Updated as of 15 March 2017. Subject to changes at the organiser's discretion

Pre Congress Learning Journeys
29 May 2017 (Monday) 9am - 4pm

Learning Journeys give you an opportunity to observe how individuals with autism can participate more successfully in their various contexts. Through the provision of the right autism strategies and supports, persons with autism can access learning, work and social activities more successfully.

Choose 2 Learning Journeys from the following upon successful registration.

In this Learning Journey you will be introduced to the individual strengths and abilities of a small group of children at EIP level. During the session you will be guided to look at particular support strategies aimed at helping children to engage, participate, communicate and socially interact with each other. A post-observation reflection session will aim to make sense of what was observed and lead you to further learning sessions during the Congress session.

Learning Tour Host and Facilitators:
Wee Weitang, Acting Head of Programme
Khoo Jit Kuan, Senior Occupational Therapist
Wong Suet Leng, Senior Speech and Language Therapist


In this Learning Journey you will be introduced to a group of students participating in a variety of academic and non-academic curriculum learning activities. During the observation of scheduled activities you will be guided to look at particular support strategies aimed at helping students to learn with understanding, communicate, problem-solve and achieve independence. A post-observation reflection session will aim to make sense of what was observed and lead you to further learning sessions during the Congress session.

Learning Tour Host and Facilitators:
Patricia Cheng, Vice Principal

Eden School

Experience how students in Pathlight School can learn an academic curriculum with the assistance of specific autism-friendly support strategies. During the observation you will be guided to look at how educators engage students with autism in active learning. A post-observation reflection session will aim to make sense of what was observed and lead you to further learning sessions during the Congress session.

Learning Tour Host and Facilitators:
Loy Sheau Mei, Senior Vice Principal

Pathlight School

How do people with autism succeed in the workplace? In this learning journey, you will see how structures and supports are used in coaching hard and soft skills in the context of employment. A post-observation reflection and sharing session will aim to make sense of what was observed and lead you to further learning sessions during the Congress session.

Learning Tour Host and Facilitators:
Wong Yeok Lin, Technical Manager and Senior Psychologist
Loh Wei Yang, Manager, Special Projects

Employability and Employment Centre

In this Learning Journey you will experience how young adults actively participate in a variety of skills building and leisure activities through individualised programming that encourages choice-making and self-determination. During the observation you will be guided to look at particular support strategies aimed at building capacities and growing independence. A post-observation reflection session will aim to make sense of what was observed and lead you to further learning sessions during the Congress session.

Learning Tour Host and Facilitators:
Paula Teo, Senior Manager, Programmes & Services
Sarayanan s/o Mariappa, Head of Centre

Eden Centre for Adults

2-Day Conference
30 and 31 May 2017 (Tuesday & Wednesday)

Learn from more than twenty prominent speakers from Singapore and all over the world (USA, Australia, Israel, United Kingdom) on the latest developments in autism across a range of topics including:

Plenary Sessions

Laura Klinger, USA 9.30am - 10.45am

Watch this space for more information.

Richard Mills, UK 11.30am - 12.30pm

The presentation will draw on findings from international research and practice to explore real life and economic issues across the lifespan to draw general conclusions about autism in adulthood. It will discuss the growth of awareness, including the impact of the law for example the Autism Act 2009, the growing influence of the autism self-advocacy movement on the autism narrative, the continuing challenge of employment, the overlap with issues related to health and justice, autism and parenting and the effects on the family and wider society. Time will also be spent discussing non-speaking autistic adults and their specific need for understanding, support and advocacy.

Emily Rubin, USA 9.30am - 10.45am

Research in the neuroscience of social emotional engagement fosters our ability to support children with autism while supporting a universal design for learning for all students. When we gain knowledge of a social and emotional scope and sequence of skills and how to facilitate growth in these domains, we create a positive climate that is focused on the success of every student. By fostering emotional engagement, presenting information in multiple ways, and promoting communication, we are providing the “fuel” for our children to learn and grow.

Tom Tutton, Australia 11.30am - 12.30pm

PBS has the capacity to transform the lives of people when there is challenging behaviour. For PBS to be truly effective in any organisation, it needs to operate within a comprehensive framework that includes written policy, attitudes & ways of thinking, as well as systems for supporting all staff to understand, implement and continually develop evidence-based PBS strategies. This presentation will overview a multi-level PBS framework using examples to demonstrate what good PBS process and practice should look like at every level.

Day 1 Workshop 1 (1.30pm - 3.00pm)

Choose one to attend.

Caroline Mills, Australia

Sensory processing difficulties are common in those on the autism spectrum and can have a significant impact on their ability to function successfully within the environment. Environmental considerations and modifications can be used to support participation and success. This presentation will give an evidence based overview as well as important principles and strategies to guide participants in creating sensory friendly environments for those on the spectrum.

Iliana Magiati, Singapore

This workshop, primarily aimed at clinicians and practitioners working with individuals on the autism spectrum, will explore what we currently know about how people on the autism spectrum experience and express anxiety. Is it similar or different to anxiety as experienced by neurotypical individuals? How can we identify if a person with ASD is anxious and make sense of their anxiety? Finally, we will explore how we can support individuals with ASD who also experience anxiety using best available evidence.

Joan McKenna Kerr, Australia

Autism is a condition which, for many people, will require varying degrees of support across their lifetime. This presentation will discuss the key principles involved in effectively supporting the individual with Autism from early childhood, through the school years into adulthood. It will demonstrate that while the age of the person and their context may change, using best practice principles of support will maximise the individual’s success and their quality of life. The presentation will equip participants to identify the strengths of the person with Autism; as well as strategies to support areas of difficulty and enhance their wellbeing. It will draw on this framework to elaborate on best practice principles to support the individual with Autism across their lifespan.

Sharifah Mariam Aljunied, Singapore

Adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are at risk for anxiety difficulties and disorders. Clinic-based cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is effective; however, few published school-based CBT programs for youth with ASD exist. In this presentation, Dr Aljunied shares how the Facing Your Fears (FYF) CBT protocol was adapted for delivery within school settings by non-clinicians, with culturally appropriate adaptations. Methodology for design adaptation and implementation of the school-based FYF will be discussed. Initial results were promising for youth with ASD and anxiety, and showed that a highly effective clinical tool (CBT) can be made more accessible for ground-practitioners through carefully bridging of research-to-practice.

Michael Chapman, USA

This workshop will seek to define the concept of person centered planning for people with autism. We will look at the various areas of the individual’s life that one considers in a person-centered plan, and see how to involve the individual in the process of creating effective goals that are meaningful to the individual, their desires and needs. Most importantly, we will examine how person centered thinking is what really matters when it comes to affecting change in empowering people with autism to help direct their own lives.

Tal Vardi, Israel

Roim Rachok program provides young adults on the Autistic Spectrum an opportunity to enhance their unique strengths and consequently, enable them to become part of society in a meaningful way. Having run the programme for 4 years, there are now around 70 young adults working and performing different tasks successfully all around the country.

Day 1 Workshop 2 (3.30pm - 5.00pm)

Choose one to attend.

Christopher Cheok, Singapore

A career in the helping profession can be challenging and burnout is not uncommon. Professionals have to manage their careers, the challenges of their organization and also have to care for their clients and caregivers. Professionals too have to navigate their personal lives just like anyone else. This presentation will focus on building resilience, preventing burnout and identifying burnout in the helping profession.

Jacqueline Roberts, Australia

The number of children diagnosed with autism relative to the total population appears to have stabilised. However conservative prevalence estimates suggest that at least 1% of the population has autism. We also know that we are increasingly identifying children with autism earlier in life, which has implications for the type and delivery of early intervention. There is a plethora of well-promoted programs and interventions, making choosing and resourcing appropriate interventions for individual children and their families challenging. It is helpful for parents and professionals alike to know what is current good practice in the provision of early intervention to children with autism and their families. This presentation discusses the types of effective intervention and effective supports that we should be aware of in early intervention.

Magdalene Foo, Principal Social Worker, IMH, Singapore
Goh Tze Jui, Senior Psychologist, IMH, Singapore

Studies have shown that parents and caregivers of individuals with ASD experience more stress and poorer well-being than other parents or parents of children with other conditions. Come hear latest findings from a local study examining the effects of a parent support group for caregivers of children with ASD. Invaluable lessons learnt through working with the parents to support their children from the qualitative perspectives of the parents on this lifelong journey with a focus on coping will be shared.

Michael Chapman, USA

Leisure skills are frequently overlooked as a need for people with autism. Many parents and professionals assume that people with autism will discover their own leisure activities. Often, they will, but we find that with the right supports, they develop a fuller and richer array of leisure activities. In this session, we will explore ways to help develop those supports and create better leisure opportunities, where the individual is happier and more engaged in the activity.

Richard Mills, UK

To date, little that has been done to understand the specific characteristics of autistic cybercrime offenders in the form of profiling or pathways. This presentation of two studies done in the UK explores the awareness and attitudes of international law enforcement agencies with regard to the profiles of cyber offenders. It has been found that relatively few cyber offenders are in prison but a growing number are young people who are socially isolated and vulnerable by way of their unusual abilities in coding and malware development and hacking. Where such offenders are in prison they may be subject to severe punishment including lengthy sentences and extradition to foreign jurisdictions. We need to know why some IT gifted people get into trouble and others do not. This presentation also explores personality types in this group and pathways into cyber-offending to reduce vulnerability and risk and prevent law breaking. As part of this we are assessing for autism characteristics in these young people.

Trevor Clarke, Australia

Every child and adolescent should have access to an educational service appropriate to his or her learning needs, including the ‘twice-exceptional’ student on the autism spectrum who displays savant abilities. It is important that teachers identify the exceptional/savant abilities of students in their early years of schooling and differentiate their educational programs to include these special skills.

This presentation will outline a world-first differentiated educational program for autistic savants – the Savant Skill Curriculum (Clark, T.R., 2016. Exploring Giftedness and Autism: A study of a differentiated educational program for autistic savants. London. Routledge). The conceptual link of the differentiated program is made to the field of autism and gifted education and its application to the education of the savant. The Savant Skill Nomination screener to identify savant abilities will be introduced. Both gifted and autism education teaching strategies employed in the Savant Curriculum are outlined.

Day 2 Workshop 3 (1.30pm - 3.00pm)

Choose one to attend.

Caroline Mills, Australia

School teachers and school therapists both have important but different roles to play in enabling successful school performance for students on the autism spectrum. Collaboration between these two professionals is important and there are a range of enablers and barriers. This presentation will draw from current research and extensive practice experience in order to prepare participants for successful collaboration.

Emily Rubin, USA

The outcomes of the Social Emotional Engagement – Knowledge and Skills (SEE-KS) program will be introduced and linked to a universal design for learning framework (UDL). UDL ensures that we begin to consider how to foster social emotional engagement in multiple ways, present information in multiple ways, and promote student participation in different ways. These instructional elements are designed to ensure engagement in everyday activities at home and at school and to foster social emotional development. This session will introduce how SEE-KS can be used for to increase initiations, independence, and emotional investment across a range of settings (e.g., home, primary school, and secondary settings).

Laura Klinger, USA

Watch this space for more information.

Pathlight / E2C Alumni, Singapore

Come hear from our friends with autism who are currently attending Institutes of Higher Learning or the Employability and Employment Centre. They will share the different factors that have helped them along their journeys and the ongoing struggles they continue to experience in their lives.

Richard Mills, UK

There is an increasing awareness that there is an under recognition of autism in women and girls. The reasons for this are as yet unknown and likely to be complex. The presentation will discuss the current issues of autism and females in the UK and the findings from the EU funded study of autism in females ‘Autism in Pink’ (2011-2014). Although the research examined the prevalence of autism in females in the four countries the main focus was on how female autistic participants experienced life and how they approached life’s challenges.

Trevor Clarke, Australia

What do we mean by ‘twice-exceptional’ students on the autism spectrum? How do we identify these students and their abilities? How do teachers include ‘twice-exceptional’ students in educational programs today? Case-studies of several people on the autism spectrum who display exceptional abilities and who are achieving success in life today, will introduce the audience to this often misunderstood and under recognized area of autism. The paradox of ‘exceptional ability’ in relation to ‘disability’, in this case autism, is discussed and its implications for both gifted and autism education.

Day 2 Workshop 4 (3.30pm - 5.00pm)

Country Updates

The field of autism has progressed very significantly in the past few years. This presentation will discuss the recent developments in ideas and practice in relation to the autism scene in different countries namely USA, UK, Australia, Israel and Singapore.

USA Laura Klinger
UK Richard Mills
Israel Tal Vardi
Australia Trevor Clarke
Singapore Sung Min