The Institute for Behavioral Studies, which offers graduate programs in applied behavior analysis (ABA) and autism through the Van Loan School at Endicott College, recently received a grant from the Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation to support its Annual Parent Autism Conference held during April, to coincide with Autism Awareness Month.
The Tower Foundation focuses on improving the lives of young people in the communities where Tower family members have lived and worked — Western New York (Erie and Niagara Counties) and Eastern Massachusetts (Barnstable, Dukes, Essex, and Nantucket Counties). The Foundation’s key funding areas include intellectual disabilities, learning disabilities, mental health, and substance use disorders.
Offered for the past five years, the Institute for Behavioral Studies’ Annual Parent Autism Conference is the only parent-focused autism conference available in the New England area. In an effort to inform and support parents with children who have autism, the conference provides expert speakers and workshops and is designed to help families access local resources and request state-of-the-art intervention services. Families affected by autism, along with BCBA professionals, are the primary attendees and the conference is offered free of charge to participants.
With support from the Tower Foundation grant, the Institute for Behavioral Studies’ objectives for the 2018 conference include: recruitment of prominent, nationally recognized keynote and workshop speakers; and recording and distribution of the keynote address and workshop presentations.
“We are thankful for this grant from the Tower Foundation,” said Institute for Behavioral Studies Director Michael F. Dorsey, Ph.D., BCBA-D. “This support helps us continue to provide a meaningful, helpful, and unique event for families affected by autism.”
The Van Loan School at Endicott College partners with several organizations to promote the Annual Parent Autism Conference to parents, educators and caregivers who have a family member with an autism spectrum disorder. Last year, the Flutie Foundation co-sponsored the conference — a key partnership for the program — as the Flutie Foundation is a well-known, nationally-recognized non-profit organization helping people with autism obtain access to care, lead more active lifestyles, and grow toward adult independence.
Additionally, the Institute for Behavioral Studies maintains key partnerships with Massachusetts organizations that educate, support and provide services for those with autism and intellectual disabilities. Such partnerships, along with outreach to public school districts in Massachusetts and southern New Hampshire help with the additional goal of increasing conference attendance.
“This conference empowers parents of children with autism with knowledge and skills,” said Director of Programs in Autism and ABA Mary Jane Weiss, Ph.D., BCBA-D. “Endicott and the Van Loan School are committed to providing parents with tools that they can use to make real world changes in the lives of their children with autism.”Learn more about the Institute for Behavioral Studies and its online graduate programs in ABA and Autism.