Welcome to ASPEN

ASPEN’S 40TH CONFERENCE

CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF SERVICE TO THE ASD COMMUNITY

Registration is now open!

Date: Sunday, April 2, 2017
WORLD AUTISM AWARENESS DAY
8:00 AM – 4:30 PM

Location: APA Hotel Woodbridge
(Formerly Hotel Woodbridge at Metropark)
120 Wood Ave. South, Iselin, NJ 08830

NJDOE Professional Development Provider #1619

CLICK HERE to register online now.
CLICK HERE to download the conference brochure with registration form.
CLICK HERE to download the conference registration form only.
CLICK HERE to download the conference exhibitor contract.
CLICK HERE to download the sponsorship/ad journal form.

KEYNOTE PRESENTERS

Caren Zucker and John Donvan - Keynote presenters at ASPEN 2017 Spring ConferenceCaren Zucker
and John Donvan

The Story of Autism: What a Small Town in Mississippi Teaches Us All About Acceptance


MORNING PLENARY

Liane Holliday Willey, Ed.D.

What Worked and What Didn’t: My Personal Employment Journey


AFTERNOON PLENARY

Valerie L. Gaus, Ph.D.

Living Well on the Spectrum: Incorporating a Positive Problem-Solving Approach to Meeting Your Goals in Adulthood


PLUS FIVE AFTERNOON WORKSHOPS TO CHOOSE FROM!

Adulting, It’s Not Easy: Strategies for College and Career Readiness

Chelsea Bourn, MA

Stress Management for Aspies and Their Families

Valerie Gaus, Ph.D.

Communication, Dating and Relationships

Rebecca Schulman, Psy.D. and J.J. Ferrito, Psy.D.

DDD: The Who, What, When, Where, Why & How of Obtaining Services

S. Paul Prior, Esq.

Girl Talk: Thoughts on Life with ASD

Liane Holliday Willey, Ed.D.

MORE INFORMATION (JUMP)

Keynote and Plenary Presentations Become an Exhibitor/Sponsor
Afternoon Workshops Directions to the APA Hotel Woodbridge
About Our Presenters Hotel Accommodations
Who Should Attend? General Questions
Conference Schedule Registration Fees

↑ topKEYNOTE AND PLENARY PRESENTATIONS:

CAREN ZUCKER AND JOHN DONVAN

KEYNOTE PRESENTATION – The Story of Autism: What a Small Town in Mississippi Teaches Us All About Acceptance

Emmy Award winning network journalists Caren Zucker and John Donvan, who both have family members with autism, share insights from their 7-year-long exploration of autism’s turbulent history. Their work, culminating in the 2016 New York Times Best Seller – In A Different Key: The Story of Autism – contains many stories, but the most inspirational of them is how the small community of Forest, Mississippi embraced and celebrated a child in its midst named Donald Triplett. Donald, whom they befriended, is history’s first officially diagnosed autistic person, born in 1933, and still alive today at 83… happy, healthy and autistic.

LIANE HOLLIDAY WILLEY, Ed.D.

MORNING PLENARY – What Worked and What Didn’t: My Personal Employment Journey

It is typically quite difficult for people who live with an autism spectrum diagnosis to find their perfect job. In her presentation, Professor Liane Holliday Willey will explore her personal journey in the workforce from her perspective as a woman with Asperger Syndrome. Liane will share her struggles, dashed dreams, and difficult climb that eventually brought her to a career that ultimately works with her strengths and eases her ASD-related challenges.

VALERIE L. GAUS, Ph.D.

AFTERNOON PLENARY – Living Well on the Spectrum: Incorporating a Positive Problem-Solving Approach to Meeting Your Goals in Adulthood

Adults on the spectrum, young and old, find some situations difficult while navigating a world designed by neurotypical people. Understanding one’s own strengths and capitalizing on them, while also being aware of challenges and compensating for them, are fundamental concepts that can be found in positive psychology. During this presentation, participants will be introduced to the ideas behind positive psychology. Examples of the ways it can be applied by adults on the spectrum while setting goals for a meaningful and satisfying life will be provided.

↑ topAFTERNOON WORKSHOPS:

Conference attendees will choose one afternoon breakout session.

A) Adulting, It’s Not Easy: Strategies for College and Career Readiness

presented by Chelsea Bourn, MA

Adjusting to expectations of college and the workplace is a difficult transition for young people. Though navigating high school has unique complications, success in college and careers requires a different skill set that many young people do not have the opportunity to practice before implementing. Research shows that people on the spectrum are less likely to complete college and retain gainful employment than their neurotypical counterparts. Determining mechanisms to increase success in higher education and vocational endeavors is necessary, though is often a superficial last minute discussion.

This presentation will outline strategies to support the success of young people on the spectrum in higher education and careers. Topics discussed will include effective scaffolding during high school to develop necessary skills earlier, opportunities for experiential learning, vocational and college readiness assessments, career exploration through job shadowing and coaching, tactics for navigating college effectively, development of self-advocacy and awareness of personal abilities and areas for growth.

B) Stress Management for Aspies and Their Families

presented by Valerie Gaus, Ph.D.

Elaborating on the ideas introduced in the afternoon keynote, more details will be provided to help adults and their families manage stress. A definition of human stress will be reviewed first, then the particular ways in which people on the spectrum can be vulnerable to stress. Strategies for managing in the various domains of life will be described.

C) Communication, Dating and Relationships

presented by Rebecca Schulman, Psy.D. and J.J. Ferrito, Psy.D.

This workshop is designed to assist individuals in learning to appropriately and effectively communicate with others in the context of different types of relationships. Participants will learn to differentiate between various types of relationships (e.g., acquaintances, friends, boyfriend/girlfriend). Through various role-plays, videos, and activities, attendees will explore how to move from one stage of a relationship to another. Participants will also gain knowledge about which traits they should possess in order to know that they are ready to date, as well as how to recognize non-verbal signs to know when someone is interested. Lastly, this workshop will teach individuals how to prepare for a date and ask someone out on a date, as well as appropriate behaviors to engage in while on a date. Participants will have the opportunity to practice communication skills and appropriate dating etiquette throughout the workshop.

D) DDD: The Who, What, When, Where, Why & How of Obtaining Services

presented by S. Paul Prior, Esq.

This workshop will discuss government programs and services that are vital when an individual with ASD turns 18 and 21. The presenter will discuss how to become eligible for the various services provided by the Division of Developmental Disabilities. In addition, this workshop will discuss SSI, SSDI and Medicaid, plus Day, Vocational, and Residential Services. Specific assessment and service planning tools will be reviewed as well as New Jersey’s changing system of adult services and the growing role of Medicaid.

E) Girl Talk: Thoughts on Life with ASD

presented by Liane Holliday Willey, Ed.D.

Women with an autism spectrum challenge present far differently than do their male counterparts. They are often diagnosed less often, diagnosed inaccurately, and too often left out of much-needed support systems. In this session, Liane will provide personal insight, research reviews and practical suggestions for females who have Asperger Syndrome.

↑ topABOUT OUR PRESENTERS

John Donvan is a correspondent for ABC News, and host/moderator of the Intelligence Squared U.S. Debates. Caren Zucker is a twenty-five-year veteran of ABC News, and producer and co-writer of the PBS series Autism Now. John and Caren most recently won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Feature Story in a Regularly Scheduled Newscast for the autism-focused story “A Different Kind of Boyhood,” which aired on Nightline. They are co-authors of the New York Times bestselling book In a Different Key: The Story of Autism.

Liane Holliday Willey, Ed.D is a psycholinguist who works as an educational consultant, author, and equestrian team therapist in a variety of settings from the classroom to the barn. She is also a woman who was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome when she was in her mid-30’s. The author of many informative books including Pretending to Be Normal; Asperger Syndrome in the Family: Redefining Normal; and Safety Skills for Asperger Women, she speaks nationally and internationally. During her presentations to the autism community, Liane pulls from her personal, academic and professional experience to keep her talks timely, thought provoking, motivational and fun.

Valerie L. Gaus, Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist with over 20 years of experience providing mental health services to people with disabilities. With a cognitive-behavioral approach, she offers psychotherapy to adults with Asperger Syndrome, higher functioning autism, depression, anxiety, trauma and stress-related problems. She has a private practice with offices in Huntington and in Manhattan. She has authored numerous chapters, articles and books on the subject, including Living Well on the Spectrum: How to Use Your Strengths to Meet the Challenges of Asperger Syndrome/High-Functioning Autism published in 2011 by Guilford Press.

Chelsea Bourn, MA is the Transition Program Director at The Glenholme School in Washington, CT and an Adjunct Professor at Tunxis Community College in the Social Science department. Chelsea’s primary focus for transition age students is the development of life skills through experiential learning opportunities that are cultivated individually to increase student competence and confidence. Her research interests include professional development for educators, awareness of the impact of language on perception of disability, and social skill acquisition for students with autism spectrum disorders. Additional areas of interest include program/intervention development, therapeutic equestrian activities, and parent education.

Rebecca Schulman, Psy.D., BCBA-D is a postdoctoral fellow and Board Certified Behavior Analyst – Doctoral at Behavior Therapy Associates. She has extensive experience providing individual, family, and group therapy to children, adolescents and adults. She specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy and applied behavior analysis for children through adults presenting with developmental disabilities, disruptive behaviors, social skills deficits, anxiety disorders and sexual problem behaviors. She also has expertise in using evidence-based treatments to work collaboratively with parents to teach them behavior management strategies and with schools to address challenging behaviors. She has presented at many conferences on the topics of techniques to address challenging behaviors and on-task behavior.

Joseph J. Ferrito, Psy.D. is a Post-Doctoral Fellow at Behavior Therapy Associates and a Certified School Psychologist in New Jersey. He has expertise in the assessment and treatment of children, adolescents, and adults through his work across a variety of levels of care including schools, outpatient mental health clinics, residential treatment facilities, and inpatient hospitals. Dr. Ferrito has experience working with individuals from ethnically and economically diverse backgrounds with a broad array of mental health difficulties including anxiety, emotional and behavioral difficulties, social-emotional skills deficits and individuals with developmental delays. Dr. Ferrito provides individual, group and family therapy. He has conducted research and developed programming in the areas of Social- Emotional Learning and Character Development (SECD) and school climate and culture, and co-authored The Other Side of the Report Card: Assessing Student Social, Emotional, and Character Development with Maurice Elias, Ph.D.

S. Paul Prior, Esq. has spent his entire legal career representing people with disabilities. As the younger brother of a man with autism, he has a life-long commitment to disability law. His legal work has focused on special education, guardianship, financial entitlements and access to appropriate services. A substantial part of his practice is devoted to assisting families in estate and trust matters. He has successfully argued leading cases before the New Jersey Supreme Court, Third Circuit Court of Appeals, as well as other state and federal courts. He served as a federal monitor overseeing conditions at state-operated institutions, and holds a JD from Seton Hall University School of Law. He is a member of the Elder Law Section of the New Jersey Bar Association. He writes and lectures frequently on topics concerning the law and disability as well as issues affecting siblings.

↑ topWHO SHOULD ATTEND?

Parents, grandparents, other family members and caregivers; individuals (age 14 and older) with Autism Spectrum Disorder; educational professionals; medical and health professionals; legal professionals.

Educators attending this full-day conference will earn 6 Professional Development Hours.

↑ topMESSAGE FROM THE PRESIDENT

It’s hard to believe that ASPEN is celebrating its 20 Year Anniversary! We have accomplished much in our first twenty years, and as we enter our third decade, we see that much still needs to be done. ASPEN is dedicated to fulfilling its mission of providing support, information and advocacy to individuals and families whose lives are affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder and Nonverbal Learning Disability. In honor of our 20th Anniversary we are publishing an Ad Journal that will be distributed at our Spring Conference on April 2, 2017 (World Autism Awareness Day) and will also be available at all our meetings and events throughout the year.

As we plan this 40th conference focusing on the needs of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder, we invite you to show your support of the autism spectrum community and ASPEN by placing an advertisement or message in our 20th Anniversary Ad Journal.

In addition, we are offering several Conference Sponsorship opportunities. All Conference Sponsorships will include signage the day of the conference, a full-page in the Ad Journal and two conference registrations.

Please consider supporting ASPEN through Ads in our Journal and Conference Sponsorships.

↑ topTO BECOME AN EXHIBITOR/SPONSOR

Conference exhibitor and sponsorship opportunities are available on a first come-first served basis. Please download the documents below. All Exhibitor/Sponsor reservations and payments are by US Mail and payable by check.

For more information, please contact our office at (732) 321-0880 or aspenorg@aol.com.

↑ topCONFERENCE SCHEDULE

8:00 AM REGISTRATION/BREAKFAST/VISIT EXHIBITORS
9:00 AM LORI SHERY, PRESIDENT/EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, ASPEN® — Opening Remarks
9:15 AM CAREN ZUCKER & JOHN DONVAN — Keynote Presentation – The Story of Autism: What a Small Town in Mississippi Teaches Us All About Acceptance
10:15 AM BREAK/VISIT EXHIBITORS
10:30 AM LIANE HOLLIDAY WILLEY — Morning PlenaryWhat Worked and What Didn’t: My Personal Employment Journey
12:00 Noon BUFFET LUNCH/BOOK SIGNING/VISIT EXHIBITORS
1:00 PM VALERIE GAUS — Afternoon PlenaryLiving Well on the Spectrum: Incorporating a Positive Problem-Solving Approach to Meeting Your Goals in Adulthood
2:30 PM DESSERT BREAK/BOOK SIGNING/VISIT EXHIBITORS
3:00 PM AFTERNOON BREAKOUT SESSIONS
Conference concludes 4:30 PM.

↑ topDIRECTIONS TO THE APA HOTEL WOODBRIDGE

Directions are available at the APA Hotel Woodbridge website.

↑ topHOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS

For special ASPEN Conference hotel room rates at the APA Hotel Woodbridge, please use this reservation link.

↑ topGENERAL QUESTIONS

Please contact us at (732) 321-0880 or aspenorg@aol.com if you have any questions.

  • All registration fees are per person. Cash, check, money order, purchase order or online via Paypal.
  • Mail-in registrations must be postmarked by 3/24/17. Early registration is suggested due to seating limitations.
  • Additional copies of the conference/registration brochure may be downloaded here.
  • If the number of registrants reaches capacity, registration will close earlier than the deadline.
  • Confirmations are sent ONLY to those who include a self-addressed stamped envelope.
  • Cancellations and Changes – No refunds for cancellations received after 3/2/17. Sorry, no exceptions. Kindly notify us in advance if substituting for original registrant.
  • If, due to unforeseen circumstances, it becomes necessary to substitute speakers without advance notice, fees are non-refundable.

↑ topREGISTRATION FEES

REGISTRATION INCLUDES MATERIALS, BREAKFAST, LUNCH, AND COFFEE & DESSERT BREAKS

ALL FEES ARE PER PERSON. JOIN TODAY AND SAVE.

New Early-Bird Discount Pricing!

MEMBER (PARENT or GRANDPARENT)
$115.00, $145.00 (after 3/19/17)
NON-MEMBER (PARENT or FAMILY MEMBER)
$150.00, $180.00 (after 3/19/17)
MEMBER (PROFESSIONAL)
$185.00, $215.00 (after 3/19/17)
NON-MEMBER (PROFESSIONAL)
$225.00, $255.00 (after 3/19/17)
MEMBER (YOUNG ADULT INDIVIDUAL WITH ASD)
$80.00, $100.00 (after 3/19/17)
NON-MEMBER (YOUNG ADULT INDIVIDUAL WITH ASD)
$120.00, $135.00 (after 3/19/17)

CLICK HERE to register online now.
CLICK HERE to download the conference brochure with registration form.
CLICK HERE to download the conference registration form only.

↑ top

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Shop Online and Support ASPEN at the Same Time!

Your online purchases are also gifts to ASPEN.
By traveling to Amazon.com via the link below, Amazon will donate up to 20% of your total sale to ASPEN.

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/redirect-home/aspaspsynedun-20

Thank you for your support!


It’s in the Cards…

ASPEN Greeting CardBeautiful ASPEN donation cards

Acknowledge a special event or a special person by making a donation to ASPEN. Send one of these beautiful cards in honor of teacher, a birth, a graduation, a birthday, a wedding or an anniversary, or in memory of someone special. A beautiful ASPEN card will be sent to the person or family to let them know of your generosity and concern.

In addition to supporting and promoting ASPEN, you will be promoting awareness of Asperger Syndrome.

You can request cards one at a time and have them sent out directly by the National Office, or purchase several at $10 each to keep on hand and then send out yourself when the occasions arise. A minimum donation is requested of $10 per card.

How To Order ASPEN Donation Cards

Send us your request by mail with a check payable to “ASPEN” to: 9 Aspen Circle, Edison, NJ 08820 USA.

For More Details: Please contact Lori Shery at 732-321-0880 or aspenorg@aol.com.