Workshop Day

Practical Strategies and Nitty-Gritty Tips for Living with Autism

Saturday, Nov. 14th, 10am- 3:15pm 

First Presbyterian Church, 9 S. Seminary Street in Barre, VT

Advance Registration is $25/ $30 at the door. $15 for Self-Advocates



Workshop 2015 FLYER

Welcome, self-advocates, family members and professionals to our Workshop Day. Please  join us on Saturday, November 14 for the first ever Vermont Autism Task Force  “Workshop Day”.  The Workshop Day is a no-frills event:  there will be no keynote speaker and no fancy hotel. Instead, this is an opportunity for members of the community to gain practical knowledge, while helping us fundraise.  We have six workshops available and attendees can select up to three workshops.  All workshops are presented by members of the Vermont Autism Task Force.

We welcome everyone to come, whether or not you or your family member is on the autism spectrum. Some of the workshop topics are broad and not specific to autism.

The Workshop Day is a fundraising effort of the Vermont Autism Task Force to help us defray costs for advocacy events, including our annual Autism Awareness Day at the Vermont Statehouse. If you are unable to attend the event, but would like to provide a donation, please click on the registration form and select  the “no workshop” option. Please note that the Vermont Autism Task Force is not a 501 (c)(3) and your donation is not tax deductible.

Click here for directions to the First Presbyterian Church, 9 S. Seminary Street in Barre, VT

Registration begins at 9:00 a.m. Coffee and baked goods will be available. The first workshops start at 10 a.m. and the last workshops are scheduled to end at 3:15 p.m.  There will be a half hour break for lunch. Please note that lunch is on your own. There are some restaurants in the area, but we suggest you bring lunch from home due to the short break.

Use the Advance Registration form to register and secure a seat early. The Advanced General Registration donation is $25 when paid online by November 13th ($30 at the door); the online and at-the-door registration donation for self-advocates is $15. Registration paid at the door may be made by cash or check only; again, seating is limited.

We are unable to offer scholarships or refunds for this fundraising event.  If you would like to attend and are experiencing a financial hardship, please contact Vermont Family Network to see if they may have grants available. They can be contacted at 800-800-4005.



Select up to three workshops

Workshop #1(From 10:15 a.m. – 11:50am) Choose one

1A: Promoting Friendship Between Children on the Autism Spectrum and their Typically Developing Peers

Workshop Description: We will provide an overview of the Friend 2 Friend-Vermont program, which teaches children in preschool through grade 12 about autism. We will discuss the goals and components of the program, the impact it has had on Vermont schools, and ways in which we can promote mutually beneficial friendships among people with diverse neurological profiles.

Co-Presenters: Deb Lyons; Karen Newman, M.Ed. Bios: Deb is the Executive Director of the Burlington-based nonprofit educational organization Puppets in Education. Since beginning work with Kids on the Block in 1989 she has been engaging Vermont children through the performing arts with messages of empathy, inclusion, health and safety. She is the mother of four.

Karen has been a Vermont educator for 25 years, in roles that include classroom teacher, early literacy specialist, and former Program Director for Puppets in Education. Currently she works for ANWSU as Kindergarten Transition Coordinator, serves on the Autism Task Force, volunteers for Vermont Family Network, and reprises her role of F2F lead presenter whenever she can. She is the mother of two children, one of whom has ASD.

1B:     9 Things to Consider as your Special Needs Child Transitions to Adulthood

Workshop Description: The workshop will focus on 9 important legal topics to consider as a special needs child shifts into adulthood. Topics will include Supplemental Security Income, Guardianship, Alternatives to Guardianship, Medicaid, Documents and Record Keeping, Childhood Disability Benefits, Letters of Intent and Special Needs Trusts.
Presenter: Claudia Inés Pringles Bio: Claudia is a Vermont licensed attorney with a focus area of special needs law. She is a parent of two children, including a teenage daughter with autism. Claudia is a co-chair of the Vermont Autism Task Force. Her website is

Workshop #2(From 12:30 p.m. to 1:45 p.m.) Choose one

2A: The Ins and Outs of the Special Education Process 
Workshop Description: We will review the basics steps in the special education and the 504 processes, cover some basic rules and regulations and have time for questions, discussion, and to share specific parent issues.
Presenter: Philip Eller Bio: Philip has 15 years providing Educational Advocacy and special education workshops for the Special Needs Support Center. He has nearly 50 years in the fields of education, social work, psychology.

2B: Now What? A Parent Perspective on ABA and Verbal Behavior After 21
Workshop Description: Applied behavior analysis (ABA) and verbal behavior (VB) have achieved broad recognition over the past decade as key tools to help children with moderate to severe autism develop language and living skills.  But now that the first generation of children to have received these therapies in a school setting is graduating high school, where they go from here is unclear.  This workshop briefly introduces ABA and VB, explains how they can continue to benefit our kids after school ends, and shares one parent’s experience on implementing them in his son’s program after the final school bell has rung.
Presenter: Steve Kieselstein Bio: Steve is a single father who, along with his late wife, has run an ABA/Verbal Behavior program for their 22-year-old son Aaron, an intermediate learner on the autism spectrum, since 1998.  Aaron graduated from high school in June 2014.  Steve and Aaron live together in Upstate New York, but are in the process of relocating to Vermont.

 WORKSHOP #3 (From 2:00 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.) Choose one

3A: Improving Self-Regulation
Workshop Description: This workshop introduces methods for individuals to learn how to improve self-regulation using techniques for increasing self-awareness and modifying one’s own behaviors. The Incredible 5-Point Scale (Dunn-Buron & Curtis) and The Zones of Regulation are explored as tools for learning relaxation, organization and emotional attunement.
Presenter: Julie Erdelyi Bio: Julie has a Bachelor’s degree in elementary education from the University of Vermont and a Master’s degree in special education-developmental disabilities from the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, Minnesota.  She has extensive experience as a Special Educator and Autism Specialist designing and implementing academic instruction, proactive behavior intervention plans, and social thinking instruction for students who have Autism Spectrum Disorders. She has presented at local and national conferences and recently was published in the “Autism Asperger’s Digest Magazine.”

3B: Safety First: Tips for Supporting Safety and Independence
Workshop Description: This workshop is designed to provide family caregivers with practical steps they can take to prevent unnecessary – and potentially tragic – situations. A range of ages and abilities will be discussed.
Presenter: Kirsten M. Murphy Bio: Kirsten is the Senior Policy Analyst for the Vermont Developmental Disabilities Council. She raised her family, including two sons with ASD, in neighboring NH, where she also worked as an advocate and family support provider. Kirsten is a graduate of the Leadership Education in Neuro-Developmental Disorders (LEND) Program. Currently she is completing a one year planning project reviewing the health status and and healthcare experiences of adult Vemonters with intellectual or other developmental disabilities. She has trained numerous First Responders, including Vermont State Police Officers, over the past decade.