Speakers and Sessions


Children and teens today are spending more time texting, playing video games, and using social media than ever before. A 2018 Pew Research Center study reported that 95% of teens have access to a smartphone, with 45% of teens saying they are online almost constantly. Psychologists are finding that smartphone use is correlated to higher levels of anxiety, depression, and loss of social skills in children and teens. However, the loss of social skills and interactions are not conducive for academic achievement. Researchers in the cognitive and social sciences have found that the brain is wired for learning through physical social interactions and collaboration and that there is a correlation between a child’s academic performance and their social skills and behavior. Join us in New York this May and explore how our brains are wired for relationships and social connections and how the loss of social skills may be affecting achievement. Learn how you can help all students, including those with autism, navigate the social world and “fit in” today’s socially disconnected world. Discover strategies to help children and teens develop social skills and friendships and increase their academic achievement through social learning, positive social interactions, and healthy teacher-student relationships.

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Featured Speakers

Temple Grandin, PhD

Autism Rights Advocate; Professor, College of Agricultural Sciences, Colorado State University; Member, American Academy of Arts and Sciences; Author, Calling All Minds: How To Think and Create Like an Inventor (2018) and Thinking in Pictures: My Life With Autism (Expanded Edition, 2006); Co-Author, Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships: Decoding Social Mysteries Through the Unique Perspectives of Autism (2017) and The Autistic Brain: Helping Different Kinds of Minds Succeed (2014)

Adam Alter, PhD

Associate Professor of Psychology and Marketing, Stern School of Business, New York University; Author, Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked (2018) and Drunk Tank Pink: And Other Unexpected Forces That Shape How We Think, Feel, and Behave (2014)

Michelle Garcia Winner, MA, CCC-SLP

Founder and CEO, Social Thinking; Author, Social Media, the Social Mind, and Social Thinking (2013, socialthinking.com) and Think Social (2006); Co-Author, Good Intentions Are Not Good Enough (2016), Socially Curious and Curiously Social: A Social Thinking Guidebook for Bright Teens and Young Adults (2011), and “Measuring the Effectiveness of Teaching Social Thinking to Children With Asperger Syndrome (AS) and High Functioning Autism (HFA)” (2008, Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders)

Ty Tashiro, PhD

Author and Consultant; Former Award-Winning Professor, University of Maryland and University of Colorado; Author, Awkward: The Science of Why We’re Socially Awkward and Why That’s Awesome (2018) and The Science of Happily Ever After: What Really Matters in the Quest for Enduring Love (2014)

Laurie R. Santos, PhD

Director, Comparative Cognition Laboratory; Director, Canine and Primate Laboratory (aka CapLab), which explores the evolutionary origins of the human mind by comparing the cognitive abilities of humans and non-human animals, including primates and canines; Director of Psychology; Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science, Yale University; Head of Silliman College; Her course titled "Psychology and the Good Life" became the most popular course in Yale's history in 2018, Co-Author, "Developmental Shifts in Social Cognition: Socio-Emotional Across the Life Span in Rhesus Monkeys" (2018, Behavioral Ecology), "The Evolutionary Roots of Human Decision-Making" (2015, Annual Review of Psychology), "Comparative Developmental Psychology: How is Human Cognitive Development Unique?" (2014, Evolutionary Psychology) and “Sociobiology Young Children Are More Generous When Others Are Aware of Their Actions” (2013, PloS ONE)

Mark T. Greenberg, PhD

Founding Director; Bennett Chair and Professor of Prevention Research in Human Development and Family Studies; Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center, College of Health and Human Development, The Pennsylvania State University; Co-Author, Social and Emotional Skills Training for Children: The Fast Track Friendship Group Manual (2017), "Impacts of the CARE for Teachers Program on Teachers’ Social and Emotional Competence and Classroom Interactions" (2017, Journal of Educational Psychology), and "Thriving in School: The Role of Sixth Grade Adolescent-Parent-School Relationships in Predicting Eighth Grade Academic Outcomes" (2016, Youth & Society)

Barry M. Prizant, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Adjunct Professor, Artists and Scientists as Partners, Department of Theatre Arts and Performance Studies, Brown University; Director, Childhood Communication Services; Author, Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism (2016); Co-Author, The Scerts Model: A Comprehensive Educational Approach for Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders (2005)