Autism Awareness Centre Conference – Ottawa, ON – October 24 & 25, 2013

National Gallery of Canada
380 Sussex Drive, Ottawa, ON

Ticket information is available here.

Thursday, October 24

Judy Endow

Outsmarting Explosive Behavior

Children and youth with Asperger Syndrome, high-functioning autism (HFA), and pervasive developmental disorders-not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS), and related exceptionalities have great potential, but all too often their abilities are not realized. This presentation will provide ideas and suggestions that educators, therapists, and parents can use to help a person with AS/HFA on the road to success, address problems that arise at home and in the classroom/community and how parents, educators and therapists can adjust the environment to accommodate, while not interfering with typical routines.

This presentation, based on the book Outsmarting Explosive Behavior, a Visual System of Support and Intervention for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders, describes an effective way to support individuals with explosive behaviors by using a visual system of four train cars to depict the stages of explosive behavior along with stop and go signs to show effective support strategies to use during each stage in the explosive behavior cycle. This model has been effectively used with numerous students (Early Childhood through Adulthood), continues to be a part of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Autism Training Project and has been published by AAPC Publishing as a three part kit (facilitator manual, visual system and student workbook).

Practical Solutions to Stabilize Students With Classic Autism

Based on Judy’s publication, Practical Solutions to Stabilize Students with Classic Autism to Be Ready to Learn: Getting to Go, this presentation clearly delineates the nuts and bolts of what Judy does when she is called in to consult for a student with classic autism. Included are many practical strategies for supporting a student to be all he can be – his best version of self and most available for learning. This application of this information has been many a student’s ticket onward to eventual placement in a more inclusive educational setting.

Judy Endow, MSW, maintains a private practice in Madison, Wisconsin, providing consultation for families, school districts and other agencies. Besides having autism herself, she is the parent of three grown sons, one of whom is on the autism spectrum. Judy does workshops and presentations on a variety of autism-related issues, is part of the Wisconsin DPI Statewide Autism Training Team and a board member of both the Autism Society of America, Wisconsin Chapter and the Autism National Committee. In addition, Judy is a member of the Autistic Global Initiateve (AGI), a program of Autism Research Institute. For more information about AGI please visit

Friday, October 25

Andrew McDonnell

“If You Can Keep Your Head While All About You are Losing Theirs” (Kipling): Applying Low Arousal Approaches to Everyday Settings

Whilst many advances have been made in supporting people with autism, the management of behaviours which challenge supporters is a less well understood area. This presentation will focus on how to manage behaviours of concern using a low arousal approach. This approach was developed to help supporters to practically manage ‘highly aroused’ and stressed individuals. There is an emphasis on verbal and nonverbal strategies to de-escalate crisis situations. In addition, the approach involves ‘reflective practice’ that is, ‘What is my own contribution to the situation? Low-arousal approaches include interaction, diffusion and distraction strategies; coping with challenging behaviours including debriefing – why it is necessary and how to do it, managing versus changing behaviours, physical avoidance skills and physical intervention strategies. The day will include:

  1. Background to the development of low arousal approaches.
  2. Definition of the approach (Reflective practice)
  3. Strategies for managing behaviours of concern (There will be an emphasis on practical de-escalation strategies).
  4. Group exercise
  5. Plenary session (group discussion)

Dr. Andrew McDonnell is a Clinical Psychologist and Director of Studio3 Training Systems located in Warwickshire, UK. He has a special interest in arousal mechanisms in people with autism and the management of severe challenging behaviours. Other areas of interest are stress management, person centred approaches to behaviour management, arousal mechanisms and their application to human behaviour, and sensory perceptual processing differences. Andrew’s doctoral thesis evaluated the impact of staff training in low arousal approaches and has been the subject of his book Managing Aggressive Behaviour in Care Settings: Understanding and Applying Low Arousal Approaches. The low arousal approach was first developed by Dr. McDonnell. He has lectured on this subject in Europe, Africa and Asia. This is Andrew’s first appearance in Canada teaching the low arousal approach.

The Studio III Group comprises three individual companies, all of which promote the ideals, philosophies and benefits of non-aversive behaviour management. Studio III Training Systems was the first company to be formed, and with its fusion of skills drawn from academic researchers, applied clinicians, psychologists (educational and clinical), speech and language therapists, doctors, teachers, movement skills trainers as well as nurses with RMN and RMNH qualifications. Its scope broadened to include individualized behaviour management plans and the promotion of other pro-active approaches. From this was born Studio III Clinical Services, a psychology based provider of specialist input to services and individuals alike.