Treating Autism Conference 2014
International Autism Conference
Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 November 2014, Brunel University, Uxbridge
THANK YOU to all the wonderful parents, professionals speakers and volunteers who came from far and wide to support our latest conference.
Our latest conference, which took place on 8-9 November, 2014 at Brunel University, UK, was aimed at both professionals and parents, and featured a wide variety of speakers with one common theme: improving the quality of life for people with ASD. Speakers shared cutting edge research as well as personal approaches that can translate into better health, improved learning, and increased ability to communicate for all people with ASD. For more details on the conference visit our events page.
We also thank all our wonderful exhibitors!
Parent presentations from both days of the conference are now available:
Sara Moroza-James: Tom’s Story
Biomed and Intensive Interaction
Tonia Gonzales: A Parent’s Partial Success Story
Biomed and Intensive Interaction
Dawn Wilson: Our Story
Day One (Saturday 8 November, 9:00am to 3:30pm)
(note: morning sessions are followed by a Free Conference taking place 3:45-5:45pm, details below)
Learn about Intensive Interaction and how this engaging, highly enjoyable, and low-cost educational programme can be implemented by any parent in any setting. Intensive Interaction can have a profound effect on your child’s autism and on quality of life for the entire family. It successfully teaches the fundamentals of communication, relationships and learning, addressing the deficits that are at the very core of your child’s autism diagnosis, whether or not higher level communication skills such as speech, reading or writing have been attained to some degree. This learning is acquired in typical development during the first year and beyond and is necessary to enable social development and academic learning alike later in life. Delegates will leave with a strong introduction to the foundational basics of this parent-led approach, as well as an introductory document prepared by an Intensive Interaction Coordinator who is also the parent of a child with ASD.
Our keynote speaker Dr. Dave Hewett has been working nationwide for more than twenty years as an independent staff trainer and consultant to staff in all services who work with people who have autism and/or severe learning difficulties. While headteacher of Harperbury Hospital School, along with Melanie Nind and colleagues, he took part in the development of and first research on Intensive Interaction. Intensive Interaction is now a widely used approach to teaching communication all over the British Isles and Dr Hewett is the director of the recently formed Intensive Interaction Institute. His work on Intensive Interaction now takes him to many countries around the world. Dr Hewett continues to publish widely on Intensive Interaction and on challenging behaviour.
Parent speakers will be sharing how they have used Intensive Interaction in their own families and provide feedback on how they’ve made it work and the progress they’ve seen for their children with autism.
Free conference: Saturday 3:45-5:45pm
See two information-packed presentations and browse the Exhibitor Hall. Free to all. No need for tickets or registration (if you are not attending morning sessions just pop in to the afternoon talks free of charge). This free conference takes place in the Eastern Gateway Building, Brunel campus.
Lucinda Miller, MGNI, MRNI, MH ‘An Introduction to Nutritional Therapies for Autism’. Your chance to learn some basics about how to improve the health of people with ASD and in doing so, improve quality of life and ability to learn. Miller will address how to pinpoint which diet and food supplements would best suit your child. A Biomed Specialist, Family Naturopath, Iridologist and Master Herbalist, Miller’s practice has a particular focus on children with developmental and autistic-spectrum conditions. She started training as a Naturopath in 1997 and gained a diploma in Naturopathic Iridology and Western Herbal Medicine from The Holistic Health College. In 2008 she gained a further diploma from Functional Medicine University and is a fully qualified NLP coach and mentor for kids with ADHD and Autism.
Sue Finnes ‘How I unlocked my son’s thoughts’, reasoning, opinions and self-expression using the Rapid Prompting Method (RPM).
Sue’s 15 year old son is severely affected by autism and has many challenges, but since using RPM he has shown that he is highly intelligent and has now learnt how to express himself by independently pointing to letters on a letterboard. He also learns age appropriate academics, has written poetry and has ‘told’ his mum that he now wants to help other children to learn this method. Sue will talk in practical terms about her RPM experience, showing short video clips and will explain how you can learn more about this approach. She will discuss:
- How she learnt and implemented RPM with her son Christopher
- Other children’s progress with RPM and who it is suitable for
- RPM in the UK – exciting developments!
- What to do next if you want to try this approach with your child
Sue, who has completed Soma RPM level 1 training, is working hard to inspire others with this approach, having seen what it has done for her son and many others affected by autism, especially those deemed ‘severe or low-functioning’. This is your chance to learn how she has taken RPM and given her son a voice, and to talk to Sue about RPM could do for your child and family.
Day 2 (Sunday 9 November, 8:45am to 4:45pm)
Roles of the Microbiome and Immunity in ASD: Current Understandings and their Implications for Behaviours and Treatment
Top researchers will present their cutting edge understanding of how gut health influences disease, immune health, and behaviour. Presentations will include treatment possibilities and parents speakers will share their journeys, explaining how better health translated into better learning and quality of life for their children with ASD.
The 2nd day of our conference will be opened by Paul Shattock, OBE, Chairman of ESPA and President-Elect of the World Autism Organisation. His research interests include: rights and models of service provision for people with autism, biomedical and environmental factors implicated in autism, and the use and abuse of medication for autism.
Keynote speaker Emma Allen-Vercoe, PhD, is from University of Guelph, Canada, and studies the gut microbiome, including that of children with regressive autism. Allen-Vercoe’s laboratory team is developing new techniques to culture and study novel bacterial species from the gut in order to better understand how these species might contribute to the remarkable homeostasis of the microflora community as a whole. Central to the research approach, they have developed a continuous culture system to model the bacterial communities within the distal gut, the most densely populated part of the human body in terms of microbes. Dubbed the Robogut, their model contributes to many of the projects within the lab (you can read more here)
Allen-Vercoe will be presenting twice. The first, “A brief field guide to your gut microbiome” will briefly introduce the microbial world within our guts and describe its importance to the maintenance of health. Through a lens of ecology, she will describe the importance of microbial communities and of ecosystem diversity, and will indicate how damage to the ecological balance can lead to disease. Her second presentation, “Microbial ecosystem therapeutics: an emerging paradigm in medicine” will examine the concept of probiotics, and introduce the newer concept of ‘probiotic’ ecosystems as a more robust treatment modality. She will share her thoughts on how the field of medicine evolving to incorporate microbiome modulation, such as fecal microbiota transplantation, to treat disease.
Angela Vincent, MBBS (Hon PhD Bergen) FRCPath FMedSci FRS is a Professor of Neuroimmunology, University of Oxford and studies the role of autoimmunity in neurological diseases, including autism. Vincent qualified as a doctor in London but went on to do an MSc in Biochemistry at University College and did not pursue further clinical training. She is an Honorary Consultant in Immunology and runs the Oxford Neuroimmunology Service for detection of autoantibodies in neurological diseases. Her clinical interests are in the role of auto-antibodies to ion channels and receptors in peripheral and central disorders, and in helping to diagnose immunotherapy-responsive conditions. Her research interests include models of neuromuscular junction and CNS diseases, and the influence of maternal antibodies on development.
Her presentation is called “Autoantibodies in different forms of neurological disease: relevance for autism?”. Autoantibodies to a variety of receptors and ion channel on cells of the nervous system are now being identified in children and adults with newly acquired neurological diseases. Most of the patients have classical features of limbic encephalitis with or without additional movement disorders or sleep disturbance. The field is still developing and some of the antibodies are now being detected in patients with first episode of psychosis or unexplained epilepsy, and in some patients the clinical features overlap with those of autism. They also have a long-standing interest in the possibility that antibodies in pregnant women may affect development of the foetus. All of these topics will be briefly discussed.
John Cryan, PhD, is a Professor and Chair in the Department of Anatomy and Neuroscience, University College Cork, whose research includes the interaction between brain, gut and microbiome and how it applies to neurodevelopmental disorders such as autism. His presentation is called “Microbiota-Gut-Brain Axis-A Role in Behavioural Disorders?”
Professor Cryan is a Senior Editor of Neuropharmacology and Nutritional Neuroscience and an Editor of British Journal of Pharmacology. He is Advisory Editor of Psychopharmacology; on the Board of Reviewing Editors of Brain Research; an Associate Editor of Frontiers in Behavioural Neuroscience; an Associate Editor of Frontiers in Psychopharmacology and Frontiers in Gastrointestinal Pharmacology; an Editorial Board Member of Behavioural Pharmacology; Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews and International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology.
Jaleel Miyan, PhD, FHEA, is a Senior Lecturer in the Neurobiology Research Group at University of Manchester and will present on “Understanding the interactions between nervous system, immune system and gut provides a new understanding of ASD, its prevention and treatment.” It is becoming increasingly obvious that the brain and immune systems are intimately connected through a host monitoring and defense network that maintains health and well-being. These connections work in both directions so that the brain can coordinate host defense and immune functions and the immune system can modify brain functions to maximize host defense activity. The clearest example of the latter is sickness behavior where an infection in the body can produce a change in behavior, including lethargy, aversion to light, lack of social interaction, attention etc. Similarly, abnormal neural control of immune function can produce insufficiency in host defense, leading to chronic infection/inflammation, or inappropriate host defense leading to autoimmunity and other immune-based illnesses. In his presentation, Professor Miyan will present evidence towards a hypothesis that poor/”different” development of the brain leads to differences in immune function that may result in chronic illnesses and that these may result in chronic changes in behavior that might present as ASD. Treating the underlying neuro-immune conditions may thus provide a novel strategy to “normalise” behavior. A particular focus of his work is the gut and its profound influence on behavior.
Professor Miyan has been researching the connections between brain and immune systems for the past 25 years and the development of the brain for the past 17 years. His research has identified a novel folate handling system that is critical for the development of the cerebral cortex of the brain and which can go wrong in the presence of normal folate levels in the rest of the body and can thus lead to abnormal development of the brain, specifically leading to conditions including hydrocephalus but also now associated with ASD, Schizophrenia and other neurological conditions. His two projects have recently come together into a new understanding of complicated conditions including ASD and, with clinical colleagues, he is currently developing his research to investigate the utility of the hypothesis in treating these conditions.
Angelette Müller, MSc, MSc is a Nutrition Therapist and Culinary Health Specialist. Her presentation “Gut reaction: exploring the role of gut ‘bugs’ in ASD and the impact of diet” will explore how the gut microbiome interacts with the gut, brain, immune and nervous system and the implication for ASD. It will also discuss how dietary choices can impact gut ‘bugs’ and focus on practical dietary approaches to positively impact the gut flora.
Müller received her MSc in Clinical Neuroscience & Immunology from the University of Surrey, Roehampton; and her MSc in Nutrition Therapy from University of Worcester where she focused her research on nutrition applied to autistic children. She has worked for several years in the ﬁeld of autism using an integrated approach. She currently runs a private clinic in nutritional therapy helping children and young adults with autism, as well as other health issues. Müller ’s is also a natural health chef, writer and food photographer. She is currently working on a full-colour nutrition/cookbook for individuals with autism.
The day will also feature two parent reports on nutritional approaches used to significantly improve their children’s health and quality of life. They will share what has worked for their families.
We will also be running a Round Table for Clinicians and Researchers between during the day on Sunday. Current issues and promising directions in areas of autism research and clinical practice will be discussed. This event is by invitation only and will be attended by our speakers as well as members of Treating Autism Researcher Network, including: Dr Ute-Christiane Meier and Dr Priyamvada Dua (Centre for Neuroscience and Trauma, The Blizard Institute), Prof Jane Wills (Queen Mary University of London), Dr Geraldine Barret (Brunel University), Dr Uday Kishore (Centre for Infection, Immunity and Disease Mechanisms, Brunel University), Dr Mona Bajaj-Elliot (Infectious Diseases and Microbiology Unit, Institute of Child Health, UCL), Prof. Basant Puri (Hammersmith Hospital, Imperial College). Places are very limited and if you would like to attend this event please email us stating your professional credentials, institutes/affiliations and the reason you would like to attend.
Treating Autism hosts two evening events on campus for delegates: a Meet and Greet Friday night and a Supper Event on Saturday. Limited tickets are available when conference tickets are purchased through the above link.
Brunel University offers reasonably priced accommodation and is easily accessed by train, plane, and car. Delegates will be sent information on booking accommodation when they purchase their tickets. Conference day fees include meal, snacks, tea/coffee/water, delegate bag with goodies and handouts and parking if required. They do not include accommodation.Treating Autism members can take advantage of large discounts on our conference ticket fees. To learn more about many other benefits and how to join us visit our Membership page
“I have had an amazing experience this weekend. Thank you to everyone at Treating Autism for making me so welcome. I am taking away from this so much to help me and my daughter, can’t wait for the next one!”
“Definitely becoming a member to attend many more. Very informative and value for money. I have learnt so much today about autism and the effects contributing to this disability that no professional I’ve seen before was able to tell me.”
“Not only is this interesting and informative, it has refreshed my enthusiasm to push on and leave no stone unturned.”
“Fascinating, motivating, informative, inspiring.”
If you are unable to attend this conference but would like to keep informed of our future events please join our conference mailing list below
LOCATION: Kingston Lane, Uxbridge, Middlesex, UB8 3PH
VENUE: Brunel University
START DATE: November 08th, 2014
END DATE: November 09th, 2014