Annual Conference Hits New Attendance High

October 28, 2019

Deb Charette at conference with people she helped

Autism New Jersey  welcomed a record 1,466 participants on October 17 and 18 to the 37th Annual Autism Conference at Harrah’s Waterfront Conference Center in Atlantic City. Autism New Jersey Executive Director Dr. Suzanne Buchanan welcomed the audience to make the most of a wide variety of opportunities for networking and learning for parents, teachers, behavior analysts, self-advocates, and everyone connected to the autism community.

Dr. Greg Hanley and Autism New Jersey Executive Director Suzanne BuchananKeynote highlights

Keynote speaker Gregory Hanley, Ph.D., BCBA-D, explained how he implements practical functional assessment and treatment procedures, a highly individualized and well-researched process that he developed to efficiently and effectively treat children with severe challenging behavior. He also discussed the importance of family involvement, having a process that is transparent, and remaining optimistic throughout it all.

“The main thing I want to communicate is hope,” Hanley said.

With close to 30 years of clinical experience and over 100 published peer-reviewed articles, Dr. Hanley is now a professor at Western New England University, where he currently advises doctoral candidates, and the owner and founder of FTF Behavioral Consulting in Worcester, Massachusetts.

Something for everyone

The conference continued with seven sessions of 75 workshops that featured something for all participants. Conference highlights included presentations from New Jersey state agencies such as the Department of Children and Families’ Children’s System of Care (CSOC) and the Department of Human Services. Each organization discussed the services they offer and informed attendees how to access them.

There were also experts from university faculties, advocacy organizations, psychologists, and behavior analysts from all over the country who presented workshops on topics including mental health issues, co-occurring disorders, and how to improve social skills.

There were also plenty of opportunities for networking and information-gathering at 110 exhibit tables, with representatives from schools, community resources,  law and financial firms available to speak to attendees.

The event is far more than a state conference. Attendees, presenters, and exhibitors travel from all over to be with us. The participant who traveled the farthest this year came from Nigeria, looking to improve autism services in her community. We appreciate the dedication of so many to be with us and learn how to improve the quality of life for those they love or support.

A tremendous thank you to everyone who participated as presenters, exhibitors, and sponsors. Each made the Annual Conference a tremendous success!

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