Mon - Thurs: 9:00am - 5:00pm | Fri: 9:00am - 4:00pm

Living with Autism 2020 Conference – Agenda

9:00 – 10:00 a.m. – “The 4 A’s of Autism” presented by Stephen Shore, Ed.D.

The 4 A’s of Autism. We are transitioning from “awareness” to “acceptance” and headed  to “appreciation” as society takes “action” in valuing individuals on the autism spectrum for whom they are. Examples of people, organizations, and entire countries at each stage of development will be presented. Dr. Shore will charge  participants to reframe their thinking away from deficit and disorder towards seeking abilities based on individual strengths. Challenges attributed to Autism can be reframed as strengths.

10:00 – 10:15 a.m. – Break

10:15 – 11:15 a.m. –  “Supporting People with Autism in Uncertain Times”  presented by Stephen Shore, Ed.D.

No one is immune to the disruptions that the coronavirus pandemic is forcing upon daily life. However, for people on the autism spectrum, the loss of familiar routines and expectations can be especially damaging, often leading to deep, seemingly insurmountable anxiety. Fortunately, strategies and tools exist to guide and support autistic individuals to cope and thrive during these challenging times.

11:15 – 11:30 a.m. – Break

11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. –  “Another Option: Division of Rehabilitation Services”  presented by Director Rahnee Patrick

PUNS is not the only “game in town”. This session will help you understand the different programs and services which may positively impact the life of someone with Autism. Topics will include: program name, eligibility requirements, age, timeline and if the program is covered under a waiver or not. There is so much to learn about job readiness, job training, higher education and personal assistants.

12:30 – 1:00 p.m. – LUNCH “Beautiful Animation Explaining Autism”

1:00 – 2:30 p.m. – “No More Meltdowns: Positive Strategies to Address Challenging Behaviors”  presented by Jed Baker, Ph.D.

This workshop describes how best to think about challenging behaviors to achieve better outcomes. With the right attitude we can thoughtfully de-escalate meltdowns and design effective behavior plans to avert these moments and reduce frustration and anxiety. Information will be imparted though lecture, interactive exercises, and video clips. Dr. Baker will explain the limits of traditional discipline and how to avoid power struggles. He will describe how to put together effective prevention plans for each of the common triggers to frustration and anxiety.

2:30 – 2:45 p.m. – Break


BREAKOUT SESSION 2:45 – 3:30 P.M. – Choose One

“Living Your Best Life”     Presented by a Panel of Parents, Charlotte Cronin and Ellen Bronfeld, and Professionals, Kim Zoeller and Dan Strick
A panel of two parents of adult children with Autism and two professionals in the Autism field will answer questions on how to develop a plan for your loved one to live a quality life in the community. Topics will include how to adjust in the COVID world, transitioning to CILA and suggestions for new parents.


“Strategies for Competitive Employment on the Spectrum”     Presented by Lora Slutsky, MS, CRC, LCPC
Join The Autism Program of Illinois to learn strategies on soft skill development in preparing young adults with autism for competitive employment! Learn about strategies like adding structure and utilizing visual tools to build critical soft skills such as time management, asking for help, navigating social interactions in the workplace, and much more.


BREAKOUT SESSION 3:45 – 4:30 P.M. – Choose One

“Creative Ways to Use Home Based Funding” Presented by Leanne Mull and Shirley Perez
In this session we will explore the benefits and flexibility available to people with disabilities and families within both the Adult and Children’s Medicaid Home and Community Based Home-Based Support Programs. We will discuss the core components of the   programs, unique and individualized ways to use the monthly funding allotment, and the built in flexibility of Home-Based supports. Additionally, participants will learn about options for selecting and training Personal Support Workers (PSW), becoming a PSW as a parent caregiver, and effectively using all of the services available with HBS. The session will include a question and answer session and resources to refer to later.


“Supporting Healthy Sexuality: Knowledge is Power” Presented by Linda Sandman
Everyone is a sexual being, including people with autism. Yet information about sexuality and healthy relationships is often not available or accessible for people with disabilities. This session will take you on a journey of discovery by introducing you to best practice strategies and resources you can use, including how you can support healthy sexuality from home.

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