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2019 Autism Society of Iowa Fall Educational Conference

November 1 @ 8:15 am - 4:00 pm

To register online, click here.

For a printable event flyer, click here.

The 2019 Autism Society of Iowa Fall Conference will feature keynote speaker Dr. Scott Bellini presenting Building Social Relationships through Evidence Based Social Skills Programming for Youth and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum.

The conference will also offer multiple breakout sessions to choose from in the afternoon sessions.


7:30 a.m. – Registration begins

8:15 – Welcome and Announcements – ASI President Molly Jones

8:20 – 9:45 – Building Social Relationships through Evidence Based Social Skills Programming for Youth and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum, Presented by Scott Bellini

The workshop will provide an overview of the Building Social Relationships (BSR) program, a social skills instructional model developed by Dr. Bellini. The workshop integrates research on social-emotional functioning with effective strategies for teaching social skills to children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The BSR program provides a systematic and comprehensive framework to guide parents and practitioners in the development and implementation of social skills programming

  • Learning Objectives for Participants
    • Increase knowledge of social and emotional functioning
    • Increase awareness of the relationship between social skill deficits and social anxiety
    • Develop skills necessary to assess social functioning
    • Increase awareness of skill acquisition versus performance deficits
    • Increase awareness of evidence based social skill strategies
    • Develop skills necessary to implement social skills strategies

9:45 – 10:00 – Break and Resource Fair Opens

10:00 – 11:30 – Building Social Relationships through Evidence Based Social Skills Programming for Youth and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum, Presented by Scott Bellini

11:30 – 11:45 – Break

11:45 – 12:30 – Panel of Adults with Autism

12:30 – 1:30 – Lunch provided

There will be tables available for:

  • Families who have newly diagnosed family members
  • Self-advocates
  • Those interested in driver’s education for those with autism

1:30 – 2:30 – Breakout Sessions Begin – Please select one breakout session

  • 1:30 – 2:30 – Family Functioning and Coping During Times of Difficult Behaviors, Presented by: Alyson Beytien, BCBA, MS/Autism
    • This presentation will discuss:
      • When you get call from school about behaviors
      • When your home goes into crisis mode due to behaviors
      • When you seek hospitalization for behaviors and may be turned away
      • Residential care placement due to behaviors
  • 1:30 – 2:30 – Internet Safety and Tech Social Skills/Social Rules, Presented by Amanda Berns
  • 1:30 – 2:30 – Networking Ideas for Teens/Adults with Autism, Facilitated by Susan Askeland
    • This presentation will discuss:
      • How to explain to someone you have autism, for instance a new friend or in a dating situation
      • How to meet and network with others who have autism
      • How to safely meet others on social media

2:30 – 2:45 – Break and Resource Fair concludes

2:45 – 3:45 – Breakout Sessions – Please select one breakout session

  • 2:45 – 4:00 – Integrative Approaches for the Autism Spectrum, Presented by Suzanne Bartlett Hackenmiller, M.D., and Todd Kopelmen, Ph.D., BCBA
    • This presentation will discuss:
      • Review evidenced-based dietary considerations for individuals with autism
      • Identify mind-body approaches and learn the science behind their effects on the brain.
      • Investigate the use of some common dietary and herbal supplements for individuals with autism
      • Discuss empirically supported treatments for autism
  • 2:45 – 4:00 – Learning About and Handling our Own Anxiety, Depression and Stress, Presented by Kelly Vinquist
  • 2:45 – 4:00 – Parental Self Care, Presented by Josh and Tina Cobbs
  • 2:45 – 4:00 – Panel of Residential Care Providers
    • Balance Autism – Scott Atwood and Jessica Crawford
    • ChildServe – Stephanie Malone and Amy Richardson
    • Hills & Dales – Alyson Beytien
    • Mosaic – Nicole Hallada

6:00 p.m.  – The 31st Annual Autism Benefit Auction will be held at 6:00 p.m. at the Sheraton Hotel following the conference.  Cost is $10.00 per person and you can pay at the door.  Everyone is welcome.



Keynote Speaker Dr. Scott Bellini

Dr. Scott Bellini is a Licensed Psychologist and a faculty member with the Indiana University School Psychology Program. He is a prominent and highly impactful researcher in education and school psychology and the Director of the Social Skills Research Clinic, a university-based clinic that specializes in developing and empirically validating social skills programming for youth on the autism spectrum. Dr. Bellini was identified as one of the Top 25 most cited school psychology faculty in the country. Dr. Bellini is also the author of the award-winning book, Building Social Relationships, which has been honored as the Literary Work of the Year by the Autism Society of America and the winner of the National Indie Excellence Award in Education. To date, Dr. Bellini has provided training to educators, therapists, and parents in over 40 states.

Susan Askeland

Susan Askeland graduated from the University of Nebraska with a master’s degree in speech language pathology.  She worked for Northwest AEA in Sioux City as a speech language pathologist and a member of the autism resource team for 37 years. In 2013 she moved to eastern Iowa where she worked as an autism consultant for Grant Wood AEA until her retirement in 2017.

Susan continues to be actively involved in the autism community. She is a board member of the Autism Society of Iowa, Corridor Autism Resource Expo (CARE) and the Awesome Autism Awareness and Acceptance Art Project.  Susan also facilitates an Iowa City area grandparent support group and a parent support group that meets in Lisbon Iowa.

Alyson Beytien, BCBA, MS/Autism

Alyson Beytien is a popular speaker, trainer and mother of 3 sons with autism. She does training and consulting throughout the U.S. and Canada. Alyson is a board certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and has a Masters degree in Autism Spectrum Disorders from the University of Kansas. Alyson is a Behavior Analyst for Hills and Dales in Dubuque, IA where she is involved in assessment, intervention and training.   She is the author of “Autism Everyday” which received the 2012 Literary Work of the Year from the Autism Society of America. Alyson listens to true crime podcasts, loves to quilt and read, and is trying to learn the meaning of the word “relax.”

Todd Kopelman, Ph.D., BCBA

Todd Kopelman is a licensed psychologist and board certified behavior analyst. He is an associate professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. He is the co-director of the UIHC Autism Center. Dr. Kopelman conducts autism evaluations with children and adults and he also does clinical work and research in the area of severe and challenging behaviors. He has been a board member of the Autism Society of Iowa since 2010.

Suzanne Bartlett, MD

Dr. Suzanne Bartlett Hackenmiller is an OB-Gyn and integrative medicine physician, as well as the mother of an 19-year-old son with autism.  Her son’s diagnosis was instrumental in her decision to pursue a study of integrative medicine, which involves use of evidence-based complementary and alternative approaches. Suzanne has been a board member and past president of ASI since 2005.


Conference Information

Rooms have been reserved for the conference at the Sheraton Hotel and will be held until October 12, 2018.  The hotel is located at 1800 50th St. West Des Moines, IA.    Please call 515-223-1800 for assistance.

Continuing Education Units

The Autism Society of Iowa is an accredited sponsor for CEU’s for Social Work #300 and Speech Language Pathology #191.  This conference offers 6.0 credit hours of SLP CEU’s and 6.0 credit hours of SW CEU’s.

ADA Accommodations

If ADA Accommodations are needed for you to attend the conference, please contact the Autism Society of Iowa by October 1, 2019.


November 1
8:15 am - 4:00 pm
Event Category:


Autism Society of Iowa


Sheraton West Des Moines Hotel
1800 50th St
West Des Moines, 50266 United States
+ Google Map
(515) 223-1800