Sensory Processing Disorder Foundation presents

12th International Institute and Symposium
March 31, April 1 - 2, 2011
Austin, TX

Hosted by The Autism Project

We're back from Austin and what a great symposium we had! The energy was high, the speakers were stimulating, our hosts were fabulous and we're talking with a bit of Texas twang, y'all. What a wonderful and warm reception we received from the parents and professionals who attended the 12th International Institute & Symposium hosted by The Autism Project and the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education at the University of Texas Austin.

After admiring the view of Longhorn Stadium from our main conference area, Sarah A. Schoen, PhD, OTR, Assistant Director of Research for the SPD Foundation, kicked off our Institute programming with a presentation of the fundamentals of Sensory Processing Disorder. We then had fun with Carol Kranowitz, author of The Out-of-Sync Child, who shared strategies and activities for supporting children with SPD. You couldn't escape the music, movement and laughter during her time at the podium! The day closed with some very moving stories from parents about their experiences parenting a child with SPD. The overarching message was to celebrate the successes along the way. Take the time to enjoy your child in the here and now and just have fun!

On Friday morning, April 1, we opened up our Symposium schedule with Lucy Jane Miller, PhD, OTR, Founder and Director of the SPD Foundation and the STAR (Sensory Therapies And Research) Center who shared research and discussed the boundaries of ASD and SPD and whether SPD is a valid diagnostic category. She challenged all of us to think outside the box in order to move the research and discussion forward. Throughout Friday and Saturday, our symposium also included brilliant researchers and clinicians from Texas and around the country who imparted knowledge, expressed compassion, and gave hope to all that care for children with SPD. We are grateful to our speakers for donating their time to be a part of our program:

  • Greg Allen, PhD, University of Texas, Austin
  • Delia Candelaria, Sensory Kids, Las Cruces, NM
  • Nancy Castilleja, MA, CCC-SLP, Pearson, San Antonio, TX
  • Sharon Cermak, EdD, OTR/L, University of Southern California
  • Helen Cohen, EdD, OTR, Baylor College of Medicine
  • Carrie Fannin, SPD Parent Connections
  • Betsy Furler, MS, CCC-SLP, Communication Circles, Austin, TX
  • Claudia Hilton, PhD, MBA, OTR/L, Washington University School of Medicine
  • Jody L. Jensen, PhD, The Autism Project, University of Texas, Austin
  • Ron Minson, MD, International Listening Therapy Consultant
  • Aage Moller, PhD, University of Texas, Dallas
  • Kristin Neff, PhD, University of Texas, Austin
  • Christina Parra, Sensory Kids, Las Cruces, NM
  • Jean E. Polichino, OTR, MS, ECI Keep Pace, Harris County Dept of Ed
  • Elaine Struthers, PhD, OTR, Island Occupational Therapy, Las Cruces, NM
  • Brenda Veselka, Austin, TX
  • Marisa Van Dommelen, Sensory Kids, Las Cruces, NM

During the symposium the SPD Foundation's Sensational Sweepstakes table was all a-buzz with attendees who were hoping to win prizes donated by our generous exhibitors. The lucky winners went home with sensory books, weighted products, and games. Some enjoyed Lunch with Lucy or Sarah and Cocktails with Carol. It was lots of fun and we thank everyone for their generosity in supporting our sweepstakes!

We welcomed back some of our business supporters as exhibitors including Future Horizons, Integrated Listening Systems, Interactive Metronome, Landscape Structures, Pacific Pediatric Supply, Prince's Sensory Delights, S.I. Focus Magazine, Silpada, STAR Center and Western Psychological Services. And we were pleased to meet some new businesses as well: Austin's Communication Station, The Autism Project, Beaker Press, Charis Hills Camp, Marbridge Villa, Rehab Associates and Sommerfly. Thank you all for coming out!

Youíve heard that we were hosted by The Autism Project at the University of Texas Austin. Well, there are some great folks who founded this organization and provide amazing local support to families of children with Autism. Hats off to Pam Buchanan and Jody Jensen for all the work they accomplish on a zero budget. Just imagine what they could do with a little bit of funding... Please take some time to check out their program and see how you can lend a hand ó financially or otherwise.

We were so pleased to hold our program at the University of Texas with the support of a fantastic team from the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education. Lots of blood (paper cuts), sweat, but fortunately no tears, went into pulling this off. I canít express my gratitude enough to them for helping make the symposium a success!

We are on the look out for unique venues, universities or other locations that can host our symposiums in the future. If you have suggestions or connections to sites that might work, please email me. Hosting organizations receive a number of free registrations as well as the opportunity to showcase their organization to our attendees.

Please come see us at our next symposium in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, on October 20-22. We'll have more great presentations on research and treatment strategies from local and national SPD experts. Our theme is "Understanding the Role of Sensation in Daily Life". Don't miss it (and don't forget the sunscreen)!


Michelle Clarke
Education Program Manager

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