Transforming Schooling - Developing ASD Friendly Schools

The theme for the fourth Asia Pacific Autism Conference APAC15, from 9 to 11 September in Brisbane is Transforming Futures and schooling is one of the major streams.

The Transforming Schooling stream is filled with the latest findings from research, first hand experiences and innovative programs for the schooling years including Adolescence and High School, as well as presentations for educators, regulators and researchers in this area.

Dr Liz Pellicano from the UK will present on getting young autistic people and their families involved in educational decision making. She also presents in the Thursday morning plenary on Doing Autism Research Well. She is joined in Symposium 2 on the Wednesday by Professor Jacqueline Roberts, Chair in Autism at the Autism Centre of Excellence Griffith University, who asks what 'Makes Successful School work for students on the Spectrum?'

Dr Trevor Clark shares a snapshot of Aspect's new Education Research Trials and Evidence-Based Approach to the Education of Children with Autism and Prof Vicki Bitsika from Bond University will share details of regional research in the Autism Pedagogy Project.

QUT's Dr Beth Saggers will present on the Autism CRC's findings in the Australian Educational Needs Analysis while Associate Professor Kate Sofronoff shares the Secret Agent Society Whole of Class Program that aims to optimise social-emotional and academic learning outcomes for all students; and Autism Queensland's Dr Jill Ashburner will explain research findings on a framework to adapt mainstream schools to accommodate students with ASD.

For those musically minded, Kate Simpson compares song and spoken interventions on Engagement and Learning Outcomes for Children with ASD in one of the many afternoon concurrent sessions in the Schooling stream.

Rachel Dillion will present on Empowering Whole School Communities to Support Aboriginal Children with Autism, sharing inclusive practices through a Six Step model; Florence Williams will also present on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Children and helping those with ASD.

Robotics features in two presentations from Jay Hobbs – Social Clubs in Mainstream Schools as well as from Pearl Lock who will share experience of Using Socially Assistive Robotics to Enhance Social Skills Group Intervention for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Hear from Kirsten Harpley about Teaching Those on the Spectrum when You're on the Spectrum.

Educators will be interested to hear experiences from several states: Peter Walker's presentation on New Spaces for Students with Autism: the Voices of South Australian Special School Leaders and in Queensland; Roxanna Pearson on Autism Queensland Schools – an Innovative approach to education and therapy for children and teens on the Autism Spectrum. Bullying will also feature in presentation in Session 13 on Thursday.

Professional development for educators is the topic for both Julie McMillan's and Robert Conway's presentations in concurrent session 2 on Thursday; and concurrent session 9 that day includes "Listening to Student Voice" from Wendi Beamish, A Whole-School, Teacher Delivery approach from Michelle Wong and The role of the Environmental Context in Learning and Behavioural Challenges from Kenneth Poon.

Jointly hosted by Autism Queensland and the Australian Advisory Board on Autism Spectrum Disorders, the APAC15 program features clinicians, educators, researchers, people with ASD, parents and others involved in working with people on the spectrum for three days of expert learning.

More information on the program, including the concurrent sessions can be viewed on the APAC15 Program page.