Doctoral students Jessica Hai and Samantha Poyser lead the next Autism Seminar and Discussion Series on March 10

Tuesday, March 3, 2020
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The Autism Seminar & Discussion (ASD) series – sponsored by UC Santa Barbara’s Koegel Autism Center and the Santa Barbara Public Library – will present its next session on Tuesday, March 10, 6 – 7:30 pm in the Santa Barbara Public Library’s Faulkner Gallery, and features both a panel discussion and Q&A.

Jessica Hai and Samantha Poyser, doctoral students in UCSB’s Department of Education (Special Education, Disabilities, and Risk Studies research area), will lead the session “Navigating the IEP Process: Guidance from Parents, An IEP Advocate, and a Special Education Teacher.”

There are many steps to navigate when preparing for an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) meeting. This panel discussion will focus on parent experiences of planning for and participating in their child’s IEP meeting. Parents will provide their own perspectives along with advice they have learned along the way. Also on the panel will be an IEP Advocate and a Special Education Teacher who will share their experience and knowledge. Koegel Autism Center presenters will provide information and resources regarding the IEP process.

The Koegel Autism Research and Training Center is dedicated to improving the lives and prognoses of children with autism, as well as the lives of their families. It has been recognized by the National Academy of Sciences for its innovative research and teaching methods in a variety of areas, including parent education, language development, and teacher education. It offers a state-of-the-art behavioral approach to autistic children. The Koegel Autism Center is part of The Gevirtz School at UC Santa Barbara.

The monthly Autism Seminar & Discussion (ASD) Program is made possible through collaboration between UCSB’s Koegel Autism Center and the Santa Barbara Library to bring highly engaging and informative content to the local community. It takes place the first Tuesday of each month during the academic school year. The Santa Barbara Public Library is at 40 E. Anapamu Street, Santa Barbara.

Jessica Hai is a doctoral student in the Special Education, Disability and Risk Studies research emphasis. With the guidance of her advisor, Dr. Mian Wang she has been able to explore the special education community with a cultural lens. Her research interests include the cultural implications of Autism Spectrum Disorder and improving cultural competence in service providers and intervention services, particularly in the area of parent education and treatment acceptability. Her long-term goal is to provide more awareness to families of cultural backgrounds who are stigmatized to seek assistance or do not have access to those resources. She is a clinician providing behavioral interventions and Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT) to individuals on the spectrum at the Koegel Autism Center.

Samantha Poyser is a fourth-year student with an emphasis in Special Education, Disabilities, and Risk Studies working with her advisor Dr. Ty Vernon. After receiving her B.A. in Psychology and Anthropology from UCSB in 2015, she worked as a Program Coordinator for the Boys & Girls Club before returning to UCSB for her doctorate. She is a clinician at the Koegel Autism Center, where she provides evidence-based treatments to children and adults on the Autism Spectrum. Her research interests include academic motivation for children with disabilities, as well as collaborating with stakeholders in education to create more inclusive educational and community settings for students with disabilities.

[Jessica Hai and Samantha Poyser are available for interviews; contact George Yatchisin at 805 893 5789]