The Social Side of ASD
Making and building sustainable relationships is something that many people take for granted but is an extreme challenge for our students with ASD. Knowing how to teach them the necessary social skills for relationships is an essential skill for educators. This presentation will offer participants an opportunity to understand the social domain of Autism Spectrum Disorder and an overview of Evidence-Based Practices for teaching and increasing social skills.
Amanda Armstrong, M.Ed., BCBA is the Virginia Department of Education Region 5 T/TAC Autism Coordinator. Amanda attended East Carolina University where she received a BS in Communication and The University of Massachusetts where she completed her Master’s in Education and Applied Behavior Analysis. Amanda’s passion is working with children, educators, and families to increase the social opportunities and independence of individuals affected by ASD. She enjoys working in the classroom, as well as training, but most loves seeing students on the path to being productive, independent contributors to their community. Amanda began her teaching of students with ASD at a private residential school for children with autism and behavior disorders. There she carried out IEP goals and implemented behavior support plans to effectively decrease behaviors and increase independence. Most recently Amanda spent time at The May Institute as an Assistant Clinical Director for adult services and with Waltham Public Schools as an Independent Consultant to classroom teachers and families. While at The May Institute she worked with interdisciplinary teams of service providers, psychiatrists, and other clinicians to structure comprehensive behavior and medical plans for adults with various disabilities. There, Amanda was also able to serve on peer review teams and monitor the effectiveness and fidelity of behavior intervention plans and behavior modifying medications. In addition, she trained staff in the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis and how to effectively implement treatment plans. In the Waltham Public Schools she had the privilege of serving students with ASD and other disabilities who were in crisis as determined by the school personnel. In this position Amanda was able to assist in building family and professional partnerships by implementing effective comprehensive treatment plans across settings and people. She also trained parents and teachers in evidence-based practices to create capacity in the schools.