Empowering Educators in Moscow, Russia

Understanding ways to support students with autism and other learning differences has been a long-standing passion for Wasatch Academy’s behavior analyst Joe Dixon. So when Dixon was invited to speak at The International Scientific and Practical Conference “Autism: Strategies for Teaching and Education” in Moscow, Russia, he excitedly jumped on the opportunity to share his knowledge on strategies to improve behavior without labor-intensive interventions.

On September 20, Dixon presented ways educators can better integrate students into the class and armed them with useful approaches to best support them in the classroom. “My hope is that if teachers have an understanding of different techniques to teach more effectively and how to manage behaviors effectively and efficiently, then students will have greater access to education and social opportunities,” stated Dixon.

Dixon has worked with people with autism since 2008. During his career, he has worked with various age groups, including children in early intervention programs, with adolescents living with family or in foster homes, and with adults in programs of accompanied residence and employment. During his career, he has had the opportunity to master various teaching techniques, such as learning by individual blocks, learning basic reactions, conditional discrimination, verbal behavior, and learning in the natural environment.

Dixon has worked on programs for eating behavior, with people with autoaggressive and aggressive behavior, and many other problems. In these programs, he uses techniques of positive behavioral support while also focusing on skill deficits and substitutive behavior with a view to reducing the non-adaptive behavior. In his work, Dixon closely collaborates with parents by training them and involving them in the therapeutic process in order to preserve and increase the achieved results.

Currently, children in Russia that are diagnosed with any type of disability are immediately institutionalized, often times as early as birth. Dixon to optimistic that by creating educational platforms that teach different ways to approach learning differences, families in Russia will be better equipped to support youth with learning challenges.  Dixon states, “Anytime we can educate teachers and families how to work with students with learning challenges, one more student is granted an opportunity to flourish.”


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