Penn State autism conference looks at 10 essential life goals

In addition to learning to succeed in school, people with autism must master the skills to function successfully in everyday life. That inspired Barbara T. Doyle to come up with 10 essential goals for a safe and productive life for those living with autism.

“It’s not just about success in elementary school and high school and college … but success as a human being,” said Doyle, a clinical consultant based in the Chicago area.

Doyle’s workshop on “Teaching Ten Important Lifetime Goals to People with Autism Spectrum Disorders of All Ages” is one of many topics that will be featured at Penn State’s 2012 National Autism Conference, July 30-Aug. 2 at The Penn Stater Conference Center Hotel on the University Park campus.

The list of essential goals, which Doyle created with her sister and fellow autism researcher Emily D. Iland, includes:

-- Knowing who to ask for help and how and when
-- Using only safe behavior
-- Caring for your body
-- Appropriate touching
-- Respecting property
-- Responding to YES or NO
-- Identifying and expressing feelings
-- Expressing empathy, sympathy and caring
-- Giving negative feedback
-- Dealing with the unexpected

“We can spend a lot of time teaching a lot of people with autism a lot of things, but we might miss these,” said Doyle. “It’s never too late to start, and it’s never too early to start.”

The four-day conference offers dozens of breakout sessions on topics including: language skills, managing challenging behaviors, planning emergency responses, sexual development, and bullying. The conference emphasizes evidence-based, research-validated educational interventions, and features autism experts, educators, advocates, and families living with autism.

Speakers include Roy Grinker, an anthropologist who has a daughter with autism. Grinker is the author of Unstrange Minds, a book that documents his global quest to discover why autism is more common today.

The conference is hosted by the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education; the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network; and Penn State’s College of Education and Continuing Education Office.

For more information, visit online.

Penn State Conferences plans and manages hundreds of programs each year which represent the diversity and strength of Penn State’s academic colleges and provide opportunities for individuals to learn about the latest scholarship, research and developments in their fields or participate in enriching learning experiences. Penn State Conferences is part of Penn State Outreach, which serves more than 5 million people each year, in all 67 Pennsylvania counties, all 50 states and more than 100 countries worldwide.


Last Updated July 26, 2012