Oklahoma Statewide Autism Conference


Square Logo Conference 2021

In a World Where You Can Be Anything...Be Kind

Thank you to everyone who participated in the conference!

For Families, Health Professionals, Educators, and Advocates

We are very excited to announce the upcoming Oklahoma Statewide Autism Conference!  As with most things during this season of our lives, the conference will look different this year.  Instead of an in person conference we are hosting a two, half-day virtual conference.  While we are not able to meet in person
this year, we are committed to carrying on the eleven year tradition of bringing nationally recognized experts to Oklahoma to help us continue to learn and grow as parents, professionals, and individuals with ASD.

Historically, our conferences have been two full days, with up to 30 speakers covering a variety of topics.  This year, we decided to do something different.  The year 2020 has been tough for most of us for a variety of reasons.  Through the challenges, we have all likely reflected on the essence of what really matters in our lives.  This year we are focusing on the essence of what matters for individuals with ASD and their families.  Belonging, connection, and joy.  As family members this is what we strive for, for our loved one with ASD and for our family as a whole.  As professionals, this is the essence of what supports we provide should support our clients to achieve…a good life, a life of belonging, a life of meaningful relationships, and a life filled with joy.  

We appreciate the support of all the sponsors, volunteers, and speakers who have made the Oklahoma Statewide Autism Conference a success for the past eleven years.  We look forward to you joining us virtually this year.  And we look forward to seeing each other again when we return to the tradition of our in person conferences in the future.   

Past Conference Resources


Friday, February 19, 2021
8:00am - 12:00pm
Dr. Erik Carter

A Future of Flourishing: The Postures, Practices, and People that Can Change Trajectories
Like anyone else, individuals with ASD want to experience an enviable life—during childhood and throughout adulthood. Professionals, families, and community members can each play a powerful role in supporting these aspirations to become a reality in every corner of Oklahoma. This presentation will highlight what we know about what works best for supporting inclusion, relationships, and belonging across the lifespan. Moreover, it will emphasize how the perspectives we hold, the postures we adopt, and the practices we prioritize can bend the trajectories of individuals with ASD toward a future of flourishing.
•             Attendees will be able to identify relevant indicators of flourishing for the individuals with ASD whom they support
•             Attendees will be able to explain the role that aspirations and expectations can play in shaping employment and other outcomes
•             Attendees will be able to relate key values and principles that should inform how we approach service delivery and intervention
•             Attendees will be able to describe research-based practices known to improve individual outcomes
•             Attendees will be able to identify partnerships in their community and region that can be drawn upon to enhance their work

A Future of Flourishing Handout


Saturday, February 20, 2021
8:00am - 12:00pm
Dr. Shahla Ala'i

Nurturing Contingencies of Joy

The purpose of this seminar is to provide an overview of practices that nurture joy in the lives of children with autism, their families and their supporting professionals. The talk is divided into three sections. The first section explores the concept of joy and discusses the role of contingencies in understanding and changing behavior for the better. The second section focuses on the role of evidence-based practice, the need to go beyond reducing problems, and the importance of striving to preventatively and proactively foster healthy relationships at all levels. The final section provides a framework for continued progress by establishing intentional communities of practice. Communities of practice with a mission of increasing joy are likely to encourage ongoing learning, human connections and loving approaches to intervention.

This presentation is based, in part, on Alai & Zueg (2010), Three Considerations,  Alai, Toussaint & McGee (2018) Incidental Teaching: Happy Progress, Miller, ReCruz & Alai (2019) Inherent Tensions and Possibilities: Behavior Analysis and Cultural Responsiveness, Alai-Rosales, et al, (2019) The Big Four, and Alai & Heinkle-Wolfe (coming in Winter 2020) Love, Science & Autism.

At the conclusion of the presentation, participants will be able to:
1.    To describe the conceptualizations and rationales for nurturing joyful interventions
2.    To identify practices that contribute to joyful interventions for children with autism, their families and their supporting professionals.
3.    To identify ways to continue progress and encourage ongoing learning, human connections and loving approaches to intervention.

Additional Resources

Nurturing Contingencies of Joy Handout

2008 Expanding Interests

2017 Happy Progress

2019 Big Four

3 Things

1990 Protected Populations

Caregiver Sensitivity

ABA is a Science

Cultural Responsiveness

Parent Training for Families of Children with ASD

1997 Behavioral Cusps

2020 Challenges and Contributors to Self Efficacy

Using Skilled Dialogue


Continuing Education

Approved CEUs

Certified Behavior Analysts:  The Oklahoma Autism Network, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center has been authorized as a provider of Type II continuing education by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc.  ACE Provider Number OP-18-2901.  -  6.0 CEU credits

Licensed Professional Counselors and Licensed Marital and Family Therapists: State Board of Behavioral Health Licensure. – 6.0 CEU credits

OKDHS-DDS: Oklahoma Department of Human Services, Developmental Disabilities Services. – 6.0 CEU credits

Physical Therapists: Physical Therapy Committee, State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision. – 6.0 CEU credits

Psychologists: Oklahoma Board of Examiners of Psychologists, The University of Oklahoma is an approved provider.  – 6.0 CEU credits

Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists:  Oklahoma Board of Examiners for Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology – 6.0 CEU credits

Social Workers:  Oklahoma Board of Licensed Social Workers, – 6.0 CEU credits


Pending CEUs

Continuing education approval has been submitted the following boards for up to 6.0 hours of CEU credit.  All attendees will need to retain a copy of their certificate of attendance in the event of an audit.  Certificates of Attendance are available to Professional / Educator registrants only.

Occupational Therapists: Occupational Therapy Committee, State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision.  - 6.0 CEU credits



Family Scholarship Application

The purpose of the family scholarship is to support family members to attend the conference.

Who Is Eligible
•    Applicants must be an individual with autism or a parent, legal guardian or grandparent of individual with autism.

Application Process
•    Applicants must complete both pages of the scholarship application.
•    A limited number of scholarships are available on a first-come, first served basis.
•    Applications will be accepted through February 5, 2021.
•    Applicants will be notified upon receipt of their application if they have been selected to receive a scholarship.
•    Scholarship recipients should not complete the conference registration form.  Scholarship recipients will be registered by the Oklahoma Autism Network.

Family Scholarship application



Location and Reservations

The conference will be virtual and hosted through Zoom.  Registrants will receive details about accessing the conference one week prior to the conference date.


Dr. Erik Carter

Erik Carter is Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Special Education at Vanderbilt University. His research and teaching focuses on evidence-based strategies for supporting inclusion and valued roles in work, community, school, and congregational settings for individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities. He has published more than 200 articles and chapters, along with 6 books. Learn more about his work at www.erikwcarter.com.





Dr. Shahla Alai

Shahla Alai received her B.S. from Southern Illinois University and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Kansas. She is an Associate Professor in the Department of Behavior Analysis at the University of North Texas. Shahla and her students collaborate with community partners to serve people who are under resourced and marginalized within current societal structures. Shahla teaches courses on technology transfer, ethics, autism intervention, parent training, behavioral systems, applied research methods, behavior change techniques, and assessment. She has published and presented research on social justice, ethics in early intervention, play and social skills, family harmony, change agent training, supervision and the relationship between love and science in the treatment of autism. She coauthored a book on supervision and mentoring and another on love and science in the treatment of autism. Shahla has over four decades of experience working with families and has trained hundreds of behavior analysts.







Registration is closed for this event.  

Registrant Type Professional/Educator      Family Member/Individual with ASD          Student  
Cost              $90                         $45      $45
Certificate of Attendance and CEUs              Yes                          No       No


* Family Members / Individuals with Autism are family members of individuals with ASD or individuals with autism.  Those who register as Family Members / Individuals with Autism are not eligible for continuing education credit.  To receive continuing education credit, participants must register as a Professional/Educator.

How to Register:  Registration is closed for this event.   


We appreciate the support of our sponsors who help make this conference possible each year. 

Gold Sponsor
Therapy and Beyond


Non-Profit Sponsors

Oklahoma ABLE Tech

Charis Hills

Volunteer Opportunities

Our virtual format this year does not afford the opportunity for conference volunteers.  We greatly appreciate the support of our volunteers who have made this conference possible for the past eleven years.  We look forward to future opportunities for volunteers to participate when we host our next in-person conference event.