Profectum's Visionary Lecture Series—a free community learning event Learn More


Profectum's Visionary Lecture Series—a free community learning event

About this Conference

This conference aims to expand the scope of ASD intervention by exploring the common ground and complimentary relationship between DIR® and ABA approaches. At the heart of engaging autism is developing reciprocal relationships and communication between parent and child that paves the way for the future. DIR® introduced a major paradigm shift to intervention focused on the role of affect and relationships in development, emotional thinking and symbolic play in cognition, and intervention tailored to the individual differences in sensory processing and regulation in each child. ABA emphasizes the child’s capacity to learn new behavior as a function of its consequences and acquire skill sets that promote function in the real world, reducing behaviors that interfere with learning. Other methods also strive to improve outcomes. An objective of this conference is to initiate the dialogue needed to improve and enhance outcomes across a greater number of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. At Profectum, intervention focuses on building foundational competencies needed across the life span and a refreshing openness to exploring integrative models of intervention. As the importance of developmental approaches is recognized by clinical and evidence based research, this ground breaking conference opens new doors and innovative possibilities.

Learning Objectives

During this unique day of presentations on research, clinical and parent perspectives participants will learn about:
• Considering effective practices for improving developmental outcome in autism.
• Integrating developmental approaches and ABA programs.
• Evidence for joint attention and symbolic play improving outcomes in school settings with verbal and non-verbal children.
• Evidence for the DIR® Model improving child parent interactions and outcomes that impact diagnoses.
• The Unmet Challenge: Discovering barriers to progress and experiences to activate progress.
• Making decisions along the intervention path with parents.
• Clinical reasoning and intervention integrating a case presentation.
• Raising the bar of expectations as children transition into adulthood.

Ron Balamuth, PhD

About presenter

Connie Kasari, PhD

About presenter

Ricki Robinson, MD, MPH

About presenter

Richard Solomon, MD

About presenter

Serena Wieder, PhD

About presenter

Day 01 Oct 21
7:30am - 8:30pm

Registration Opens

8:30am - 9:30am

Welcome - Pathways to Progress: Essential Experiences to Advance Development | DIR® and the Foundational Capacities for Development (FCD)

Activating development for children on the spectrum requires models of intervention that embrace the complexity of each child’s individual trajectory and provide experiences that build the foundation for learning, competence, friendship and relationships to prepare for the future. Understanding the DIR® structure and the building blocks needed to move from skills to competencies can help close the gaps and barriers impeding development. Presentations of children with different profiles will focus on prioritizing goals and integrating related intervention approaches.

Presenters Serena Wieder
9:30am - 10:30am

Engaging Autism: Developmental Implications for Intervention

Engaging with others is often a key area of difficulty for children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Engagement encompasses several developmental skills including the ability to play with others, to share attention and affect, and to communicate with gesture and spoken language. This talk will focus on the application of targeted interventions for these core deficits of children with an ASD across the early developmental period with a distinction between children who are preverbal versus nonverbal. Developmental change will be highlighted with a particular focus on research directed toward underserved, under-represented and under-resourced children with autism, and interventions carried out in natural environments of home and schoo

Presenters Connie Kasari
10:30am - 10:45am


10:45am - 11:45am

Intensive Developmental Interventions for Young Children with Autism: The Evidence

Evidence from the NIMH multisite RCT study of the P.L.A.Y. Project, based on Greenspan and Wieder’s DIR® Model, support Intensive Developmental Interventions (IDI) . These are evidence-based practices for children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) that offer a distinct alternative to Intensive Behavioral Interventions (IBI). While individual IDI programs differ in some methodological details, they all focus on addressing the core deficit in autism namely impairments in social relating and communicating. IDI focuses on the foundational developmental capacities of social relating and communicating, strengthening parent-child relationships, and considering a child’s individual capacities in a comprehensive way. Whereas IBI is programmatic and adult directed, IDI is playful and child directed. Emerging findings and implications for practice and further research will be discussed.

Presenters Richard Solomon
11:45am - 12:45pm

Integrating ABA and Developmental Approaches

Effective use of applied behavior analysis in young children with ASD requires both a good understanding of the principles of ABA as well as knowledge of typical early childhood development. It is clearer than ever that collaboration across disciplines as well as across treatment approaches is necessary to achieve optimal outcomes in greater numbers of children with ASD.

           Including: Exploring Complimentary Approaches to ASD Intervention - Panel Discussion with Morning Speakers

12:45pm - 2:00pm

Lunch on Your Own

2:00pm - 4:00pm

The Dialogue Continues: Broadening the Scope of Intervention

2:00 pm – 3:30 pm | Clinical Case Study Presentation

This ground breaking conference for clinicians and parents explores forging a common ground and a new relationship between DIR® and ABA. A case dialogue with both DIR® and ABA clinicians will explore complementary strategies to overcoming the hurdles and challenges to forming reciprocal relationships between children and parents, the necessary foundation for developmental progress. This session will provide the practicing clinician and parents with an expanded perspective and armamentarium to both understand and treat ASD.

3:30 pm – 4:00 pm | Parent Panel: The Parent Perspective

A discussion of the challenges and priorities in identifying intervention approaches that meet the changing needs of their children and their families. Parent reflections on what worked most and what else was needed to guide the ongoing process of supporting development as children grow older. This session will highlight parent perspectives and insights from their journeys.

Presenters Ron Balamuth Gilbert Foley Sima Gerber Christie Virtue-Herman
4:00pm - 5:00pm

How to Create a Meaningful Life for Every Child

Every parent has hopes and dreams for their child. When a diagnosis of autism is received, parents often find these hopes and dreams shattered – yet individuals with ASD can live meaningful lives! In this presentation Dr. Ricki will help parents and professionals use FCD™/DIR® principles to understand and identify steps required to support a child with ASD develop the foundational capacities and skills he needs as he matures to help him realize his hopes and dreams. Inspiring cases will describe how to implement changes that will foster independence for individuals with ASD from childhood through adolescence to adulthood and how to match an educational program to meet the interests of a child with ASD to support movement up the developmental ladder

Presenters Ricki Robinson
5:00pm - 5:30pm

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