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PEPSA: Summer Institute - It’s About Time!

August 7, 2023

9am - 3pm


Evidence-Based Practices in Supporting Social Skills and Friendship Initiation and Support for Pre-K and Elementary-Age Children with Autism

Presented by: Alanna Apap, M.Ed., BCBA

Alanna Apap, M.Ed., BCBA leads this full day workshop culminating with participants developing a custom plan using evidence-based practices, to increase social interaction and initiations among pre-k and elementary autistic children. The time has come for a paradigm shift; from focusing and placing demands on autistic children to educating and training those that surround autistic children to provide support in an accepting environment. Participants will develop a plan where they find the time (planning), and use the time to the best advantage. By using peer-mediated instruction and intervention(PMII) social interaction opportunities increase, as well as positive social interactions for neurodiverse and neurotypical learners. It’s about time we help non-autistic peers to see autistic peers as whole and having challenges rather than deficits. The presenter also proposes, it’s about time to redefine the natural setting in schools from a neurotypical design to an autism-friendly environment reducing stress enough to promote social interactions. The presenter shares a fun token economy that motivates children who are not motivated by playing or interacting with peers. By combining these evidence based procedures we develop new attitudes and connections and it’s about time! Lastly Ms. Apap will introduce her Peer P.A.L.S.® Online Program.


1. Participants will understand the importance of teaching social skills instruction and developing support for friendship initiation for pre-k and elementary-age children with autism.

2. Participants will identify the components needed to create classroom friendship initiation supports for children with autism.

3. Participants will be able to identify the components of the Peer P.A.L.S.® Program.

About the Presenter

Alanna Apap, M.Ed., BCBA (Board-Certified Behavior Analyst) and the creator of the Peer P.A.L.S.®, a Peer Mediated Intervention (PMI ) and evidence-based social integration program that provides training, lessons, and materials to educate and successfully connect peer pals with autistic children. Alanna has over 30 years working as a Board-Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) in early intervention, education, and behavior analysis. She has consulted with public and private schools, group homes, community facilities, and in individual homes. Ms. Apap’s work with multidisciplinary school-based teams was published in the Autism File Issue 31, 2009, and in several publications, including The School Discipline Advisor and Inclusive Education Programs. The Peer P.A.L.S.® Program was presented nationally at the Autism One Conference in 2009. In 2010, the research, outcomes, and replication model of the Peer P.A.L.S.® Program was published in The Autism File US Issue 36, 2010. Ms. Apap is currently seeking publication of the latest research for peer review publication. She is excited to share her program with educators and announce the program online delivery, making it time efficient and available for everyone.


(561) 213-5751


The Hope Center for Autism, 2580 Southeast Willoughby Boulevard, Stuart, FL 34994, USA

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