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Their Voice: Autism Conference at UVU announced keynote speaker

By Monica Villar - Their Voice | Dec 18, 2021


Monica Villar

March seems like a long time from now but it is close enough to share the announcement of the 11th annual Autism Conference at Utah Valley University coming in March 2022. Currently the Melissa Nellesen Autism Center is planning for an in person event after two years of virtual meetings. The date is March 4th and registrations are already being accepted. For anyone who is not familiar, the conference is geared to meet the interest and need of students, adults on the spectrum, families, educators, professionals, and service providers.

The theme of 2022 is “Cultivating Competencies Across the Community.” Although there are plans still being made, the Keynote speaker and topic have been announced. Amy Gravino, M.A., is an autism sexuality advocate and Relationship Coach in the Center for Adult Autism Services at Rutgers University. She is also the President of A.S.C.O.T Consulting, which offers autism consulting, college coaching, and mentoring services for organizations, schools, individuals on the autism spectrum, and their families. Amy is an international speaker who has given TED talks, spoken twice at the United Nations for World Autism Awareness Day and presented worldwide to audiences on a variety of topics related to autism, with a dedicated special focus and research on the subject of autism and sexuality.

Gravino obtained her Master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis from Caldwell University in 2010 and currently serves on the Boards of Directors of Specialisterne USA, Yes She Can, Inc. and the Golden Door International Film Festival of Jersey City, as well as the Scientific Advisory Board of Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research (SPARK). She is an award-winning writer whose work has been featured in Spectrum, the leading online news source for autism research, Reader’s Digest, special education textbooks, and other outlets.

Amy’s topic is listed as, “Entering Into Adulthood with Autism” and has the following description: “Autism is defined as a lifelong developmental disability that affects communication, social skills, and behavior, yet the image of autism that we see both in the medical community and popular culture tends to be almost entirely of children. By painting autism as something that only happens in childhood, we overlook and ignore a simple yet incredibly important truth — autistic children grow up and become autistic adults.

This presentation interweaves the limited knowledge that we have of autism in adulthood with one young woman’s personal story, and the journey her parents and she embarked on after she received the diagnosis of autism at age 11. Strategies for fostering interdependence in individuals on the spectrum will be discussed, as well as ideas for talking about and planning the future with, rather than for, your autistic children and clients.”

More details about this conference can be found at https://www.uvu.edu/autism/conferences. There is also information on the pre-conference all day workshop conducted by Dr.Mark R. Dixon, BCBA-D.

Registration for the conference can be found at https://uvu.universitytickets.com/w/event.


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