2020 Conference: Celebrating, Empowering, Preparing

Educational Conferences

2020 Conference
Celebrating, Empowering, Preparing

March 27-28, 2020

Hilton Charlotte University Place

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.

The 2020 theme, Celebrating, Empowering, Preparing, kicks off our 50th anniversary celebration. It also reflects our commitment to sharing information and knowledge that helps individuals with autism, families and other caregivers, and a wide range of professionals. With a program that provides personal perspectives, knowledge from experts in the field, and topics that span the lifespan and spectrum, attendees will learn practical ideas and strategies for use at home, at school, at work, and in the community.

Speakers include:

Dr. Temple Grandin – Sharing her perspective on a variety of topics
Michelle Garcia Winner, MA, CCC-SLP, founder & CEO of Social Thinking
Dr. Laura Klinger, Director of the TEACCH Autism Program – Collaboration and creating winning outcomes
Sherry Thomas, Director of Exceptional Children’s Division, NC DPI – Navigating the system, best practices, and more
Tom Unland, retired law enforcement officer – Staying safe and interacting with first responders
Vickie Dieter, ASNC Autism Resource Specialist – Bullying: How to recognize it, what to know, and what to do about it
ASNC Clinical Team Experts – Social communication across the spectrum and lifespan
Community Panel – Life: Facing and overcoming challenges, and the importance of community

Click here to view the schedule.

Register Now

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.

Past conferences have sold out, so we encourage you to register early! The conference app will enable attendees to receive handouts in advance and connect with attendees and exhibitors. After registering, you will receive an email with the download link. Conference fees include:

  • Access to all sessions, based on the day(s) selected
  • Handouts (digital with the app)
  • Continental breakfast, refreshments, and lunch
  • Exhibit hall access

Registration fees are tiered this year. Early-bird rates provide significant savings and are in effect through February 29. Parent fees are $150 for a single day or $250 for both days. Autism self-advocate rates are $100 for a single day or $150 for two days. Professionals pay $175 for a single day or $275 for the full conference. 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 dlaxton@autismsociety-nc.org with questions.

Continuing education credit will be provided by Charlotte AHEC for a separate fee of $35 for a single day or $50 for both days. Charlotte AHEC will be providing the following continuing education credits for this conference:

  • CEUs/Contact Hours – This Activity fulfills the requirement of 0.6 Continuing Education Units (CEUs), representing 6.0 contact hours per day.
  • NC Psychologists Credit – 6.0 Contact Hours (category A) CE for NC Psychologists per day
  • National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) Clock Hours – The Charlotte Area Health Education Center and the Autism Society of North Carolina are cosponsors of this program. A co-sponsorship application has been sent to NBCC for approval. Charlotte Area Health Education Center is an NBCC Approved Continuing Education Provider, ACEP No. 5096. The ACEP solely is responsible for this program, including the awarding of NBCC credit.

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 email us for help.

Discounted Hotel Rooms: The Hilton Charlotte University Place will again offer special rates for the conference: $105 per night for a King or Two Double Beds Deluxe room, March 26-29, 2020. Click here by March 6 (subject to availability) to book at the discount rate.

The conference will provide a unique opportunity for businesses, service providers, and others with a connection to the autism community to interact with nearly 900 attendees over the two days. To receive an exhibitor/sponsor prospectus or to learn more, please contact David Laxton at dlaxton@autismsociety-nc.org or 919-865-5063. Custom sponsorship packages are available.