Autism New Zealand Conference 2014: Media Release

Autism New Zealand’s biannual conference gets underway this Friday in Nelson.

Dubbed 'Looking to the Future' it is hoped that conference delegates will get a host of information and presentations on pathways forward for Autism in our communities.
Autism New Zealand has attracted two high calibre keynotes to serve as the backbone of the conference in what will mark an interactive event.

Dr Catherine Lord arrives from New York today and will provide the first key note address on Friday morning. Dr Lord is a clinical psychologist and is Professor of Psychology and founding Director of the Centre for Autism and the Developing Brain (CADB), at New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medical College, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in collaboration with New York Collaborates for Autism. 
She is renowned for her work in longitudinal studies of children with Autism as well as for her role in developing Autism diagnostic instruments used in both practice and research worldwide. She has completed degrees in psychology at UCLA and Harvard, and a clinical internship at Division TEACCH at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and will discuss “The Context of DSM5: where did it come from and where may it lead us.

“Autism New Zealand is very honoured to have Dr Lord address our conference in something of a coup for New Zealand. It’s going to be an incredible opportunity for all our delegates to share and interact with Dr Lord in the coming days”. 
- Chief Executive of Autism NZ Dane Dougan

After lunch on Friday, leading Autism Educator Craig Smith joins the conference from Australia. Smith will be providing an interactive address on Autism, Edutainment and the iPad.
Craig has worked at Autism Spectrum Australia for the past eight years. He has worked as a classroom teacher, an Educational Outreach Consultant, and as a school coordinator. He is a recipient of the Elizabeth Hoyles Research Fellowship and has presented on Autism and technology at numerous national and international conferences, including the Asia Pacific Autism Conference and the National Boys' Education Conference. Craig is an Apple Distinguished Educator, and is currently completing his PhD studies in Special Education at the University of Newcastle.

“With Dr Lord and Craig Smith providing our keynotes on Friday, we certainly will have a host of information to take in and discuss “Looking to the Future” throughout our two days and beyond” adds Dougan. “Parents, teachers and those working with Autism will benefit greatly from both and Craig Smith's interactive session will be a great insight. We look forward to taking him throughout the country for further workshops next week”. 

Friday night sees a celebration of Autism with the Inaugural Autism New Zealand Awards Dinner and a great chance for delegates to relax and network.

With Saturday’s keynotes providing even more insight and information to the conference with the Minds for Minds Trust and Autism New Zealand’s very own Education and Training Director, Neil Stuart, the two days promises to be one that will be remembered and a positive step forward for Autism in New Zealand.