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Workshop Offerings

Drs. Aspy and Grossman and members of the Ziggurat Group present internationally on autism spectrum disorder (ASD).  We offer professional training on a variety of topics related to assessment and intervention of ASD.  Below are some of our offerings. We are able to cater a workshop to meet your needs. Please contact us if you have questions or wish to arrange a workshop.

The Ziggurat Model

The Ziggurat Model is a guide for designing comprehensive behavior interventions for individuals of all ages with autism spectrum disorders. The Model has been adopted at the district-wide and state-wide levels. The Ziggurat approach centers on a five level system, structured in a hierarchy. Each level represents an area that must be addressed in order for an intervention plan to be comprehensive. The premise of the Ziggurat Model is that underlying needs and characteristics related to the autism spectrum must be addressed.

Workshops on the Ziggurat Model range from one to multiple days. Training focuses on learning how to use the Ziggurat Model. Training incorporates discussion of characteristics of autism spectrum disorders as well as the latest research based interventions. Click link to download Ziggurat Model Training Outline.

Functional Behavior Assessment Using the Ziggurat Model

Learn about a revolutionary twist on the FBA that will make a real difference. Addressing the behavior problems of students with ASD is one of the greatest challenges that schools face.  Individuals with ASD often experience behavioral difficulties that have widespread impact on their lives.  Without appropriate treatment and support, behavior difficulties may be present across the lifespan.  Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA) is an important step in designing effective interventions.  While the FBA process is helpful in addressing significant behavior challenges, it is incomplete.  In order to be effective, one must view behavior challenges in the context of the underlying autism spectrum disorder.  This session provides an in-depth application of the Ziggurat Model to address rages, meltdowns, and difficult behaviors.  Participants will learn to recognize precursors of meltdowns and to address problem behaviors comprehensively using the Ziggurat Model.

Transdisciplinary Autism Assessment

These workshops teach a state-of-the-art team approach to ASD assessment. The goal of this training sequence is to provide participants with a solid foundation for conceptualizing and assessing ASD and working as a transdisciplinary team.  The workshop emphasizes the team process and challenges common ineffective practices.  Through the training, professionals build their skills for working together as a team while strengthening knowledge in their specialty areas.

Because the goal of assessment extends beyond diagnosis/identification, the training emphasizes the development of meaningful and realistic recommendations.  Participants also learn how to sensitively and effectively communicate their findings to parents and staff.

ASD is not a Boys Club: Identifying and Serving Females with ASD

There are more males than females with ASD; however the imbalance may be exaggerated.  The description of ASD, and consequently the tools used to identify ASD, are based on what ASD looks like in males.  As a result, females with ASD are often not referred or are misidentified – they fall through the cracks. Unidentified/misidentified, and poorly served, their path is a difficult one.  One disorder may cascade into others, such as anxiety and depression.  This webinar will provide strategies and solutions for better identifying and serving females with ASD.

Catatonia and Autism Spectrum Disorder – Hidden in Plain Sight

Catatonia is a disorder affecting speech, movement, and behavior.  Researchers estimate that between 12 to 18 percent of adolescents and young adults with ASD have catatonia (Wing & Shah, 2000).  A groundbreaking and long needed change has occurred with the inclusion of catatonia as a specifier for ASD in the DSM-5.  Although relatively common in ASD, this profound condition most often goes unrecognized.  This session will discuss characteristics of catatonia and strategies for treatment.

Developing Meaningful Recommendations for Individuals with ASD

This session provides guidance in the development of assessment recommendations that are both meaningful and effective for individuals with ASD. Emphasis is placed on individualizing and contextualizing – avoiding boilerplate recommendations that are seldom helpful and often ignored.

Developing IEP’s That Work

The IEP objective is the pathway to success for students with special needs.  When the IEP objectives fall short of addressing all areas of need, the stakeholders suffer.  Development of poor IEPs results in missed opportunities for students and places districts in peril of legal recourse.  Developing targeted IEP objectives requires quality evaluation and collaboration.  This presentation reviews steps for avoiding common pitfalls of IEP objective planning including “canned” and ignored programming goals and objectives.

Masked and Misunderstood: High Functioning Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder

The strengths of those with high functioning ASD are often so apparent that it is difficult to see their challenges. This is a burden for many bright individuals with ASD who are confronted with statements such as, “He can do if he tries” or “She may have ASD but she does not need any services.” Unfortunately, these views are not uncommon and highlight that the significant needs of these individuals may be hidden at first glance. To add to the picture, failure to identify and support individuals with high functioning ASD often results in the emergence of behavioral and/or emotional concerns. Often, these individuals are identified for these concerns rather than their underlying ASD.  Seeing the underlying needs is the first step in addressing them.  This webinar will provide solutions and strategies for better identifying and serving high functioning individuals with ASD.  The impact of the DSM-5 of identification of ASD across the spectrum will be discussed.

Behavior Intervention Plans that Work for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Individuals with ASD have unique behavioral needs and many require specialized behavior intervention plans (BIP). This session provides participants with concrete strategies for developing effective behavior intervention plans that emphasize addressing the underlying core characteristics of ASD.

The DSM-5 and Autism Spectrum Disorder

This workshop provides an in-depth discussion of the changes in the DSM and the new Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder. Strategies for accurate assessment of characteristics and the relationship between DSM and IDEA will be discussed. The historic inclusion of catatonia as a specifier is emphasized.

Myths and Realities of Autism Spectrum Disorder Assessment

Accurate evaluation, identification, and diagnosis of ASD are critical to students receiving appropriate services and supports. There are a number of inaccurate beliefs and practices that well-meaning professionals and parents hold to be true. This session will explore common myths associated will all aspects of evaluation, identification, and diagnosis of individuals with ASD.

Don’t Cut Out the Middleman: The Role of the Autism Liaison for Students and Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder

High functioning individuals with ASD sometimes find themselves in situations – social conflicts, disciplinary interactions – where they are misunderstood by others, even those who are well meaning. Anxiety soars and the ability to communicate concerns and needs plummets. An ASD liaison who knows the individual with ASD well and who is able to facilitate communication makes the difference between resolution/growth and a disaster.

Preparing for Transition Doesn’t Start in High School – Transition Strategies Preschool and Beyond for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Outcomes for individuals with ASD are not ideal.  Quality transition assessment and comprehensive planning are required for success.  This session will review legal requirements for transition planning and provide guidance on quality assessment and comprehensive planning.

Talk to Me – Building Skills for Real Conversations

Conversation skills are critical for life. Too often, training stops short of developing mastery of these critical skills. As a result, individuals with ASD may perform well during role-plays but lack the skills to hold real conversations. This session provides strategies for developing mastery of skills for real conversations.

Creative Visual Supports for Teaching Social Understanding

Individuals with ASD require not only instruction in skills but also instruction in understanding the “why” that underlies those skills. This session provides concrete easy-to-use visual supports to help to teach social understanding to individuals with ASD.

Assisting Students with ASD During Emergencies in the School Setting

Students with ASD often have difficulty adjusting to changes in routine and regulating their emotions which makes emergencies that occur in school particularly challenging. This session provides school staff with strategies for supporting students with ASD during emergencies.




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