ICI Autism Summer Institute: Training and Information for FC Typers, Parents, Trainers and Educators

The Syracuse University School of Education’s Institute on Communication and Inclusion (ICI) is a leader in the field of research and training on facilitated communication (FC). Its initiatives stress the important relationship of communication to inclusion. Each year, the ICI sponsors the Autism Summer Institute, an educational and engaging journey, with workshops, presentations, panels for parents, FC users, educators, and more.

Over the next few weeks, we will take an in-depth look at the 2012 Summer Institute, which was co-sponsored by the ICI and The National Center on Inclusive Education at the University of New Hampshire (UNH) Institute on Disability in collaboration with the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN).
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Overview of the 2012 Autism Summer Institute

The theme of the 2012 Institute was Express Yourself: Supporting Communication through the Arts, Advocacy, and Education. According to the 2012 Autism Summer Institute Brochure, “Self-expression is the key to people with autism communicating, learning, achieving their dreams, and having a rich and rewarding life.” The theme was carried out in seven breakout strands:

  1. Hands-on skill building for supported communication users
  2. Supporting expressive communication through Facilitated Communication (FC) and Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)
  3. Assistive technology, including the iPad
  4. Leadership and self-advocacy, organized by the Autistic Self Advocacy Network
  5. Academic supports and constructing competence
  6. A first-ever strand on autism and the arts
  7. Contemporary topics representing current and emerging issues

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Keynote Addresses by Top Educators and Autism Experts

Additionally, Keynote presentations included:

  • “Tell Them I Am Smart!”: Voice, Inclusion, and the Construction of Competence; Christie Ashby, Director, Syracuse University School of Education’s Institute on Communication and Inclusion.

    Inclusive classrooms should be sites of radical possibility. In the past, many educators have viewed competence and potential as something that students either have or do not have. This session challenged attendees to consider the role they have in constructing competence for all students.

  • The Artism of Autism; Judy Endow, artist, author and international speaker on autism-related topics.

    This presentation matched diagnostic criteria with aspects of individual artists with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD), showing how Early diagnosis and intervention was an asset to their artistic creation, reminding us all not to allow the deficit-based diagnostic criteria define the humanity of people with ASD.

  • Not So Fringe After All: Supported Typing as a Part of AAC; Michael McSheehan, project director with the Institute on Disability, Clinical Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

    This keynote provided participants with a framework for examining supported typing as one strategy within the field of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC).

  • Planting the Seeds for Artistic and Political Expression through Communication; Larry Bissonnette and Tracy Thresher, advocates for people with disabilities and co-stars of the documentary Wretches & Jabberers.

    Tracy and Larry discussed the role of spontaneous communication in the development of personal creative expression and self-advocacy. They also shared their experiences of how communication opened these doors for them, as well as examples of their writings to illustrate the power of creative written expression.

Download the 2012 Autism Summer Institute Conference Guide for additional information and to help you follow our series of articles.
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Next Article: Overview of 2012 Autism Summer Institute Strand Topics
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