2017 Conference: Building a Better Future

The Autism Society of North Carolina’s annual conference is a two-day event featuring nationally and internationally recognized speakers and topics of interest to all members of the autism community. We are excited to bring together self-advocates, families, and professionals at the Hilton University Place hotel in Charlotte on March 24-25, 2017.

Register today!

Speakers and topics will include:

  • Dr. Kara Hume: Implementing Best Practices
  • Dr. Alycia Halladay: Current Issues in the Science of Autism
  • John Donvan and Caren Zucker: In a Different Key, the Story of Autism
  • Linda King-Thomas, MHS, OTR/L, C/NDT: Sensory Processing Issues and Practical Strategies
  • Holly Blanc Moses, MS, BCBA, LPC, LPA: Autism and Anxiety: Strategies that Work
  • Whitney Luffman, BCBA, and Dr. Aleck Myers: LifeLong Interventions Do Work Across the Lifespan
  • Stephanie Holmes, MA: Autism in the Family: Moving Beyond Surviving to Thriving
  • Kirk Herbertson, Building a Better Future: One Man's Story

For more details on the topics and speakers, click here. To learn about the schedule click here.


Conference fees include:

  • Access to all sessions, based on the day(s) selected
  • All handouts
  • Continental breakfast, refreshments, and lunch
  • Exhibit hall access


Registration Fees and Assistance

Early-bird rates are in effect through Feb. 22, 2017. Registration ranges from $90 for a single-day for self-advocates to $250 for two days for a general participant. Click here to register.

Purchase orders are accepted from school systems; click here to download a PDF of the registration form. Email David Laxton at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with questions.

Continuing education units/CEs will be offered for a separate fee. We are working to provide credit for as many professions as possible.

Innovations waiver: Medicaid Innovations waiver recipients and their natural supports system (family, caregivers, etc.) are eligible for funding assistance to attend the conference via the waiver. To receive this funding, contact your care coordinator at your managed care organization (MCO) and let them know that you wish to use Natural Supports Education funds for your conference expenses. Some MCOs require families to pay their registrations and then will reimburse the family; some MCOs complete the conference registration form and send it with payment to ASNC. If you or your care coordinator have questions, please call 919-865-5063 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for help.

Discounted Hotel Rooms: The Hilton Charlotte University Place will again offer special rates for the conference: $100 per night for a King or Two Double Beds Deluxe room, March 23-26, 2017. Click here by March 1.


Topics and Speakers

Friday, March 24

Dr. Kara Hume, “Implementing Best Practices”: Dr. Hume is a scientist and researcher at the Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute in Chapel Hill. She has been involved in the Co-Principal Investigator for the Center on Secondary Education for Students with ASD, which is a five-year project to develop and implement a comprehensive high school program for students on the autism spectrum. Dr. Hume will share examples of best practices, but more importantly how to work with agencies to get best practices implemented in schools and the community.

Dr. Alycia Halladay, “Current Issues in the Science of Autism”: Dr. Halladay is the Chief Science Officer at the Autism Science Foundation. In that role, she oversees the portfolio of exciting research projects funded by the Foundation. Dr. Halladay will share information about current treatment practices and identify those that are evidence-based. She will discuss recent discoveries that have influenced treatments and interventions for individuals of all ages, and share how families can participate in and support research.

Saturday, March 25

John Donvan and Caren Zucker, “In a Different Key, the Story of Autism”: As journalists and co-authors of the book by the same name, Donvan and Zucker go back to the first person to be diagnosed in the United States and share how he is doing today, as well as how far our community has come in understanding and acceptance. In writing their book, they interviewed founding families of the Autism Society of North Carolina, and they feature programs and organizations from our state. Both Donvan and Zucker have family members on the autism spectrum.

Morning concurrent workshops: 

Linda King-Thomas, OTR/L, C/NDT, “Sensory Processing Issues and Practical Strategies”: Ms. King-Thomas, the founder of Developmental Therapy Associates (DTA) in Durham, will provide an overview of common sensory challenges experienced by individuals on the autism spectrum and strategies that can help overcome them. Ms. King- Thomas brings a wealth of experience and success to her talk.   

Holly Blanc Moses, MS, BCBA, LPC, LPA “Autism and Anxiety: Strategies that Work”: Ms. Moses brings more than 19 years of experience in working with individuals with autism and developing strategies to assist them. Anxiety can be debilitating to individuals with autism, even leading to depression. This talk will break down some of the causes of anxiety in those with autism and provide practical tips to help parents and professionals reduce anxiety and its impact. 

Afternoon concurrent workshops:  

Dr. Aleck Myers and Whitney Luffman, MA, LPA, BCBA, Autism Society of NC Clinical Team, “LifeLong Interventions Do Work Across the LifeSpan”: More and more, families want to know which treatments work and are backed by scientific evidence. Dr. Myers and Ms. Luffman will discuss how to evaluate treatments and research on their effectiveness across the lifespan. We are all lifelong learners, and this session will provide tips and information for parents of all ages.   

Stephanie Holmes, MA, “Autism in the Family: Moving Beyond Surviving to Thriving.”  Mrs. Holmes is a licensed counselor in Georgia and a certified autism specialist. Building on her family’s experience after her oldest daughter was diagnosed and her work with families, she will share how your family can maintain strong relationships while supporting your loved one on the autism spectrum.

Closing Keynote: Kirk Herbertson, "Building a Better Future: One Man's Story"


Schedule Overview

Friday, March 24:

  • Exhibit Hall and Registration 7:30 - 5:00
  • Sessions  9:00 - 4:30

Saturday, March 25:

  • Exhibit Hall and Registration 7:30 - 3:45
  • Sessions  9:00 - 4:00


Exhibitors and Sponsors

The conference will provide a unique opportunity for businesses, service providers, and others with a connection to the autism community to interact with 700-800+ attendees over the two days. To receive an exhibitor/sponsor prospectus or to learn more, please contact David Laxton at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 919-865-5063. Custom sponsorship packages are available.