NestCon 2018

The Conference for Autism and Inclusive Education

January 18 & 19, 2018

New York City

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Serving over 1,000 students with autism
and 3,000 general education peers
in 260 inclusion classrooms in NYC
across 40 NYC schools–and growing–


The ASD Nest Model is recognized internationally as one of the top inclusion programs for students with autism spectrum disorders. Join us as we hear from the experts in the field who helped us shape our program.

If you are...

a teacher or administrator looking to create inclusive environments in your school or district

a clinician or therapist looking to learn innovative ways to work with your students

a parent or family member looking for best practices
to support your child

an autism professional or advocate looking to connect with experts in the field

you belong at NestCon 2018!


Join us for a two-days exploration of best practices in autism and inclusion. Learn more about NYU Steinhardt's ASD Nest Program and hear from international experts in the autism field who have greatly influenced the supports and strategies used in Nest. Bridging research and practice, we will explore how to better understand and support students on the autism spectrum.


Learn from International Experts

We are honored to welcome our 2018 NestCon presenters


Catherine Lord


Presenting "State of the Science: Perspectives from scientists and self-advocates"

Catherine Lord, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist with specialties in diagnosis, social and communication development and intervention in autism spectrum disorders (ASD). She is renowned for her work in longitudinal studies of children with autism as well as for her role in developing the autism diagnostic instruments used in both practice and in research worldwide today. She has also been involved in the development of standardized diagnostic instruments for ASD with colleagues from the United Kingdom and the United States (the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule (ADOS) an observational scale; and the Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised (ADI-R) a parent interview), now considered the gold standard for research diagnoses all over the world.

Dr. Lord completed degrees in psychology at UCLA and Harvard, and a clinical internship at Division TEACCH at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Dr. Lord’s work at the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain involves continued research in validity and longitudinal studies, early diagnosis of children with autism, and regression in children with autism and clinical evaluations and diagnoses of children and adults who may have autism.

Paula KLuth

Presenting "You're Gonna Love This Kid! Educating Students with Autism In Inclusive Schools"

Dr. Paula Kluth is a consultant, teacher, author, advocate, and independent scholar who works with teachers and families to provide inclusive opportunities for students with disabilities, and to create more responsive and engaging schooling experiences for all learners. Paula is a former special educator who has served as a classroom teacher and inclusion facilitator. Her professional interests include differentiating instruction, active learning, and inclusive schooling.

She is the author of numerous books and products including Universal Design Daily, 30 Days to the Co-taught ClassroomDon’t We Already Do Inclusion?From Text Maps to Memory Caps100 More Ways to Differentiate Instruction in K-12 Inclusive Classrooms, and You’re Going to Love This Kid!.  Paula is also the director of a documentary film titled We Thought You’d Never Ask: Voices of People with Autism.

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Stephen Shore

Presenting "The Power of Strengths & Interests"

Diagnosed with "Atypical Development and strong autistic tendencies" and "too sick" for outpatient treatment Dr. Shore was recommended for institutionalization. Nonverbal until four, and with much support from his parents, teachers, wife, and others, Stephen is now a professor at Adelphi University where his research focuses on matching best practice to the needs of people with autism.

In addition to working with children and talking about life on the autism spectrum, Stephen is internationally renowned for presentations, consultations and writings on lifespan issues pertinent to education, relationships, employment, advocacy, and disclosure. His most recent book College for Students with Disabilities combines personal stories and research for promoting success in higher education.

A current board member of Autism Speaks, president emeritus of the Asperger's Association of New England, and advisory board member of the Autism Society, Dr. Shore serves on the boards of the Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism Association, The US Autism and Asperger Association, the Scientific Counsel of OAR, and other autism related organizations.

Brenda Myles

Presenting "Hidden Curriculum: Practical Solutions for Understanding Rules in Social Situations"

Brenda Myles Ph.D., is president of AAPC Publishing – a small niche company that publishes books on autism spectrum disorder. Formerly, a consultant with the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI) and the Ziggurat Group as well as a professor in the Department of Special Education at the University of Kansas, is the recipient of the Autism Society of America’s Outstanding Professional Award, the Princeton Fellowship Award, The Global and Regional Asperger Syndrome (GRASP) Divine Neurotypical Award, American Academy of Pediatrics Autism Champion, and two-time recipient of the Council for Exceptional Children, Division on Developmental Disabilities Burton Blatt Humanitarian Award. She served as the editor of Intervention in School and Clinic, the third largest journal in special education and has been a member of the editorial board of several journals, including Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, Remedial and Special Education, and Autism: The International Journal of Research.

Brenda has made over 1000 presentations all over the world and written more than 250 articles and books on ASD. In addition, she served as the co-chair of the National ASD Teacher Standards Committee; was on the National Institute of Mental Health’s Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee’s Strategic Planning Consortium; and collaborated with the National Professional Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders, National Autism Center, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services who identified evidenced based practices for individuals with autism spectrum disorders and served as Project Director for the Texas Autism Resource Guide for Teachers (TARGET). Myles is also on the executive boards of several organizations, including the Scientific Council of the Organization for Autism Research, (SCORE), College Internship Program, and ASTEP – Asperger Syndrome Training and Education Program. Further, in the latest survey conducted by the University of Texas, she was acknowledged as the second most productive applied researcher in ASD in the world.

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Peter Vermeulen

Presenting "Autism as context blindness. Absolute thinking in a relative world"

Dr. Peter Vermeulen trained as a counsellor and educationalist and has worked for more than 25 years with children and adults on the autism spectrum. He worked for the Flemish Autism Society and was for several years the director of the autism home training services in Flanders. Currently he is a senior lecturer and consultant and Autisme Centraal, a training center in Gent, Belgium. He is editor of Autsime Centraal's bimonthly magazine, and a member of the editorial board of the Flemish-Dutch Journal of Special Education, Child Psychiatry, and Clinical Psychology. Peter has published more than 15 books and several articles on autism, including "This is the title: on autistic thinking” (2001), “I am Special: handbook for psycho-education” (2000, revised edition 2013), and “Autism as context blindness” (2012), a book than won several awards in the USA.

Aarhus, Denmark Team

The ASD Nest program in Aarhus, Denmark

The ASD Nest Support Project is thrilled to be collaborating with the school system in Aarhus, Denmark, which opened its first two "Grade 0" ASD Nest classes in their school, Katrinebjergskolen. This is the first ASD Nest model outside of New York City.  Learn more about the process of opening our first international Nest site which will be expanded across Denmark!

The Where and When


Dates & Times

Thursday, January 18 & Friday, January 19, 2018

9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Lunch is included on both days


New York University
Kimmel Center for University Life
60 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10003


Want to see the ASD Nest program in action?

For school administrators and district-level representatives attending NestCon: we will be hosting private tours of select ASD Nest schools on Wednesday, January 17. 

We'll be contacting registrants with further details in late fall. 

The Day-by-Day


Thursday, January 18

8:30 AM

Registration & Breakfast


9:00 AM

Welcome & Introductions


10:00 AM

Keynote from Cathy Lord
State of the Science: Perspectives from scientists and self-advocates

Autism research, especially in the United States, has focused mainly on the biology of ASD, but there are limits to what we learn from genetic models and imaging, especially in terms of how to best understand and support the diverse population of individuals with ASD. We need to consider how we, as educators, need to shift our thinking about "outcomes," and how we need to listen to both our students and autistic self-advocates to learn what is needed, what is helpful, what is still lacking, and what we should do.


10:45 AM

> Break <


11:00 AM

Stephen Shore
The Power of Strengths and Interests
Students' strengths and interests are integral to the school experience. Stephen charges educators with the task of finding creative ways to recognize and incorporate student passions. In this session, Stephen will discuss the changing paradigm of a strengths-based approach, highlighting the importance of strengths for student engagement, motivation, peer relationships, and happiness!


12:30 PM

> Lunch <


1:30 PM

Paula Kluth
You're Gonna Love This Kid! Educating Students with Autism In Inclusive Schools
In this interactive session, participants will learn practical ways of supporting students with autism spectrum labels & other disabilities within a general education classroom. Topics addressed include defining (and redefining) autism, listening to the voices of those with autism, differentiating instruction, creating more active and responsive lessons, making the classroom comfortable, and providing opportunities for communication and social skill development. The session will focus on the importance of pushing beyond access and participation and asking schools to challenge students and to understand each learner as complex and capable.


3:00 PM

> Break <


3:15 - 4:00 PM

The ASD Nest Support Team:
Nest in a Nutshell
Learn more about the ASD Nest program in NYC–its philosophical foundations, the system-wide structures that make the model possible, the network of collaborators across disciplines, and the strategic supports that are in place across the elementary, middle, and high school classrooms in the Nest schools.


friday, January 19


8:30 AM

Registration & Breakfast


9:00 AM 

Welcome & raffle!


9:15 AM

Peter Vermeulen
Autism as context blindness: Absolute thinking in a relative world
Anyone wanting to support people with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) needs to understand how people on the spectrum perceive and understand the world. Anyone who wants to empathize with people with autism, should learn to see the world ‘through autistic glasses’. In this presentation, we will present a framework that helps us to gain a deeper understanding of the typical information processing style in ASD, which we have named context blindness. The concept of context blindness unifies the existing cognitive models in autism (theory of mind/extreme male brain, executive functioning, and central coherence) and it is embedded within the new findings in brain science about the predictive mind: the brain is not computing, but guessing and it makes it’s guesses based on contextual sensitivity. But most of all, the concept of context blindness offers a unique and practical understanding of autism. Difficulties understanding and using context can explain why communication, social interaction and (unpredictable) changes are so challenging for people with autism. We will explain the concept of context blindness in interaction with the audience and with concrete examples and anecdotes. And we will explain how a good understanding of the autistic mind is the cornerstone of autism friendliness and the first step in striving for Quality of Life and happiness for people with autism.


10:45 AM

> Break <


11:00 AM

Brenda Myles
Hidden Curriculum: Practical Solutions for Understanding Rules in Social Situations
The Hidden Curriculum refers to the set of rules or guidelines that are often not directly taught but are assumed to be known. This curriculum contains items that impact social interactions, school performance, and sometimes health and well-being. The curriculum also includes unspoken rules, slang, metaphors, body language, etc. While this information may be intuitive for neurotypical individuals, it is not for those with autism or other special needs. This session includes practical tips for teaching these hidden social needs to children and to adults and stresses the importance of making these a part of everyday life.


12:30 PM

> Lunch <


1:30 PM

Policy & Practice Breakout Sessions: "So, how do we do this?"
Policy Session:
Tailored towards district/state-level administrators and advocates, this session will explore ways to build in more system-wide inclusion across schools and districts.

Practice Session:
This session is tailored towards educators, therapists, family members, and advocates looking for practical strategies to support their students with ASD in school.


3:15 PM

Lessons from Denmark: ASD Nest Team in Aarhus


3:45 PM

Closing remarks


Register Now!




Parent or self-advocate? Contact us for a discount code.

Please note that we will be offering CTLE hours and social work CEUs for both days.

REFUND POLICY: Full refunds will be given up to December 1, 2017. After that date, no full or partial refunds will be granted.


About The ASD Nest Support Project


NYU Steinhardt's School of Culture, Education, and Human Development
Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools


The ASD Nest Support Project at NYU helps community schools implement the ASD Nest Model and build the capacity to support students with ASD in community schools through training, professional development, and on-site consultation for teachers, therapists, and administrators. In 2003, NYU helped the New York City Department of Education implement the model in one school in Brooklyn, NY, and by 2017 the ASD Nest Support Project had expanded to support over 1,200 K-12 children with ASD in 43 schools across New York City.  Last year, the ASD Nest Support Project expanded its operations beyond New York City to Aarhus, Denmark’s second largest city, and Nest will soon expand to other Danish schools and districts. This year, with the encouragement of the New York State Department of Education, Nest is increasing its capacity to serve other school districts in New York State and beyond.

For more information about the the ASD Nest Support Project, visit our website, and to bring the ASD Nest Program to your school, district, or state, contact us.


The ASD Nest Support Project is grateful for the continued support of the New York City Department of Education, NYU Steinhardt's School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, and the Metropolitan Center for Research on Equity and the Transformation of Schools.