Course Description

Individuals on the spectrum benefit from learning a framework for recognizing their own needs and identifying helpful strategies. They cannot always rely on educators and mental health therapists to be familiar with their needs or the strategies that have been proven to be helpful to people with autism. Through learning to ask and answer five key categories of questions, adolescents and adults on the spectrum can take leadership in developing the supports that they need. This framework helps people on the spectrum to become more effective in improving their own outcomes.

For years, practitioners have known that a comprehensive approach to intervention is considered “best practice.” The five questions represent a comprehensive framework for intervention. The framework was developed based on key needs associated with autism. It is well-established that use of a comprehensive approach is best practice. Further, the framework employs the use of empirically supported therapies. Each of the five questions directs attention to evidence-based strategies including sensory regulation, reinforcement, visual supports, predictability, and deliberate practice.  

Participants will learn the five questions as a framework for developing comprehensive program to improve outcomes. The strategies discussed can be readily applied in daily life. Individuals will be better able to pinpoint challenges and identify needed supports.

Participants will be able to: 

  • List the five questions that guide self-advocacy and collaboration for individuals on the spectrum and those in helping roles.
  • Identify research validated strategies that are often helpful in addressing identified needs at each of the five levels.
  • Describe how knowing the right questions to ask leads to better outcomes.

Meet Your Instructors

Occupational Therapist Kimberly Clairy, OTR/L

Kim Clairy, OTR/L, an autistic occupational therapist, international speaker, consultant, author, and self-advocate. Diagnosed with autism Kim learned to break through personal and societal barriers, including navigating the healthcare system with ASD and an eating disorder. Her experiences forged a passion for educating others on autism with the hope of helping give voice to those unable to articulate their inner worlds. Using personal and professional experiences, Kim educates on many facets of autism across the lifespan including eating disorders, trauma, mental health, ADHD, intimacy, relationships, self-awareness, problem-solving through challenging behaviors, and much more!

Licensed Psychologist Ruth Aspy, Ph.D.

Ruth Aspy, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist specializing in transdisciplinary assessment and intervention for individuals on the spectrum. She is co-author of a comprehensive model of intervention, The Ziggurat Model, which earned the Literary Achievement Award from the Autism Society.  Dr. Aspy has provided training and consultation throughout the United States and internationally. She serves on the Autism Society of America’s Panel of Professional Advisors. Her focus is on understanding the underlying characteristics of autistic individuals keeping their neurological/brain differences in mind.  Dr. Aspy believes that kindness is at the heart of all good support strategies. She has an emphasis on working with females on the spectrum and with those individuals who have symptoms of catatonia.

Licensed Psychologist Barry G. Grossman, Ph.D.

Barry G. Grossman, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist and author in private practice. He specializes in counseling and assessing individuals on the spectrum and has an emphasis on working with females on the spectrum. Dr. Grossman presents internationally and has provided state-wide training and consultation to improve autism assessment and intervention in the public schools. He has authored books, textbook chapters, and journal articles. Dr. Grossman, along with his co-author, Dr. Aspy, wrote The Ziggurat Model-a book on designing interventions for individuals on the autism spectrum. The Ziggurat Model, which earned the Literary Achievement Award from the Autism Society, is being used successfully throughout the United States and internationally in countries including Japan, Greece, Canada, and Mexico. Dr. Grossman serves on the Autism Society's Panel of Professional Advisors.

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