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Autism in Real Life: Understanding and Supporting Individuals with Autism and Co-Occurring Disorders

April 24, 2021 @ 10:00 am - 12:00 pm PDT

Presented by Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) department at  TCSPP Southern-California (So-Cal) campus

About this Event

Autism in Real Life: Understanding and Supporting Individuals with Autism and Co-Occurring Disorders

Saturday, April 24, 2021

10:00AM-12:00AM PDT/ 12:00PM-2:00PM CST/1:00PM-3:00PM EST

Event held online via Zoom. Live attendance of this program is required.

This program, when attended in its entirety, offers 2.0 BCBA CEUs, 2.0 CEs for Psychologists (APA), and 2.0 BBS California CEUs for LPCCs, LPSW, and LMFTs

Workshop Description:

Prevalence rates of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) continue to rise, with 1 in 54 children diagnosed with ASD in 2020 (CDC, 2020). Concomitantly, individuals with autism are also more likely to have higher rates of co-occurring conditions (Rosen, Mazefsky, Vasa, & Lerner, 2018). Further evidence of adverse childhood experiences is evidenced by upwards of 72% of youth with ASD reported to have at least one co-occurring disorder (Simonoff et al., 2008). Anxiety disorders are among the most common and impairing psychiatric comorbidities seen in children and young people with ASD. Approximately 40% of youth with ASD meet criteria for one or more anxiety disorder, with 17-37% meeting criteria for OCD (Van Steensel et al., 2011). A major challenge for practitioners is determining whether observed symptoms are related to the core features of ASD or indicate the presence of OCD. OCD is often misdiagnosed, unrecognized, or ignored.

Similarly, research estimates anywhere from 19-36% of individuals with ASD may suffer from risky or problematic substance use (Arnevik & Helverschou, 2016; Hofvander et al. 2009; Sizoo et al. 2010). While current “gold-standard” treatment options for individuals with ASD and co-occurring disorders stress a need for individualized treatment modifications, emphasis on family support, and prolonged generalization training and transition services, little is often discussed around how clinicians can and should alter treatment provision. Further, mental health and developmental disability services are often siloed within the United States, and therefore clinicians do not have the tools to work collaboratively or on interdisciplinary teams specifically for individuals with ASD and co-occurring mental health disorders. Therefore, the current symposium will showcase two presentations. The first talk, presented by TCSPP SoCal ABA Alumni Dr. Evelyn Gould, will provide an overview on evidenced-based recommendations for the assessment and treatment of OCD from a behavior analytic perspective, in addition to strategies for fostering long-term resilience, courage and flexibility in children and young people. The second talk, presented by Dr. Alyssa Wilson, will showcase interdisciplinary evidenced-based assessment and treatment considerations for substance use disorders. Both presentations will highlight how clinicians across disciplines can work together to provide person-centered treatment approaches for individuals with ASD and co-occurring disorders.

Learning Objectives:

After attending this intermediate-level workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. Describe common barriers with respect to accessing effective treatment for autistic individuals presenting with OCD symptoms
  2. Explain why a functional approach to the assessment and treatment is critical
  3. Identify the key features of OCD and the behavioral processes involved in the development and maintenance of core symptoms
  4. Describe key considerations and adaptations that may be needed when individualizing treatment for autistic individuals with OCD and substance use disorders
  5. Identify key features of substance use, substance misuse, and dependency

Professional Bio of Presenter #1,Evelyn Gould, Ph.D., BCBA-D; McLean Hospital/Harvard Medical School

Evelyn Gould is a Clinical Behavior Analyst and Licensed Psychologist at New England Center for OCD and Anxiety (NECOA). She is also a Clinical Associate at the Child and Adolescent OCD Institute (OCDI-Jr) at McLean Hospital, and Research Associate in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. Evelyn has extensive experience working with families of children with autism, OCD, and other learning and behavior challenges across settings. Evelyn is also actively involved in research and has published articles and book chapters on parent training, clinical assessment and treatment design, and ACT (Acceptance and Commitment Therapy) for parents of children with ASD. She is passionate about the dissemination of evidence-based behavioral interventions, and passionate about promoting social justice and addressing issues of diversity and equity within Behavior Analysis. Evelyn is actively involved in a variety of Special Interest Groups and Task Forces within the ABAI and ACBS communities, and is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Contextual Behavioral Science

Professional Bio of Presenter #2, Alyssa N. Wilson, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA; The Chicago School of Professional Psychology 

Dr. Alyssa Wilson is Associate Professor and Department Chair of the Applied Behavior Analysis program at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology, Los Angeles campus. She received her Ph.D in Rehabilitation with emphasis in Behavior Analysis and Therapy from Southern Illinois University, Carbondale in 2012. She is a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral, and a Licensed Behavior Analyst in Missouri. She has worked with children and adolescents with socio-emotional dysregulation, behavioral addictions, and neurodevelopmental disorders for 15 years. During this time, she worked with neurodiverse children/adolescents across child and family services, schools, and residential facilities. Dr. Wilson has published peer reviewed articles on the assessment and treatment of socio-emotional and behavioral challenges across neurodiverse populations. Finally, she served on Missouri’s Regional Behavioral Support Team and was invited to participate in the state’s redevelopment of mental health services for neurodiverse residents.

Program Standards and Goals

This program meets APA’s continuing education Standard 1.1: Program content focuses on application of psychological assessment and/or intervention methods that have overall consistent and credible empirical support in the contemporary peer reviewed scientific literature beyond those publications and other types of communications devoted primarily to the promotion of the approach.

This program meets APA’s continuing education Goal 1: Program is relevant to psychological practice, education, and/or science.

Workshop Schedule (Shown in Pacific Standard Time):

10:00 am – Event Begins

12:00pm – Event Ends

Registration and Fees:

This program is free to attend


Arnevik, E. A., & Helverschou, S. B. (2016). Autism spectrum disorder and co-occurring substance use disorder–a systematic review. Substance abuse: research and treatment, 10, SART-S39921.

Constantino, J. N., Strom, S., Bunis, M., Nadler, C., Rodgers, T., LePage, J., … & Wilson, A. (2020). Toward Actionable Practice Parameters for “Dual Diagnosis”: Principles of Assessment and Management for Co-Occurring Psychiatric and Intellectual/Developmental Disability. Current Psychiatry Reports, 22(2), 9.

Rosen, T. E., Mazefsky, C. A., Vasa, R. A., & Lerner, M. D. (2018). Co-occurring psychiatric conditions in autism spectrum disorder. International Review of Psychiatry, 1-22. Doi: 10.1080/09540261.2018.1450229

Sizoo, B., van den Brink, W., Koeter, M., Gorissen van Eenige, M., van Wijngaarden-Cremers, P., & van der Gaag, R. J. (2010). Treatment seeking adults with autism or ADHD and co-morbid substance use disorder: Prevalence, risk factors and functional disability. Drug and Alcohol Dependence, 107(1), 44–50. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2009.09.003.


Target Audience: All mental health disciplines (i.e., psychologists, LCSWs, MFTs, LCPCs, BCBAs), graduate students, alumni

Psychologists. This program, when attended in its entirety, is available for 2.0 continuing education credits. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is committed to accessibility and non-discrimination in its continuing education activities. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is also committed to conducting all activities in conformity with the American Psychological Association’s Ethical Principles for Psychologists. Participants are asked to be aware of the need for privacy and confidentiality throughout the program. If program content becomes stressful, participants are encouraged to process these feelings during discussion periods. If participants have special needs, we will attempt to accommodate them. Please address questions, concerns and any complaints to Danielle Bohrer at 312-467-2364. There is no commercial support for this program nor are there any relationships between the CE Sponsor, presenting organization, presenter, program content, research, grants, or other funding that could reasonably be construed as conflicts of interest.

MFTs, LPCCs, and LCSWs. Course meets the qualifications for 2.0 hour of continuing education credit for MFTs, LPCCs, and/or LCSWs as required by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences. If you are licensed outside of California please check with your local licensing agency to to determine if they will accept these CEUs. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is approved by the California Board of Behavioral Sciences (BBS) to offer continuing education programming for MFTs, LPCCs, LEPs, and/or LCSWs. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is an accredited or approved postsecondary institution that meets the requirements set forth in Sections 4980.54(f)(1), 4989.34, 4996.22(d)(1), or 4999.76(d) of the Code.

Participation Certificate. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is able to provide students and other participants who simply wish to have documentation of their attendance at the program a participation certificate.

Non Psychologists. Most licensing boards accept Continuing Education Credits sponsored by the American Psychological Association but non-psychologists are recommended to consult with their specific state-licensing board to ensure that APA-sponsored CE is acceptable.

*Participants must attend 100% of the program in order to obtain a Certificate of Attendance.

The Chicago School of Professional Psychology is approved by the American Psychological Association to sponsor continuing education for psychologists. The Chicago School of Professional Psychology maintains responsibility for this program and its content.


April 24, 2021
10:00 am - 12:00 pm PDT
Event Category:
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ABA So-Cal