ECHO Autism
2021 Symposium

ECHO Autism
2021 Symposium

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“The ECHO Autism Communities Symposium unites professionals globally around key concepts to ignite important conversations and take action together. Learn from leading experts as we engage in empowering ourselves and each other through knowledge, practice, and advocacy.”

“The ECHO Autism Communities Symposium unites professionals globally around key concepts to ignite important conversations and take action together. Learn from leading experts as we engage in empowering ourselves and each other through knowledge, practice, and advocacy.”

– Dr. Kristin Sohl

– Dr. Kristin Sohl

At this symposium event, experts and participants learned together about specific topics to enhance services, access, care, and advocacy within the autism community.

At this live symposium event, experts and participants learn together about specific topics to enhance services, access, care, and advocacy within the autism community.

ECHO Autism Symposium Speakers

ECHO Autism
Symposium Speakers

Kristin Sohl, MD, Child Health
Dr. Sohl is a Professor of Clinical Child Health at the University of Missouri, Executive Director of ECHO Autism and Scientific Advisor for the National Institutes of Neurologic Disorders and Stroke, and Medical Director for MU Missouri Telehealth Network and the MU Office of Continuing Medical Education. She is a pediatrician with extensive experience in medical diagnosis, evaluation and treatment of children with a concern of autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Dr. Sohl is regarded as an expert in quality and process improvement particularly for comprehensive autism diagnostic and longitudinal services. She is the founder of ECHO Autism, an innovative framework to increase community capacity to care for children with autism. It is viewed as a national model in expanding autism diagnosis and treatment to underserved and rural populations. The ECHO Autism team has established partnerships with other children’s hospitals and autism centers in more than 40 locations in the United States and 15 international locations. Dr. Sohl is a tireless advocate for children and enjoys engaging other physicians in being a voice for children’s health particularly related changing systems to improve access to equitable care in rural and underserved locations. She is the President of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Missouri Chapter. She is actively engaged in the AAP on a national level with subcommittees, councils and sections. She completed medical school and pediatric residency at the University of Missouri.
valeria Nanclares 3x3
Dr. Nanclares-Nogués is a licensed clinical psychologist who specializes in neurodevelopmental disorders, with a strong emphasis on diagnosis and intervention of autism spectrum disorders. For over 25 years she has been working with children and families in a variety of settings, from research to clinical practice. For 20 years, she developed and directed the Autism Treatment Program at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Chicago, IL. She translated into Spanish the gold-standard instruments for the diagnosis of autism: The Autism Diagnostic Interview-Revised and the Autism Diagnostic Observation schedule. She provides trainings throughout the US and Latin America, helping professionals and organizations to create greater access to services and improve care for children with ASD and their families. Since 2018, she has remained as a consultant for Advocate Children’s Hospital and has joined the ECHO Autism Hub team. She is now the Director of Program Development and Global expansion for ECHO Autism, helping to replicate ECHO Autism clinics in Latin America.
Photo Amy Wetherby 2
Dr. Wetherby is a distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Clinical Sciences and Director of the Autism Institute in the College of Medicine at Florida State University (FSU). She is a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association with over 35 years of clinical experience and the Executive Director of the FSU Center for Autism and Related Disabilities and Project Co-Director of the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Leadership Training for Autism Researchers (TRAIL) funded by the U.S. Department of Education (DOE). She is the Project Director of the FIRST WORDS Project, a longitudinal research investigation on early detection of ASD, funded by the US DOED, National Institutes of Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She brings unique research and clinical expertise in early detection, parent-implemented early intervention for toddlers with autism, and community-based screening and intervention, and experience directing multisite studies. She has extensive experience developing and implementing screening tools for autism and communication disorders in large population-based samples of children 9-24 months of age. She is the lead investigator of a randomized controlled trial that is part of the Emory Autism Center of Excellence (PI: Ami Klin) to test the efficacy of teaching parents of infants with early signs of ASD how to embed evidence-based intervention strategies into everyday activities. She is the co-developer of Autism Navigator®, an innovative collection of tools and courses designed to bridge the gap between science and community practice using a highly interactive web platform with extensive video footage to illustrate effective evidence-based practice
Rachel Loftin
Dr. Loftin is a clinical psychologist who specializes in social communication challenges, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Her practice is focused on the diagnosis, assessment and treatment of children, adolescents and adults. Dr. Loftin’s clinical-research interests include increasing skills for general physicians to treat people with ASD, violence risk assessment, and sexuality education for people with social challenges. Dr. Loftin maintains a private practice that offers diagnosis and assessment, therapy, and consultation on educational and legal cases. She is on the editorial board of the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders and is adjunct faculty in the psychiatry departments in the medical schools of Northwestern and Yale Universities. She was previously an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Rush University Medical Center, where she was the clinical director of the autism program. Dr. Loftin earned her PhD in the School Psychology program at Indiana University. She completed internship and postdoctoral training in developmental disorders at the Yale Child Study Center at Yale University’s School of Medicine, as well as a social policy fellowship in the Edward Zigler Center at Yale.
Maddox, BrennaRGB-16
Dr. Brenna Maddox is an Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, in the Department of Psychiatry. As the implementation scientist for the TEACCH Autism Program, her work focuses on improving community services for people on the autism spectrum across the lifespan. She is particularly interested in training and supporting community mental health clinicians, modifying cognitive-behavioral therapy for people on the autism spectrum with anxiety or depression, and preventing suicide in this population. Her research has been supported by the NIMH and the FAR Fund, and she serves on the expert hub team for ECHO Autism: Mental Health. Dr. Maddox is also a clinical psychologist with expertise in the assessment and treatment of co-occurring psychiatric conditions in autism. She is a deputy editor for the journal, Autism in Adulthood, and a co-chair of the American Association of Suicidology’s Autism and Suicide Committee.

Rachel Brown

Rachel Brown is a physician, board-certified in psychiatry and child and adolescent psychiatry and she is the Residency Program Director at the KU Wichita Psychiatry program. She specializes in the evaluation and treatment of patients of all ages with autism and co-occurring psychiatric disorders, including those with challenging behaviors.  She has worked in this field for more than 30 years.
Lisa Morgan
Lisa Morgan, an autistic adult and suicide loss survivor, advocates for crisis supports for the autism community. She is the author of Living Through Suicide Loss with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Living with PTSD on the Autism Spectrum. Lisa has authored resources and trainings about crisis supports for the autism community and is co-chair of the Autism and Suicide committee of the American Association of Suicidology (AAS), a committee dedicated to helping the autism community with all issues of suicide. Lisa owns a business which offers trainings and workshops about crisis supports to professionals working with autistic people. She has a master’s degree in the Art of Teaching in Special Education and is a board-certified Autism Specialist (CAS).
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Eric M. Butter, PhD, serves as Section and Division Chief of Psychology in the Department of Pediatrics at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. Dr. Butter is also the Director and a founding faculty member of Nationwide Children’s Child Development Center which is an interdisciplinary program offering multiple medical subspecialties including Developmental Pediatrics, Neurology, Psychiatry, and Gastroenterology as well as psychology, social work, marriage and family therapy, speech and language therapy, and genetics counseling. He obtained a Doctor of Philosophy in Clinical Psychology with a specialization in Child Clinical and Community Psychology. His graduate school studies included a broad child clinical background with training in coping and adjustment, prevention, and childhood aggression. In 1999, Dr. Butter completed a pre-doctoral internship in Pediatric Psychology and a post-doctoral fellowship in Pediatric Psychology and Developmental Disabilities in Columbus before moving into clinical research activities in neurodevelopmental disabilities and autism in collaboration with The Ohio State University Nisonger Center. His research has focused on the bio-medical correlates and potential etiologies of autism spectrum disorders and ADHD as well as psychological and medical treatment of these disorders. He is currently the PI for several medical network grants and federally funded research studies focusing on pediatric behavioral health conditions, health service delivery, pediatric dental care, and quality improvement science.
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Beh. Health
Amy Hess is the Behavioral Health Outreach Supervisor for Nationwide Children’s Hospital where she focuses on building learning health networks, primary care engagement, education, and community outreach for autism and other health categories locally and nationally. Amy is the coordinator for Nationwide Children’s Hospital Project ECHO which provides knowledge-based training to health care partners within and outside of Ohio. Prior to this, she was the Program Director for the Center for Autism Services and Transition or CAST at The Ohio State University (OSU). This program focuses on providing primary care for transition age youth and adults with autism. Amy is a family advisor for Nationwide Children’s Hospital and the co-chair for the Autism Speaks/Autism Treatment Network where she focuses on quality improvement initiatives and building the capacity of healthcare professionals in the care and treatment of individuals with autism.
Alicia brewer curran
BS, Grad Cert.
Alicia is the mother of a 20-year-old son with autism. Following her son’s diagnosis of autism, she devoted her professional career to work within the autism field. Currently, she works that the University of Missouri, where she is the Director of Operations of the ECHO Autism Program, LEND Family Faculty, Program Manager & Quality Improvement Lead for the Autism Learning Health Network, and the CDC’s Act Early Ambassador for the state of Missouri.

On Demand Topics

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On Demand Topics

Everyday Strategies to Address Behavior

Valeria Nanclares, PsyD

Parenting is more challenging with children with special needs. Many problems can interfere with effective parenting: their child’s potential cognitive delays, speech and language differences, sensory issues, or unusual behaviors that interfere with functioning. The behaviors we see are the tip of the iceberg. It is important to understand the function of those behaviors to develop an appropriate intervention. Many common problems can be addressed through structuring the environment for success! All children need structure. However, children with developmental disabilities need a great deal more. Structure provides information about what is going on and what to expect. Thus, structure compensates for problems caused by cognitive delays and communication deficits. Structure provides children with information in a concrete, visual form. It helps them handle the many happenings of the day that can cause confusion or frustration, often leading to behavioral challenges.

From Rattles to Blocks to House – How Play Develops in Children

Amy Wetherby, PhD

Problem solving, adaptability, and understanding social situations are just a few of the skills children develop through play. For most children, play comes naturally and spontaneously, but children with Autism are less likely to engage in functionally appropriate play without adult guidance and structured interventions. This presentation will provide you with information about the development of play from infancy through preschool in children and how this differs in children with autism. You will learn how teaching children with autism to engage in functional play will help them in their journey to develop their cognitive, social, communication and emotional regulation skills.

Promoting Healthy Relationships and Sexuality in ASD

Rachel Loftin, PhD

Healthy intimate relationships are important to well-being. Although most autistic adults desire romantic and intimate relationships, they may not have the skills needed to develop such relationships. This presentation will cover the domains of instruction that are helpful to adolescents and adults as they learn about healthy relationships and sexuality, as well as ways to minimize sexual risks.

ECHO Autism Communities

Kristin Sohl, MD

Learn about the origins of ECHO Autism bringing best practice interdisciplinary care to communities and how we are imagining communities where people with all abilities live their best lives. Learn more about engaging with our network to challenge the status quo for autism and disabilities so people with all abilities can access equitable best practices around the globe.

Preventing Suicide in People with Autism: Risk Factors, Warning Signs, and Intervention

Brenna Maddox, PhD & Lisa Morgan

Suicide is a leading cause of premature death in autistic people. Autistic individuals are significantly more likely to think about and attempt suicide than the general population. However, most mental health professionals do not feel confident about identifying suicide risk, particularly signs of acute risk (i.e., warning signs), and intervening when autistic individuals are in crisis. The goal of this presentation is to improve attendees’ knowledge, skills, and self-efficacy related to recognizing risk factors and warning signs of suicide risk in autistic individuals, and identifying appropriate crisis supports and resources for this population.

RUBI Parent Training for Challenging Behaviors

Eric Butter, PhD & Amy Hess

Many children with Autism engage in disruptive and challenging behaviors. Managing challenging behaviors can be extremely overwhelming and stressful for parents and caregivers. RUBI is an evidence-based training program for parents and caregivers of children with autism who have behavior problems. RUBI has been shown to reduce problem behaviors and irritability, improve compliance with everyday routines, and expand social, communication, and independence with daily living skills for children whose parents have completed the program.

Parent & Self Advocate Panel

Alicia Curran

A panel of parents and a self-advocate will share their personal testimonies and experiences. The discussion will give families a sense of hope as they walk through their own journey and professionals some insight into the struggles, barriers and needs of families who are caring for a child with autism spectrum disorder.

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This conference was organized by :

Alicia Curran | Melinda Odum | Dr. Kristin Sohl