, ChFC®, ChSNC™, CFBS
CEO, Founder - A Special Needs Plan

Ryan founded A Special Needs Plan in 2005 and has been a pioneer in his field. He completed his Special Care Planner Certification at the American College in Bryn Mawr, PA, and his background includes advanced training in estate and tax planning, special needs trusts, government programs, and the emotional dynamics of working with people and families with loved ones with special needs. He’s passionate about meeting with families, learning their concerns, understanding their values, and helping them reach their goals. He excels in creating plans that help secure the needs of two generations.

“Planning for Two Lifetimes”

We invite you to an interactive, exciting experience to learn more about Special Needs Planning including Special Needs Trusts, ABLE Accounts, Guardianship, Government Benefits, Tax Implications, Future Caregiving and more!

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Dr. Matthew Fisher, MD
Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

Dr. Fisher completed his General Psychiatry residency at the University of Texas-Galveston and a Child/Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship at University of South Carolina. He serves as the Medical leader of Springbrook’s Psychiatric Residential and Outpatient Treatment Program (specializing in treating Autism Spectrum Disorders) and is an authority in minimal medical management of ASD and ASD with comorbidities. Dr. Fisher speaks at Autism Conferences on Medical Overview of Autism Spectrum Disorders, Medication Management for Autism Spectrum Disorders, Myths and Misconceptions in Autism, Autism and Co-Morbid Conditions, and Helping Siblings and Other Children Understand Autism.


"Psychopharmacology and Autism”

This presentation will teach professionals, parents, and educators about current trends in the prescribing of medications for individuals with a diagnosis of autism. As new medications enter the marketplace, it is important for consumers and their caregivers to be aware of the intended benefits of each medication. It is also important to acknowledge potential side effects, as well as possible negative interactions that may occur when these medications are prescribed alongside other medications. This session will be presented from the perspective of a prescribing physician who works in an inpatient environment where children and adolescents often arrive with an assortment of prescribed medications that may not correctly meet their needs as a person affected by autism.

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Jonas Cooper, MSW, CHFS – DCC
Assistant Director of Child Development, Community Action Council of Lexington, KY

Jonas Cooper serves as the Assistant Director of Child Development with the Community Action Council in Lexington, Kentucky. He oversees the Disability and Mental Health team that provides disability and inclusion services to children, families, and staff of Head Start programs in 13 central and southern Kentucky counties. In addition to his current position, he brings to the table his experience with adult and youth acute psychiatric emergencies as well as outpatient applied behavioral analysis therapy for school aged children diagnosed with Autism. Jonas proudly retains his status as an active Eagle Scout and Level 4 Early Childhood Trainer's Credential for the state of Kentucky. He graduated with his Master's of Social Work from the University of Kentucky and is currently completing supervision hours in order to obtain his LCSW designation to further advance and advocate for improved outcomes of mental health for children and their families across the Commonwealth.

"De-Escalation Fascination"

De-Escalating challenging behaviors or big emotions is a skill that is critical not only in working with children in classrooms but in everyday life with adults too! Social-emotional skills, which are at the heart of the most successful de-escalation strategies, can serve as a foundation for future success despite whatever barrier an individual may be or will face in their life. Becoming comfortable with the basics of de-escalating a situation allows you to gain confidence and adapt your responses to appropriately address the situation at hand. The ultimate goal is helping a dysregulated person return to a state where effective learning and reflection can occur. Challenging behaviors and how to de-escalate them are at the forefront of most teaching and helping professionals' and families' minds. Therefore, this training is suitable for all skill levels as the conversation covers not only specific strategies to use for others and yourself, but relevant theories and early education research that can provide additional context to your understanding.

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Jeanetta Bryant, BS
Education, Advocate, Speaker

Jeanetta Bryant is a dynamic and compassionate leader in the special needs community. With over 10 years of experience in the industry and 3 years with Abilities Workshop, Inc., she has dedicated her career to restoring hope and encouragement to families with children who have special needs.
Her journey into this field began when her daughter was diagnosed with a medical condition. Over the last decade, Jeanetta has witnessed her child defy the odds and overcome their diagnoses, inspiring her to become an advocate, author, and speaker. She has written books, developed learning apps, and founded a non-profit organization to provide resources and support to families in need.
Prior to starting her non-profit, Jeanetta had a diverse background in entrepreneurship and corporate sales, managing national accounts in a business-to-business environment. With a Bachelor's degree in Interdisciplinary Information Technology - Digital Media, she is skilled in programming, graphic design, advertising, and marketing.
Jeanetta is a dreamer who believes in hard work and never giving up on a project. She is known for her honesty, thoughtfulness, compassion, quick decision-making abilities, and her willingness to constantly learn and adapt to different audiences.
At Abilities Workshop, Inc, Jeanetta works with parents, pastors, and teachers to help children with special needs reach their full potential. She provides workshops, podcasts, live events, and publications to help families access the resources they need. The organization also participates in local resource fairs, events, and walks, and provides materials for other events.
In her personal life, Jeanetta is a big fan of chocolate, romantic comedies, and college football (Go Noles!). But her true pride and joy is her family - her husband Matt Bryant and their two children, Jackson and Lindsey. Together, they love making memories at theme parks and simply laughing and talking in the kitchen.
Overall, Jeanetta Bryant is a dedicated advocate for families with special needs and an inspiring leader in the community. She is committed to working together with others to provide support, resources, and hope to those who need it most.

"Grieving the Diagnosis: What a Professional Should Know"

Parents often are thrown into a diagnosis and a treatment plan or are searching for a treatment plan
straightaway, leaving very little time to cope with this life-changing new reality. This session will help
you identify the grieving process in the families that you work with and strategize about best communication practices, so you and they can cultivate a path forward. While every child and diagnosis is different, we have found there are some universal truths to help us better understand the family and child.

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Mary Holden Jones, MD, FAAP, ASDCS
Pediatrician

Dr. Jones is a pediatrician who lives in Birmingham, AL. She is also a coach for children to young adults. She specializes in helping her clients and their families live rich, full and rewarding lives with autism. Dr. Jones is a wife and mother of 5. Both her husband and one of her children live with autism.


"Implicit Bias and How It Contributes to Delayed Diagnosis of Autism in Black and Other Minority
Youths”

This session will discuss clinician bias in diagnosis of autism in black and other ethnic groups and how this
contributes to delayed diagnosis and access to early intervention and other therapies compared to their white
counterparts. We will also discuss bias in the educational system and how black children can be given
“negative” diagnoses such as conduct disorder before autism is considered. This also contributes to delayed
diagnosis and access to educational interventions and services such as IEP’s. The presenter will also discuss
ways that parents can advocate for their children in the clinical setting and the school setting.

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Quatiba Davis M.Ed., BCBA,LABA
Chief Clinical Officer, BCBA, - ABA Centers of Florida/America/New Jersey/Tennessee/Texas/Georgia

Ms. Quatiba Davis is a distinguished Board-Certified Behavior Analyst with a remarkable career trajectory characterized by leadership, innovation, and a steadfast commitment to enhancing the lives of individuals and families through Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). She exemplifies her dedication to the field of ABA with a visionary approach that includes a comprehensive strategy for professional development, client support, and community engagement.


"Autism and the Classroom”

Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects individuals in various ways, making it important for
clinicians to have a clear understanding of how to support students with autism in the classroom.
Come learn with me about ways to effectively include individuals with autism and their families into the
classroom!

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Dr. Michael Cummings, MD
Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

As a leading practitioner in the child and adolescent psychiatry autism space, Dr. Cummings has impacted many roles and institutions in his 20+ year career. In that time, he has developed a focus and dedication to those affected by intellectual and developmental disabilities, solving challenges faced by individuals on the autism spectrum, and their families. He is passionate about developing and integrating systems of care, especially for individuals who are at high risk of avoidable hospitalization or incarceration. Dr. Michael Cummings holds multiple roles in the mental health industry in Western New York and across the state with institutions such as University at Buffalo, Erie County Medical Center (ECMC), and NYSTART.

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Janell Van Cleve MSEd, CAS
Clinical Directior, APIC Program-University of Buffalo

Janell Van Cleve is the Clinical Director of the University of Buffalo run APIC Program, where she supports the Medical Director in providing care to developmentally disabled individuals with a specialty in the autistic spectrum. Through APIC she has helped to create an innovative and unique model of mobile care to treat a vulnerable and highly overlooked population, and has provided direct clinical care to 3,000+ patients across New York State. She supports further impact in the industry through national consultation and training of mental health professionals, delivering clinical oversight to multiple staff and interns, and has helped acquire sustainable funding for APIC.

Diagnostic Overshadowing: What It Is and How to Avoid It in the ASD Population

ASD is not one condition. Rather, it is 100’s or even 1000’s of attributes that present themselves with similar characteristics, strengths and challenges. With autism now occurring in 1:36 children, the permutations of what an individual will experience are seemingly endless; making the adage of “once you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism”, entirely true. Layer in higher rates of medical and mental health conditions, environmental stressors, exposure to trauma, and family distress levels, and it is common for challenging behaviors to emerge. Without a clear grasp of the core origins – or root cause – of these behaviors, any medical, behavioral or psychiatric interventions are ineffective, and possibly even detrimental, to the individual and their families. This “diagnostic overshadowing” is especially challenging to the ASD population. Knowledge of why it occurs and how to avoid it is vital in achieving the mission of maximizing developmental trajectory.

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Beverly Brown, M.Ed.
Special Education, Alabama Institution of Deaf and Blind

Ms. Brown has been an employee of AIDB for 20 years. Ms. Brown resides in Talladega with her son, Richard, who is currently serving in the United States Marine Corp. She also has a daughter, Miss Bella Brown who resides in Birmingham, AL. Ms. Brown studied Visual Impairments at the University of Alabama in Huntsville. She has a Master’s degree in Deaf Education from George State University. She holds a Masters degree in Emotional and Behavior Disorders from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She also holds a Bachelor’s of Science from Auburn University in Speech Pathology and Audiology for Communication Disorders. She is here today to help both family members and educators learn new teaching strategies for students who are non-verbal and have behavior issues.

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Megan Spann, MSpEd, Ed.S.
Special Education, Alabama Institution of Deaf and Blind

Mrs. Megan Spann is Special Education teacher at The Helen Keller School of Alabama, teaching students with visual impairments. The Helen Keller School of Alabama is part of The Alabama Institute of the Deaf and Blind. She has been at AIDB, for 11 years and is teaching secondary school. She resides in Pell City, AL with her husband, Jonathan Spann and they have two children, Zach Spann of Troy, AL and Keighan Spann of Birmingham, AL. She enjoys three precious grandsons, Jones, John David and Jasper Spann of all Troy, AL.
Mrs. Spann has experience lecturing to groups about special education needs and possible strategies to help educators and families cope more effectively. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science from Troy State University, a Master’s of Special Education from Jacksonville State University, and an Education Specialist Degree in Educational Leadership from Liberty University in Virginia.

“Multi-Sensory Learning and the Autistic Student

The Alabama Institute of the Deaf and Blind, Helen Keller School of Alabama offers families of multi disabled students, specially designed instruction that aids in successful outcomes. Our facility consists of many special educators with different backgrounds of expertise and years of experience. Our presentation will help both families and educators learn about the many supports and resources available for students with Autism. It will offer assessment clarification, as well as, teaching strategies that help all students facing difficulty. This presentation can help educators and parents develop consistent schedules and one on one plans that help Autistic students become more social and happier in the classroom.
We will also offer continued support and availability for after the conference for educators or families that need contact support throughout their journey. We will offer transition options and knowledge of how to make transition years successful for their older students. Most importantly, this presentation will allow families to understand that there are many professionals that will advocate and seek continuing education. So, support in the years to come will be available and never ending.

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Brody Swift, MS, OTR/L
Occupational Therapist, Springbrook Autism Behavioral Health

Brody is a graduate from Evangel University where he obtained his Bachelor's Degree in Psychology. From there, Brody attended Cox College where he received his Master's in Occupational Therapy. Since becoming an Occupational Therapy practitioner, he has provided OT services in the fields of Home Healthcare, Inpatient Rehabilitation, and Behavioral Health. Brody currently works at Springbrook Behavioral Health, where he provides Occupational Therapy services to individuals 5-21 years old diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and occurring mental health diagnoses.

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Julie O'Connor, MS, OTR/L
Occupational Therapist, Springbrook Autism Behavioral Health

Julie is a graduate from D’Youville University where she obtained her Bachelor's Degree in Human of Occupation and minored in psychology. From there, she continued her education at D’Youville University where she received her Master's in Occupational Therapy. Since becoming an Occupational Therapy practitioner, she has provided OT services in the fields of school based pediatric inpatient/outpatient behavioral health and chemical dependency. Her main focus has been behavioral health, which she has been in for 9 years. Julie currently works at Springbrook Behavioral Health, where she provides Occupational Therapy services to individuals 5-21 years old diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and co-occuring mental health diagnoses. She is also the clinical unit director for our adolescents who are more independent. Julie is passionate about helping individuals with higher support needs, as her 7 year old son has Autism.

“Promoting Safety and Independence for Young Adults with Autism

Children with Autism often able to obtain services through school, community, and government programs. Once individuals with ASD age out of those programs, it can be difficult for them to find support. This session will teach families and care givers how to support young adults on the spectrum while promoting safety and independence. This session will offer tips on how to manage behaviors in the home, locate resources in your community, and increase independence through life skills.

EDUCATION ADVISORY COUNCIL

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Dr. James Ball, Ed.D., BCBA-D
President/CEO - JB Autism Consulting

Dr. James Ball, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral, is the President/Chief Executive Officer of JB Autism Consulting. He has been in the field of autism for over thirty-five years providing behavioral, educational, residential, and employment services to children and adults affected by autism. He provides private consultation to organizations, schools, and families regarding staff training, parent training, home support services, classroom design/support, functional behavior assessment and behavior management.

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Dr. Celine Saulnier, Ph.D. 
President, Atlanta Autism Consortium (AAC)

Dr. Saulnier obtained her doctorate in Clinical Psychology from the University of Connecticut. She trained and worked at the Yale Child Study Center’s Autism Program for nearly a decade before relocating to Emory University School of Medicine and the Marcus Autism Center in Atlanta, GA, where she directed a large-scale clinical research program from 2011 to 2018. In 2018, she opened her own company, Neurodevelopmental Assessment & Consulting Services, where she specializes in diagnostic assessment, as well as teaching and training for autism spectrum and related disorders. Dr. Saulnier has published numerous articles, she is an author on the Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scales, Third Edition, and she has written two books, Essentials of Autism Spectrum Disorders Evaluation and Assessment and Essentials of Adaptive Behavior Assessment of Neurodevelopmental Disorders.

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Chandra Mansell, RN
Assistant Director of Nursing, Springbrook Autism Behavioral Health

Chandra Mansell currently holds the position of Assistant Director of Nursing at Springbrook Behavioral Health in South Carolina. With a rich background exceeding ten years in healthcare, Chandra has cultivated a wealth of experience and knowledge in the industry.
A proud alumnus of the University of South Carolina, Chandra earned degrees in Public Health and Nursing, showcasing a deep commitment to the field. Further advancing this dedication, Chandra is poised to enhance her expertise by completing a second master's degree in the fall of 2024 at Wilkes University. This degree, an MSN specializing in Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, represents a significant milestone in their ongoing professional development.
Beyond professional responsibilities, Chandra is actively involved in community service and healthcare advocacy. This dedication is exemplified through a prominent leadership role as the Board President of the Upstate American Heart Association and the Board Chair President of the Good Shepherd Free Medical Clinic in Laurens, SC. Additionally, Chandra contributes significantly to various other boards where community engagement and health promotion/advocacy are pivotal.
In every aspect of professional practice, Chandra is committed to delivering exceptional patient care, both at Springbrook Behavioral Health and in broader healthcare initiatives. This commitment to excellence and community well-being positions Chandra as a respected figure in the field of nursing and healthcare leadership.

MAKE YOUR PLANS TO JOIN US AT THIS YEAR’S CONVERGE NATIONAL AUTISM CONFERENCE.

The National Converge Autism Summit is geared towards professionals in all fields relating to Autism.
However, we invite parents and students to attend as well. Attendees may include Licensed Social Workers, Licensed Independent Therapists, Certified Counselors, Teachers, Mental Health Workers, Occupational Therapists, Board Certified Behavioral Therapists, and Speech and Language Pathologists, and Nurses. Attendance is limited to 600.

Follow us on social media @SpringbrookBHS (Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn)

15% Early Bird Discount available until 2/29/24!
Use Promo Code:

earlybird24

 

Regular Professional Ticket: $299.00
with 15% discount: $254.15

Regular Parent Ticket: $199.00
with 15% discount: $169.15

Virtual Sessions

Virtual Professional Ticket - $125.00

Virtual Parent Ticket - $75.00

Summit Pricing
Vendor Pricing
Sponsor Pricing
Group Rates

FINANCIAL AID

Mecklenburg County, NC Residents may submit an application for financial assistance to First in Families.

There are First in Families assistance centers in each NC County, so please contact your individual center for assistance in NC outside of Mecklenburg County.
First In Families of North Carolina: Programs (fifnc.org)

info@fifnc.org
(919) 251-8368

DON’T FORGET TO DOWNLOAD THE CONFERENCE APP

The National Converge Autism Summit will be using an electronic check-in system. Attendees can utilize their smart phones to check in to the conference, have all conference information at your fingertips (session times, room locations, speaker information, etc.), and if you are a professional wishing to receive CEs, you can check into sessions and answer the required survey from the convenience of your phone!

Download the Whova App below.

Get our official conference app

For Blackberry or Windows Phone, 
Click here

For feature details, visit Whova
Converge Autism Location

Location

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Greenville Convention Center
1 Exposition Dr.
Greenville, SC 29601

GCC Map
Converge Autism Accommodations

ACCOMMODATIONS

Looking for accommodations near the convention center? We are pleased to partner with the following hotels in order to give our guests a discounted rate during the summit:

hampton inn

Hampton Inn by Hilton
255 Congaree Road
Greenville, SC 29607
(864) 516-2400

hilton

Hilton Greenville
45 West Orchard Park Drive
Greenville, SC 29615
(864) 232-4747

Or if you prefer a different location, click below to search a map of nearby hotels!

SPONSORSHIPS AND VENDORS

Interested in vending for Converge? Would you or your company like to be a sponsor for our summit? Contact us via the form below. If you are interested in vending or being a sponsor for the summit, please download the vendor/sponsorship packet below.

VENDOR BOOTH GIVEAWAY

This year at the National Converge Autism Conference on April 3rd and 4th, we will be giving out one (1) free vendor booth to someone who has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This is a fantastic opportunity to gain exposure as over 400 conference attendees are expected! If you would like to be entered into the booth giveaway, fill out the vendor packet provided in the link above and email the form along with your contact information, product/service information you wish to promote or sell, and supporting documentation of ASD diagnosis that is of public knowledge (DO NOT SEND PERSONAL MEDICAL RECORDS) to FREE VENDOR BOOTH GIVEAWAY. Vendor submissions can be for-profit and non-profit vendors. We will be drawing the winner on March 1, 2024. This opportunity is limited to vendors who have been diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum. Good luck on your entry, we look forward to seeing you there!

Sponsor Headers Website
Platinum sponsor
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VENDORS

converge autism family enrichment

Converge Autism Family Enrichment - CAFE

Each month, a team of our professionals will produce an informational video geared toward specific topics related to Autism Spectrum Disorder. Our goal is to help bridge the gap between our patients' stay with us and the transition back into the home environment. Also, we hope to empower families and our patients, and to provide tools that makes that transition successful. We encourage all family members and other natural support individuals to view these monthly presentations to become more in tune with how children and adolescents with autism relate and function in our world.

Look for our educational videos on the 2nd Saturday of each month. After you view the video, we will then give you the opportunity to ask questions specific to the presentation via email with each month’s presenter and the topic.

THIS MONTH'S Topic 

 

Setting Up Rewards Programs

 

This month features Springbrook's BCBA, Kevin Loeb, BCBA. After viewing the video below, you are welcome to submit any questions you may have regarding this month's topic to Kevin until the end of the month.

Submit questions to: cafe@springbrookbhs.com

Please put Family Enrichment Questions in the subject line of your email.

We hope you enjoy the video!

CONVERGE AUTISM RADIO

We invite you to listen to Springbrook's Converge Autism Radio, featuring viewpoints and insights about autism for parents and professionals who support children with autism every day. We host speakers and guests based on their expertise and experience in the field of autism, and we want this program to bring you fresh ideas, practical tips and renewed hope. Listen to our growing list of insightful episodes today!

ABOUT SPRINGBROOK

The Springbrook Autism Program grew out of three decades of experience in behavioral and mental health care. We founded the program after recognizing a need in our region for greater support and professional treatments and therapies for families struggling with the behaviors associated with autism.

Our staff strives to create a solid foundation for long-term wellbeing and success outside of the program. We emphasize evidence-based treatments and therapies, such as Occupational Therapy and Applied Behavior Analysis, that have far-reaching benefits beyond the classroom. All of our services are tailored to meet the needs of individual students and their families, and are provided with our client's dignity, respect, and confidentiality in mind.

CONTACT US

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