Programme last updated on 26 April 2019. This information is subject to change.

Conference Day 1 (20 June 2019, Thursday)
AM Registration Desk Opens
Conference Opening
Opening Keynote Address
Room: West Ballroom

Predictive Factor for Improving the Lifetime Outcomes of Individuals with Autism
Prof. Patricia Howlin, Institute of Psychiatry, London, UK
Synopsis
The first part of this talk will summarise findings from research studies of trajectories of development from child- to adulthood in individuals with autism. Positive findings (such as improvement in core autism symptoms over time; preservation of certain cognitive skills in older adults etc.) will be discussed, but also negative findings, such as poor social inclusion and increased rates of physical and mental health problems.

The second part of the talk will consider possible reasons for increases in difficulties in adulthood and factors that are predictive of more positive outcomes.

The final part will focus on ways in which we can make better use of recent research findings to optimise outcomes and improve quality of life for future generations of adults with autism.
Morning Tea
Plenary 1
Room: West Ballroom

Becoming Autistic: A Father’s Story
Dr. Damian Milton
Synopsis
This presentation gives a personal account of how I managed life as a previously undiagnosed autistic person, despite at times great adversity, through to becoming a father to an autistic child and how that subsequently led to my own diagnosis. I will reflect upon the challenges that I have faced in terms of self-identity and mental health, as well as with wider social issues such as employment. Finally, this presentation examines what has helped me to survive hardships as well as at times thrive in various settings.

Inclusion: An Autism Specific Organisation Working Towards “Nothing About Us – Without Us”
Dr. Tom Tutton
Synopsis
As organisations are working to include people on the spectrum, this session will describe the progress, process, actions and outcomes from one autism organisation in Australia to encourage other organisations to develop their own approaches to inclusivity and working towards “Nothing without us – without us”.

Plenary 2
Room: Central Ballroom

The Hidden Face of Autism: Understanding the Characteristics and Needs of Girls and Women on the Autism Spectrum
Dr. William Mandy
Synopsis
Autism is more commonly diagnosed in males than in females: the male-to-female ratio is three-to-one in epidemiological samples and as high as ten-to-one in clinical practice. This likely reflects an underestimation of the true prevalence of ASD in girls and women, arising from systematic biases in diagnostic criteria and clinical services. As a result, autistic females are less likely to receive an accurate and timely diagnosis, which reduces their chances of benefiting from appropriately targeted health care and educational resources.

This talk will consider the reasons for, and costs of, the under-recognition of autistic females. This will include the proposal that there is a female autism phenotype that is not well captured by current diagnostic practice. Clinical and research implications will be considered.


Autistic Thriving - Not Despite but Because of Autism
Dr. Dawn-Joy Leong
Synopsis
‘Autism Awareness’ is becoming a popular social topic nowadays, with all kinds of events organised in the name of autism, the majority of which by non-autistic people. Just what are we being made ‘aware’ of, and where are the actual autistic voices amidst this grand cacophony of opinions and interpretations? How may autistic persons across the spectrum thrive - not despite but because of the unique, intrinsic features of autism? This presentation addresses the above pertinent questions by discussing the eclectic needs and challenges facing autistic persons from a lived-experience perspective, and invites empathic reciprocity across neurological divides through the dynamic agency of multi-arts practice.
PM Lunch
Concurrent Sessions
Workshop – Characteristics of Cyber Offenders - Is There An Autism Link?
Prof. Richard Mills & Prof. Mark Brosnan

Workshop – Using of Cognitive-Behaviour-Therapy (CBT) with Students with ASD in Mainstream Schools:
a Tale of Two CBT-Based Interventions

Dr. Mariam Aljunied

Workshop – The Development of the Participatory Autism Research Collective (PARC)
Dr. Damian Milton

Workshop – Context Blindness
Dr. Peter Vermeulen

Workshop – Supporting Community Participation Through the Use of Active Support
Prof. Christine Bigby

Workshop – Work and Employment: Leading Fulfilling Adult Lives
Ms. Merry Barua

Workshop – 10 Rules on How to be a Bad Employer
Prof. Richard Mills

Panel Discussion – Individuals Thriving with Autism
Afternoon Tea
Panel Discussion / Concurrent Sessions


Conference Day 2 (21 June 2019, Friday)
AM Registration Desk Opens
Showcase Performance
Keynote 2
Room: West Ballroom

Neuroharmony and Well-Being Across the Lifespan
Dr. Peter Vermeulen, Autisme Centraal, Belgium
Synopsis
Accepting neurodiversity is a big step towards more acceptance of autism as one of the many ways a brain can operate, it is only the first step in our commitment to a better world and more well-being for people with autism. We should also focus on what connects people with autism with the rest of the human species: the pursuit of happiness. And this means: looking for ways to move from neurodiversity towards neuroharmony, in which we focus on how brains that seem to run on a different operating systems can connect and create harmony together, rather than being separated. In this keynote we will explore how, across the lifespan, we can work on neuroharmony in the case of autism.
Morning Tea
Plenary 3
Room: West Ballroom

Supporting Community Participation for People with Intellectual Disabilities
Prof. Christine Bigby
Synopsis
Community participation has been a policy aim since the mid 1980s. People with intellectual disabilities are now much more likely to be present in communities but little progress has been made in terms of their participation in communities. The concept of community participation is often poorly defined and as a result programs may lack clear theories of change, have ill-defined strategies and vague expected outcomes. This presentation will consider different ways of conceptualizing community participation and the associated different types of strategies for supporting people with intellectual disabilities to be included. It draws on the literature and a program of research about ‘convivial encounters’ that has been conducted at the Living with Disability Research Centre since 2011.


Putting Principles into Practice: The Road to Eden
Ms. Paula Teo
Synopsis
In Singapore, for adults on the spectrum with higher support needs, Day Activity Centres (DACs) are one of their options after graduating from school. Unlike Early Interaction and School programmes, DACs are charged with an inordinate amount of responsibility in the care and support of these individuals. This presentation shares the learning experiences of one such DAC – the Eden Centre for Adults, as they rise to the challenge of putting learnt principles into real practice.

It chronicles their journey in establishing a foundation of good autism practices, whilst navigating the constraints of funding, space and manpower. This sharing details the critical key learning areas in crafting, implementing and maintaining a positive autism support model – A working model which incorporates a blend of approaches, including person-centred planning, active involvement, TEACCH principles, explicit teaching and others. The presentation also highlights how Quality of Life indicators guided this development, and how they still continue to drive and shape the programme today.

Plenary 4
Room: Central Ballroom

Transitions Across the Lifespan: The Importance of Teaching Daily Living Skills
Dr. Laura Klinger
Synopsis
This presentation will discuss the importance of daily living skills in promoting positive adult outcomes and how these skills can be supported at key transition points across the lifespan.

Objectives:
Understand the importance of daily living skills in promoting positive adult outcomes.
Learn key strategies to support daily living skills during the transition to primary school.
Learn key strategies to support daily living skills during early adolescence.
Learn key strategies to support daily living skills during transition to adulthood.


A Positive Education Journey: Strategies for Success at School
Ms Kirsty Russell
Synopsis
The education journey can be daunting. At times, it can seem there is no easy way forward for you or for your child. With so many challenges to face, parents often find it hard to obtain the support their child needs and can become overwhelmed.

In this practical presentation, discover how one parent forged a positive education journey across multiple special education and mainstream settings (including high school). Learn proven strategies for school success to improve outcomes for you and your child, regardless of age or education setting.

Strategies covered in the presentation include: Relationship management (how to build strong partnerships) Advocacy (how to obtain the supports your child needs) Mindset (understanding your own expectations & assumptions) Wellbeing (how to maintain your positivity and health) Strengths (adopting a strengths based approach to your child’s education) Transitions (how to manage moves between schools) Resilience (how to overcome bumps in the education road)

PM Lunch

Concurrent Sessions

Workshop – Making Intervention for Young Children with Autism Work for Home Setting
Prof. Patricia Howlin

Workshop – 10 Rules to Ensure Challenging Behaviour
Prof. Richard Mills

Workshop – Autism and Social Communication Through Social Media: Are Friends Electric?
Autism in the Online World

Prof. Mark Brosnan

Workshop – The ‘Lost’ Boys & Girls – Children Presenting in Their Kindergarten Years with Some Traits of Autism
Dr. Sylvia Choo

Workshop – It's Not Behaviour, It's Just Her Senses are Overwhelmed
Dr. Tom Tutton & Ms. Caroline Mills

Workshop – Supporting Families of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Why Is It Important and What Can Schools and Professional Do?
Dr. Kenneth Poon

Workshop – Helping Caregivers of Autistic Adults with Complex Needs Thrive Beyond Oneself
Ms. Jacquelyn Ang

Workshop – Autism & Eating Disorder
Dr. William Mandy

Workshop – Using Cognitive Behavioural Therapy with Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder
Dr. Goh Tze Jui

Workshop – Supported Living for Autistic Adults with Significant Behavioural Challenges - Key Success Factors and Lessons Learnt
Mr. Edward Marcus

Workshop – Transiting from School to Community
Ms. Tan Sze Wee & Ms. Cynthia Lee

Workshop – Supporting Children with Autism and Their Families in Malaysia
Dr. Hasnah Toran

Afternoon Tea
Panel Discussion / Concurrent Sessions



Conference Day 3 (22 June 2019, Saturday)
AM Registration Desk Opens
Showcase Performance
Keynote 3
Room: West Ballroom

Transition to Employment and Postsecondary Education: Supporting Learning Styles & Emotion Regulation
Dr. Laura Klinger, University of North Carolina, USA
Synopsis
This presentation will discuss the learning and emotion regulation challenges experienced by transition-aged individuals with ASD. A focus on supporting these challenges to promote positive adult outcomes will be discussed.

Objectives:
Understand the learning challenges experienced by adolescents and young adults with ASD.
Understand the emotion regulation challenges experienced by adolescent and young adults with ASD.
Learn key intervention strategies to support learning differences in both employment and college settings.
Learn key intervention strategies to support emotion regulation challenges in both employment and college settings.
Morning Tea

Concurrent Sessions

Workshop – Context Blindness and Employment
Dr. Peter Vermeulen

Workshop – Context Blindness & Learning
Dr. Peter Vermeulen

Workshop – Supporting Transition & Adaptation to Higher Education for Autistic Students
Dr. Iliana Magiati

Workshop – Lifelong Learning and Development: Countering Low Expectations as People Age
Prof. Christine Bigby

Symposium – School-Based Interventions for Students with ASD in Mainstream Schools:
Translating Evidence into Effective School Practice

Dr. Mariam Aljunied

Workshop – The Synergy Programme
Prof. Richard Mills

Workshop – Assessing Autism in Adults
Dr. William Mandy

Workshop – Bridging the Gap: How to Develop Positive Partnerships with Families
Ms. Kirsty Russell

PM Lunch
Plenary 5
Room: West Ballroom

Co-developing Digital Technologies with Members of the Autistic Community
Prof. Mark Brosnan
Synopsis
Members of the broader autistic community, including parents, teachers and autistic people themselves can provide invaluable insights into what and how digital technologies should be developed to support autism. The process of ‘participatory design’ ensures that members of the autistic community are at the heart of the design process as digital technologies are developed. This session will describe the process of participatory design in the development of apps to support autism. A specific example of Social Stories will be discussed, detailing how members of the autistic community co-developed this traditional intervention into a digital intervention. The app will be made freely available.

Mental Health Outcomes for Adults with Autism
Dr. Kylie Gray
Synopsis
In this session we will examine our current understanding of the mental health of adults with autism. This will include information of the rates of mental health problems, along with an exploration of what current research can tell us about the factors associated with better mental health. The first results of an Australian longitudinal study looking at mental health and wellbeing of adults with autism will also be presented. We will conclude with a discussion of the implications of these findings in relation to treatment and support needs.
Plenary 6
Room: Central Ballroom

With Training and Support, People on the Autism Spectrum Can Work
Ms. Jacelyn Lim & Ms. Susan Hwee
Synopsis
The autism employment landscape in Singapore has evolved in the past 6 years. Get insights into how employment models are developed and the critical success factors for creating independence, dignity and scalability in the workplace. Hear success stories from a strong employer advocate who hired more than 20 young adults in a bank
Closing Ceremony
Afternoon Tea