1:40 p.m. - 2:55 p.m.   Breakout Session III

2018 East Texas Transition Conference: Door to the Future

Purposed Planning: Equipping Adolescents with Autism for Independent Living 

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Whitney Sherman, M.Ed., BCBA, LBA, Director of Autism Programs, Andrews Center - Treatment and Learning Center 

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Rebecca Womack, M.S., BCBA, LBA, Executive Director of Behavior Analysis Advocacy Network 

Whitney is a Tyler-native who began working with people with special needs at local camps throughout high school.  She also has an adult cousin with autism and has a had a first hand seat to the challenges and opportunities associated with the transition from high school into a functional and independent adult life. Whitney completed her undergraduate degree in Special Education at the University of Texas at Tyler and Master's of Education in Early Childhood Special Education from the University of Texas at Austin.  She has worked as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst at the Andrews Center's Treatment and Learning Center in Tyler, Texas since 2012. Whitney has participated in speaking appearances at the Connecticut ABA Conference and ABA International Conference as well as a variety of school districts and regional trainings.  She has experience working with many children, teenagers, and adults with autism as well as other developmental and chromosomal disorders. Whitney enjoys intensive feeding therapy and transitioning students into and out of their school aged years.

Since graduating from her master’s program at North Dakota State University, Rebecca has been privileged to serve adults and children using applied behavior analysis (ABA) in a variety of capacities. From facility-based care, to working group homes, day centers, schools, and homes of families, her experience includes implementing evidence-based therapy across multiple settings. She has traveled across the United States and overseas to provide consultation for families with children who have autism. Additional experiences include administrative work, presentations, oversight of center and home-based services, staff and parent training, and supervision. As the Executive Director for the Behavior Analysis Advocacy Network (BAAN), she works closely with policy makes to preserve services and the continuity of care for children with autism. In addition to facilitating provider and family concerns, she also disseminates information on clinical and ethical practices relating to funding source requirements. Whatever the role, her ultimate goal is to always make a significant impact through effective and efficient services utilizing the science of behavior analysis.

Adolescents with autism are faced with countless challenges as they prepare for adulthood. Not only must they navigate the pressures of high school, peer relationships, and extra curricular activities, they must also plan for life after graduation. They will be faced with  making decisions about life events like continuing their education, entering into the workforce, and accessing supports for independent living. While each person's pathway is particular to their interests, the pursuit of these opportunities requires careful planning. In this presentation we will discuss the challenges adolescents with autism face during transition to adulthood as well as how to prepare them for the workforce and independent living.