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Jul 27, 2011 6:17 PM by Drew Trafton

Autism conference puts focus on technology

BILLINGS- An autism conference being held in Billings is focusing on how those with autism can use technology to better their lives.

The 8th Annual At- Risk Conference: Technology in Action is happening on Wednesday and Thursday at Montana State University-Billings College of Education.

MSU-B downtown campus program director Kim Schweikert says the conference is geared toward parents and teachers.

Doctors and other experts run the individual sessions which Schweikert says allows for very productive dialogue.

Wednesday's sessions focused largely on how children with autism can get the most use out of the i-Pad.

"Kids with autism react differently with inanimate objects, and they sometimes won't read to a person but they'll read to an i-Pad, and a cat will respond, or a cat will repeat what they say," said Schweikert. "So, they seem to be pretty effective tools."

The conference also provides hands-on training with different forms of technology.

The conference is sponsored by MSU Billings Downtown and the MSU Billings College of Education.

At the conference, organizers will be giving away one free iPad and door prizes will also include $400 worth of iTunes Gift cards, which were donated by various sponsors.

The keynote speech at the conference will be delivered by Dr. Patricia Wright.

Wright is the national director for Autism Services for Easter Seals.

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