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More than 70 participants from throughout Utah attended USU Eastern’s Conference on Strengthening Early Childhood Programs Sept. 26-27 in the Jennifer Leavitt Student Center. Titled “Creating a Place for All Children: Supporting Children with Autism and Challenging Behaviors,” the two-day workshop featured dozens of experts in the child-care field and sponsored by the Utah Office of Child Care.
A child-care licensing and training workshop started the conference. The “Help Me Grow from a Parent’s Perspective” started day two with a presentation on bridging the gap to connect families to local community resources and answering tough parenting questions families do not know about. The “Help Me Grow” research stems from Dr. Paul Dworkin, physician-in-chief at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center.
“Child Behavior Detectives: Finding Clues to Solving Cases in Child Behavior” started the second day of the conference. “Difficult behaviors in children can often seem like a mystery, but the truth is children in parent’s care give clues about their behaviors,” said instructors LeeAnn Parker and Stephanie Pehrson. “Children are trying to tell adults who they are so they can be recognized and treated in a way that honors them uniquely.
“Children’s true natures are written in the shape of their faces and expressed daily in their appearance, body language, tone of voice and choice of words. Each child’s unique laugh, cry, joys, worries and tantrums speak volumes about type of parenting/guidance they need.”
Anita Calder and Kristen Remington discussed “Making Sense of Autism Spectrum Disorders: Practical Ideas for Teachers and Child-Care Staff.”
ASD disorders can impact functioning within the daily routine and curriculum. The signs and symptoms were discussed as wells as sensory processing and social language difficulties.
The director of special education at the Carbon School District, Robert Cox, keynoted the conference discussing early intervention services and how they help students before entering school. “Early intervention provides services to children and families for the purpose of lessoning the effect of the condition.”
“Simple Strategies That Work! Helpful Hints for All Educators of Students with Asperger Syndrome, High Functioning Autism and Related Disabilities” encompasses a complex range of difficulties and challenges. Kim Williams and Beverly Martinez discussed the steps that must be taken to implement intervention that match individual needs and empower the students to be successful.
Mindy Hardy concluded the conference with her take on “Routines, Routines Within Routines.” They are important and can be implemented at different times of the day.
Coordinating the event at USU Eastern were Peggy Golding, Christina Pay and Marie Mancina