Featuring Dr. Brenda Smith Myles

Anchorage, Fairbanks, Utqiagvik, Kodiak, & Palmer

February 15, 16, 18, 21, & 22

ASSEC Pre-Conference, February 23 & 24

Each year, AARC invites a nationally recognized speaker to share their message in at least two rural Alaskan locations. In 2019, AARC is excited to welcome Brenda Smith Myles to Alaska!

This year, we are also thrilled to announce that each of her presentations will be available to all Alaskans via live, interactive video-stream online via BlueJeans! Her presentations will not be recorded and available to watch at a later date, so be sure to catch the live events!

Information on how to access the video-stream will be sent via confirmation email when you sign up for the event(s).

No internet access?

Join by phone! Contact us at or 866-301-7372 for call-in instructions.

VTC or Room System:

Community organizations that would like to connect via room system are welcome to do so! Please contact us at or 866-301-7372 for connection instructions.


Friday, 2/15/2019

1:00 - 4:00 PM

Critical Mass, Purposeful Practice & Autism: Creating Independent Learners

Alaska Native Primary Care Center, King Fischer Room

4320 Diplomacy Dr

Anchorage, AK 99508



Saturday, 2/16/2019

1:00 - 4:00 PM

Evidence-Based Practices

Pioneer Park

Palace Theater

2300 Airport Way

Fairbanks, AK 99701



Monday 2/18/2019

5:00 - 8:00 PM

The Hidden Curriculum

Top of the World Hotel

Agviq Conference Room

3060 Eben Hopson St

Utqiagvik, AK 99723



Thursday, 2/21/2019

4:30 - 7:30 PM

Self-Regulation, Meltdowns, & Sensory Challenges

Kodiak Library

Multipurpose Room

612 Egan Way

Kodiak, AK 99615



Friday, 2/22/2019

5:00 - 8:00 PM

To Graduation & Beyond: Planning for Success

Mat-Su Regional Medical Center, Denali Room

2500 S Woodworth Lp

Palmer, AK 99645


Additionally, Dr. Smith Myles will be presenting at the pre-conference for the Alaska Statewide Education Conference (ASSEC) February 23 & 24, 2019. This two-day pre-conference costs $60 through January 26th, and $70 after January 26th. AARC is sponsoring participants who attend Dr. Smith Myles' pre-conference presentation; regular rates are $120/$140! Register on the ASSEC website today to take advantage of this great value!

To request DVDs of previous Autism Insights presentations, please complete a Material Request Form. 


Brenda Smith Myles truly stands out as a powerful autism educator.  She has a talent for taking complex information and breaking it down in a way that is easily understandable to all. She is personable and able to connect with her audiences on a meaningful level.  This ability leaves her session attendees with new autism-related information, and ideas for how to apply this knowledge in an impactful way in their homes, classrooms, and communities.

Brenda Smith Myles is a superstar in the world of autism education. Brenda has made over 1000 presentations all over the world and written more than 250 articles and books on ASD.  In the latest survey conducted by the University of Texas, she was acknowledged as the second most productive applied researcher in ASD in the world!  She has been the recipient of the Autism Society of America’s Outstanding Professional Award, the Princeton Fellowship Award, The Global and Regional Asperger Syndrome (GRASP) Divine Neurotypical Award, American Academy of Pediatrics Autism Champion, and two-time recipient of the Council for Exceptional Children, Division on Developmental Disabilities Burton Blatt Humanitarian Award.

More About Brenda Smith Myles:


2/15/19 - Anchorage & Online - "Critical Mass, Purposeful Practice and Autism: Creating Independent Learners"

Download presentation slides

Teach a skill from start to finish! Promote independence! Help individuals with ASD learn independently! Most individuals with ASD are taught skills only to a certain point. For example, an individual may learn to read a calendar of assignments and check it the night before; however, he is not totally independent on this task because he has not learned that you often need to check your calendar more often than one night before an activity, such as a test. As adults, they may be taught to pay bills and pay them on a timely basis when an invoice is provided. However, what if there is no invoice — such as with rent. These challenges are directly related to a lack of success in independent living, employment, and social interactions. How do we change this trajectory? This presentation focuses on describing the factors that lead to critical mass for those on the spectrum when providing instruction and supports. Critical mass, in this regard, is the point where an individual has gained enough information to apply it to situations, activities or skills in which instruction has not been provided. Learn easy-to-use strategies that can help individuals with ASD to move about their world as independently as possible, making informed decisions about their wants and needs. Teaching to critical mass will help learners to be successful with tasks they have been taught to do, but will also help them to be successful with activities on which they have not received instruction.


At the end of the presentations, attendees will be able to:

  • Define critical mass and its importance to life success for individuals with ASD.

  • Understand the neurology of ASD that supports the need for instruction to critical mass.

  • Describe the strategies that lead to critical mass for individuals with ASD.

2/16/19 - Fairbanks & Online - "Evidence-Based Practices"

Download presentation slides

Three United States-based organizations, the National Autism Center (NAC), the National Professional Development Center for Autism (NPDC), and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), have identified evidence-based practices for autistic children and youth. This session will introduce and describe these interventions and provide practical examples for application in home, school, and community. In addition, these evidence-based practices will also be matched to the autistic neurology and learning style.


At the end of the session, participants will be able to:

  • Describe evidence-based practices in autism

  • Identify interventions that match the evidence-based categories.

  • Match evidence-based strategies to the autistic neurology

2/18/19 - Utqiagvik & Online - "The Hidden Curriculum"

Download presentation slides

The hidden curriculum refers to the set of rules or guidelines that are often not directly taught but are assumed to be known (Garrett, 1984; Hemmings, 2000; Jackson, 1968; Kanpol, 1989). This curriculum contains items that impact social interactions, school performance, and sometimes health and well-being. The hidden curriculum also includes unspoken rules, slang, metaphors, body language etc.  While this information may be intuitive for neurotypical individuals, but it is not those with autism or other special needs. This session includes practical tips for teaching these hidden social needs to children and to adults and stresses the importance of making these a part of everyday life.


At the end of the session, participants will be able to:

  • Define the hidden curriculum

  • Explain the hidden curriculum’s applicability to school, community, and home

  • Identify hidden curriculum areas and items across preschool, middle school, high school, and adulthood

2/21/19 - Kodiak & Online - "Self-Regulation, Meltdowns, and Sensory Challenges"

Download presentation slides

Stress, anxiety, and sensory challenges are common in children and youth with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and is one of the most frequently observed behaviors in these individuals. The stress experienced by individuals with ASD may manifest itself in many ways, but it sometimes leads to meltdowns. This escalating sequence seems to follow a three-stage cycle: (a) rumbling, (b) rage, and (c) recovery. This sequence can be problematic as many children and youth with ASD often endure the cycle unaware that they are under stress. Because of the combination of innate stress and anxiety and the difficulty that children and youth with ASD have in understanding how they feel, it is important that those who work and live with them understand the cycle of tantrums, rage, and meltdowns as well as interventions that can be used during this cycle. This session will review the cycle of t meltdowns; interventions that can be used during the cycle; and ways to prevent its occurrence.


At the end the sessions, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the cycle of tantrums, rage, and meltdowns

  • Identify interventions that can be use at each stage of the cycle

  • Discuss ways to prevent the cycle from occurring

2/22/19 - Palmer & Online - "To Graduation and Beyond: Planning for Success"

Download presentation slides

Despite the best efforts of schools and families, some students with ASD do not experience the same degree of success and personal fulfillment in adulthood compared to their nondisabled peers or to students who are receiving services under IDEA categories other than ASD. What factors drive these differences? What variables lead to stronger adult outcomes? This workshop will offer valuable strategies for achieving independence, including interventions for self-regulation and mindfulness. Learn how to avoid missteps and resolve ongoing challenges using evidence-based practices and the steps to creating a comprehensive plan to implement these tools in the workplace, for transportation, and in after-work settings.


At the end of the session, participants will be able to:

  • Identify the predictors for adult success

  • Identify intervention that support adult success

  • Describe evidence-based practices for transition to adulthood

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This website was last updated on 11/6/19