Autism Conference

Presenter Handouts and Presentations

Keynote Speaker

Dr. Aaron J. Fischer, Ph.D., BCBA-D 

Aaron J.FischerDr. Fischer has been working with individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families for 15 years. He graduated from the University of Miami, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and worked as a research coordinator at the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities. Dr. Fischer completed his master’s and doctoral degree in school psychology at Louisiana State University. Before arriving at the University of Utah in 2014, he completed his predoctoral internship in clinical psychology at the May Institute in Massachusetts. His internship and graduate work focused on providing evidence-based practice in schools, hospitals, and mental health clinics to children with disabilities and their families. Specifically, Dr. Fischer’s clinical interests concentrate on the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with ASD, as well as providing support and training to their families. As such, his scholarship is considerably influenced by his applied work in those areas. Currently, Dr. Fischer is an assistant professor of school psychology, an adjunct assistant professor of psychiatry, and director of the UNI HOME interdisciplinary pediatric feeding disorders clinic at the University of Utah. Additionally, Dr. Fischer is a Licensed Psychologist and Licensed Board Certified Behavior Analyst. He has experience in the assessment and treatment of problem behavior, as well as the acquisition of adaptive skills, in individuals with ASD and developmental disabilities.

Research Interests

Dr. Fischer’s research interests follow two distinct lines of inquiry that are directly applicable to the field of school psychology. First, he is interested in creating and evaluating effective strategies for psychologists engaging in consultation, while incorporating cutting-edge technology. Currently, he is evaluating videoconferencing as a strategy to conserve school resources and remotely consult with teachers. His research will continue to evaluate the use of videoconferencing across multiple areas of consultation and school psychology. Dr. Fischer’s second line of research lies in evaluating and advancing evidence-based interventions for children and adolescents with an ASD and their families (i.e., parent training). Currently, he is evaluating behavioral parent-training programs and parent-provided behavioral feeding interventions through videoconferencing.


Session Speakers

Jared Stewart

jaredJared was named the 2011 Educator of the Year by the National Association of Private Special Education Centers (NAPSEC). In addition to supervising the education, speech therapy, health, fitness, arts, and recreation staff at ScenicView Academy, he teaches classes in disability awareness and provides tutoring for college support. Born and raised on Kodiak Island, Alaska, Jared dropped out of school before going on to graduate Magna Cum Laude from Brigham Young University. He has spent more than a decade working with adolescents and adults with autism and other learning disabilities, and has shared his views on the techniques and mindsets that lead to improved outcomes for these individuals with many local and national audiences. His passion for the subject arises from personal experience: he has family members with disabilities and has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome himself. On the side, Jared is an adjunct professor at Utah Valley University—helping run their annual Conference on Autism, teaching classes for their Autism Studies track, and assisting with their Passages Program as a life-skills instructor and curriculum developer. In 2016 he was appointed by the governor to the Utah Developmental Disabilities Council as a citizen advisory member.


Chance Richter RBT, RBBB, Clown College Graduate

Chance HeadshotChance was born at a very early age. Since then he has found great joy in exploring the fields of behavior, theater, and clowning. For over six years Chance has worked in Special Education. During that time he has served as a cheer coach, theater coach, job coach, and cross country coach. He is also a Registered Behavior Technician and an accomplished actor. In 2014 Chance served as the Artistic Director for the Princess Festival, an organization dedicated to teaching and bettering the lives of children. The following year he graduated from Ringling Bros. Barnum and Bailey Clown College. He has worked with hundreds of children and adults with a wide range of disabilities. His teaching credits include Alpine Transition Education Center, SCERA Theater, and Applied Behavior Connections. Currently Chance works as a Behavior Specialist at Spectrum Academy where he also heads the School Improvement Program. In addition he his a part-time professional clown and a full-time husband to his wonderful wife, Anne.

 


Summer Gunn

Summer GunnSummer received a Bachelor of Science degree in Special Education with an emphasis in Birth to 5 services and significant disabilities and a Master’s of Education in Special Education from Utah State University (USU). She is currently a clinical instructor in the Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation at Utah State University.  She is primarily responsible for supervision and instruction of pre-service teachers seeking a licence in early childhood special education. Previously, Summer taught special education in a self-contained preschool classroom, an early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) preschool classroom, and as an autism consultant to special education preschool and elementary resource/ life skills classrooms.  More recently, she worked as a case manager for the ASSERT program for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at USU, designed and implemented a behavioral coaching system for a college student with ASD, and designed supervision systems for preservice teachers in birth to 5 practicum. She is the mother of four beautiful children and has had the opportunity to sit on both sides of the IEP table, both as a teacher and as a parent. She has a passion for applied behavior analysis and its utility for all families and children.


Christina Guevara

Christina.guevaraChristina has taught second through eighth grades at Spectrum Academy as well as started the school’s first gifted class for middle school. She co-authored the Social Scene Investigations: A Social Skills Curriculum. She specializes in ABA, discrete trial training, classroom management, and individualized interventions for both the school and home settings. She received her Bachelor’s in Psychology from UCLA and Master’s in Education/Special Education from the University of Phoenix. Currently she is in the Doctorate of Education / Curriculum & Instruction program.

 

 


Ryan Hawks, ACMHC, TRS/CTRS

image07After working for ScenicView Academy for 6 years as a recreation therapist, Ryan was recently hired as a psychotherapist at ScenicView. He earned a bachelor’s degree in Recreation Management from Brigham Young University, and recently finished his master's degree in Mental Health Counseling from University of Phoenix. He has presented at a local, state, and national level on topics such as transition planning, Scenic View’s recreation therapy and social skills programs, and working with individuals with ADHD.

 

 


Krisanne Lewis

Krisanne Lewis copyKrisanne received her BS in Psychology and her Master’s Degree in occupational therapy from the University of Utah. She currently works as the Student Services Coordinator for Spectrum Academy in North Salt Lake, Utah, collaborating with teachers and providing occupational therapy services to children with a variety of disabilities. She has worked with children with ASD and other disabilities in Texas and Utah, and has worked in clinical, early intervention, home, and education-based settings. She is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Utah and enjoys teaching adults almost as much as kids! She is certified in sensory integration and in the administration/interpretation of the SIPT (Sensory Integration and Praxis Test) and has extensive experience with sensory integration. Her interests include best practices in providing inclusive educational opportunities for children with disabilities. She currently lives in Utah with her husband and children.


Tom Evans

tom.evansTom is a passionate Special Education teacher.  He started his teaching career in 2002 teaching at a private institution in California for Emotionally Disturbed students. In 2012, he earned a Master’s Degree in Special Education specializing in ADHD.  Upon finishing his Masters Degree Tom went back to school and completed a four course, 12 credits, Autism Credentialing Program. Tom has a California Autism endorsement and a Nevada Autism Credential. Tom’s experience includes ABA strategies such as PECS, Augmentative Communication Devices (Go-Talk 20), Token Boards, Choice Boards and reinforcement systems, as well as other autism interventions in the classroom.

 

 

 


Brian Middleton

Brian MiddletonBrian was diagnosed with Non-verbal Learning Disorder at 14. When the DSM-5 came out, that was rolled into ASD. Brian became a teacher because of his love of education, but discovered that his ability to connect and understand kids with a variety of behavioral challenges made him a great person to help others. He started teaching in late 2011 and has since obtained a Masters degree in education and is pursuing a Board Certified Behavior Analyst certification. Brian's dream is to have autism interventions be a part of general education in the K-12 curriculum since it helps students of a variety of abilities and needs.

 

 


Suzanne Grimshaw

suzanne.grimshawSuzanne has worked with adults who are on the Autism Spectrum and those with Learning Disabilities for the past 12 years. She believes that developing problem solving skills and using a
strengths based approach are vital to her clients’ growth. She currently is the Admissions Director at ScenicView Academy in Provo, UT. Suzanne has had the opportunity to present at many national conferences on social skills and transitioning into adult services. Suzanne graduated from Brigham Young University with a B.A. in Political Science and spent 10 years working in various government agencies.

 


Liz Banner

Liz bannerMy family was blessed with a child with special needs forever changing my perspective on raising children. I decided to change my professional endeavors and concentrate on special education. I have loved working at Spectrum Academy and also being a member of the CEC (Council for Exceptional Children), ARUCC (Autism Resources of Utah County Council) and, USEAP (Utah Special Education Advisory Panel); representing Individuals with Disabilities as a parent of a student with disabilities.
I have two very special people in my life that began my desire to work with special-needs children. The first is my son Jackson. He is diagnosed with Autism. The second is my nephew Jacob. He was diagnosed with a Leukodystrophy disorder. These life experiences give me personal insights into the day-to-day process of caring for special children. These two boys help me to realize what a great need there is for wonderful special education teachers. I love learning and growing with them and with the children that I work with at Spectrum Academy. These wonderful children inspired both my husband and I to return again to school and get degrees in Special Education.
I completed my bachelor’s degree in special education, and my master’s degree in educational administration. I helped open up Spectrum Academy Pleasant Grove campus in 2013, and am currently working as the campus Principal. Spectrum Academy concentrates on helping students with high functioning Autism and other disabilities. I have the privilege of viewing the world of Autism from a parent, teacher, and an administration perspective.


Angela Durrant

Angela DurrantAngela is a certified speech-language pathologist (SLP) and a current member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. She earned her undergraduate degree from BYU and her graduate degree from USU. She became interested in the field of speech therapy when her youngest son had trouble communicating. This personal experience, of having a son who struggled to communicate, helped shape her view of communication from both a parent and clinical view point. She is currently serving on the Utah Assistive Technology Team (UATT)and is an SLP for Washington County School District. The UATT team focuses on integrating technology into a student's academic career to help them communicate and perform academically to their greatest potential.


Jacqueline Whitaker

Jacqueline

An educator with a passion for all things Autism, Jacqueline graduated from Utah State University with a Degree in Psychology and went on to obtain her teaching license with an endorsement in severe-disabilities, as well as her Master's in Special Education. Jacqueline presently is a member of the Utah Assistive Technology Team (UATT) and is on the Autism Council for Southern Utah. She is currently obtaining her Administrative License from SUU and is excited about the future opportunities of continuing education and professional development. Jacqueline has worked with students who have Autism for twelve years and has found that trust, kindness, and humor are an integral part of working with others-especially those with Autism. Her present job is District Elementary Life Skills Specialist for Washington County School District in St. George where she empowers others to better serve students with disabilities.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 Jessica Francis

Jessica FrancisJessica Francis is enjoying raising six children (ages 1-11) along with her husband, Timothy. With two children on the Autism Spectrum, a daughter with ADHD, a four year old, and one year old twins she keeps busy at home raising her children. She has a degree in Preschool Education and Music.  She has had about 16 years of experience working with special needs children through teaching and doing foster care.  She enjoys sewing and reading, but doesn't have much time for hobbies with so many young children at home.  She is excited to share her story in hopes of helping other parents who are struggling with similar circumstances.

 

 

 


 Brett Shumway

Brett Shumway Dr. Brett Shumway has over 13 years of experience with youth in juvenile detentions, residential treatment centers, day treatment, inpatient hospitals, outpatient clinics, residential treatment, and in school settings. He is also a testing psychologist and regularly provides psychoeducational, comprehensive, and specialized evaluations in schools, residential treatment, and wilderness therapy. Brett holds a Masters of Counseling and Guidance and a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from New Mexico State University. He completed a pre-doctoral internship at the University Neuropsychiatric Institute (UNI), where he continued in a Child and Adolescent fellowship position, which allowed him to work with individuals admitted to that hospital in extreme distress, and work with youth and their families over time in a day treatment program. Although Brett works with a range of individuals, he has specialized experience with adolescents who have substance abuse concerns, medical conditions that impact mental health and wellbeing, individuals with learning disorders or other academic difficulties, motivation, survivors of physical, emotional, and sexual trauma, Autism Spectrum Disorder, OCD, ADHD, chronic depression and anxiety, family concerns, and Spanish-speaking and bilingual families.


Amanda Tolman

Amanda TolmanAmanda Tolman is an Autism Mom! After teaching elementary school for years, Amanda is now sitting on the other side of the IEP meeting with her son, Marcus. Amanda has also been an instructional coach, and now works in higher education. Amanda has worked hard to make her home safe, sensory friendly, and a happy place for Marcus to live and explore. Amanda is an avid college football fan (go Utes!) and hopes to be a lifelong learner in Autism, child development, and education.

 

 


 

 

Lucia Cortes Medrano-Belknap

 

 

 

 

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