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Peter Gerhardt, Ed.D.

Peter Gerhardt, Ed.D., is the Executive Director of the EPIC School in Paramus, NJ. Dr. Gerhardt has more than 35 years of experience utilizing the principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis in support of adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorders in educational, employment, residential and community-based settings. He is the author or co-author on a number of articles and chapters on the needs of adolescents and adults with ASD, and has presented nationally and internationally on this topic. Dr. Gerhardt serves as Chairman of the Scientific Council for the Organization for Autism Research and is on numerous professional advisory boards including the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies. He received his doctorate from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey's Graduate School of Education.



According to Roux, et al (2015, p. 8) "[y]oung adults with autism have a difficult time following high school for almost any outcome you choose - working, continuing school, living independently, socializing, community participation, and staying healthy and safe." While there may be any number of reasons for continued poor outcomes many of them are, either in whole or in part, well within our ability to change.  To do this, however, both parents and professionals need to start thinking about, and programming for, adulthood much earlier than is typically done. This presentation will provide an overview of the process by which complex adult competencies can be developed by targeting the simpler prerequisite skills early on in life. From toilet training to safety skills; from discrimination training to personal sexuality; and from learning readiness to community employment, adulthood begins in preschool.


Concurrent D (afternoon)


Individuals on the Autism Spectrum are sexual beings. However, individual interest in sex or in developing an intimate sexual relationship with another person varies widely across (and within) individuals at all ability levels and across the life-span.  Unfortunately, despite much discussion about decision-making skills in the self-determination literature, there continues to be little evidence in support of what constitutes effective education or intervention in this area of human behaviour which behaviour analysis can provide. This workshop will provide an overview of puberty and ASD, recommendations as to the focus and challenges of sexuality education in ASD, and the role the parents, educators and behaviour analysts can play in this complex and important area.


Amanda Kelly, PhD, BCBA-D, LBA

Amanda N. Kelly, PhD, BCBA-D, LBA obtained her Bachelors degree in Elementary Education, her Masters of Science in Behavioural Education, and her doctorate in Behaviour Analysis. Dr. Kelly has experience working as a paraprofessional, a licensed teacher, a school counsellor, and behaviour analyst. Over the past two decades, Dr. Kelly has worked in-home settings, public and private schools, residential placements, and community settings for children and adolescents who have social-emotional, cognitive, or behavioural needs.

Currently, Dr. Kelly serves as ABA Marketing Liaison for Relias Learning: Autism Solutions, as well as Director for the University of West Florida's (UWF), Office of ABA, Hawai'i cohort, which serves over 40 students from the islands of Kauai, Lanai, Oahu, Maui, and Hawai'i combined. Dr. Kelly has been recognized for her dissemination and advocacy efforts. In 2012, she was awarded the "Jerry Shook Practitioner of the Year" from the Berkshire Association for Behavior Analysis and Therapy (BABAT) and in 2015, she accepted the "Advocacy Group of the Year" award from Autism Speaks, on behalf of the Hawai'i Association for Behavior Analysis (HABA). In 2017, Dr. Kelly became the first behaviour analyst licensed in the state of Hawai'i.

Dr. Kelly has served on numerous boards and committees and is currently serving on the board for the Hawai'i Disability Rights Center (HDRC). Dr. Kelly's dedication and commitment to improving access to educational and medical services has resulted in numerous invited speaking engagements throughout the world, including talks in Canada, Japan, London, and Africa. In addition to her expertise helping families and schools, Dr. Kelly's interests in behaviour analysis extend to dissemination, organizational management, public policy, and sustainable behaviour change. To learn more about Dr. Kelly and her work, please visit

Concurrent A


As behaviour analysts, we are charged with helping others achieve behaviour change. We are often called in when stakes are high and situations are escalated. As with any behaviour change program, it is important to ensure strong treatment fidelity, meaning we need others to follow the plans we create. There are plenty of times when families, teachers, or other implementers feel frustrated, overwhelmed and unequipped to face certain challenges. As consultants, it can be equally as frustrating when we believe we have buy-in, but later learn that we do not.

This past fall, I developed a behaviour change program for myself. I was confident I had the tools needed to achieve change. I decided to eliminate consumption of single-use plastic straws. Though motivated and equipped with the science of ABA, I found my behaviour change program challenging. Despite being a behaviour analyst myself, the degree of my behaviour change fluctuated and did not always go in the desired direction. Needless to say, I learned (and I'm still learning) a lot about behaviour change by attempting to change my own. In this presentation, I will share these valuable lessons with you.


Workshop, April 19 (morning)


In this workshop, attendees will learn about teaching techniques, grounded in the principles of behaviour analysis that can be easily embedded into everyday instruction. As behaviour analysts, we are familiar with replacement behaviours and function-based treatment. However, many of us see "on task" as the inverse as "off-task" behaviour, when really we should be targeting "active student responding" (ASR). In this workshop, we will review 3 active student responding methods that can hep promote active engagement by learners in classroom settings. In addition, attendees will also discuss video modeling and the role this tool can play in helping learners develop play skills, social skills, and in developing language skills. Lastly, the workshop will introduce and review some key components of Tagteach, which stands for teaching with acoustical guidance. Participants will have an opportunity to practice using these three teaching techniques during the workshop, leaving with access to a small library of resources and videos to take with them.


Lauren Martell, M.ADS., BCBA

Lauren Martell is a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA) who has worked with children, youth, and adults with mental health and intellectual disability diagnoses since 2009. Lauren has worked in clinical settings with young children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, community based settings supporting young people and their families to target challenging behaviour in the home, schools to support behavioural concerns in the classroom, and residential/group home placements for adults and children to identify strategies to improve skills, decrease problematic behaviour, and support community engagement. Over the past two years, Lauren has worked specifically with young people and adults who engage in unlawful/offending behaviour including both violent, substance related, and sexually harmful behaviours. Lauren is continuing to learn about the various applications of applied behaviour analysis in the community and is ignited by supporting people to influence meaningful change in their daily lives. 

Concurrent B


The science of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) far exceeds applications focused on challenging behaviour for individuals with very specific diagnoses. For example, large companies employ behaviour analysts to implement systems and interventions to increase staff efficiency and speed and ultimately improve sales (O’Hara, Johnson, & Beehr, 1985). Behaviour analysts are also part of sport teams that support improvements in player skill development and execution when it’s needed most (Ward & Carnes, 2002). With all this being true, it is not unrealistic to assume that behaviour analysts would be working with individuals who display challenging behaviour that costs a great deal of financial resources and time to the government: those who engage in criminal/offending behaviour.  Adult correctional statistics Canada 2015/2016 report that there was an average of 120,568 offenders on a given day, 40,147 of those in custody, with 58% of the adults under the age of 35 (Reitano, 2016). Adult correctional facilities in Canada totalled over 4.6 billion dollars in 2015/2016, which estimates at roughly 283 dollars per day per offender in the federal system (Reitano, 2016). Despite these statistics, the research on decreasing criminogenic factors or offending behaviour for youth or adults primarily exists within the field of social work, and little is reported in the journals focused on behaviour analysis, especially in comparison to other behavioural difficulties reported in the ABA literature (e.g. ASD). It is interesting that ABA research is limited in this area, because those who engage in offending behaviour are seemingly a perfect candidate for a profession that specializes in behaviour change. This presentation will discuss potential applications of the principals of ABA to these challenging behaviours, and stress the importance of further research in this area. 

Dr. Farooq Naeem, MRCPsyc, MSc Research Methods, PhD

Dr. Naeem is a Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto, and he is also a cognitive behaviour therapist. He was trained in Psychiatry training scheme in Liverpool, UK. In addition to CBT for common mental health disorders, he received training in CBT for psychosis from Professor David Kingdon. Farooq pioneered techniques for culturally adapting CBT along with David Kingdon. He has conducted nearly 15 RCTs along with colleagues from Southampton and Manchester Universities in England. He is considered a leader in global mental health and he has a keen interest in health systems. He has worked as an expert in Lean Thinking and Quality Improvement in England, Canada and in some of the developing countries. He currently leads Canada-China and Canada-Middle East collaboratives that aim to culturally adapt and promote CBT. He works with a team of IT experts and has developed a CBT based therapy program that can be delivered through web and apps, eGuru. He has written 6 books and numerous book chapters, and has published more than 100 papers in peer reviewed journals. He has presented in numerous conferences and has conducted many workshops. His areas of research include CBT, Psychosis and Culture with an overall aim to improve access to CBT.

Concurrent C


Cognitive Behaviour Therapy (CBT) has a strong evidence base and is recommended by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) in the UK, and by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) in the US for a variety of emotional and mental health problems. Recent years have seen enormous developments in translational research in CBT. The talk will focus on developments in 3 areas in particular: Cultural adaptation of CBT; Brief and self-help CBT; and CBT delivered through digital media.

CBT is underpinned by specific cultural values, and for it to be effective for clients from diverse backgrounds it should be culturally adapted. Recently our international group has used various methods to adapt CBT for clients from various backgrounds including African, Caribbean, Chinese, Bangladeshi, Middle Eastern and Pakistanis. In this symposium, we will describe our experience of adaptation of CBT and outcome of RCTs to evaluate these culturally adapted therapies.

CBT is now delivered using self-help and guided self-help for depression, anxiety, and other common mental health problems. However, CBT psychosis has not been tested in a self-help format. We will describe the first CBT for psychosis using Guided Self help trial conducted in Canada.  Finally, there is emerging evidence in favour of CBT being delivered through digital media. Our group is also developing a mobile app (eGuru) that is based on principles of CBT for common mental health problems. We will briefly discuss the use of digital technologies and describe the app in some details.


William Sparks, MSW, RSW, CATSM

William “Bill” Sparks is a Compassion Fatigue Specialist trained in CF Education & ARP Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. Bill is a Member of the American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress certified in Acute Traumatic Stress Management, a graduate of the Traumatology Institute-Canada in Compassion Fatigue Education & Accelerated Recovery Intervention, and an ASIST trained SafeTALK trainer in suicide prevention. He is a veteran civil society organization leader, skilled in capacity building, the retired Executive Director of the John Howard Society of Ontario, and current Sessional Instructor of the Humber College Post Graduate Certificate Program in International Project Management. Bill currently sits on the Board of Directors of Defence for Children International Canada (DCI), and Diyaalo International Canada-Nepal. He is a past President of the Board of the Ontario Council for International Cooperation, and past Board Treasurer of CUSO. He is the Co-lead of the Voluntary Sector Governance Practice for Management Advisory Service. His continuing interest is Holistic Human Development and the integration of the micro-mezzo-macro in social work practice.

Bill has led workshops on Compassion Fatigue Education and Intervention, and safeTALK Suicide Alertness to various agencies.

Workshop, April 19 (afternoon)


Professional helpers, interns and volunteers experience predictable patterns of frustrations, stress, burnout, vicarious trauma, and compassion fatigue leading to illness, rapid job turnover, negative effects on careers and personal life, and, too often, leaving the profession. This workshop helps workers personally anchor the early signs and symptoms of compassion fatigue and accompanying trauma and burnout factors. Participants will learn how to identify risk, increase resilience, initiate self-care plans in the workplace and beyond, find available therapeutic resources, examine appropriate agency care policies, and increase organizational loyalty, and career longevity.

Learning Outcomes:

  1. Identify common and personal signs of compassion fatigue, burnout, vicarious trauma, and career risk.
  2. Find personal and social techniques and strategies to increase resilience.
  3. Start a personal self-care plan.
  4. Identify and recognize agency policies and supports for career longevity.