Autism Works, the national conference on autism and employment, will be held at the Sheraton Westport Chalet Hotel in St. Louis, Missouri March 3 – 4, 2011. This year the keynote speaker is Dan Tedesco, the co-developer of an iPhone “prompting app” to help people with autism communicate. Some of the sessions to look forward to are as follows:

A New World of Possibilities: Innovating the Future of Autism with Assistive Technology
Presenter: Dan Tedesco
The explosive adoption of the smart phone in recent years has profound implications to the special needs population. While voice output and picture-based communication applications already open doors for many individuals by lowering costs and stigma, a much broader revolution is just beginning. Innovators are exploring the unprecedented power of the next generation of inexpensive, highly customizable handheld devices. They are dreaming about the applications which will comprehensively integrate people with social and cognitive challenges into the workplace and beyond. This presentation will explore some emerging mobile device applications, including remote supervisor / caregiver assistance, sensory aids, performance support / tracking applications, and “accessibility translators” for an inaccessible world. The talk will emphasize the role of proactive imagination and entrepreneurship in making new realities for tomorrow.

Quality Adult Autism Services: Emerging Standards
Presenter: Paul Andrew, Managing Director, Employment and Community Services, CARF International
For years, autism has been a topic of misunderstanding and misdiagnosis. People on the spectrum, their families, and service professionals are awash in a sea of confused medical and psychosocial information and lack appropriate planning and resources. CARF, an international accrediting agency for disability service providers, has recently finished a new set of quality and accreditation standards for adult autism services. These standards are based on numerous focus groups with the autism community, among other sources. This presentation will discuss how families and professionals can use these standards for Life Planning – so that services are individualized, focused on the person’s assets, and adjusted as the person and family go through life changes.

Communities of Practice: A Unified Approach to Employment of Adults with Autism
Presenter: Joan Kester, Region 3 TACE, George Washington University
No one agency alone can provide a comprehensive approach to meeting the unique service needs of adults with autism. It requires multiple partners and service delivery systems to develop a unified, collaborative approach. Communities of Practice (CoPs) provide such a framework for diverse stakeholders to deepen their knowledge and expertise and identify creative employment strategies. CoPs have made documented improvements in a variety of corporate and governmental fields, and provide a framework to address the complex needs of adults with autism seeking employment. Examples of current CoPs will be provided as well as step-by-step instruction on forming and cultivating CoPs at the national, state, regional and local levels.

Understanding Vocational Rehabilitation: What to Expect, What to Question
Presenter: Jean Updike, Director of Employment Innovation, Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation
This session is for persons with ASD, parents, advocates, teachers and others in the ASD community. It will introduce goals and opportunities of the public vocational rehabilitation (VR) system, the procedures it uses, and what “clients” of VR can expect and will have expected of them. The presentation will also cover what a client should do if he or she has concerns about local VR services.

Conference Presented by:

Autism Works National Conference Registration Rates

  • $205 2 Day
  • $125 1 Day
  • $180 2 Day Student Rate
  • $105 1 Day Student Rate

This two day conference is being held at:
The Sheraton Westport Hotel Lakeside Chalet 191 Westport Plaza St. Louis, MO 63146
A block of rooms is available with special rates. Call 800.822.3535 before February 2, 2011 to make your reservation. Mention the Autism Works Conference to receive the discounted rate. A limited number of rooms is available at this rate, call today!

For more information on this conference please visit Autism Works on FaceBook at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Autism-Works/136057253090452 or at http://www.dps.missouri.edu/Autism.html?cmpCONF

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