Division News Article

Together we learn about Autism

January 28th, 2020

Photo above: Conference attendees at Regional Office in Barrhead

On January 23rd and 24th, approximately 40 parents and staff members gathered to view the 12th Annual Autism Conference by webcast. Organized by the Children’s Autism Services of Edmonton, the conference was held at the River Cree Resort and Casino. To attend in-person would cost $375 for parents and $425 for professionals. The conference was also available by webcast for groups at a cost of $500 and hosting it locally offered a substantial cost savings for participants.

Having attended previous conferences, Early Learning Principal Shirley Craig knew she needed to offer the two-day conference by webcast to her staff and parents. The Early Learning team set the wheels in motion by inviting selected parents and staff to attend one of two viewing locations—one at Regional Office in Barrhead and another at R. F. Staples Secondary School in Westlock.

The conference featured keynote speakers Dr. Stephen Shore, Dr. Jody Carrington, Terri Duncan, Dr. Amy Laurent, and Dr. Jacquelyn Fede. Break-out sessions were offered in the afternoons, featuring experts in the field of autism focusing on:

  • Classroom Based Strategies
  • Caregiving Strategies
  • Research Topics and Trends

Craig says, “We chose sessions that we knew parents wanted to learn more about. We want our parents to know we are a team on this journey with their sons and daughters. As Dr. Jody Carrington reminds us, through the words of Ram Dass—We are all here just walking each other home.”

Here are a few comments from the parents and staff members who attended.

This conference really helps us parents.

There was so much useful information for parents for not only autism but many developmental struggles with all children.

I’m am so thankful that I was able to attend the session without the commute to the city.

I loved the variety of topics and felt the whole conference was extremely informative.

Photo of conference attendees at R. F. Staples Secondary School