Growing Minds Program
in Zwolle, Netherlands 2016

May 14-17, 2016
Zwolle, Netherlands

Training and Support for Parents and Professionals Helping Children with Autism-Spectrum Disorders

Do you want more for your child with autism? We can help.

  • Increase motivation and cooperation
  • Improve language and social interaction
  • Achieve important social, educational and behavioral goals

Utrecht This is a program designed to support the parents, teachers and caregivers of children who have Autism, Pervasive Developmental Delay, Asperger’s Syndrome and related conditions. This training provides skills to increase your child’s motivation and cooperation, to improve his or her communication and social self-help, to assess progress, to set appropriate goals and to incorporate effective methods to achieve those goals.

The program is presented by Steven and Kaitryn Wertz, Directors of the Growing Minds Autism Program. Established in 1998 in Florida, US, and serving parents and children from all over the world, the Growing Minds Program combines a loving, socially-focused approach with powerful methods that have been thoroughly researched. Central to the Growing Minds approach is the understanding that every person on the autism spectrum can develop communication, deepen social interaction and maximize their fullest potential. Each individual with autism has a unique set of strengths and weaknesses which must be assessed in order to create an individual program to meet his or her needs.

Participants in this program will receive the services of one of the most experienced consultants in the field of autism. Growing Minds Founder Steven Wertz has 30 years experience working individually with over one thousand individuals across the range of the autism spectrum. Steven is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst as well as having achieved certification in the Son-Rise program. Licensed Counselor Kaitryn Wertz has 30 years experience supporting parents and caregivers affected by their children’s autism.

You will gain skills to help your child:

  • Improve social, intellectual and self-help skills. 
  • Increase both expressive and receptive communication
  • Reduce problem behavior
  • Increase social interest, understanding, participation and enjoyment
  • Develop practical skills and activities that foster greater independence.

How Can Parents Benefit?

    Netherlands Denmark Autism Program photo
  • If your child has recently been diagnosed with autism or you have recently become interested in working with him or her at home, this program provides the practical tools to begin a fun and effective full or part-time home program.
  • If progress with autism has slowed: The Growing Minds team is expert at breathing new life into programs that have lost focus or momentum. If your child’s progress slowed after initial success with another program (such as Son-Rise, ABA, VB, Floortime, RDI) this program can help.
  • If you have had very good success with a CSL program and are now ready to add more structured teaching and curriculum for your child.
  • If you are already working with your child a in contact-based program (such as CSL, Son-Rise or Floortime), and are seeking new direction, more rapid progress or help to transition to school, this program can provide the tools to help your child take the next step.
  • If you are using Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA, Lovaas and Verbal Behavior), this program can improve your skills to build greater rapport with your child and help him or her increase assertiveness, initiate communication and enjoy social interaction and customize the program to your child’s unique needs and interests.
  • If your child has an unclear diagnosis or unusual symptoms, we can help you develop a strength-based approach to improve your child’s skills.
  • Parents using biomedical or sensory approaches will learn to support your child’s physiological changes with improved social and intellectual stimulation.

Professionals working in the care and education of people with an autism spectrum disorder will learn methods of customizing learning, improving communication and skills and effectively responding to challenging behavior for the individuals you serve.

Topics Include:

Attitudinal training
The attitude of parents and caregivers is instrumental in creating positive change in children. This segment explores how attitudes, thoughts and feelings may influence your ability to help your child, and how to harness the power of a positive attitude to encourage your child’s motivation and communication.

Improving communication and connection/rapport
We’ll provide specific techniques to help you increase your child’s attentiveness and rapport. In addition, you’ll learn methods to encourage your child to initiate communication and to strengthen your child’s motivation and ability to interact with you. These are practical techniques that you can immediately put into practice with your child.

Handling challenging behavior
Strategies and attitudes that will help you to minimize your child’s challenging behaviors and to make it less likely that problem behavior will emerge in the future.

Assessing your child
Effective assessment is essential to helping your child make progress. The session will focus on identifying your child’s unique strengths and weaknesses and setting appropriate goals.

Teaching methods
This program will introduce you to the most powerful teaching methods available today for individuals with autism , along with tips on customizing these methods to fit your child’s unique needs.

Creating custom learning experiences
Training to design playful and challenging experiences that will help you and your child to accomplish your objectives. Includes instruction on how to match your goals to your child’s interests.

Structuring your program
Suggestions on a variety of practical topics, such as: how many hours to run your program, what types of activities to use, how to sequence activities, how to vary your child’s day and how to adapt your program to meet your family’s needs.

Helping children with motor difficulties (dyspraxia)
Many children with autism have obvious or hidden motor difficulties. These children progress more rapidly with strategies that are adapted to their specific needs. This segment provides information and discussion on identifying motor difficulties and designing appropriate strategies.

Taking care of yourself while you help your child
Caring for a child with autism can be challenging and demanding. This segment includes ways to remain inspired, optimistic, motivated and balanced.

Question and answer sessions
Time for questions about your specific circumstances and concerns. 

Special Features of This Program

  • Growing Minds is a comprehensive program, which balances your child’s need for social development with his or her need to acquire skills and to grow intellectually. You do not need to compromise one area for another.
  • All methods are research-based and meet the latest professional standards and sector-specific quality standards for individuals with autism.
  • You’ll have opportunities to network with and learn from other parents and professionals using a similar approach.
  • We are specialists in making learning fun. We use humor, interaction, experiential learning, creativity, audio-visual presentations and real life examples to provide a relaxing, energizing and enjoyable learning environment.
  • The Growing Minds team works carefully with our local sponsors to make these programs as affordable as possible, in an effort to provide participants with an exceptional educational experience at a reasonable cost.
  • In the Netherlands, we work with our sponsors, Growing Minds Support Services. This is a local Dutch team that has trained in our approach for many years. Participants in this program can continue to ongoing receive local support to sustain a more successful program

Please note that this is a training seminar designed for adult participants (parents, relatives, professionals, support workers) attending without children.

Translation

The training will be conducted in English. From previous years, we found that the English presentation was well understood by Dutch participants. If necessary and with advanced notice, we will arrange (non-professional) translation. Translation into French (or other languages) is not arranged, but you can bring in your own translator.

Program Venue

The enrollment for this program is smaller than expected. There are two consequences of this. One, is that each participant will receive more individualized attention, and more opportunities to directly apply the material to their particular circumstances. The other consequence is that we found it necessary to change the venue. Although we have been referring to this program as being near Utrecht, it will in fact be in Zwolle. The program will be held at:

IJsseldelta center, Stadionplein 20, 8025CP Zwolle http://www.ijsseldeltacenter.nl  This is a very nice venue for the program. It is near A28, and a very short cab ride from the train station in Zwolle. For more details and directions, please click on the link to the website.

Adjoining the venue for the program is a nice hotel -- The Lumen Hotel Zwolle, http://www.hotellumen.nl

Should you decide to stay at that hotel during the program, there is e reduced rate for the participants in the Growing Minds Program. When you make reservations, please state very clearly that you will be attending the Growing Minds Program.

Together, the IJsseldelta Center and Lumen Hotel make a very comfortable, attractive and convenient setting for this program.

Program Fees

Parents: 650 € for the first family member; 500 € for each additional family or team member.
Autism Professionals: 600€. 100 € deposit is due with your registration.

Take Advantage of Our Early Bird Discount!
€600 for the first family member and €450 for each additional family or team member. To qualify, you must register and pay the full amount before February 1, 2016.

To inquire about this program or to register, please contact our Dutch sponsors:

Growing Minds Support Services, NL
Email:   centraal@growingmindssupport.nl
Website:  http://www.growingmindssupport.nl/
Co-Sponsored by the Horison Foundation