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Autism Among Friends: Strengthening Bonds Between Autistic Children and Their Siblings and Peers

Autism among Friends: Strengthening Bonds between Autistic Children and their Siblings and Peers

Presented by Westfield PTC-Special Education Committee with Guest Speakers Joanmarie A. Sackles, PhD, BCBA-D and Leslie J. Newport, PsyD, BCBA-D

Wedneday, April 30

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Come join the Westfield Special Education Community for an evening of education and insightful conversation on Wednesday, April 30th. There will be a general parent meeting from 7:00 to 7:30PM followed by the main presentation and guest speakers (7:30 to 9:00PM), at the Edison Intermediate School Library, located at 800 Rahway Ave. in Westfield, NJ. 

The presentation will begin with a viewing of the award winning documentary created by Westfield’s own Alexandra Jackman.  It will continue with a presentation by Dr. Sackles and Dr. Newport concerning Autism and how it impacts communication with peers and siblings.  Come learn about ways to help your child understand social decision making and problem solving.  Learn strategies to foster your child’s ability to develop social perspective taking and to think about how their behaviors impact their relationship with friends and siblings.  Strategies to help peers and siblings of children with autism build stronger relationships will also be presented.

About Our Guest Speakers:

Alexandra Jackman, a freshman at Westfield High School, created a video aimed to encourage teens to understand and accept those with Autism Spectrum Disorder as part of her TR Scholar program at Roosevelt Intermediate School.  “A Teen’s Guide to Understanding and Communicating with People with Autism” has been shown at schools and community events across the country and is now part of many school- districts’ anti-bullying programs.  Recently, Ms. Jackman received the Multimedia Award from NJ Council on Developmental Disabilities and her video is currently being viewed at Palm Beach and NJ Shore Film festivals.

Leslie J. Newport, PsyD, BCBA-D is a licensed psychologist and a doctoral level Board Certified Behavior Analyst.  She works at Project: Natural Setting Therapeutic Management at Rutgers University where she serves as a consultant to public school districts in New Jersey.  She is also an Associate Professor at Endicott College, where she teaches courses in Autism Studies and Applied Behavior Analysis.  In addition, she has a private practice.

Joanmarie A. Sackles, PhD, BCBA-D is a licensed psychologist and a certified school psychologist.  She has worked in schools with both special education and general education students for the past thirty years.  She currently works as a consultant in several school districts in New Jersey.

This program is free and all parents, teachers, and advocates are invited to attend. CEU’S (1.5 CREDITS) WILL BE OFFERED FREE OF CHARGE TO EDUCATORS. Pre-registration is not required. For further information, visit our website:

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