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BYU Autism Workshop to Focus on Adolescence

Jan. 30 sessions will address challenges of the teen years for those with autism

Best Practices in Autism: Autism in Adolescence Workshop

Date: Friday, January 30

Time: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Location: BYU Conference Center

Cost: $10-105, with special pricing for students, parents, employees and online streaming

Sign Upce.byu.edu/cw/autism/

The changes and adjustments of adolescence are rarely easy. But for individuals with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families, change is even harder.

Best Practices in Autism: Autism in Adolescence is a one-day workshop to be held at the BYU Conference Center on January 30, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., emphasizing ways to cope with autism during adolescence.

Presenters at the workshop are from BYU, Utah State University, the University of Utah and Utah Valley University as well as from private practices serving individuals and families impacted by ASD. Sponsors include BYU, the BYU David O. McKay School of Education, Timpanogos Regional Hospital and BYU Continuing Education.

As youth transition into adolescence, their world becomes increasingly more social, which is particularly difficult for those with autism, said Terisa Gabrielsen, the workshop organizer. Gabrielson's reserach on autism detection was recently published in the journal Pediatrics

“They are left out because they do not have the social skills,” Gabrielsen said. “It hurts. A myth exists that people with autism don’t care about friends. Many people with autism, especially adolescents, really suffer from social isolation. Depression and suicidal thoughts are alarmingly common because of it.”

According to Gabrielsen, an individual is typically diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder in early childhood. Families use resources available to them, including child services, to help their child develop appropriate routines with schooling and home life. However routines and expectations are disrupted with the onset of adolescence.

“At adolescence everything starts all over,” Gabrielsen said. “There are dramatic changes in the social environment as well as dramatic changes in biology, all of which make adolescence much more difficult for someone with an autism spectrum disorder.”

This is the second year BYU has hosted this workshop on autism. New to the sechedule this year is a working lunch with social skills experts. At each table, a social skills professional will eat with workshop atendees while answering questions, sharing experiences and offering advice. Also new this year is a panel featuring individuals with autism and their family members who will discuss their strategies for surviving adolescence and transition to adulthood.

Registration for the conference is available online (ce.byu.edu/cw/autism/), by phone (877-221-6716) or in person at BYU’s Harman Continuing Education Building. For more information, visit ce.byu.edu/cw/autism/    

 

Writer: Lindsey Williams

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