The field of autism, be it services and supports or research, includes many professional roles. Neuroscientists, social workers, and educators are just a few of the professionals that are interested in improving the quality of life of people on the spectrum. At this week’s ABAI Autism conference attendees were able to learn from both fellow behavior analysts and from collaborators from other allied fields who share our commitment to making socially significant changes in the lives of people with autism.
Ralf Schlosser, an expert in communication sciences/speech-language pathology, provided content about augmentative and alternative communication and emerging technologies to support communication development. Adriana Martino, a physician educated us on emerging neuroscience research. Sandy Magana, a social worker, addressed her research endeavors in culturally tailoring parent-mediated interventions. And most important of all the learnings was the first-person perspective delivered by Amy Gravino. Ms. Gravino provided content knowledge to attendees from her area of expertise, sexuality and autism, and co-facilitated another session to address the intersection of neurodiversity and applied behavior analysis. Our field does not have adequate representation from the autistic community and Ms. Gravino’s voice was a welcomed one at the conference.
Professional collaboration is a must for the toolbox of our profession. Collaborate practice across professional roles has a long history of benefiting those who are receiving services and supports (Guldberg, et al., 2011; Schopler, 1996). The conference afforded a wonderful opportunity to learn from others and expand our professional repertoires.