Autism Expert Headlines UM Conference

Jessica Dykstra Steinbrenner

Each year, one of every 68 children will be diagnosed with autism, according to a 2016 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Identification and treatment of autism is vital, according to Lisa Ivy, a speech-language pathologist and clinical instructor in University of Mississippi Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

Identifying the core features of Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD will be the first learning objective that autism expert and certified speech-language pathologist Jessica Dykstra Steinbrenner will discuss at the 16th annual Ole Miss Fall Institute, set for Sept. 14-15 at The Inn at Ole Miss. 

Evidence-Based Practice in School-Based Settings for Children and Adolescents on the Autism Spectrum” is the topic for this year’s institute.

“We selected the topic of autism based upon participant requests from our 2016 conference,” Ivy said. “As children with autism are identified earlier, school-based speech-language pathologists and teachers need the most updated diagnostic and treatment and resources available.”

The department and the campus chapter of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association host the institute each year to offer an opportunity for speech-language pathologists to earn continuing education units and learn more about developments in their field. This student-planned event gives students a chance to develop professional and organizational leadership skills under the mentorship of Ivy and Brad Crowe, co-director of the UM Speech and Hearing Clinic and clinical instructor.

This year’s topic will benefit not only speech-language pathologists, but also classroom teachers, special education teachers, school administrators and parents, Ivy said.

Steinbrenner will discuss ASD across the school years and different learning styles of those with the disorder. She will present the latest information about assessments to diagnose and evaluate needs, choosing target goals, selecting strategies and interventions, and data-based decision making.

She also will address and provide evidence-based practice guides for communication, social skills, engagement and play. She plans to close with a discussion on general tips and strategies and on challenging behavior.

Steinbrenner is a research scientist at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute at the University of North Carolina. With research interests in school-based interventions for individuals with ASD, Steinbrenner is working for the Center on Secondary Education for Students with ASD to develop a comprehensive intervention program for high school students.

She has worked as a speech-language pathologist with elementary and middle school children with ASD and other developmental disabilities. She has publications in numerous professional journals, as well as two textbook chapters.

“As a nationally recognized scholar, Dr. Steinbrenner aligns well with the applied-science focus on the importance of having evidenced-based research direct clinical practice protocols,” said Teresa Carithers, interim dean of the UM School of Applied Sciences.

Online registration for the event is encouraged, as seating will be limited. The cost of the two-day event is $260 if paid before Sept. 13, and $275 for on-site registration. A link to the secure payment site is available at http://csd.olemiss.edu/.

In conjunction with the institute, the Ole Miss chapter of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association will host a 5-K run benefitting the Sarah Wheat Voice Lab. The facility, used for evaluation, treatment and rehabilitation of individuals with voice disorders, is named after Sarah Wheat, a gifted graduate student in communication sciences and disorders who died in 2012.

Registration is $25 for timed runners and $15 for non-timed runners or walkers. To register, visit https://www.racesonline.com/events/annual-nsslha-5k.

Anyone wanting to make donations in lieu of race participation can write a check payable to the Sarah Wheat Voice Laboratory Fund and mail to 100 George Hall; 325 Rebel Drive; University, MS 38677.

For more information about the Ole Miss Fall Institute, email olemissfallinstitute@gmail.com.

By Sarah Sapp

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