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2021 TX Autism Virtual Conference

2021 Texas Autism Virtual Conference, Raising the Bar June 24-26

The 29th Annual Texas Autism Conference will be virtual! Check back here often or on our TSLAT Facebook page as we unveil this year's line-up of presenters, featured speakers, and available activities!

The Texas Autism Conference is an annual event sponsored by the Texas Education Agency and the Texas Statewide Leadership for Autism Training. The conference goal is to promote increased awareness and understanding of evidence-based practices, interventions, standards, and services in the area of Autism. It provides not only professional development, but also networking opportunities for families, individuals with autism, educators, and professionals.


General registration to the conference includes all-access to presented sessions from June 24-26 (12 sessions that are 90 minutes long, 10 sessions that are 2 hours long, 4 half-day (3-hour) workshops, 2 keynote speakers, and even an optional movie to watch together. Time-limited access to all recorded sessions (60 days) after the event is included. Standard pricing is $125.

A group rate is now available for groups of 5 or more. $20 off the standard price of $125 = $105 per person in a group of 5 or more. Contact or for the discount code to use to register your group.

General Registration

Saturday, June 26 is Family Day! All 10 breakout sessions presented on this day will be geared towards families, the home, and the community, and will be available in Spanish. This date includes our closing keynote. Better yet, conference sessions on this day will be presented at NO CHARGE! That's right, Family Day is Free! Families are just as welcome to attend the full 3-day conference and will find sessions on Days 1 and 2 that are relevant and appropriate for family members. Family Day was created at no charge to encourage more parents and caretakers to attend the conference by removing a potential barrier. Texas is raising the bar on improving partnerships between the school and the home. Download each day's session descriptions below to help you decide between General Registration and Family Day Registration.

Family Day Registration


Conference registrants will have full access to the schedule and detailed session information through the Attendify app.

    Thursday, June 24, 2021 | 12:30 pm - 5:45 pm

    • 12:30 pm - 1:45 pm | Welcome & Introductions | Keynote Address by Dr. Erik Carter
    • 2:00 pm - 5:15 pm | 4 Half-day Workshops
        • Equipping Individuals with Autism for Adulthood: Postures, Practices, and Partnerships Worth Pursuing | Erik Carter, Ph.D., Professor of Special Education | Vanderbilt University
        • Introduction to ImPACT: Improving Parents as Communication Teachers | Anna Dvortcsak, MS-CCC-SLP | Dvortcsak Speech and Language Services, Inc.
        • Sensory Integration for Children with Autism: Evidence and Use | Roseann Schaaf, Ph.D., OTR/L, FAOTA | Thomas Jefferson University
        • How the Practical Functional Assessment and Skill-Based Treatment of Severe Problem Behavior Is Consistent with Trauma-Informed Care | Anthony Cammilleri, Ph.D. | FTF Behavioral Consulting
    • 5:15 pm - 5:45 pm | Social Networking | Meet and Greet Sessions with Workshop Presenters

    Friday, June 25, 2021 | 8:30 am - 2:00 pm

    • 8:30 am - 10:30 am | 6 Breakout Sessions
    • 10:45 am - 12:45 pm | 6 Breakout Sessions
    • 12:45 pm - 2:00 pm | Social Networking

    Saturday, June 26, 2021 | Day 3 & Family Day | 8:30 - 1:30 pm

    • 8:00 am - 8:30 am | Welcome & Networking
    • 8:30 am - 10:00 am | 5 Breakout Sessions
    • 10:15 am - 11:45 am | 5 Breakout Sessions
    • Noon - 1:00 pm | Closing Keynote
    • 1:00 pm - 1:30 pm | Wrap Up

    All registrants will have access to all recorded workshops and sessions for 60 days (28 sessions for those who register for the full three-day conference).

    Those who register for only our Family Day will only have access to the recorded sessions that were broadcast on Family Day (10 sessions and the closing keynote).

    Download Full Schedule

    Download Thursday’s Session Descriptions

    Download Friday’s Session Descriptions

    Download Saturday’s Session Descriptions

    Featured Presenters

    Eric Carter Headshot

    Erik Carter, Ph.D., Professor of Special Education | Vanderbilt University

    Dr. Carter will be presenting our opening keynote address as well as a three-hour workshop on the topic of equipping individuals with autism for adulthood.

    He is a Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Special Education at Vanderbilt University. His research and teaching focus on evidence-based strategies for supporting inclusion and valued roles in school, work, community, and congregational settings for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

    Dr. Carter has published more than 200 articles and chapters—along with six books—in the areas of educational, transition, and community services for children and youth with disabilities. His research and service have been recognized with awards from the Council for Exceptional Children, the American Association for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, the Division on Career Development and Transition, the Division on Autism and Developmental Disabilities, and the Association of University Centers on Disabilities.

    Anna Dvortcsak Headshot

    Anna Dvortcsak, M.S., CCC-SLP | Dvortcsak Speech and Language Services, Inc.

    Anna will present on Project ImPACT, a parent-mediated intervention. This program, co-developed by Anna is one of the most effective coaching programs for parents of children with autism that teaches strategies to help develop social engagement, communication, imitation, and play skills.

    She co-authored Teaching Social Communication to Children with Autism (Project ImPACT), which has been translated into five languages. This program is supported by research and based on developmental science and applied behavior analysis (ABA) principles. It was recently recognized as a Manualized Intervention Meeting Criteria by the National Clearinghouse for Autism Evidence and Practice.

    Based in Portland, Oregon, Anna provided consulting, parent training, and direct individual speech and language services to families and children with autism. Anna has experience conducting research on the efficacy of treatment methodologies for children with ASD, presenting information on treatments for children with autism, and training professionals to use Naturalistic Developmental Behavioral Interventions.

    Anthony Cammelleri Headshot

    Anthony Cammilleri, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LABA | FTF Behavioral Consulting

    Dr. Cammilleri is presenting on how the practical functional assessment and skill-based treatment of severe problem behavior are consistent with trauma-informed care. He is a Board Certified and Licensed Behavior Analyst, as well as a Licensed Special Education Administrator, who was degreed in Developmental and Child Psychology from the University of Kansas. While completing his graduate studies, he served as the Principal of Century School in Lawrence, KS. Upon graduation, he served as a Behavior Analyst for the Somerset Hills Learning Institute in Far Hills, NJ. For the next 10 years, Dr. Cammilleri served as the Director of Jane Justin School in Fort Worth, TX. After moving back to New England, Dr. Cammilleri served as the Present/CEO of Crossroads Schools in Marlborough, MA from 2014 to 2019.

    Dr. Cammilleri specializes in the design of individualized curriculum sequences, the use of measurement systems to assess the effectiveness of those sequences, and in the staff training required for the implementation of both. He is best known for educational leadership that promotes the virtues of citizenship, friendship, and scholarship - the elements of an inclusive community whose members care for their world and one another and enjoy a lifelong love of learning.

    Roseann Schaaf Headshot

    Roseann Schaaf, Ph.D., OTR/L, FAOTA | Thomas Jefferson University

    Dr. Schaaf is presenting on sensory integration for children with autism and will be providing information on the Ayres Sensory Integration approach. She is a professor and chair in the Department of Occupational Therapy at Thomas Jefferson University, Jefferson College of Health Professionals and Faculty at the Farber Institute for Neuroscience at Jefferson. She is a translational scientist who has devoted her career to the study of children with autism and other developmental disorders, in particular how processing and integrating sensory information impacts participation in daily occupations. Building on her training as a behavior neuroscientist, Dr. Schaaf's psychophysiological laboratory was funded by the NIH and provided insight into the neurological mechanisms of sensory difficulties in children with autism.

    Barbara Hobbs headshot

    Barbara Hobbs, M.Ed. | Amarillo ISD

    Barb is presenting on internet safety and autism. She is currently a Behavior Specialist with Amarillo ISD in the areas of Autism and early childhood. She has worked in the field of autism for over 17 years as a paraprofessional, teacher, and autism specialist (Region 16 Education Support Center). Barb graduated from Goshen College in Indiana majoring in Fine Arts with an emphasis on Art Therapy. She received her Special Education degree from West Texas A&M and an M.Ed. from UNT in Autism Intervention. Barb enjoys spending time with her husband, hiking, painting, and playing with her Goldendoodle Oskar.

    Kelsey Ruppel Headshot

    Kelsey Ruppel, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LABA | FTF Behavioral Consulting

    Dr. Ruppel will present a parent-professional collaborative approach to emerging problem behavior. Her work focuses on the practical functional assessment and skill-based treatment of problem behavior, as well as preventing the development of severe problem behavior in young children with autism. She began her career as a teaching assistant in a specialized school for children with developmental disabilities and eventually served as a school-based special education teacher, BCBA, and curriculum supervisor. She has also implemented and supervised in-home ABA programming, taught courses as a faculty fellow at Western New England University, served as a BCBA at an inpatient hospital program for children with severe problem behavior. Dr. Ruppel is currently a Senior Consultant at FTF Behavioral Consulting and she has served as a consultant to a range of organizations, including schools, in-home and outpatient clinic providers, and residential programs. She hold's a master's degree in Special Education from Johns Hopkins University and a doctoral degree in Behavior Analysis from Western New England University.

    Sue Ball Headshot

    Sue Ball, Ph.D., ABSNP, C. Psych. | York Region District School Board

    Dr. Ball will give this year's closing keynote on supporting well-being and resiliency during the pandemic. She is the Chief Psychologist at the York Region District School Board in Aurora, Ontario. She has spoken at LD@school's Educators' Institute and the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC) Provincial and International on topics such as supporting students with learning disabilities, anxiety, and ADHD. and at the National Council of Supervisors in Mathematics (NCSM) on supporting students with learning disabilities in mathematics. She is a member of the Association of Chiefs of Psychology of Ontario School Boards (ACPOSB) and the Minister's Advisory Council for Special Education (MASCE). Her passion is for supporting all learners to understand their unique learning profile of strengths and needs to advocate for themselves, with the underlying belief that all students can learn and that every educator and student matters.


    For More Information

    If you have questions about the conference, please contact a member of our planning committee.

    CEU information

    Continuing professional education hours are only available through the full conference registration.