Visiting Nashville TN for the Future Horizon’s Autism Conference

Temple and I at a FH conference in 2014 held in Atlanta

On Thursday, November the 29th, I will be boarding a flight that is bound for Nashville, Tennesee.  During my stay,  I will spend much of the afternoon and evening studying, dining and sleeping in my hotel.  The following morning, I will grab myself a large breakfast before hopping on the hotel’s shuttle which will drop me off at the Nashville Airport Marriott.  It is at this site that Future horizons will hold it’s autism conference where I will blog about the event and the speakers.


I am particularly looking forward to attending this event is that two out of three speakers are women next to being on the spectrum like myself.   What is more is that one of them happens to be Temple Grandin, who I have been acquainted with for quite some time. One of the main reasons is because her latest talks included information about how an adult with autism can learn to drive.  Being that I am 37 and have never learned, I feel it’s never too late.  So I am hoping to inquire with her second reason I catch up with Temple is that I have a friend who is currently unemployed and is facing some levels of discouragement at the moment.   I would like to put her on the phone with him because she is very encouraging and I believing she would give him some helpful advice.   Say, getting a work portfolio work samples that my friend can present when seeking a new job. All the while hoping to provide tips when he gets discouraged.   Ultimately, Temple and I are both very quirky women on the spectrum who believe in getting things done.   I look forward to seeing another go-getter like myself who believes in others on the spectrum.  

Not only that, I look forward to meeting Anita Lesko, who the second woman on the spectrum who will be presenting.   At the present, Lesko and I have not only had the chance to hear her speak live in an interview on World Autism Awareness Day.  I also had a chance to read her book “The Stories I Tell My Friends,” which is exclusively about Temple herself.  I am also inspired by her own amazing adventures including her all autistic wedding and her adventures flying on a fighter jet next to sharing some of the same struggles that I face daily.   As those of you who are my followers recall,  I read and reviewed that book.   So am I excited to finally be able to meet Anita.   

Following both of their talks, I look to get my copy of “The Stories I Tell My Friends” and hopefully at the same time.  Apart from getting the book signed, I hope to pose in a photo together with Temple and Anita.  Particularly as a way of saying “Thank you” for allowing me to read and review their book.



At long last,  I will have the chance to meet Dr. Jim Ball, who is specialized in ABA.    One of the reasons to listen to him is because of the some of the work that I am currently becoming more familiar with all this.   As I don’t know much about Applied Behavior Analysis, one would argue that it would sensible to get my feet wet.  This is especially since so many adults with autism are protesting the use of ABA versus other therapies such as floor time. 

While I impassioned about the conference,  there are two more days.  During that time, I have to remind myself that things need to be done now and then.  Between work, finals to study for and a flight to catch, there is a lot to be done.  

At this time,  you may wish to look at the link which contains information on the conference.

Reviews: Video Modeling: Visual-Based Strategies Demonstrated to Help People on the Autism Spectrum

I recently read Video Modeling: Visual-Based Strategies to Help People on the Autism Spectrum by Stephen Lockwood, a behavior specialist and special education teacher.  Lockwood has had lots of experience working with individuals on the autism spectrum.

In his book, Lockwood discusses that individuals on the spectrum often face high levels of neophobia: fear or new environments or situations which can lead to meltdowns. He also talks about people on the spectrum who struggle to keep up with their peers.  One such example includes refusing to play with toys or other children, perhaps a sibling or a neighbor down the street.  Locke defines video modeling strategies, which often have a “mind’s eye view” of certain scenario.  In this case, parents would create an example video or two. One video would contain the child’s peers interacting and the second would hold footage of the the toys being played with. Once the video is edited, the child would be placed in a play-friendly environment with the exact same toys and peers. The video would be played repetitively to model the desired behavior in this setting. These video model strategies can be employed until the the child learns how to play and interact with their peers appropriately.

Lockwood teaches his audiences that video modeling can be used in any environment on any type of recording device by parents, teachers, or others in the community. Parents can find videos on Youtube (or make their own) modeling the activity they are trying get their child involved in; for example, celebrating the 4th of July. Recordings of 4th of July celebrations could play repeatedly for weeks prior to the 4th of July celebration. Within the video, they would model appropriate behaviors, eating certain kinds of foods, and learning how to watch fireworks at a public display.

Lockwood also talks about getting people with ASD into the employment world using video modeling strategies. He explains that video modeling can be useful in helping people on the spectrum get out in the work world by showing them videos related to their tasks or on appropriate behaviors in the workplace, such as social skills.

As a reader, I was very impressed with this book as Lockwood was very clear on what video modeling is. Though I am not a behaviorist, I really feel that this book will be helpful for people in the community who look to mentor someone with autism and look to expose them to new things; for example, teaching a child to wash dishes or learn how to take the trash out by watching a video or two until the situation becomes a routine. I feel that these are going to be helpful in taking baby steps to independence while weaning away from Mom or Dad doing everything for them. I really feel this book is going to be helpful is for those who have a difficult time understanding certain written instructions.

When I lived with two roommates at the age of 20,  I had trouble closing the door behind me properly.  Several times, I would get notes that either one found the door wide open.   Due to this happening, one roommate attempted to write down the instructions in closing the door tightly until the lock clicked.  Still, I could not understand what she meant until she was able to demonstrate how to close the door and listen for the click.  I feel feel that video modeling would also be good for things like instructions that one could find critical. Additionally, playing videos would be beneficial to prepare those who have meltdowns in big, scary environments like an airport, where there are lots of surprises and unpredictability.

There are things in this book that behaviorists, teachers, and others in the community should take into account. While this book will be beneficial for visual learners, others on the spectrum will not be visual learners when exposing them to new environment. For the moment, this book looks at teaching simple work skills and only looks at individuals who are high school age. One thing to keep in mind is that these basic skills being taught in work environments could be taught at home using the video modeling before an individual becomes adolescent, perhaps by volunteering at a church or any child-friendly environment.  Yet, I understand where Lockwood is coming from, as these tactics that will help an individual on the spectrum find success in the workforce.

Overall, this is a great book. I greatly look forward to finding better ways to apply this model.