Autism New Jersey Holds Successful Transition Conference in Newark
February 27, 2020
On Monday, February 24, Autism New Jersey again helped families pave a road to adulthood with important information, strategies, and resources at a sold-out Transition Conference, which for the first time was held at the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Newark Airport in Newark, NJ. The conference welcomed more than 480 participants and 56 exhibitors.
The Newark Board of Education, the Presenting Sponsor of the conference, took advantage of the event’s proximity to recruit special education teachers for the state’s largest district. Superintendent Roger León on and Michele Adubato, M.A., MSW, of Newark’s North Ward Center and Center for Autism welcomed the crowd. Then keynote speaker Nkechi Okoli, MSW, LSW, the New Jersey Division of Developmental Disabilities’ Senior Coordinator of Transition to 21 Education, recommended steps and strategies for making the most of DDD services which may be available once an individual turns 21.
Mrs. Okoli explained the process for accessing DDD services and how to take the necessary steps toward eligibility. She also emphasized a theme heard frequently throughout the day: the importance of parental involvement from the early stages of a child’s development.
“It’s not just at 21 that we should be having a conversation about a child’s future,” Okoli said. “We want to make sure we’re paying attention so we can adjust no matter where they are in life.”
In her welcoming remarks, Autism New Jersey’s Executive Director, Suzanne Buchanan, Psy.D., BCBA-D, updated participants on recent public policy efforts. She also asked the crowd to offer a round of applause to special education attorney Ira Fingles. Ira was a longtime friend and supporter of Autism New Jersey who passed away suddenly in January. Staff, volunteers, clients, and colleagues wore “I Love Ira” pins to honor his memory.
The conference continued with three workshop options for each of the three sessions so participants could choose information that benefits their needs. The topics were varied but specific to teens and adults. These covered social opportunities, challenging behavior, meaningful work experiences, legal and financial advice, independence and interdependence, medication, and accessing services.
Networking and Resources
Between workshops, participants enjoyed valuable networking opportunities with 56 exhibitors. They represented state departments, schools, agencies, community resources and more by showcasing legal, financial, service delivery, and treatment resources.
A sincere thanks to all who participated as attendees, presenters, exhibitors, and sponsors. Each made the Transition Conference an overwhelming success!
Thank you to our 2020 Transition Conference Sponsors
Even more transition-related workshops and exhibits will be available at our 38th Annual Conference on October 15 & 16, 2020, at Harrah’s Waterfront Conference Center in Atlantic City. Registration will open in May.
Sponsorship, exhibiting, and advertising opportunities are available now. Purchase a sponsorship now to be included in the brochure — our most widely disseminated publication! Brochure ads are also available through March.