Day 2 - Thursday, October 10th
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Autism Spectrum Disorder in Children and Adults

Dr. Grandin was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Dr. Grandin’s achievements are remarkable because she was an autistic child. At age two she had no speech and all the signs of severe autism. Many hours of speech therapy, and intensive teaching enabled Temple to learn speech. As a teenager, life was hard with constant teasing. Mentoring by her high school science teacher and her aunt on her ranch in Arizona motivated Temple to study and pursue a career as a scientist and livestock equipment designer.

Dr. Temple Grandin obtained her B.A. at Franklin Pierce College in 1970. In 1974 she was employed as Livestock Editor for the Arizona Farmer Ranchman and also worked for Corral Industries on equipment design. In 1975 she earned her M.S. in Animal Science at Arizona State University for her work on the behavior of cattle in different squeeze chutes. Dr. Grandin was awarded her Ph.D in Animal Science from the University of Illinois in 1989 and is currently a Professor at Colorado State University.

Her book, Animal in Translation was a New York Times best seller and her book Livestock Handling an Transport, now has a fourth edition which was published in 2014. Other popular books authored by Dr. Grandin are Thinking in Pictures, Emergence Labeled Autistic, Animals Make us Human, Improving Animal Welfare: A Practical Approach, The Way I See It, and The Autistic Brain. She also has a popular TED Talk.

Dr. Grandin has received numerous awards including the Meritorious Achievement Award from the Livestock Conservation Institute, named a Distinguished Alumni at Franklin College and received an honorary doctorate from McGill University, University of Illinois, Texas A&M, Carnegie Mellon University, and Duke University. HBO has premiered a movie about Temple’s early life and career with the livestock industry. The movie received seven Emmy awards, a Golden Globe, and a Peabody Award. In 2016, Temple was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Grandin is a past member of the board of directors of the Autism Society of America. She lectures to parents and teachers throughout the U.S. on her experiences with autism. Articles and interviews have appeared  in  the New  York  Times, People, Time,  National   Public   Radio, 20/20, The View, and the BBC. She was also honored in Time Magazines 2010 “The 100 Most Influential People in the World.” Dr. Grandin now resides in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Keynote - October 10, 2019 - 9:30 AM to 10:45 AM - Wildrose Ballrooms

Dr. Temple Grandin

11:00 am to    Noon -  Sessions (E1-E4)


A Reduction in Polypharmacology has Positive Outcomes in the Developmental Disability Population


PRESENTER - Dr. Pierre Chue 

Conference Co-Chair

Dr. Pierre Chue   MBBCh, FRCPsych, LMCC, FRCPC, DABPN, MSc, CCST​

Professor of Psychiatry, and Program Lead Complex Psychosis and Clinical Trials and Research Programs, University of Alberta 


Edmonton Zone Senior Medical Advisor Strategic Mental Health Initiatives and Program Lead Intensive Community Transition Services, Addiction & Mental Health, AHS


Mental Health Lead, Continuing Care, AHS Consultant Psychiatrist, Telemental Health, and North and Edmonton Mental Health Review Panels


Sex, Self-pleasure, & 

Intellectual Disability (Adults Only)

This session will provide a theoretical and practical overview of the issues of sexuality and self-pleasure as related to individuals with intellectual disabilities. Information specific to sexuality and disability will be presented followed by the presentation of a case study focused on the area of self-pleasure.  


PRESENTERS:  Dr. Shaniff Esmail, Lisa Rowbottom, Jared Hamon and Stephanie Clowe

Dr. Shaniff Esmail is the Associate Chair of Rehabilitation Medicine/Occupational Therapy at the University of Alberta with a special interest in sexual health in developmental disabilities.  


Lisa Rowbottom is a Psychologist at Alberta Hospital Edmonton.

Jared Hamon is a Behavioural Specialist at Alberta Hospital Edmonton.

Stephanie Clowe is a Social Worker at Alberta Hospital Edmonton who supports those diagnosed with developmental and intellectual disabilities with co-occurring mental health issues.


Supporting Women with Problematic Substance Abuse by incorporating FASD and Trauma Informed Approaches to Addictions Treatment

The Lakeland Centre for FASD, 2nd Floor Women’s Recovery Centre is a  live-in addiction recovery Centre exclusively for women with priority given to women who are pregnant, or at risk of becoming pregnant. Our unique client centered approach is holistic, relationship based and harm reduction focused.  


PRESENTERS:  Lisa Murphy &

Kayla Vick

Lisa is the Executive Director at the Lakeland Centre for FASD.  She has worked in the field of FASD for over 15 years. Lisa's work at the Centre has included advocating and coordinating services for children, complex youth, and adults diagnosed with FASD and their families, consultation and data collection. Lisa also played a key role in the development and organization of the Lakeland Summer Camp. As Executive Director, Lisa oversees the day to day operations of the Centre and its FASD Prevention, Diagnostic and Intervention programs.

Kayla is the Supervisor of the 2nd Floor Women’s Recovery Centre located in Cold Lake, AB has been a 2nd Floor team member for 4 years.  Kayla holds a Bachelor of Arts with a specialization in Gender Studies and Sociology and holds a Master of Industrial Relations from Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. 


Eliminating Barriers as a Mental Health Therapist & Addictions Counsellor 

Working effectively with clients diagnosed with Developmental Disabilities and Mental Health Issues

This interactive and participatory session will speak to some of the real and perceived barriers for Mental Health Therapists and Addiction Counselors working in Adult AMH programs in providing services for people with DD who have mental health concerns. Participants will learn effective, creative strategies for implementing best practice interventions (CBT, DBT) in both individual and group therapy settings. Case Study presentation will further outline the processes of shared decision making, treatment planning, collaboration, and service provision. Data gathered from groups recently implemented at EEHC will be presented. 

PRESENTER:  Desiree Chrapko & Kelsey Milligan

Desiree Chrapko, RPN joined the treatment team at East Edmonton Health Centre as a Mental Health Therapist in 2013 after 12 years as a Psychiatric Nurse on an inpatient mental health unit. She has had the privilege of working with clients with autism, fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, and developmental disabilities experiencing mental health concerns both in hospital and community settings. She has developed a special interest in supporting the treatment of anxiety and mood disorders in clients with autism and developmental disabilities as well as developing effective group treatment options utilizing best practice guidelines. 

1:00 pm to    2:00 pm -  Sessions (F1-F4)


Making a "Home of my Own"; a Reality for People with Complex Needs - ASPIRE Homes
(Recognizing Outstanding Organizations and People in Housing)
This session will describe the process of moving 4 men with complex, high support needs from a traditional group home setting into “homes of their own” without additional funding.  Challenges to making this happen included shifts in thinking for the people supported, staff, families and the organization.  Community and natural resources needed to be utilized differently and how support was provided needed to shift drastically.  Person-centred thinking and dignity of risk were significant drivers in this initiative.  Presenters will address the concerns, challenges, successes and some “happy mistakes” in the process from a variety of perspectives.  This experience resulted in significant learning for all, learning which we would like to share with other people and organizations so that all people can have a home of their own.
PRESENTERS:  Elizabeth Peterson, Clarence Iglesias & Victor Wong
Elizabeth Peterson, Care Manager for Aspire Homes, envisioned a place to call home in the community for a unique population since beginning her career in the field of disabilities 33 years ago. Today, Aspire Homes has been able to provide sustainable community living options for those with complex service needs that has never existed before in our Province. “Welcome to our Home” is heard upon entering an Aspire Home. For Elizabeth, this is music to her ears and a confirmation of that vision being achieved.
Clarence Iglesias is a Therapy Assistant with the Community Outreach Assessment and Support Team (COAST).  Clarence is an original member of this team created in 2013.  Prior to this he has over 10 years of experience working at Alberta Hospital Edmonton and with a variety of PDD agencies since 1993. Recently, Clarence has been working closely with Edmonton Aspire Homes.  He has assisted in transition of indviduals to their new homes from hospital.  He also has been involved with mentoring and training of the frontline staff of this program.
Victor Wong has a passion and interest in furthering the development of purpose-built housing and collaborative supports in the community.  Most recently, he has worked as the Project Manager for the implementation of the Edmonton Aspire Homes project, which is designed as permanent supportive community housing for highly complex clients allowing them to live in the community instead of in institutional care.  Victor holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services Administration as well as a Child and Youth Care Diploma from MacEwan University. With his PMP certification and role as a Manager, Supportive Housing, he is very excited to contribute to the development of new collaborative and integrated housing and health services.


Introduction to Interoception

Interoception,considered the eighth sensory system, has recently been gaining much attention in the development of self-regulation skills. Being aware of one’s internal state and the connection to our feelings and emotions can be difficult for people with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, neurodevelopmental disabilities, mental health issues, and trauma history.


Researchers have found that building one’s interoception awareness is possible and a key component to emotion regulation. In this introductory session, participants will learn about the concept of interoception and resources that can be used to start building interoception awareness in their clinical and personal practice.

PRESENTERS:  Jennifer Sadowski, Clinical Supervisor/Occupational Therapist
Andrew Owusu, Occupational Therapist, COAST AHS

PLEASE NOTE:  The original presenter and topic had to cancel on short notice so we are pleased that Jennifer and Andrew are now presenting at our conference.  


The Amazing Brain: Role of the Neurologist in Patients with Developmental Disabilities
Both adults and children with developmental disabilities present with a wide range of neurological issues and conditions.  These include challenges unique to their condition but also problems that afflict many of us such as headaches and depression.  Among the challenges we could include epilepsy, headaches, hydrocephalus, behavioural difficulties, mood disorders, mobility issues and others.  Over the last years and decades new technologies such as PET scans and  specialized blood tests have given us a better understanding of our patients which is increasingly allowing us to utilize both new and old medications to improve the quality of life of the patients and their caregivers.  The session will give a broad overview of various neurologic topics.
PRESENTER:  Dr. Ken Makus
Dr. Ken Makus is the Director, of the Adult Convulsive Disorder Clinic situated at the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital in Edmonton.


Many Waters: at the confluence of symptoms that occur when Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are co-morbid
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are frequently co-occurring or co-morbid diagnoses.  Prior to DSM-5, ADHD was not diagnosable when ASD was the primary diagnosis, leading to much confusion and inadequate therapeutic impetus.  With changes in our diagnosing criteria, it has become clear that not only do these disorders frequently occur together, they also resemble each other in very significant ways, leading to new theories of shared neurophysiological substrate.  For instance, children with ASD and ADHD are indistinguishable on evaluations for theory of mind, and many ADHD children have social deficits that may be as severe as those seen in ASD.  The presence of both disorders conveys additional risk of poor developmental and mental health outcomes.  Treatment of ADHD symptoms in ASD is often overlooked due to unfamiliarity with diagnostic criteria, or delayed by over-concern that stimulant medications and other ADHD medications will not be effective.  Recent data indicates that although children with ASD may tolerate ADHD medications less well, they are still able to obtain significant benefit from a behavioural and educational standpoint.  Non-stimulant alternatives such as atomoxetine, clonidine and guanfacine can be very effective treatments, and may delay the initiation of atypical antipsychotic medications.
PRESENTER:  Dr. Jennifer Hibbard

Jennifer Gale Hibbard, BSc, MD FRCP is a

Consultant Psychiatrist for the Arnika Centre - Calgary.

2:15 pm to    3:15 pm -  Sessions (G1-G4)


Cannabis - Is there a role in the treatment of Developmental Disabilities?
Participants will come away from this session with a better understanding of the use of cannabis in medicine. Topics include:  The history of medicinal cannabis, An overview of the endocannabinoid system - the largest neurotransmitter system in the body, and a look at some of the promising research as it relates to the use of cannabis in the treatment of Developmental Disabilities.
PRESENTER:  Wayne Wilden 
Wayne Wilden is a registered psychiatric nurse with over 30 years of experience. He is a medicinal cannabis nurse educator and is currently involved in trying to reduce the stigma of cannabis use in medicine by providing education around the largest neurotransmitter system in the body - the endocannabinoid system.


Mindfulness-Based Applications  for Emotional Regulation of People with Developmental Disabilities
Yesim Sokmen & Narda McLeod
Yesim Sokmen is an Alberta-registered Occupational Therapist (OT) specialized in mental health and trauma therapy who has been working in psychosocial and return to work rehabilitation since 2003.  She studied Occupational Therapy at McGill University in Montreal and in 2014 completed her Masters in Arts Therapy at Whitecliffe College of Arts and Design in Auckland, New Zealand. She has worked in hospitals, public and private clinics in Montréal, Sherbrooke (Québec), Dunedin (New Zealand) and Edmonton (Alberta).  She recently completed training to become a Somatic Experiencing Practitioner and is a teaching assistant at Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute.
Narda McLeod is a Behavioural Specialist with the Community Outreach Assessment and Support Team.  Previously she worked at Alberta Hospital Edmonton supporting those with Developmental Disabilities.  She has a special interest in anger management and developing resource materials for her clients.


UK Guidelines and Services for those with Developmental Disabilities: What can we Learn?
Dr. Yogesh Thakker & Clayton Kleparchuk

Dr. Yogesh Thakker is a Consultant Psychiatrist. He trained in General Psychiatry in India and there he received his (Psychiatry) degree. He then further studied Psychiatry in London (UK) for seven years. During this time, Dr. Thakker was awarded Membership in Psychiatry (MRCPsych) and completed specialized training (CCT) in Psychiatry of Intellectual Disability.  He has lectured at University of Hertfordshire, UK. Additionally, Dr. Thakker has completed “Managing in Health and Social Care” from De Montford University, UK. Dr. Thakker currently is the Lead Psychiatrist for COAST (Community Outreach Assessment and Support Team) in Edmonton. He also is an Adult General Psychiatrist at Westview Centre in Stony Plain and has been recently involved in developing the Glenrose Adult Autism Diagnostic Clinic and consults at the Adult Convulsive Disorder Clinic and Adult FASD Clinic at Glenrose Hospital. He often is a Clinical Lecturer at the Department of Psychiatry - University of Alberta and is a visiting psychiatrist for various group homes in and around Edmonton supporting people with Developmental Disabilities. He consults with three Primary Care Networks (PCNs) in Edmonton.  Dr. Thakkers' special interest is in Autism Spectrum Disorder, Developmental Disabilities, teaching and health-care management.

Clayton Kleparchuk is currently the Program Manager for Tertiary & Residential Services - Alberta Hospital Edmonton - Addiction & Mental Health - Alberta Health Services.  He oversees three inpatient units (one which specifically addresses and assists those diagnosed with complex needs and mental health issues.)  Prior to becoming the Program Manager at AHE, Clay was instrumental in launching  COAST - Community Outreach Assessment & Support Team as their Care Manager.  Clay is passionate about working with our population and works very closely with Dr. Thakker and the COAST Psychiatry team.  Clay also oversees the ASPIRE Homes and works with various community stakeholders in Edmonton and surrounding region.


Brain Training: Cognitive Rehabilitation to improve outcomes in Forensic Mental Health
During this session we will come to understand linkages between DD and vulnerability to mental health problems and/or forensic involvement.  Discuss the use of cognitive rehabilitation for forensic patients with DD and/or mental health concerns.  Overview of Brain Training program at AHE.
PRESENTER:  Dr. Therese Chevalier 
Dr. Chevalier is a clinicial Neuropsychologist at AHE.  She completed her PhD in clinical psychology at Dalhousie University in Halifax NS and her CPA accredited residency in neuropsychology through the Ottawa Hospital.  She holds a clinical lecturer position through the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Alberta

EVERYONE - 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm - Wildrose Ballrooms

Carlyn offers her story of growing up with ADHD in this funny and poignant show. Over 60 minutes she recounts her struggles with her diagnosis, social isolation, academic challenges, a perpetually messy bedroom, and more. But she also takes the opportunity to celebrate her successes, and what makes her uniqueness a positive in her life. 

Carlyn Rhamey is a storyteller and ADHD advocate. Her multi-award-winning show “The ADHD Project” sold out across Canada and is currently touring Ontario schools for Grades 4-12. It will be performed in the 2019 National AccessAbility Week and have it’s USA premiere in the Orlando, FL this year. Carlyn also works as a support worker with children and adults. ADHD is her superpower and her kryptonite. 

The ADHD Project - Carlyn Rhamey