Summer Literacy Institute 2020

The UF CARD Summer Institute webinar series takes place on July 28 and 29th. The institute will focus on strategies to support literacy (i.e., listening, speaking, reading, writing) for individuals with autism in different life stages. The four sessions that comprise this year’s institute will address shared book reading, writing, using AAC in the workplace, and technology tools to support literacy learning. Summer Institute sessions are designed for educators, families, service providers, and individuals with autism and related disabilities. Summer Institute online sessions are free to attend; pre-registration is required. Handouts will be emailed prior to the sessions.



Building Written Expression Skills for Students with ASD

Presenter: Katie M. Miller, Ph.D.


BST for AAC with Adults on the Autism Spectrum

Presenters: Dr. Marlene Sotelo and Erin Brooker Lozott


Practical Strategies to Enhance Language Using AAC During Shared Reading

Presenter: Tracy Crosby, Ed.D, CCC-SLP


Reading and Writing Tools for Student Success

Presenters: Dr. Tara Jeffs, Dr. Tony Dutra, and Evette Idehen

July 28th 10AM – 12PM 
Session #1: Building Written Expression Skills for Students with ASD  

About the Presenter 
Katie M. Miller, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Exceptional Student Education at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) on the Boca Raton campus. Her research focus is examining evidence-based interventions infusing technology to increase academic performance for students with disabilities. She has a particular interest in Self-Regulated Strategy Development (SRSD) in writing. Dr. Miller is passionate about teacher education and finding best practices for increasing special education teacher efficacy.  

Training Description 
Target Audience: (Educators, therapists, caregivers; Instructional level: Beginning) 
This training will give an overview of the writing process and the issues that students with disabilities, particularly those with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), face when completing written expression. Specific strategies in combination with technology tools for written expression will be shared with participants, in hopes to make writing a more fun, authentic experience across both school and home settings.   

Training Objectives  
Participants will be able to: 

  • Understand and be able to describe the steps to the writing process as well as the characteristics of what “good writers” do to complete the process. 
  • Identify common areas that students struggle with while completing the writing process, with a particular emphasis on Autism Spectrum Disorders. 
  • Identify and locate specific technology tools that can support students in the writing process at elementary, middle, and secondary levels.   

July 28th 1PM – 3PM 
Session #2BST for AAC with Adults on the Autism Spectrum 

About the Presenters 
Dr. Marlene Sotelo is the Chief Operating Officer for the Els for Autism Foundation. As the COO, she is responsible for the operational integration of programs and services on The Els Center of Excellence Campus in Jupiter, Florida. She is the co-director of The Seaver Els Institute, a collaboration between Seaver Autism Center and Els for Autism to conduct cutting edge research in the field of autism. Dr. Sotelo is a certified music therapist, special education, music, and regular education teacher, and a doctoral level board certified behavior analyst. Prior to this position, Dr. Sotelo was the Director of Education and Training at the University of Miami-Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities Broward office. She has been working with individuals with autism spectrum disorder for over 25 years. She earned her Doctorate in Special Education from Nova Southeastern University where she serves as adjunct faculty, teaching classes in behavior analysis and Child Life.  
She is a partner for the global educational consulting company, Alessandri & Associates, through which she has provided clinical consultation services around the world and spoken at various conferences at the local, national and international level. Dr. Sotelo is the co-founder of AbrazAutismo, an online educational and virtual consulting company serving families of children with autism spectrum disorder in Latin America. Marlene has written and recorded various songs to raise autism awareness and funding for autism organizations.  
Erin Brooker Lozott is the Director of Clinical Services & Global Support at the Els for Autism Foundation, where she oversees the development and delivery of all therapeutic services and global program initiatives. Erin is a licensed and certified Speech-Language Pathologist. She has been working with individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and related disabilities, across ages and settings for over 20 years. Prior to joining the Els for Autism Foundation staff, Erin worked for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta-Marcus Autism Center as the Community Interventionist Manager, participating in research and educational outreach community-based projects.  
Erin has co-authored two publications on topics related to autism spectrum disorder, and she has presented and consulted extensively on a national and international level. She is an appointed member of both a scientific advisory committee and a clinical advisory committee for international non-profit autism organizations. Erin is a partner in a global autism consulting company and she is currently pursuing her doctorate in special education with a focus of applied behavior analysis, at Nova Southeastern University, in Davie Florida.  

Training Description 
Target Audience: (Educators, therapists, caregivers; Instructional level: Beginning) 
Behavior Skills Training (BST) is a multi-component training package based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis. It systematically employs the use of instruction, modeling, rehearsal, and feedback to teach a variety of skills to diverse populations in a variety of environments. BST is effective in teaching functional communication (FC)skills to individuals with autism spectrum disorder, amongst many other skills. BST can be effectively utilized to teach FC skills using augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) for gaining and maintaining successful employment. AAC addresses the needs of individuals with complex communication disorders characterized by impairments in speech-language production and/or comprehension. AAC can be used to augment/supplement speech or it can be used as an alternative option in times when speech is absent or not functional.  
This presentation will review key elements of BST, functional communication and the implementation of AAC in the workplace to allow those with minimal to no verbal communication to find and maintain successful employment. Case studies and video examples will be included throughout the presentation to highlight evidence-based practices.  

Training Objectives  
Participants will: 

  • Learn about behavior skills training (BST)  
  • Learn to teach functional communication with AAC using BST  
  • Learn how to use AAC strategies and systems to support adults with ASD in the workplace  
  • Learn about evidence-based practices for adults with ASD 

July 29th 10AM – 12PM 
Session #3: Practical Strategies to Enhance Language Using AAC During Shared Reading  

About the Presenter 
Tracy Crosby, Ed.D, CCC-SLP is an ASHA certified speech-language pathologist. She teaches graduate level courses at the University of Cincinnati and Baylor University in her areas of interest, which include autism, augmentative and alternative communication (AAC), and childhood language disorders. As a parent of a young adult with autism, Dr. Crosby has a passion for educating parents in evidence-based interventions that can be implemented in the home across the lifespan. She has presented on the topics of Autism and AAC at national, state, and local conferences.   

Training Description 
Target Audience: (Educators, therapists, caregivers; Instructional level: Beginning) 
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) require additional supports to develop, comprehend, and express ideas. Development and acquisition of language skills can be supported through shared reading activities; however, achieving and retaining engagement in shared reading may be challenging. In this presentation, we will discuss the first two levels of the Interactive to Independent Literacy Model along with practical strategies to increase engagement during shared reading for children with ASD who utilize augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). Specific practical communication strategies will be explained and shown how to integrate with the use of low or high-tech AAC during shared reading time.  

Training Objectives  
Participants will be able to: 

  • Describe Levels I and II of the Interactive to Independent Literacy Model 
  • Describe ways to increase engagement during shared reading  
  • Describe practical strategies using AAC during shared reading 

July 29th 1PM – 3PM 
Session #4: Reading and Writing Tools for Student Success  

About the Presenters 
This session speakers include Dr. Tara JeffsDr. Tony Dutra, and Evette Idehen who are part of the Technology & Learning Connections Team. The Technology & Learning Connections (TLC) Team is a part of Florida’s Multi-tiered System of Support through the Problem-Solving /Response to Intervention Project at the University of South Florida. They provide services that support the local development of highly effective classrooms for all students based in a universal education system. The TLC Team provides guidelines and resources to support the implementation of:   

  • The Florida Standards  
  • Assistive and Instructional Technology  
  • Accessible Educational Materials   
  • Universal Design for Learning   

Training Description 
Target Audience: (Educators, therapists, caregivers; Instructional level: Beginning) 
Join in on a fun and interactive demonstration of reading and writing technology tools featuring Read & Write, Microsoft Learning Tools, and Snap & Read. Participants will explore solutions to common reading and writing challenges by explore a variety of assistive technology for implementing accessible and differentiated instruction integrated widely in these three available tools. Come prepared to be equipped with universal tools for all students to access the curricula through engaging and differentiated instructional materials utilizing technology features and supports!  

Training Objectives  
Participants will be able to: 

  • Identify three reading and writing technology tools that can support student engagement and build independence in academics across the curriculum.  
  • Investigate at least one feature to support reading and one feature to support writing for diverse learners.   
  • Compare technology features across three reading and writing tools and determine what features are most beneficial to meet specific student needs.