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Families, Educators Coming Together, Bonded By Autism

By Arezow Doost, CBS 11 News
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A 4-year-old autistic boy undergoing intensive therapy. (credit: Getty Images/David Silverman/Newsmakers)

A 4-year-old autistic boy undergoing intensive therapy. (credit: Getty Images/David Silverman/Newsmakers)

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HURST (CBSDFW.COM) – Hundreds of parents and teachers packed the Hurst Conference Center Wednesday with one thing in common: Autism.

Families for Effective Autism Treatment North Texas is behind the “Teaching Does Make a Difference” conference.  The non-profit started with monthly meetings more than a decade ago and now it is putting on conferences to help other parents with their autism journey.

A handful of rooms at the conference center were packed with specialist from across the country hoping to shed some light on what’s worked for them.  “We are teaching educators and parents how they can teach kids to communicate,” says Nancy Champlin.

Champlin is a behavioral analyst and believes taking baby steps to help children with autism is key, “instead of saying give me a chocolate chip cookie I could get them to say the cha sound.”

“I’m just trying to find another avenue that we can go to that can really continue on the therapy,” said Angie Even from Burleson.

Even’s son Dylan, 7, has autism.  She came to the conference hoping to take something home to help him at home.  “It’s important for him that we get early intervention,” explains Even “I’m at a crossroads about where we need to take him next.”

Jennifer Hodge can relate.  She teaches kindergarten through 4th grade at Dodd Elementary School in Wylie. “I just came to get more ideas,” says Hodge.

This is the first year for the teacher who is hoping to take lessons she’s learned at the conference to her classroom.  “It reinforced some of the things I already knew to be doing there is more things i could be looking at it to see why kids are doing what they are doing,” says Hodge.

The conference goes on through Friday and costs $50 a day.  Same day registration is accepted.

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