April 06, 2011
School of Education in conjunction with the Office of Alumni
Relations sponsored the Carol Gresser Forum’s First Annual Autism
Conference and Panel titled Autism: Building Bridges among
Practice, Education and the Law. This all-day event, recently held
at the University’s D’Angelo Center on its Queens campus, was
designed to build awareness of autism and provide insight on the
treatment and instruction of children diagnosed with this
The following workshop sessions were well attended and focused
on the following subject matter:
• Asperger’s and Bullying, Joan Gerenser
• Communication Strategies for Speech Pathologist and
Teachers, Dana Battaglia
• A Comprehensive View of Behavior Intervention, Cynthia
• Best Practices for Assessment of Autism Stress Disorder,
• Promoting Socialization and play skills in children with
ASD, Mary McDonald
• Developing a Successful Inclusion Program for a Student with
Autism, Randy Horowitz
Autism is a disorder of neural development characterized by
impaired social interaction and communication and by restrictive
and repetitive behavior. It affects information processing in the
brain by altering how nerve cells and their synapses connect and
organize. These signs all begin before a child is three years old
and how this process occurs is not well understood.
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) demonstrate
deficits in joint attention at an early age and these deficits
often remain persistent throughout development. Deficits in
referential looking, declarative pointing as well as failure to
respond to name and other social cues are common in early
development. It has been well documented that joint attention plays
a critical role in the development of language and social skills.
The workshops provided an overview of joint attention as well as
the specific problems associated with autism.
For more information please call Tina Puglisi at (718) 990-1536
or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For media inquiries, please contact Dominic Scianna, Assistant
Vice President for Media Relations at St. John’s, by calling (718)
990-6185 or by e-mail to email@example.com.