Congressman Chris Smith Opening Remarks
Congressman Chris Smith, a long-time advocate for autism-related issues in Congress and co-founder and co-chair of the bipartisan Coalition on Autism Research and Education (C.A.R.E.), gave the opening remarks.
Smith focused on a bill he wrote that was signed into law in August 2014, the Autism Collaboration, Accountability, Research, Education and Support (CARES) Act, which will provide $1.3 billion for autism research over the next five years. Learn more>>
Gold Member & Friends Lunch
This year’s Gold Member and Friends Lunch featured remarks by Ellen Schisler, Autism New Jersey’s Director of Development and Marketing, who shared information about Autism New Jersey’s upcoming 50th Anniversary celebration, slated for 2015, and offered a personal family historical perspective.
“My family history and the struggle for information and services that my parents faced upon my brother’s diagnosis decades ago runs parallel to Autism New Jersey’s evolution. While families today face similar struggles, the future is much brighter for those diagnosed today in the state, in large part because of the work Autism New Jersey/COSAC has done since 1965 and events like our Conference. We think that’s something worth celebrating.”
Thursday’s keynote on elopement got the conference off to a great start by focusing on a critical priority: keeping individuals with autism safe. Special guest Wayne Fisher, Ph.D., BCBA-D from the University of Nebraska Medical Center offered details on the difference between wandering and bolting as well as research-based strategies for addressing each.
Participants shared comments such as “Enthusiastic presentation, extremely helpful!” and “Great topic—SO important! Loved the very useful information and practical strategies!”
The positive energy continued Friday with a keynote on the importance of optimism when addressing challenging behavior that was heralded as one of our best keynotes ever! Special guest V. Mark Durand from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg explained how research has shown that “optimism training” can help both parents and professionals to be more effective and less stressed.
“Loved the content and presenter! Can’t wait to implement the practical strategies with my son!” shared one participant, as another declared, “Unique but very relevant and extremely important topic! I will definitely pass this on to my staff and students’ families.”
(Dr. Durand's book, Optimistic Parenting, is available for purchase at Amazon.com)
Mom 2 Mom Glass Book Project
Mom 2 Mom Mosaic of Resilience
The Mom 2 Mom program is designed to provide a compassionate and encouraging environment for mothers of children with special needs to come together and share support. At this year's annual conference, attendees had the opportunity to visit the Mom 2 Mom exhibit and create something that showed what helps make them more resilient. Each tile created at the conference will be added to the Mom 2 Mom Mosaic of Resilience.
Pyramid Educational Consultants, Inc.