Autism Summit to explore the hidden curriculum

BOWLING GREEN, O.—The numbers are staggering—autism affects one in 110 children and one in 70 boys. Armed with those sobering statistics, parents, health-care professionals and educators will have an opportunity to explore the “hidden curriculum of autism” at the ninth annual Autism Summit of Northwest Ohio.

The conference, “Hidden Curriculum through the Lifespan,” runs from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, June 5, at the Bowen-Thompson Student Union at Bowling Green State University. The keynote speaker is Brenda Smith Myles, Ph.D., a consultant with the Ziggurat Group and chief of programs and development at the Autism Society of America.

Myles will discuss the hidden curriculum and its applicability to individuals on the autism spectrum. The hidden curriculum comprises information that is not usually taught to typical children and youth, but is assumed and expected knowledge. It might include topics such as how to eat appropriately, how to hold appropriate conversations, how to follow unwritten rules such as bathroom rules, how to read social cues or how to practice good social behavior. Violation of these rules can have an adverse effect on school performance and how well a student/child is able to positively relate to the community and home. 

Drs. Lessie L. Cochran and Ellen Ursula Williams, faculty in the Autism Certificate Program and the School of Intervention Services at BGSU and co-founders of this Autism Summit, noted, “We selected the topic of ‘hidden curriculum’ for our summit this year because all too often it is an overlooked but vital part of the curriculum for individuals on the autism spectrum. We are delighted that Dr. Brenda Smith Myles, one of the leading authorities on this topic, has accepted our invitation as keynote speaker.”

Myles is the recipient of the 2004 Autism Society of America’s Outstanding Professional Award and the 2006 Princeton Fellowship Award. She has written numerous articles and books on Asperger’s syndrome and autism. From 1997 to 2004, she was acknowledged as the second most productive applied researcher in autism spectrum disorders.

Representatives from state and local autism groups will also deliver an annual update regarding their programs and services in another segment of the summit entitled “What’s Happening with Autism?”

Continuing Education Units (CEU) have been approved for Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) professionals, psychologists, social workers, counselors, rehabilitation counselors, occupational therapists, family and marriage therapists, and nurses.

The conference fee is $69 with CEUs, $59 for educator contact hours, $49 for parents/caregivers and $20 for students. For more information or to register, visit http://cee.bgsu.edu/autism or call Continuing and Extended Education, at 419-372-8181.

The event is sponsored by Robert and Nancy Williams, BGSU’s Office of Continuing and Extended Education, College of Education and Human Development and School of Intervention Services, the Lucas County Board of Developmental Disabilities and the Wood County Educational Service Center.

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(Posted May 25, 2010 )