By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Autism workshop planned for April 18

The Pilot Club of Great Bend is sponsoring a Strategies for Children with Autism at Home and in the Classroom Workshop from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on April 18 at Barton Community College. The workshop is open to the public. Teachers and families associated with children with autism are encouraged to attend.

Attendees can view the brochure on Pilot Club of Great Bend’s webpage or on its Facebook page, Great Bend Pilot Club. Registrations can be mailed to Pilot Club of Great Bend, P.O. Box 503, Great Bend, KS 67530. They can also register and pay with a credit card online at Attendees can also pay at the door on the day of the workshop.

The Great Bend Pilot Club received a matching grant from the Pilot International (PI) Founder’s Fund (PIFF) to help develop and present this workshop. PIFF was established to support the community-based work of Pilot Clubs by helping to underwrite club efforts to serve in the areas of preparing youth for service; encouraging brain safety and health; and supporting those who care for others. With assistance from PIFF and PI, local Pilot Clubs are able to improve the lives of others through education, volunteerism, financial support and research. Sponsoring this workshop supports PI’s and Great Bend Pilot’s mission to help those with brain-related injuries and disorders, and to improve the communities in which they live. 

The cost to attend is $75 for professionals and $25 for families, students and day-care providers. CEUs are available for teachers, social workers, occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech therapists and day-care providers. After the deadline of March 25, registration and admission at the door will have an added fee of $5. Graduate credit will be available to educators and other professionals from Baker University.

They keynote speaker will be Beth Aune, a pediatric occupational therapist from Palm Desert, Calif. She enjoys working with children with special needs in their natural settings at school and providing ongoing information, support and strategies for educators and para-educators. Her two best tips for parents and teachers is to celebrate the child’s special needs and recognize his/her unique talents and gifts, rather than hyper-focus on “fixing” him/her. She is the author of three books on autism, “Behavioral Solutions for the Inclusive Classroom,” “Behavioral Solutions in and Beyond the Inclusive Classroom,” and “Behavioral Solutions for the Home and Community.” Her books will also be available for sale at the workshop. 

Aune will also participate in breakout sessions sharing information on “Creating an Optimal Learning Environment for Students to Support Behavioral and Sensory Challenges,” “Behavioral and Sensory Challenges — Practical Solutions and Strategies for Educators,” and “Behavioral and Sensory Challenges — Practical Solutions and Strategies for Parents and Caregivers.”  

Additional speakers leading breakout sessions include:

• Lindy McDaniel, MSEd. from Hays, a consultant and coach for special education teachers who serve children with multiple challenges. Her student-first approach has transformed her local special education cooperative to receive state and national recognition. She will present breakout sessions, “All Behavior is Communications” and “Increasing Social Interest and Engagement to Increase Child Success.”

• Jenni Halstead from Riley is a certified Rhythmic Movement Consultant and course instructor who has worked in occupational therapy for 21 years. She specializes in reflex integration from pediatric to geriatric clients. Her sessions will be “Primitive Reflexes and Rhythmic Movement” and “Using Movement to Integrate Commonly Retained Reflexes in ASD.”

• Dr. Linda Heitzman-Powell is a research assistant professor at KU and director of community research. She has developed a new method for treating hundreds of families affected by autism with the help of a webcam. She brings specialized treatments and new technologies right into the patient’s home. She feels this method is particularly helpful to the children because it provides them with structure and social skills. Parents say it helps them because it provides easy access to KU’s services.

The workshop will also have a panel of parents and individuals who will share their stories and knowledge of autism.

Vendors at the workshop include Jenna Andrews from Great Bend, who will offer educational and developmental merchandise called Discovery Toys; and Lacey Bonine from Great Bend, selling Usborne books. These books include fun and education materials for all ages. Deb Ostdiek from Nebraska will be selling her sand timers which help make the abstract concept of time a very literal and visual process. Westside Market (Sunflower Diversified Services Inc.) will have client-made items available for purchase.

For more information about the workshop contact Ros Neeland at 620-786-0243 or email For registration questions contact Betty Schneider at 785-342-5112 or email