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

Living with Autism 2021 Conference – Agenda

9:00 – 10:30 a.m. – “From Disability to Possibility” presented by Patrick Schwarz, Ph. D.

Using real life stories — from womb to tomb — of individuals with possibilities, Dr. Patrick Schwarz will illustrate what supports are successful and what else is needed for effectiveness in education and human services for all people. These compelling examples will motivate participants to re-imagine and support individuals in new and inventive ways. Be prepared for something fun and different!

1030 – 11:00 a.m. – Break

11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. –  “Addressing Adventuresome Behavior While Keeping the Dignity of All Intact”  presented by Patrick Schwarz, Ph. D.

Both a person-centered, authentic, functional approach to assess behavior and a problem-solving process will be applied to combine components of the very best user-proven behavioral support strategies. This approach will be illustrated and then applied to real-life classroom and learning ituations identified by participants.

12:30 – 1:00 pa.m. – Lunch Break

1:00 – 1:45 p.m. –  “Presuming Competence”  presented by Max Barrows

Fulfilling the promise of equal opportunity centers on the people in my life not making assumptions about what I can or cannot do.

1:45 – 2:00 p.m. – Break

2:00 – 2:45 p.m. – Division of Rehabilitation Services presented by Director Rahnee Patrick

Hear from Director Patrick from the Division of Rehabilitation Services of different options and alternative waivers available for individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities. This session will help you understand the different programs and services.

2:45 – 3:00 p.m. – Break


BREAKOUT SESSION 3:00 – 3:45 P.M. – Choose One

“Parent/Caregiver and Siblings of a Loved One with a Disability Expectations and Assumptions: What aare we REALLY Thinking?”     Presented by a Panel of Parents and Siblings; Facilitated by Nora Fox Handler and Kimberly L. Johnson
One of the hardest conversations to have is between a parent/caregiver & sibling(s) of their loved one living with a disability and often times the discussion NEVER happens leaving the one person that everyone wants to protect at a disadvantage when the parent/caregiver dies. This panel discussion will share thoughts and experiences of parents/caregivers and siblings and provide tips on how to start those conversations including resources for support of parents/caregivers and siblings.  


“Creating Community – The Importance of Community for Autistic adults and their Families”     Presented by Liza Pereira Curiel, LULA, Unique Sweets
Creating a community for Autistic individuals and families has never been more important.  We all know that belonging to a group or community we can identify with helps us develop a stronger sense of personal and collective identity. It can also give a boost to our self-esteem and to our willingness to take on the world and make our dreams happen. A brief discussion on the efforts Unique Sweets is doing to create that community. 


BREAKOUT SESSION 4:00 – 4:45 P.M. – Choose One

“Going ‘Full-Circle’: Reflections of a Personal Journey from Service Recipient to Service Provider” Presented by Russel Houser

When Russel was first diagnosed on the autism spectrum at three years old, his parents made sure that he had access to the same opportunities as his peers in school.  Although Russel had soon overcome many initial challenges that were associated with his diagnosis, his journey with autism was just beginning.  From learning about autism to developing self-acceptance (and later embracing his identity on the spectrum), Russel will discuss the lessons he has learned along the way, and their implications for people who have a connection with autism.  Whether you know someone on the autism spectrum, or have the diagnosis yourself, this presentation is for you!


“Illinois Autism Task Force Adult Services Subcommittee: A Resource for IDHS” Presented by Sherry Healey
The Illinois Autism Task Force is an advisory body to and administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services. The IATF Adult Services Subcommittee was created in 2021 to be a resource, share best practices, and collaborate with IDHS regarding service needs of adults on the autism spectrum. Initial efforts are focused on employer engagement and meeting diverse day service funding needs.

Living with Autism 2021 Main Menu

Thank you to our Sponsors!

Rubin Law
Lifes Plan