Massachusetts Act Early State Team Spring 2011 Autism Summit

Wednesday, April 6, 2011
9:00AM - 4:00PM
Location: Special Olympics Massachusetts

Wednesday, April 6th
From 9:00 am to 4:00 pm 

Special Olympics Massachusetts
Yawkey Sports Training Center
512 Forest Street
Marlborough, MA 

The summit will include up to 60 invited participants including
early intervention personnel, educators, family members,
clinicians and health care providers, researchers, and state agency personnel.  

Please join us on Wednesday, April 6th from 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. for the Spring 2011MA Act Early State Autism Summit.  Special Olympics Massachusetts in Marlborough, MA has graciously offered to act as our host for the day at their centrally located state-of-the-art facility in the Yawkey Sports Training Center in Marlborough, MA.

Registration is limited to the first 60 applicants

Register for the Summit

The deadline for your RSVP by registering is Friday, March 18th

After registering, you will receive a confirming email.  One week before the Summit, you will receive an email reminder with the full agenda and directions to the Special Olympics Massachusetts headquarters at the Yawkey Sports Training Center in Marlborough, MA. 

About the Spring Summit

Having kicked off our state autism campaign at our Fall 2010 Summit, the MA Act Early State Autism Team has been hard at work launching Task Force activities based on three separate goals: outreach, training and early identification. 

The Spring 2011 Summit will serve as a day for state team members, old and new, to reconvene and learn about the current activities and accomplishments of the various goal task forces, to collaborate across task forces and synergize efforts, to network with colleagues from across disciplines and forge new connections on behalf of children with ASDs and their families, and to draw energy from our newly-formed and powerful state network of dedicated parents and professionals.

The preliminary schedule* for the day's events is:

9:00     Arrival & check in

9:15     Introduction to the Day's Events
MA Act Early Planning Committee

9:30     Welcome Address
Bob Johnson, CEO and President, Special Olympics Massachusetts

10:00   CDC Learn the Signs. Act Early Initiative Report on National Outcomes
Cheryl Rhodes, CDC and Jennifer Bogin, AUCD

10:45   Break

11:00   Task Force Working Sessions - Part 1

12:00   Lunch, Updates & Networking

1:00     Task Force Working Sessions - Part 2

2:00     Break Out Sessions - Collaboration between Task Forces

3:00     Next Steps

4:00     Adjourn

Lunch and morning/afternoon refreshments will be served.

 *The schedule is subject to change pending further Summit planning.  Registrants will be informed of final changes one week before the Summit by email.

 About our Venue
With a central Mass location, state of the art facility, and a beautiful Marlborough setting, the Yawkey Sports Training Center is a great location for our next meeting. The Center has a full-size gym, computer training facilities, video conferencing capabilities, and five multipurpose conference rooms. The facility is conveniently located at the intersection of 495 and Route 20 in Marlborough, and just minutes from the Mass Pike. 

About our Speakers

Bob Johnson, President & CEO of Special Olympics Massachusetts

Robert Johnson is the current President and CEO of Special Olympics Massachusetts (SOMA). Mr. Johnson has devoted his entire professional career, over 35 years, working to serve and improve the lives of those with intellectual disabilities. He started at SOMA in 1989 as the organization's Vice President for Marketing and Development until 1998 when he was promoted to SOMA President and CEO. Prior to joining Special Olympics, Mr. Johnson dedicated 19 years to serving children and adults with special needs through his work in various capacities in public special education.

Cheryl Rhodes, AUCD Fellow, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Since February 2010, Cheryl Rhodes has led outreach efforts to the educational community and service provider systems as the AUCD Fellow for the Learn the Signs. Act Early. autism awareness campaign at the National Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities/Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (NCBDD/CDC). She is a licensed Marriage and Family therapist with over 30 years of experience, as well as the mother of three children ages 26, 23, and 21.  Her youngest daughter has epilepsy and significant developmental disabilities.

Jennifer Bogin, MSEd, BCBA, Association of University Centers on Disability (AUCD)

Jennifer Bogin has been instrumental not only in providing technical assistance to the MA Act Early Campaign but also has acted on other Act Early campaigns across the country as Program Manager for AUCD since February 2009 working on their Learn the Signs. Act Early. campaign and the Interdisciplinary Technical Assistance Center (ITAC) on Autism Spectrum Disorders and Developmental Disabilities. She is a board certified behavior analyst who began her career as a teacher of preschool children with emotional and behavioral disorders and worked for many years as an autism and behavior consultant providing services for public schools, early intervention agencies, and families in western Massachusetts.  

About the National Act Early Summit Project
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD), in collaboration with the Association of University Centers on Disability (AUCD), the Maternal and Child Health Bureau (MCHB) and a number of national efforts has launched a national public awareness campaign called "Learn the Signs. Act Early."  The campaign aims to educate parents and practitioners about childhood development, including early warning signs of autism and other developmental disorders, and encourages developmental screening and intervention. 

About the Massachusetts Act Early State Team Summit

The Massachusetts Act Early state plan is designed to strengthen state and community systems for the early identification and intervention for children with signs of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and other Developmental Disabilities (DD).  The Act Early Team envisions a future that uses a family-centered model that overcomes geographic, socio-economic, cultural, and linguistic barriers to assure equal access and adequate funding for all children in the Commonwealth to:

  • Universal screening for ASDs and DDs
  • Timely and accurate diagnosis of ASDs and other DDs
  • Ongoing care coordination in a medical home through the lifespan
  • Individualized treatment based on best available evidence and best practices
  • Support for transition to adulthood and ongoing adult services
  • Comprehensive supports for all family members of individuals with ASD

The short-term goals and immediate work of the MA Act Early state team in 2010-2011 will be:

•1.  Develop an outreach plan to increase public awareness by disseminating free CDC Act Early materials in settings such as childcare, education, early intervention, medical offices, community centers, etc. 

•2.  Explore continuing education possibilities to increase the amount of ASD training opportunities for MA providers and other professionals who work with young children and their families.

•3.  Shorten time between screening, diagnosis and intervention through partnerships between Early Intervention, local education agencies, diagnosing physicians and others.

The MA Act Early State Team Autism Summit will bring together a variety of key stakeholders to collaborate on designated work groups toward the state's short-term goals in this first of two summit meetings for 2010 & 2011.

For more information about the Summit or about the MA Act Early State Autism Plan, please contact Elaine Gabovitch, MA Act Early state team leader at