Friday, March 27
Dr. Temple Grandin kicks off the conference on Friday. Dr. Grandin is arguably the most recognized individual with autism in the world. She is a Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University, operates a successful business, and is a leading expert in designing humane livestock handling facilities. She was the subject of the Emmy Award-winning HBO film Temple Grandin. She has authored several books, including Thinking in Pictures, The Loving Push, Different Not Less, and Emergence: Labeled Autistic. Books will be available! Dr. Grandin will share her personal journey, thoughts on challenging and encouraging children and adults with autism, and more.
Friday afternoon, we are excited to have Michelle Garcia Winner, MA, CCC-SLP, as keynote. Michelle specializes in the treatment of individuals with social learning challenges and is the founder and CEO of Social Thinking®, a company dedicated to helping children, adolescents, and adults develop their social competencies to meet their personal social goals. She coined the term “Social Thinking” in the mid-1990s and has created numerous treatment frameworks and curricula that help educators, clinicians, professionals of all types, and parents/family members appreciate that social capabilities are integral to a person’s success in life, socially, academically, and professionally.
Michelle has written and/or co-authored more than 40 books and over 100 articles about the Social Thinking Methodology. She travels globally, presenting courses on the Social Thinking Methodology, helps to develop educational programs, and consults with and trains families, schools, professionals and businesses.
The conference exhibit hall will be open Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. with more than 30 organizations, service providers, and product tables as well as the ASNC information section.
Friday evening, we will hold our annual gathering for autism self-advocates. This event is an opportunity for adults with autism to come together, share ideas, and connect. This event is for adults with autism only; no parents or caregivers will be admitted.
Saturday, March 28
Saturday will feature two keynote talks and two sets of concurrent sessions. Attendees will be together for the opening and closing sessions. They will choose between concurrent workshops in the middle of the day.
Dr. Laura Klinger from the TEACCH Autism Program and UNC is our morning keynote and will explain how collaboration between parents and professionals is key to creating win-win outcomes for individuals with autism.
Morning concurrent workshops:
• Tom Unland, former law enforcement officer and father of a young woman with autism shares important information about Staying Safe. Tom has worked with members of ASNC’s IGNITE program to develop a safety curriculum. Attendees will hear from Mr. Unland and autism self-advocates about tools and tactics to increase understanding for individuals on the spectrum and first responders. They will also explain how to teach important safety skills to your loved one and/or student.
• Sherry Thomas, Director of the Exceptional Children’s Division at the Department of Public Instruction, will address navigating the special education system, implementation of best practices, and more while discussing Autism and School.
Afternoon concurrent sessions:
• Vickie Dieter, Autism Resource Specialist, will share information about Bullying. Bullying is a reality for many individuals on the autism spectrum. It takes many forms, including cyber, physical, and emotional. Vickie will explain what bullying is, how to know the signs, and what to do to protect yourself, loved ones, and students/clients.
• ASNC Clinical Experts will teach strategies to increase social communication in children and adults with autism as they discuss Social Communication Across the Spectrum and Lifespan. Attendees will learn teaching methods that can be used at home, at school, and in the community.
The closing session will be a panel discussion of parents and autism self-advocates. The panel will provide an insightful look at life’s challenges, how to face and overcome them, and the importance of our community.