Sold-out Transition Conference Draws More Than 450 Participants
March 01, 2019
On Monday, February 25, Autism New Jersey welcomed more than 450 participants and 55 exhibitors to the 2019 Transition Conference at the Renaissance Hotel in Woodbridge. The event provided timely information and resources to caregivers and professionals with up-to-date information for 14- to 25-year-olds, a critical time in the life of an individual with autism.
Autism New Jersey Executive Director Dr. Suzanne Buchanan welcomed the audience, acknowledging that they may feel overwhelmed and unsure of what the future holds. The Transition Conference addresses these concerns with the goals of lessening the confusion, clarifying the paths into the adult service system, and connecting parents, caregivers, and professionals to the information and resources they need to support the individuals in their lives with autism.
The keynote speaker, Vanessa Bal, Ph.D., summarized the state of the science related to autism in adulthood and suggested five areas to guide current practices and future research. This past November, Dr. Bal was installed as the Karmazin and Lillard Chair in Adult Autism and Associate Professor in the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology at Rutgers University-New Brunswick. Her research aims to advance understanding of adults with ASD and, by emphasizing a multidimensional, lifespan perspective, looks to inform the development of targeted interventions that capitalize on individual strengths and promote well-being for adults with ASD.
The conference continued with 3 workshop options for each of the 4 sessions so participants could choose information that would truly benefit their needs. Highlights included presentations from leaders in New Jersey’s Division of Developmental Disabilities, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services, and Department of Education. Clarification of each group’s services and resources and the pathways to access them was especially appreciated by participants. Additional workshops provided practical legal and financial advice, best-practice intervention for critical issues such as unsafe behavior and social skills, and more.
Networking and Resources
Between workshops, participants enjoyed valuable networking opportunities with 55 exhibitors. Exhibits represented state departments, schools, agencies, community resources and more to showcase information on a range of topics such as legal, financial, service delivery, and treatment resources.
“Love your conferences! This one gave me new ideas, things to explore, and time to network. It will help us make concise and informative decisions for our children. There was so much good info that I can share with other moms,” according to a parent who attended.
“I encourage anyone with a child who’s fifteen or older to consider attending...I feel better prepared to meet the challenge of creating a safe, productive, and happy life for my son.” ~ Kimberlee Rutan McCafferty
Read more on her blog>>
Sincere thanks to all who participated as attendees, presenters, exhibitors, and sponsors. Each made the Transition Conference an overwhelming success!
Beyond our renowned conferences, Autism New Jersey additionally prioritizes state advocacy, credible information, and increasing community support for individuals with autism. Our commitment in all of these areas is designed to help individuals, families, and professionals through not only this transition, but the entire lifespan.
“So many participants shared how much they valued the information and resources they found at the Transition Conference. The workshops and exhibitors were incredibly well-received, and the entire atmosphere onsite was positive and engaged,” said Elizabeth Neumann, Autism New Jersey Education & Training Director.
Save the Date
Many transition-related exhibitors and workshops will be available at our 37th Annual Conference on October 17 & 18, 2019 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.