5th Annual Autism Conference

Featuring Keynote speaker Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson!

All talks in this year’s conference will be done through Zoom!

Friday, October 1, 2021

8:00AM – 1:00PM Pacific Time







Supplemental Workshop


Elizabeth Laugeson, PhD

Elissa Green Kaustinen, MA

Laura Couch & Jina Jang, PhD

Marta Shinn, PhD

Brian Herritt, CPP

Mark Stokes, PhD


Supporting College to Career Transition for Adults

Navigating the Transition from High School to College 

How to be a Social Coach 

Implicit Bias and Neurodevelopmental Disorders

Autism, Developmental Disabilities and Law Enforcement

Sexuality and Autism: The Intersection of Gender, Orientation, & Mental Health

Registration is required

If you plan on collecting continuing education units, you must register as a professional.

Zoom is the top video conferencing application and FREE.

Please visit https://zoom.us/support/download to download Zoom.

When you register for the class, you will be provided the Zoom meeting ID and passcode.

Please click below to enroll

Explore our speakers and topics below or click here to download the Flyer

Presenter: Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson, Ph.D.

About The Session: This keynote presentation will focus on evidence-based strategies for supporting college to career transition for adults on the autism spectrum based on the teachings of the world renown PEERS program. Developed at UCLA by Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson, PEERS is one of the only evidence-based social skills programs for youth with autism spectrum disorder and other social challenges and is used in over 125 countries and has been translated into over a dozen languages. Attendees will receive explicit instruction on how to support adults in obtaining and maintaining employment, including strategies for disclosing a diagnosis, discussing accommodation needs, and managing conflict in the workplace. Additional instruction will be provided in how to provide treatment via telehealth during COVID-19.

Learning Objectives:

  • To understand the unique challenges during college to career transition for adults on the autism spectrum
  • To become familiar with ecologically valid social strategies for promoting college to career transition
  • To become knowledgeable in evidence-based strategies for teaching social skills to neurodiverse individuals.


Instructor Credentials: Dr. Elizabeth Laugeson is an Associate Clinical Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior and is a licensed clinical psychologist. Dr. Laugeson is the Founder and Director of the UCLA PEERS Clinic, which is an outpatient program providing evidence-based social skills training for individuals with neurodevelopmental disabilities and other social challenges across the lifespan. Dr. Laugeson is also the Interim Director for the UCLA Tarjan Center, which is a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, Program Director for the Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Internship Program at UCLA, and Program Director for Dissemination, Outreach, and Education at the prestigious UCLA Autism Center of Excellence. Dedicated to supporting those with neurodevelopmental disabilities and their families, she has also held positions as Founding Director of The Help Group – UCLA Autism Research Alliance (2007 – 2017), Training Director for the UCLA Tarjan Center (2014 – 2021), Director of the UCLA Early Childhood Clubhouse Program (2007 – 2010), and Associate Director for the UCLA Parenting and Children’s Friendship Training Program (2007 – 2010). Dr. Laugeson received her doctorate in clinical psychology from Pepperdine University and completed her pre-doctoral psychology internship in developmental disabilities at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute. She was a two-time recipient of the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institutes of Health in 2004 and 2006, the recipient of the Semel Scholar Award for Junior Faculty Career Development in 2008 and received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from Pepperdine University in 2010. As one of the only empirically supported and internationally recognized social skills programs for autistic youth, her programs are currently used in over 125 countries and have been translated into over a dozen languages. Her work has been featured is numerous media outlets, including People Magazine, USA Today, the Washington Post, LA Times, New York Times, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, and the Netflix series, Love on the Spectrum.

Presenter: Elissa Green Kaustinen, M.A.

About The Session: attendees with hands-on strategies to help support executive functioning at home and school.

Learning Objectives:

  • How to prepare your IEP to support you beyond high school
  • Understand how does your IEP translate after high school
  • The range of support to expect in College

Instructor Credentials: Elissa Green Kaustinen, M.A, previously worked within the public school system for the last 17 years. For seven years, she served as a school psychologist and for ten years as an administrator within special education. She is currently the Director of the Families and Schools Together Program at CHOC’s Thompson Autism Center.

Presenter: Dr. Jina Jang, Ph.D. and Dr. Lauren Couch, Ph.D. 

About The Session: In high school, there seem to be so many options for fostering social skills. There’s ABA, there are social skills groups, there are IEP goals. But, what do you do to support your child in maintaining social supports into college? What can you do as a school psychologist to support your high school student in increasing their social awareness and creating friendships that will last into college? 

Learning Objectives: 

  • What are the social skills challenges for adolescents and young adults? 
  • What can you do as a school psychologist, teacher, clinical psychologist or caregiver to foster your child’s social skills? 
  • What resources are available to support your child in continuing to develop these skills? 

Dr. Jang Instructor Credentials: Dr. Jang received her undergraduate degree in psychology from the University of California Los Angeles and her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Louisiana State University. She worked for the Center for Autism and Related Disorders as a Senior therapist for five years and currently practices as a clinical psychologist at the CHOC Thompson Autism Center. 

Dr. Couch Instructor Credentials: Dr. Couch received her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Irvine, in both Economics and Psychology before obtaining her PhD in Education with a specialization in School Psychology from the University of California, Riverside. Dr. Couch completed both her doctoral internship and postdoctoral fellowship in the Pediatric Developmental Disabilities Clinic at Kennedy Krieger Institute/Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She is currently a licensed clinical psychologist at CHOC’s Thompson Autism Center.

Presenter: Dr. Marta M. Shinn, Ph.D. 

About The Session: Coming soon. 

Learning Objectives: Coming soon. 

Instructor Credentials: Dr. Shinn is the Director of Training at the Child Guidance Center She is a Licensed Clinical Child Psychologist and Research Scientist. She is an experienced psychology professor, clinical supervisor, peer-reviewed author, and Parent-Child Interaction Therapy (PCIT) trainer. Dr. Shinn trains our clinicians and trainers in PCIT and PC-CARE internally, and also trains outside organizations, including districts and private schools in Teacher-Child Interaction Training (TCIT). She is a UC Davis PCIT Consultant Trainer and Implementation Specialist. Dr. Shinn is a faculty member of the Department of Child and Adolescent Studies at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF), and Volunteer Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at UCI Medical School. She serves as a Psychology Subject Matter Expert for the California Board of Psychology and the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards developing the national and state licensing exams. She contributed as a field trials collaborating investigator to the 5th revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Dr. Shinn holds a bachelor’s in psychology, a master’s in school psychology, and a doctorate in clinical and educational psychology. 

Presenter: Brian Herritt, CCP 

About The Session: Brian Herritt will support attendees in understanding both the perspective of a parent of a child with special needs and the perspective of law enforcement that interact with these individuals. He will help to bridge the gap between law enforcement and children with special needs, while providing concrete tips and tools that will help caregivers and professionals keep individuals with special needs safe.  

Learning Objectives: 

  • Understand how law enforcement interacts with individuals who are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder 
  • Understand tips that I can use as a caregiver or professional to help prepare our children and patients for interactions with law enforcement 
  • Understand how to respond to a law enforcement encounter as a caregiver or professional working with an individual diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder 

Instructor Credentials: Brian Herritt is a retired police officer and the proud father of a teenage son with Autism Spectrum Disorder. In 2007, Officer Herritt received a grant to purchase and develop training for public safety agencies in San Diego County. In 2008, Officer Herritt was contacted by California Peace Officers Standards and Training (POST) to serve as a subject matter expert for the creation of a statewide training curriculum for police officers. His current training curriculum has been certified as POST and STC certified. In 2009, Officer Herritt approached the San Diego Sheriff’s Department and expressed his vision for a county wide special needs data base. That vision has now become the San Diego Sheriff’s Department Take Me Home program. Throughout the next decade Officer Herritt continued to work bridging the gap between law enforcement and the autism community. Officer Herritt has since taught police officers, probation officers, parole officers, corrections officers, social services, theme parks, schools, parents and caregivers and other groups. Officer Herritt is proud to have worked with numerous non-profit organizations and developed an expansive data base of contacts and experts from throughout the United States. In 2019, Officer Herritt published his first book. “A First Responders Guide to Providing Services to Special Needs Citizens”. This book is designed ot be a field manual for all public safety professionals in dealing with those with special needs which includes mental illness and developmental disabilities. 

Presenter: Mark Stokes PhD

Instructor Credentials: Dr. Stokes recently presented at the International Society for Autism Research Annual Conference. Mark is a registered psychologist, and has been involved in Autism research since 1992; obtaining his PhD from La Trobe University in 1996 in circadian rhythms and sleep control. Following this, Mark has had appointments at La Trobe, Monash University, and Vanderbilt University. In 1999 Mark returned to Monash University as Director of the Victorian Injury Surveillance Unit at Monash University’s Accident Research Centre. In 2002 Mark was appointed to Deakin University where he established a research group – the Healthy Autistic Life Lab (HALL). HALL collaborates with many researchers globally and covers research programs into autism addressing sexuality; relationship development; the female profile of autism; mirror neurons in autism; and the transition to adulthood in autism. HALL seeks to understand how to support autistic adolescents and adults through the major transitions to adulthood, such as finding employment, finding a life partner, developing intimacy, to assist people to obtain a life that supports outcomes of mental health and positive well-being. Mark has published over 150 peer reviewed publications, book chapters, and reports to government as well as more than 140 conference presentations. Mark has supervised over 30 doctoral and PhD completions. Mark actively supports research into autism through his role as former President of the Australasian Society for Autism Research and as National Lead for Australia to INSAR. Mark has also been involved in Child Injury Prevention and Intervention for 25 years. Mark has been a board member of Kidsafe since 2000 and is a life member and former President of Kidsafe Victoria and Kidsafe Australia. Mark is currently Vice President of Kidsafe Victoria.

Cost: The cost of this session is included in the overall conference fee. 

Statement of Need: These monthly case consults are being held for UC Irvine physicians to provide greater awareness of the importance of using moral and ethical thinking in medical care. 

Target Audience: All physicians and other clinicians involved in the treatment of patients. Open to all faculty, staff and students. 

Faculty/Course Directors/Planners Disclosure: Since this session is an ethics article review, no conflicts for speakers or planners exist. 

Accreditation Statement: The University of California, Irvine School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The University of California, Irvine School of Medicine is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. 

Credit Designation Statement: The University of California, Irvine School of Medicine designates this live activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. 

ADA Statement: In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, we will make every reasonable effort to accommodate your request. For any special requests, please contact:

Chelsea O’Haire (949-267 0444;  COHAIRE@HS.UCI.EDU) before the meeting dates.  

California Assembly Bill 1195: This activity is in compliance with California Assembly Bill 1195, which requires continuing medical education activities with patient care components to include curriculum in the subjects of cultural and linguistic competency. For specific information regarding Bill 1195 and cultural and linguistic competency, please visit the CME website at http://www.meded.uci.edu/CME/. 

The Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders (CAND) is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. CAND maintains responsibility for this program and its content. 

The Center for Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders (CAND) is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. CAND maintains responsibility for this program and its content.