Helen A. Kellar Institute for Human disAbility - George Mason University
About Us

The Kellar Institute for Human DisAbilities (KIHd) is an interdisciplinary campus-based organization focusing on improving the lives and productivity of children and adults with disabilities. KIHd combines the resources of the university with local, state, regional, national, public, and private sector agencies and organizations to develop products, services, and programs for persons with disabilities.


2013 ABA professional development series: Everyday Challenges in Autism

October 8, 2013

This workshop will outline how to minimize the effects of autism by zeroing in on the core deficits that define the diagnosis: functional communication, social skills, and cooperation.

Workshop Title: Overcoming the Everyday Challenges in Autism
Presenter: Thomas M. Caffrey

December 13-14, 2013 | 9:00 am to 4:00 pm
Johnson Center Cinema
George Mason University - Fairfax Campus


With millions of children already diagosed with autism, and tens of thousands being diagnosed every year, parents and teachers need real help……and they need it NOW! Addressing the varied needs of a child with autism can be overwhelming for parents and teachers, often leaving them with more questions than answers: Which skills do I teach? When do I teach them? How do I teach them?

This two day workshop will outline how to minimize the effects of autism by zeroing in on the core deficits that define the diagnosis:functional communication, social skills, and cooperation. The presenter will demonstrate how the basic behavioral principles can be applied effectively across settings and people to improve quality of life for children with developmental disabilities and their caregivers. Specifically, participants will learn about practical strategies that can help them to:

  • Engage a child that shows little or no interest in interating with others
  • Expand a child’s interests and activites
  • Decide if a child should be considered a “vocal” or “non-vocal” learner
  • Teach functional communication skills to vocal and non-vocal children
  • Engage children in meaningful social situations with their peers
  • Teach a child to cooperate with routine demands
  • Establish instrucitonal control so a child can learn at a rate commensurate with their ability
  • Put it all together by developing practical schedules and routines that target important deficits


Thomas M. Caffrey is the parent of a child with autism who brings personal passion to his work. His mission is to provide targeted and sustained training to teachers and other professionals who work with children who have autism in public school settings. Tom received a Bachelor in Education from Arizona State University and a Master in Education from Georgian Court University. In addition, he earned a post-graduate certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis from Penn State University. Tom is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Tom is an internationally recognized speaker, having presented over 300 conferences and workshops on Applied Behavior Analysis and Autism.

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