The Matthew Reardon Center for Autism Holds 2018 Autism Conference
(SAVANNAH, GA) The Matthew Reardon Center for Autism held the third annual autism conference at the Coastal Georgia Center, located at 305 Fahm St. The conference provided learning opportunities for parents and caregivers, educators and individuals on the Autism Spectrum.
The event included a keynote address and five breakout sessions. Lunch was provided at 12:30 pm with the keynote address being delivered at that time.
Keynote speaker, Lydia X.Z. Brown, addressed the importance of neurodiversity, the concept that neurological differences, like autism and ADHD, are the result of normal, natural variations in the human genome.
Brown is an advocate, organizer and author focused on violence against disabled people in schools, institutions, prisons and law enforcement personnel. A visiting lecturer at Tufts University, Brown designed and teaches a course on disability and inter-sectional social movements. Brown is also a founding board member of the Alliance for Citizen-Directed Supports, which advocates for people with disabilities to have full community integration and control over their services.
“I can’t imagine having a better keynote speaker for the 2018 conference,” said Faye Montgomery, Advocacy Director of the Matthew Reardon Center for Autism. “Lydia is knowledgeable in such a diverse range of topics within the autistic community and had truly invaluable information to share with our attendees.”
Breakout session speakers and their topics are listed below:
• Jennifer Phillips, Director of Professional Learning at Mid-Valley Special Education Cooperative: “Ways to Structure Classroom Environments for Every Student’s Success”
• Christy Calbos and Debbie Dobbs, lawyer/advocates: “Top 5 Reasons Parents Hire Educational Advocates and Attorneys and How Savvy Educators can Avoid Complaints”
• Lydia X.Z. Brown, advocate, author and visiting lecturer at Tufts University: “Ableism and the Meaningful Inclusion of People with Autism in Educational Settings”
FOR PARENTS AND CAREGIVERS:
• Suzette Rosario, BCBA and Director of the May Institute: “Supporting Individuals with Autism when Behavior Creates Challenges”
• Rachel Seaman, post-doctoral fellow at the Emory Univ. Autism Center: “Formulating Plans to Support People with Autism in the Transition from High School to Post-Secondary Life”
INDIVIDUALS WITH AUTISM:
• Daniel Wendler, author and doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at George Fox University: “Ways to Find a ‘Place of Belonging’ – Exploring Social Skills Development, Friendship and Development of a Personal Community”
Wendler himself was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in high school and has authored two books, Improve Your Social Skills and its sequel, Level Up your Social Skills.
ABOUT THE MATTHEW REARDON CENTER FOR AUTISM (MRCA):
MRCA operates southeast Georgia’s only accredited year-round day school for children with autism. They have provided advocacy and outreach services to more than 800 families across southeast Georgia and have hosted professional training and instructional opportunities for more than 4,000 family members, educators, health professionals and self-advocates. The organization was incorporated in 2000 and currently serves 22 students through ADVANCE Academy. They have 11 full-time employees and operate in a 6,000-square-foot suite at 6602 Abercorn St #200, Savannah, GA 31405. Website: https://www.matthewreardon.org/