Society & Culture

Autism specialist Dena Gassner to speak at UGA College of Education’s CSSE Summer Institute June 6

Dena Gassner

Athens, Ga. – Speech language pathologists, audiologists, educators and students from across the state will have the opportunity to hear about the latest research and best practices in their fields at the University of Georgia’s fifth annual Communication Sciences and Special Education Summer Institute at the Georgia Center for Continuing Education June 6-7.

Dena Gassner, program director and owner of the Center for Understanding in Nashville, Tenn., will be the keynote speaker. She will speak on “The Missing Link: Helping Students with Asperger’s to Embrace and Integrate Self-awareness as a Foundation for Personal Advocacy and Growth” on June 6 at 8:45 a.m.

Gassner developed her interest in family systems with diagnostic training at the University Affiliated program at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital while simultaneously becoming a certified early intervention specialist. Upon completing her master’s degree at the University of Kentucky, she transitioned to individual/family coaching support in the field of Asperger’s syndrome and similar processing/developmental learning challenges.

She was the 2009 winner of the Jo Andrews Award from Nashville’s Mayor’s Committee on Disability for outstanding disability advocacy. She has been featured in an autism public service announcement and an online video for the Dan Marino Foundation. She is a frequent contributor to Autism Brainstorm. She recently completed two years as an itinerant faculty member for Health-Education Network traveling the nation, providing professional development training to teachers, psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, behavioral consultants, families, individuals and others.

Breakout sessions, led by both national and local experts, will address current topics and trends for special educators, general educators and speech-language pathologists such as:

• Asperger’s syndrome
• Reading disabilities
• Medical issues of children in schools
• Data collection and behavior management
• Legal issues pertaining to classroom teaching and children with disabilities
• Augmentative and alternative communication solutions in the classroom

The institute will also include information on administrative issues, parental concerns and perspectives of individuals with disabilities on each of these topics. Participants may earn 1.0 PLU from the Georgia Department of Education and up to 1.075 CEUs from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association for attendance on both days. PLU and CEU approval is in progress.

Registration costs range from $180-$280. The deadline for registration is May 30.

For costs and additional information, see