APRIL 28-29, 2022 • Greenville, SC
Converge Has Moved To A New Date
After careful consideration regarding the health and safety of our attendees, employees, and guest speakers, we have made the difficult decision to postpone the 2021 Converge Autism Summit amid increased concerns and regulations regarding COVID-19, The new date is April 28-29,2022 at the Greenville Convention Center. We are delighted that our full lineup of A-list guest speakers graciously made arrangements to join us at this later date so that we can continue to provide a forum for one of the largest gatherings in the autism community and share information about what matters most to them.
Keynote speakers for the event include Temple Grandin, Ph.D., one of the most renowned names in autism, scientist and activist; Ron Suskind, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, bestselling author and the founder of Sidekicks, technology used to support those with autism and their families; and Peter Vermeulen, Ph.D., internationally respected autism researcher, founder of Autism in Context and author of more than 15 books on autism published in several countries around the world. Also speaking at the 2022 Converge Autism Summit are professionals of Youth Psychiatry, Occupational Therapy, Behavior Analysis, Special Education, Advocacy, and Family Therapy, including experts from Springbrook medical and therapy teams.
Attendees, vendors, and sponsors who have already paid for the event originally scheduled for May 2021 will have the option to transfer their ticket to attend the Converge Autism Summit in April 2022 or receive a refund.
Follow @SpringbrookBHS on Facebook and Twitter for news and updates on autism and the 2022 Converge Autism Summit.
About Springbrook Autism Behavioral Health
Autism Behavioral Health is a state-of-the-art campus and nationally renowned program for the treatment of autism in children and adolescents ages 5-21. We work with the entire spectrum of children, adolescents, teens and adults with autism, including patients at all developmental levels. We begin work with children at younger ages, using advanced, evidence-based autism therapy programs. Our dedicated staff is committed to autism programs and therapies that address the needs of the whole child beyond the diagnosis. We have been serving children with and their families at our campus in Traveler’s Rest, S.C., for over 30 years. Visit springbrookautismbehavioral.com for more information.
Administrator, Springbrook Autism Behavioral Health
You’re invited to attend the 4th 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. This year, we are proud to announce that we will have none other than autism’s most famous scientist, Temple Grandin. In addition, best-selling author, Ron Suskind will also be joining us. It would be our honor to host you at Converge 2022.
Follow us on Twitter and Instagram 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!
What are people saying about Converge?
7:00-8:00 – Registration/Refreshments
7:45-8:00 – Announcements
8:00-9:00 – Keynote I
Working in a system-Why can’t we get it right? — Dr. Brandon Clark, PsyD, BCBA
9:00-9:30 – Break/Networking/Visit Vendors
9:30-10:45 – Keynote II
Autism and Happiness: From Neurodiversity to Neuroharmony — Dr. Peter Vermeulen, PhD
10:45-12:00 – Keynote III
Life, Animated — Ron Suskind, Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist, Author
12:00-1:45 – Break/Vendors/Networking Lunch
12:30-1:30 – Lunch
12:30-1:45 – Meet Ron Suskind, Book Purchase and signing
1:45-3:00 – Keynote IV
Autism: Dispelling Myths — Dr. W. Matthew Fisher, MD
3:00-3:15 – Break/Networking/Visit Vendors
3:15-4:45 – Breakout Session
Professional Track: Dr. Peter Vermeulen, Phd — Autism as Context Blindness, Absolute Thinking in a Relative World
Parent Track:Carol A. Page, PhD, CCC-SLP, ATP Communication Device Selection and Implementation
Education Track: Dr. Matthew Fisher, MD, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist — How to Handle Behaviors in the Classroom
Day 2 Tentative
7:00-8:00 – Registration/Refreshments
7:45-8:00 – Announcements
8:00-9:15 – Keynote I
You Can’t Make Me: Proactive Strategies for Positive Behavioral Change — Dr. Jim Ball, Ed.D. BCBA-D
9:15-9:45 – Break/Networking/Visit Vendors
9:45-11:15 – Breakout Session
Professional Track:Toni Boucher — Invisible Autism: Effective Evaluation and Intervention for Girls and Women on the Spectrum
Parent Track: Natalie Rousseau Fouty, Music Therapist-Board Certified — Using Music at Home: Tools for Behavior Management from a Music Therapist
Education Track: Dr. Jim Ball, PhD — The Use of Video Modeling for Learners with Autism
11:15-1:00 – Break/Networking/Visit Vendors
11:45-12:45 – Lunch
1:00-2:00 – Techniques to Assist Children in Crisis
Dr. William Killion, Ph.D, BCBA
Dr. Peter Vermeulen, MSc, Ph.D
Dr. W. Matthew Fisher, MD
Brandon Clark, BCBA
2:00-3:30 – Keynote II
The Way I See It: A Personal Look at Autism and Asperger’s — Dr. Temple Grandin
Meet Temple Grandin — Book purchase and signing
The following are agencies we have applied for CEUs from and are pending approval. This list will be updated for the 2022 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.):
- National Board for Certified Counselors
2022 Converge Autism Conference has been approved by NBCC for NBCC credit. Springbrook BH is solely responsible for all aspects of the program. NBCC Approval No. SP-3874.
- S.C. Board of Examiners for Counselors,
Therapists, & Psycho-Educational Specialists
Credits will be calculated based on 1 contact hour = 1 clock hour spent in a learning situation.
- *Greenville County School District
(*Teachers attending can submit for credit through the
county’s normal process)
- SC Occupational Therapy Association
- 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 CEUs, 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 CEUs will be emailed after the conference has ended.
Dr. Temple Grandin
Scientist, Autism Advocate, Author, Speaker
Dr. Temple Grandin obtained her B.A. at Franklin Pierce College in 1970. In 1975 she earned her M.S. in Animal Science at Arizona State University for her work on the behavior of cattle in different squeeze chutes. Dr. Grandin was awarded her Ph.D in Animal Science from the University of Illinois in 1989 and is currently a Professor at Colorado State University. Temple’s achievements are remarkable because she was an autistic child. At age two she had no speech and all the signs of severe autism. Through intensive speech therapy and with mentoring by her high school science teacher and her aunt, Temple persevered and was motivated to study and pursue a career as a scientist and livestock equipment designer. Dr. Grandin is a past member of the board of directors of the Autism Society of America. She lectures to parents and teachers throughout the U.S. on her experiences with autism. Articles and interviews have appeared in the New York Times, People, Time, National Public Radio, 20/20, The View, and the BBC. She was also honored in Time Magazines 2010 “The 100 Most Influential People in the World.”
The Way I See It: A Personal Look at Autism and Asperger’s
When I was two and a half years old, I was enrolled in intensive speech therapy. There was a great emphasis on learning how to wait and take turns. When I was in elementary school, my mother encouraged my ability in art and I learned to draw many different things. This broadened my art skills away from drawing the same horse head over and over. In my generation, all children were taught manners and other skills, such as learning how to save money. These were essential skills. I had many wonderful teachers and mentors who helped me become a more motivated student and develop work skills. Loud sounds, such as the school bell, hurt my ears. Sensory problems are variable. Sometimes a child can learn to tolerate a loud sound if they can control it by turning it on and off.
- • The importance of early educational intervention and tips on teaching very young children.
- • The importance of developing a child's strength.
- • Understanding sensory problems in autism.
Pulitzer Prize-Winning Journalist, Author, Speaker
One of America’s most treasured journalists, best-selling author Ron Suskind brings a Renaissance man’s breadth of knowledge and experiences to the speaking stage. His keynotes and mainstage conversations with notable leaders in the financial world draw upon a career as a Pulitzer-Prize-winning Wall Street Journal reporter. Combining a remarkable ability to simplify complex and high-level subject matter with a gift for engaging, entertaining and genuine rapport with audiences, Suskind’s presentations are a showcase for one of the most talented storytellers of our time. As an author and journalist, Ron Suskind has chronicled the financial world for more than 25 years, covering the last three presidencies, the inner workings of Wall Street, and the ways in which financial decisions and government actions drive economies and shape everyday lives. During that time, he has gained the acclaim and trust of Wall Street and Beltway insiders. He is the author of six best-selling books, including Confidence Men—considered the definitive work on the Obama presidency and the 2008 financial crisis—and The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House and the Education of Paul O’Neil. Currently, he serves as the co-host of Freak Out and Carry On, a WBUR podcast that addresses the urgent political issues of our time through a historical lens.
Suskind's works are frequently characterized by his passion for giving a voice to the voiceless. This is evident in his most recent best-seller, Life, Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes and Autism, which was adapted into an Academy Award-nominated documentary and recently won three News and Documentary Emmy’s. Life, Animated tells the story of his youngest son, Owen, who, after being diagnosed with autism, found a way to reengage with the world around him. Seizing upon Owen’s love of animated Disney movies, the Suskind family re-enacted the films with him, pioneering a now-widely acknowledged method of emulative communication known as Affinity Therapy.
When not writing and speaking, Ron Suskind is a Senior Fellow at Harvard’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, where he serves as a lecturer on narrative and justice. He is also the Founder and CEO of Sidekicks for Autism, which provides a free education app that helps parents deeply connect and communicate with their autistic children. Suskind holds an MA from Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism.
Appealing to both corporate audiences and the education community, Ron Suskind’s keynotes artfully blend monologue with reportage, providing insightful analysis on everything from ethics and leadership to the rise and fall of the U.S. economy to our current political landscape. He also works with clients to creatively and collaboratively customize content to the themes and messages of an event. As one investor forum member commented, “Ron Suskind’s passionate delivery had the audience drawn in from the first word. He is an intelligent, knowledgeable, and extremely dynamic speaker.”
Life, Animated: A Tale of Autism & Hidden Potential
Ron Suskind delves deeper into Affinity Therapy, the unique method of emulative communication that the Suskinds developed to help Owen, their youngest son, emerge from the shadows of autism. Owen, despite limited speech, memorized fifty animated Disney movies. Throw him a line; he’d throw back the next one. When the Suskinds realized this, they began speaking in Disney dialogue, turning their house into a stage set where they would play out scenes. Over the years, their son’s speech returned. What’s the lesson? Listen to the patient and let them guide you. Ron focuses on the perspectives of both the caregiver and the patient, addressing the importance of a shared language of imagination and demonstrating how myth, fable and legend still remain humanity’s best pathway to healing.
- • Present the breakthrough Ideas and Therapies that can be used as a pathway to communication.
- • Provide insight in the struggles a family faces when they have a child with autism with communication difficulties as presented in his bestselling book and award winning Disney film, “Life, Unanimated.”
- • Illustrate a model of how utilizing a child’s strong interests can create successful solutions to increasing their communication skills.
Dr. Brandon Clark, PsyD
Board Certified Behavioral Analyst
Brandon Clark is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. He is the clinical lead for the Springbrook Acute Autism Behavioral Program and provides behavior analytic services such as functional behavior assessments, behavior intervention plans, staff training, and autism evaluations. He has a doctorate degree in psychology with an emphasis in industrial/organizational theory. He enjoys implementing behavior strategies to improve system based processes and make organizational advancements.
Working in a system-Why can’t we get it right?
This session focuses on the levers to behavior change and emphasizes the barriers to implementing educational and therapeutic interventions from an interdisciplinary perspective. Solutions for these barriers are discussed and recommendations are made to address these barriers when collaborating with other professionals.
- • Identify behavioral strategies for overcoming obstacles to collaborative interventions
- • Identify barriers to educational and therapeutic interventions when working with a team
- • Identify why change is difficult for professionals
Dr. Matthew Fisher, MD
Child & Adolescent Psychiatry
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 Medical leader of SpringBrook Autism’s 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.
Autism: Dispelling Myths
This presentation will teach professionals, parents, and educators about typical health, environmental, and behavioral myths that are common in the Autism population. Information challenging these myths along with tools on how to effectively deal with a person on the Autism spectrum will be presented from a psychiatrist’s perspective.
- • The participant will be able to identify common underlying needs a person on the Autism spectrum has from a social perspective.
- • The participant will be able to identify potential health factors that could cause aggression or anxiety in a person with Autism.
- • The participant will be able to identify common jobs and hands on activity a person on the Autism spectrum can accomplish in the community.
Dr. Peter Vermeulen, MSc, PhD
Author, Consultant, Speaker
Dr. Vermeulen has an MSc and PhD in Psychology and Educational Sciences and has worked with people with ASD and their families for more than 30 years. He is the founder of “Autism in Context”, where autism is understood in context, and has written more than 15 books and many articles on autism that have been published in several countries around the world. Dr. Vermeulen is also the Senior lecturer at Autisme Centraal, a training and education center for autism spectrum disorders, and is an internationally respected lecturer/trainer, presenting all over Europe and beyond.
Autism and Happiness: From Neurodiversity to Neuroharmony
With more than 10 scientific articles per day, autism (as synonym for autism spectrum disorder) is just about the most studied condition in the world. However, all the research and all the information about how different, specific and unique autism is, has made us forget that people with autism are not only different, but that they have much more in common with all the other people than we think, especially when it comes to basic needs such as happiness. Accepting neurodiversity is fine, but it emphasizes the differences between people. While it is a big step towards more acceptance of autism, it is only the first step in our commitment to a better world and more well-being for people with autism. We should also focus on what connects people with autism with the rest of the human species: the pursuit of happiness. Happiness has received little attention in the field of autism spectrum disorders. Outcome and effect studies, for instance, rarely take emotional well-being as a desired outcome. And when the focus is on well-being, it is often from a negative perspective, namely the lack of well-being and quality of life in autism. It is time to take a U-turn in our approach and change from an exclusive focus on what makes autism so different and from a negative, clinical and medical approach of happiness in people with autism (lack of distress) towards a shared and positive focus (we all want to be happy). In other words: let’s move from neurodiversity to neuroharmony.
- •Understanding that people with autism, although being differently wired in their brain, have the same needs as everyone, the most fundamental one: well-being.
- • Knowing that well-being is more than having good feelings and that well-being or happiness involves both hedonic (a pleasant life) and eudemonic aspects (a meaningful life).
- •Identifying strategies to increase both the hedonic as the eudemonic aspects of well-being of people with autism.
- •Taking a positive psychology perspective in the approach of autism, i.e. focusing on well-being rather than the lack of it.
- •Reflecting on the extent to which your own practice (teaching, therapy, . . .) focuses on positive strategies aiming at more well-being for your clients/students with autism.
Dr. James Ball, Ed.D., BCBA-D
Consultant, Author, Speaker
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 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: Proactive Strategies for Positive Behavioral Change
This presentation will discuss the 7 evidence based strategies, described in the book, “Early Intervention: Real Life Questions; Real Life Answers,” authored by the presenter, that have been proven the most effective in teaching students and adults with an autism spectrum disorder. It will focus on teaching of specific skills, reducing challenging behaviors, and building an effective program as outlined in the book, “You Can’t Make Me: Proactive Strategies for Positive Behavioral Change.” It will guide the participant, step by step, through the process of implementing these 7 evidence based strategies in a school based or adult services program. Real life examples will be used. Modifications will be explored that allow this particular program to be effective with students significantly challenged with autism, as well as those students with Aspergers Syndrome. Because of the nature of the presentation, a question and answer period will be provided.
- Goal: Understanding systematic techniques for teaching students on the autism spectrum.
- •Participants will be able to identify 3 reinforcement techniques to assist an individual on the autism spectrum in the learning process.
- •Participants will be able to implement 3 specific teaching techniques that will assist an individual on the autism spectrum in the learning process.
- •Participants will be able to design an individualized teaching program that will assist an individual on the autism spectrum in the learning process.
Speaker, Author, Consultant
Toni Boucher started working with individuals on the autism spectrum over 30 years ago as a foster care and emergency respite provider after graduating with her BSW. As the director of the CARE Clinic where she provided autism evaluations and determined eligibility for the The South Carolina Department of Disabilities and Special Needs- Autism Division, she discovered the need for further research and information about females on the spectrum. Her book Autism Translated is the result of the wisdom and insights her clients have shared with her throughout these years. Today Toni is a speaker, writer and consultant. She runs numerous social groups and programs for teens and adults on the spectrum.
Invisible Autism: Effective Evaluation and Intervention for Girls and Women on the Spectrum
This presentation will address the specific challenges professionals face in identifying and treating females on the autism spectrum. Screening tools and numerous case examples of how females meet diagnostic criteria in comparison to their male counterparts will be provided as well as guidelines to identify co-occuring conditions that may also need to be addressed in order for females on the spectrum to reach their full potential. Actionable strategies and interventions tested and recommended by women on the spectrum will be discussed and plenty of time will be available to answer questions.
- •Participants will learn to identify prevalent female characteristics of autism to improve the diagnostic process especially when working with highly verbal/atypical individuals.
- •Participants will be able to identify the most common comorbid conditions associated with females on the spectrum.
- •Participants will be able to identify potential treatment options to explore with females on the spectrum to address their unique circumstances and needs.
Natalie Rousseau Fouty, MT-BC
Music Therapist, Speaker
Natalie Rousseau Fouty is a board-certified music therapist with over ten years of experience in the field. Currently serving as the Executive Director for Key Changes Therapy Services, Inc., her background includes working with children and adults with a wide array of medical and mental health diagnoses. Natalie’s passion lies in making music an accessible medium of growth for all who may benefit.
Using Music at Home: Tools for Behavior Management from a Music Therapist
Music is a powerful force in life that most of us are drawn to. Explore how to use music as a tool for at-home behavior management from a board-certified music therapist. You will learn easy to implement music experiences that will help both you and your loved one to navigate difficult behavioral situations, practice relaxation and coping skills, and facilitate appropriate expression of emotions.
- •Participants will be able to differentiate between the therapeutic and recreational usage of music.
- •Participants will be able to identify two music experiences to assist their child in at-home behavior management
- •Participants will be able to identify music types that their child may benefit from utilizing.
- •Participants will be able to identify the difference between music therapists and other music professionals.
Carol Page, PhD, CCC-SLP, ATP
Director of SCATP, Trainer, Speaker
Carol A. Page, PhD, CCC-SLP, ATP is the Director of the South Carolina Assistive Technology Program (SCATP) at the USC School of Medicine, a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, Center for Disability Resources, Department of Pediatrics. She received her PhD degree in speech-language pathology from the University of South Carolina and her assistive technology professional certification from RESNA. Carol provides trainings at a local, state, national and international level on assistive technology for persons with disabilities of all ages, their caregivers and professionals who serve them. Training topics include augmentative and alternative communication, software for reading comprehension and writing, computer access and a variety of other resources.
Communication Device Selection and Implementation
Many children with autism begin speaking late, very little or not at all. One of the issues that children who are nonverbal face is the frustration of having a lot to communicate and no way to verbally express it. Identifying and acquiring an appropriate communication device is just the start. Even with communication systems, children who are nonverbal miss a lot of language opportunities compared to their verbal peers. What can adults do to bridge the gap? It does require learning new skills, but it doesn’t require additional therapy time. A child’s success depends a lot on what happens outside of the therapy room during natural, everyday routines.
- •List basic steps for a communication device evaluation.
- •List two or more funding sources for a communication device.
- •List two or more ways to increase language opportunities.
- •List two intervention strategies for children who are nonverbal.
Make Your Plans To Join Us at this year’s Converge National Autism Conference.
Converge 2022 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.
Tickets now on sale!
Follow us on social media @SpringbrookBHS (Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook)
Parents and Families in need of financial aid to attend the conference are encouraged to contact the Autism Family Education Fund and apply for a scholarship.
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.
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 CEUs, you can check into sessions and answer the required survey from the convenience of your phone! Download the Whova App below.
The Greenville Convention Center (formerly the TD Convention Center) will be hosting the 2021 Converge National Autism Summit. They are located near downtown Greenville at 1 Exposition Dr., Greenville, SC 29601.
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:
– Hyatt Place – Haywood Mall Area
40 W Orchard Park Dr., Greenville, SC 29615
Book a room!
– Comfort Inn – Haywood Mall Area
246 Congaree Road, Greenville, SC 29607
Please call (864)288-1200 and ask for the National Converge Autism room rate when booking your room.
Or if you prefer a different location, click below to search a map of nearby hotels!
2022 Sponsorships and Vendors
Interested in vending for Converge 2022? 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 28-29, 2022 , 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, 2022. 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!
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 well-being 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.