May 20 workshop to focus on supporting young children with autism

The Maine DOE is encouraging educators to attend a May 20 workshop entitled Language and Communication for Young Children with Autism.

The training is being put on by the Maine Autism Institute for Education and Research (MAIER), a partnership between the Maine DOE and the University of Maine, College of Education and Human Development (COEHD) launched last year to build statewide capacity to improve outcomes for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) through leadership, training, professional development, collaboration and research.

The majority of children diagnosed with an ASD will have difficulties with communication skills, usually with receptive/ expressive language skills. Many may also have difficulty with nonverbal communication skills. ASD affects the communication development of children in different ways and can range from no apparent verbal communication to subtle differences in the comprehension and use of social communication.

The presenters, Catherine Toste, CCC-SLP, and Judith Stickles, CCC-SLP, are both practicing speech-language pathologists who regularly work with young children at the Conley Speech and Hearing Center at the University of Maine. They will discuss the evaluation of communication skills in young children with ASD, including how to recognize and interpret communication attempts. Best practice in treatment approaches will also be discussed including treatment approaches for the child with ASD who may need an augmentative communication approach. Social communication development will be emphasized. Strategies for early literacy development will also be discussed. Several case studies will be presented.

The workshop cost is $25 per person and contact hour certificates are available. For more information or to register, visit

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