for knowledge


MARCH 2nd @11AM(ET)


TUNE IN to REACH LIVE on FACEBOOK this month. If you miss it live you can watch sessions on YouTube or listen to our PODCAST to hear from experts each month presenting topics related to best practices in autism. REACH benefits everyone and "reaches" people in remote areas that need this connection. This excellent resource will equip you with the knowledge you need on a diverse selection of topics. If you miss it live you can access on YouTube or Podcast

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Christine P. Collado-Acebal, Ph.D.

Caregiver Burnout Strategies

Christine P. Collado-Acebal, Ph.D.  NO parent should feel alone in their journey of raising a child with autism. It’s HARD to care for them, teach them, advocate for them, fight for them, all while taking care of ourselves at the same time. We are parents just like any other human being. Our kids don’t come with a special manual or born to parents who have a certain set of skills. We learn as we go. Sometimes we figure things out fairly quickly, and sometimes it takes years of hard work and perspiration. If we try to do it all alone, or feel that we’ve been abandoned by those we once counted on, life can easily begin to feel as though it’s impossible. Research has shown that parents who have a support system and actively attack problems with the help of others, including their own mental and physical ones, will have less stress than those who disengage or cope in unhealthy ways. PLEASE DON’T ATTEMPT THIS JOURNEY ON YOUR OWN. The autism community is filled with loving, supportive, and dedicated parents who will hug you, cry with you, and go to battle with you if that’s what’s needed.

Michelle Garcia Winner, MA, CCC-SLP,

Social Behavior Mapping


Special thanks to Michelle Garcia Winner, MA, CCC-SLP, Founder of Social Thinking. Michelle specializes in the treatment of individuals with social learning challenges. She coined the term "Social Thinking®" in the mid-1990s and since that time has made it her life work to help people develop their social competencies to better interpret and respond to the social world around them to achieve a lifetime of well-being. Michelle helps educators, clinicians, professionals of all types, and parents/family members appreciate how social competencies are integral to a person's success socially, academically, and professionally. 

You can view that interview on our YouTube Channel. 
You can see her website, packed with helpful resources here:
You can also purchase her book, Thinking About You, Thinking About Me, here:

Laura Brukner, OT and author

Staying Awesome and in Control


Are You Stressed? Yes, Me Too!
Watch this interview with Laura Brukner, OT and author of The Kids’ Guide to Staying AWESOME and IN CONTROL – Simple Stuff to Help Children Regulate Their Emotions and Senses. Lauren specializes in sensory integration and self-regulation strategies for children and young people, and their implementation in home, school, and community settings. She holds advanced training and certification in Integrated Listening Systems, and is a Certified Screener for Irlen Syndrome/Scoptic Sensitivity. Other Books: Stay Cool and in Control with the Keep-Calm Guru, and Self-Control to the Rescue!: Super Powers to Help Kids Through the Tough Stuff in Everyday Life. 
Get the book here:…/…/ref=sr_1_1…

Selene Almazan, legal director of COPAA.



We hosted one of the leading special education attorneys in the US, Selene Almazan, legal director of COPAA. Don't miss this video as she talks to us about parent rights to education during school closures and some of the things we need to watch out for. YES< you DO have rights to individualized education EVEN NOW. 
Disability Rights Florida Florida Developmental Disabilities Council The Arc of Florida CARD-USF Family Network on Disabilities Center for Autism and Related Disabilities at Florida Atlantic University Family Care Council Area 14 Family Care Council 23 Family Care Council Area 4 Family Care Council - Area 15 Family Care Council Area 1

Jenna Ward-Hawkes and Melissa Rodi, authors

Behavior During Crisis


Some children and adults with autism are having a particularly challenging time during the pandemic’s necessity to remain at home. Schedules are off, school has been cancelled, and providers who once came into homes to provide support, are often not available due to the social distance recommendation. With all of this creating “the perfect storm”, some may exhibit significant behaviors. During this live Zoom event, Jenna Ward-Hawkes and Melissa Rodi, authors of Managing Meltdowns and Tantrums on the Autism Spectrum, cover a variety of behavior interventions,
Order the book here:…/managing-meltdowns-and-tantrums-on-th…
or on Amazon:…/…/1785928406

Dr. Barry Prizant

Building on Stregnths


Dr Barry Prizant, CCC-SLP, one of the world's leading authorities on autism. We will be talking about identifying and encouraging the strengths found in people with autism. This session is for anyone desiring a deeper understanding, through the expertise of a mindful professional in the field of autism, to answer the bigger and more meaningful questions that guide successes of those on the spectrum. Dr. Prizant is recognized as an innovator of respectful person and family-centered approaches for people with autism and neurodevelopmental disabilities.

Kelly Mahler 
MS, OTR/L; authtor

Steps to Building Self-Regulation, Awareness and Social Understanding

Kelly Mahler has been an occupational therapist for 17 years, serving school aged children and adults. She is involved in several research projects pertaining to interoception and has published 7 books on a variety of topics related to social and emotional growth. Kelly shares strategies with us known as IA Builders that modify abstract mindfulness concepts into concrete, visual, interactive and engaging tactics that improve interoception (how our body is feeling on the inside) 

Cathy McGovern
Fl. Program Manager, McGovern Foundation

Drowning is Preventable

Did you know that drowning happens 160 times more in children with autism than in their typically developing peers? And did you know that winter months are VERY dangerous times for drownings to occur? Cassie McGovern, Drowning Prevention Program Manager with the Florida Dept. of Health and McGovern Foundation is joining us to talk about how parents can proactively protect their children from drowning.

Barbara J. Newman
Teacher Consultant. Author

Autism and Faith • Celebrating the Spirit of the Holiday Season

For ver 30 years, Barbara J. Newman has endeavored to create communities of inclusion through All Belong where she serves as the director of church services. Co-administrating inclusive education at Zeeland Christian School allows her to stay on top of best practices which she shares at schools and churches nationwide and in her books and practical resources, including Autism and Your Church, Helping Kids Include Kids with Disabilities, Nuts & Bolts of Inclusive Education, and her latest title, Accessible Gospel, Inclusive Worship.

Jim Ball, (BCBA-D)
Author, Consultant, Speaker

Behavior: Whole Person Strategies

We talked with Dr. Jim Ball is a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA-D) who has been working in the field of autism for 25+ years.
If you’re a parent, you have had behavior challenges with your children. Dr. Ball will join REACH to discuss the application of the whole-person perspective toward behavior management that connects across home, school, and community. We’ll talk about some tried and true behavior strategies that really work!

Lisa Combs
Behavior Specialist, Ed Consultant, Autism Specialist, Author, Consultant

Making Inclusion WORK 

Lisa Combs joined us to talk about Making Inclusion Work. Lisa is a behavior specialist, educational consultant, and autism specialist. She is an author and consultant on instruction, inclusive practices and behavior support of children with special needs.Lisa will share with us proactive strategies on inclusive education in a practical and simple format that remove common barriers of success for students with autism. Instead of being a reactive, she offers a proactive planning guide to help parents and teachers understand some of the most critical characteristics of autism and plan their classroom environment and teaching methods to avoid pitfalls that can occur.  

Brenda Smith Myles Ph.D.; Author, Speaker, Autism Specialist

Excelling With Autism

Brenda Smith Myles Ph.D. Brenda has made over 1000 presentations all over the world and written more than 250 articles and books on ASD. Brenda’s newest book is Excelling With Autism. She spoke with us about how we can optimize progress of learners with ASD and described how to do things differently to yield positive impacts for those on the spectrum. We talked about the four elements of deliberate practice -- developing specific goals, ensuring focus, moving out of the comfort zone, and communicating outcomes – and how they are applied to teaching social, communication, and daily living skills.

Alicia Palelis 
Autism Behavior Specialist 

Get Ready for School

Alicia Palelis, a professional in the field of behavior and education for kids with autism. She brought us tips and tricks to help get kids ready for the new school year and provide some insight on how to build better systems of communication with your school so you don't feel left out in the dark.

Margi Hedelund
Advocate, First Responder Trainer

Navigating Theme Parks

Tips and Tricks on how to make your adventure to the Walt Disney Parks a success. Margi Hedelund, mother and advocate gave us the low down on the best ways to plan your trip to avoid the long lines and cut down the stress. Check out the video on our YouTube Channel and learn how to make your trip a success for everyone.

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Autism Society of Florida
PO Box 677055
Orlando, FL 32867