Welcome to ASPEN

ASPEN’S ANNUAL SPRING CONFERENCE

GETTING A HEAD START IN THE REAL WORLD

Register online for the Spring 2018 ConferenceRegister for the Spring 2018 Conference by mail

Registration is open!

Early Registration is available through 3/30/18.
Take advantage of the discount now!

Date: Sunday, April 15, 2018
Time: 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Location: APA Hotel Woodbridge
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 conference sponsorship letter and form.

KEYNOTE PRESENTATION

Steve Silberman - Keynote SpeakerSteve Silberman

New York Times Bestselling Author, NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity, and Award-Winning Editor and Writer, Wired Magazine.

Learning from Autism: How to Think Smarter About People Who Think Differently


MORNING PLENARY SESSION

Panel Discussion

Employment Success for Those on the Spectrum
Private Employers; Campus to Career; Balancing Benefits While Working; Internships


PLUS TWO AFTERNOON BREAKOUT SESSIONS
WITH EIGHT WORKSHOPS TO CHOOSE FROM!

AFTERNOON BREAKOUT SESSION I

Outside The Classroom: Using Independent Living, Executive Functioning, Social, and Emotional Skills to Help Determine College Placement

Alexander Wood

Employment Options for Adults with AS/ASD and How to Pursue Them

Bice Delgaldo, MA, MBA, CPC

Transition to Adult Healthcare

Lorrie Desena, MSN, FNP-BC

Sexuality and the Spectrum: Lessons on Sex, Dating and Love Autism Style

Amy Gravino, MA

AFTERNOON BREAKOUT SESSION II

Person-Centered Life Planning: Securing the Future for People with ASD

Ellen Nalven, M.Ed.

Transportation Options for Individuals on the Spectrum

Cecilia Feeley, Ph.D.

Preparing Adults with ASD for Workplace Success: The Importance of Developing Strong Self-Advocacy and Communication Skills

Sharona Sommer, CPC

Sexuality and the Spectrum: Lessons on Sex, Dating and Love Autism Style (Available in both morning and afternoon sessions due to anticipated demand)

Amy Gravino, MA

MORE INFORMATION (JUMP)

Keynote 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 PRESENTATION:

STEVE SILBERMAN

Learning from Autism: How to Think Smarter About People Who Think Differently

What are the lessons of autism history? What are the myths we need to discard to help autistic individuals attain their maximum potential? Steve Silberman will share the surprising discoveries he made in researching his bestselling book, NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity, and offer a look at the expanding horizons of possibility for people on the spectrum and their families, while addressing current gaps in autism research.

↑ topMORNING PLENARY SESSION:

PANEL DISCUSSION

Employment Success for Those on the Spectrum

Panelists: Peg Monaghan, Lee Plenn, Elisa Cohen and Corey Kimble

Temple Grandin recommends that individuals on the spectrum be involved in work pursuits as early as 12 years old in order to get a head start on developing skills for thriving in the workplace. Learn great strategies for what you can do now going forward. Getting one’s foot in the door and managing stressful situations at work, so the result isn’t termination or lack of promotion are some of the obstacles to successful employment. Bring your questions and desire to learn about what is currently working for those with ASD.

EMPLOYMENT PANELISTS

  • Private Employer: SAP – Autism at Work Program – Peg Monaghan – NA Digital Business Services
  • Campus to Career: Rowan University – Lee Plenn, M.Ed. – Asst. Director, Academic Success Center
  • Balancing SSI/SSDI Benefits While Working: NJ Work Incentive Network Support (NJWINS) – Elisa Cohen – Community Work Incentives Coordinator
  • Internships – Path to Competitive Employment: Resources for Independent Living (RIL) – Corey Kimble – Youth Supervisor

↑ topAFTERNOON WORKSHOPS:

Conference attendees will choose two workshops, one for each of the following two afternoon breakout sessions.

BREAKOUT SESSION I

A) Outside The Classroom: Using Independent Living, Executive Functioning, Social, and Emotional Skills to Help Determine College Placement

presented by Alexander Wood

While college admission criteria often rely heavily on standardized test scores, academic rigor of the applicant’s high school, and cumulative grade point averages, trends in admissions as well as research on indicators of college success often look outside of the classroom to determine their findings. This discrepancy often leads to a confusing process for students and families; if efforts prior to college are often focused on achieving academic success, institutions, and thusly the family itself, may be ignoring pivotal skill sets that can help ease the transition to college. In fact, broad skill areas such as executive functioning, emotional regulation, self-care, and social functioning can often help make accurate predictions of levels of collegiate success, the student’s response to stress, and the methods in which they may cope with the adjustment. Finally, the audience will be provided with relevant information that will connect specific skill deficits with practical strategies or resources in a collegiate environment that would help students with autism spectrum disorders experience post-secondary success.

B) Employment Options for Adults with AS/ASD and How to Pursue Them

presented by Bice Delgaldo, MA, MBA, CPC

Planning a career, choosing how to make a living, and deciding what you want to do with your life are challenging tasks for anyone. It becomes even more complex for those who are on the autism spectrum. This presentation will cover the importance of knowing yourself (likes, dislikes, strengths, challenges), exploring employment options that are suitable for you, understanding what’s involved (skills, requirements, environment, demand), developing an action plan, and following through.

C) Transition to Adult Healthcare

presented by Lorrie Desena, MSN, FNP-BC

Most young adults transition from a pediatrician to a general practitioner or internist around the age of 18-21 years. Transitioning to a new medical care provider can be difficult for anyone, but especially individuals with ASD, who may have difficulty with change in general. Advance preparation for this change will benefit both the patient and the practitioner. If an emergency situation arises that doesn’t allow for advanced preparation, knowing key information to relay to the medical personnel at the beginning of an encounter can shorten the time to receive treatment and decrease anxiety and frustration for the patient.

D) Sexuality and the Spectrum: Lessons on Sex, Dating and Love Autism Style

presented by Amy Gravino, MA

** Please note this workshop is being offered in both morning and afternoon sessions due to anticipated demand **

Individuals on the autism spectrum are sexual beings, yet they are often not taught the necessary skills to be successful in romantic relationships. This session features a firsthand personal narrative from a woman on the autism spectrum, and gives an inside perspective on both the triumphs and heartbreaks of young adulthood. The potential for using principles of Applied Behavior Analysis to teach these skills, and challenges that may arise in doing so, will be addressed, as well as differences between males and females on the autism spectrum and challenges they may face as they encounter adolescence, puberty, and young adulthood. Strategies for professionals and parents to discuss issues and assist individuals on the spectrum in navigating relationships, avoiding victimization, and becoming empowered will also be discussed.

BREAKOUT SESSION II

E) Person-Centered Life Planning: Securing the Future for People with ASD

presented by Ellen Nalven, M.Ed.

This session will address future planning issues such as independent living supports, estate planning, and legal and financial protections. Topics include: how to implement a future life plan for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Special Needs Trusts, ABLE accounts, legal protections, home visit monitoring, and advocacy. Sample documents will be provided to guide families in planning for the future of their loved ones.

F) Transportation Options for Individuals on the Spectrum

presented by Cecilia Feeley, Ph.D.

This session will review why transportation and mobility are so important for an individual’s quality of life. Often the focus is on where an individual will work and where they will live while leaving out how they will commute between the two, as well as how they will access other important aspects of community life. Not everyone wants to or can drive themselves when the school bus stops coming. It is important for individuals on the autism spectrum and their families to understand the public transit system and paratransit services as well as other transportation options that are available.We will review how to access the various services, how the different transportation services work, how to travel independently, the best steps and tools to learn to travel independently, various agencies that can provide support, assistance or training, and methods to integrate travel training into everyday life.We will also review how to find various transportation options in one’s community since the options for someone living in rural areas can be very different than someone living in urban areas.

G) Preparing Adults with ASD for Workplace Success: The Importance of Developing Strong Self-Advocacy and Communication Skills

presented by Sharona Sommer, CPC

In this interactive workshop, participants will develop a deeper understanding of key soft skills: self advocacy, social skills, and executive functioning that can impact a young adult’s future success in a career. The presenter will discuss how to avoid invisible but costly pitfalls. Specific strategies and creative approaches will be taught in an interactive manner providing the practical tools and skills necessary for individuals with ASD to establish and maintain employment in their desired field of choice.

H) Sexuality and the Spectrum: Lessons on Sex, Dating and Love Autism Style

presented by Amy Gravino, MA

** Please note this workshop is being offered in both morning and afternoon sessions due to anticipated demand **

Individuals on the autism spectrum are sexual beings, yet they are often not taught the necessary skills to be successful in romantic relationships. This session features a firsthand personal narrative from a woman on the autism spectrum, and gives an inside perspective on both the triumphs and heartbreaks of young adulthood. The potential for using principles of Applied Behavior Analysis to teach these skills, and challenges that may arise in doing so, will be addressed, as well as differences between males and females on the autism spectrum and challenges they may face as they encounter adolescence, puberty, and young adulthood. Strategies for professionals and parents to discuss issues and assist individuals on the spectrum in navigating relationships, avoiding victimization, and becoming empowered will also be discussed.

↑ topABOUT OUR PRESENTERS

STEVE SILBERMAN is an award-winning science writer whose articles have appeared in The New York Times, Wired, The New Yorker, Nature, and many other publications. He is the author of The New York Times Bestseller NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity, which Oliver Sacks called a “sweeping and penetrating history…presented with a rare sympathy and sensitivity.” The book won the 2015 Samuel Johnson prize for non-fiction, was chosen as one of the Best Books of 2015 by The New York Times and many other publications, and is being translated into 15 languages.

ELISA COHEN is a Federally Certified Work Incentives Coordinator (CWIC), Employment Specialist and trainer. Elisa received her certification in WIPA Incentives Counseling at Virginia Commonwealth University in collaboration with the Social Security Administration. She has extensive knowledge of Social Security Administration Disability programs and the Ticket to Work Program. Since joining NJWINS in December 2013, Elisa has trained over 500 professionals and has provided benefit counseling and support to over 500 beneficiaries and families.

COREY KIMBLE has been the Youth Supervisor at Resources for Independent Living for the past 5 years. He has experience in working with youth who are in crisis and providing services to those who have a high level of need. He is the backup supervisor for the Supports Program with DDD. He has over 15 years experience in case management, crisis intervention, housing, and has been a supervisor in a group home setting as well. Corey holds a Bachelor’s Degree from Stockton University in Sociology. He was recently elected Councilman for the town of Riverside.

PEG MONAGHAN is a Program Consultant with the SAP Autism at Work Program. She has participated with the program since its inception in 2014 as a buddy and mentor. Her focus is on developing programs for students on the autism spectrum. The goal is to help students develop their creativity and collaboration skills through interaction and socialization with SAP colleagues while discovering their passions. The purpose of the program is to introduce students to teamwork and communication.

LEE PLENN is the Assistant Director for Disability Services at Rowan University’s Academic Success Center. He holds a Masters in Adult Education and is currently pursuing his Doctorate. His position at Rowan focuses on transition services for students with disabilities, student advocacy, and educational access. Lee connects students with the proper support services and helps them navigate the system. His expertise is in working with faculty, staff, and students to create a diverse and inclusive learning environment.

ALEXANDER WOOD is the Director of Transition Services at Franklin Academy, a private co-educational boarding school that caters specifically to students with ASD. During his decade there, he created and implemented the Franklin Academy College Transition Support program(FACTS), a nation-wide advising program to help students with learning or social differences navigate the transition into a college setting. He also created a transition curriculum for providing school-wide programming for students and their families across grade levels and post-secondary tracks.

BICE DEL GALDO, MA, MBA, CPC is founder and president of Joy 2 Life LLC, a coaching firm. Prior to founding Joy 2 Life in 2012, she spent more than 20 years in Human Resource management for large and small companies with a major focus on employment. Since 2012 she has focused on coaching individuals in career exploration/transition to clarify what they want to do with their lives. Having first-hand experience as a parent of an adult child with ASD, she specializes in coaching individuals with Asperger’s/ASD and other social communication differences. Bice holds an MA in counseling from Montclair State University, and an MBA from Fairleigh Dickinson University. She is a Senior Certified Professional SHRM-SCP and Certified Professional Coach. She serves on the Board of Directors of ASPEN and is the Coordinator of the Adult Issues ASPEN, Morris County Chapter.

LORRIE DESENA, MSN, FNP-BC is an associate professor at the Evelyn L. Spiro School of Nursing at Wagner College. She has been at Wagner for 7 years and currently teaches Pediatrics and Medication Dosage and Calculation. Additionally, she works in a pediatrician’s office as an FNP.

AMY GRAVINO, MA, is a Certified Autism Specialist and international speaker. As founder and president of A.S.C.O.T Consulting, she offers autism consulting and college coaching services for individuals on the autism spectrum, and mentoring services for young adults with autism. She currently serves on the Board of Directors of Yes She Can, Inc. and the Golden Door International Film Festival of Jersey City, and as cofacilitator of the Morris County chapter of ASPEN. Amy is the author of The Naughty Autie, a memoir of her experiences with dating, relationships, and sexuality from the firsthand perspective of a woman on the autism spectrum.

ELLEN NALVEN, M.Ed. is the executive director of Planned Lifetime Assistance Network of NJ (PLAN/NJ). She educates families on the importance of life planning to promote independent living and quality of life for individuals with disabilities. Ellen has received national recognition for her work in employment for people with disabilities. In 2012, she received the National Rebecca McDonald Leadership Award from APSE, The Association for People Supporting Employment First, and in 2009, she was awarded the co-founder award from NJAPSE.

CECILIA FEELEY, Ph.D. is the Transportation Autism Project Manager at the Rutgers University Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation. For more than 10 years she has been working with adolescents and adults on the Autism Spectrum on their transportation and mobility needs. She has personally worked on travel training with over 100 individuals for fixed route services like NJ Transit’s bus and rail, paratransit services like Access Link, as well as using transportation network companies like Uber and Lyft.

SHARONA SOMMER, Certified Professional Coach, is Director of Family Services at the College Internship Program. She has over 20 years in the Special Education field and is founder of Sharona Coaching and Consulting. She is a lead trainer and a content contributor for CIP’s Autism and Learning Differences Active Learning Teaching Toolkit.

↑ 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.

↑ 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 STEVE SILBERMAN — Keynote Presentation – Learning from Autism: How to Think Smarter About People Who Think Differently
10:30 AM BREAK/VISIT EXHIBITORS
10:45 AM PANEL DISCUSSION — Plenary — Employment Success for Those on the Spectrum
12:00 Noon BUFFET LUNCH/BOOK SIGNING/VISIT EXHIBITORS
1:00 PM AFTERNOON BREAKOUT SESSION I
2:15 PM COFFEE AND DESSERT BREAK/VISIT EXHIBITORS
2:45 PM AFTERNOON BREAKOUT SESSION II
Conference concludes at 4:00 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, call 1-732-494-6200 as soon as possible.

↑ 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 4/5/18. Early registration is suggested due to seating limitations. Early Registration Discount Pricing is available through 3/30/18. Take advantage of Early Registration discounts now!
  • 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 3/15/18. 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, AND LUNCH

ALL FEES ARE PER PERSON. JOIN TODAY AND SAVE.

Early-Bird Discount Pricing is in effect through 3/30/18!

MEMBER (PARENT or GRANDPARENT)
$115.00 ($145.00 after 3/30/18)
MEMBER (PROFESSIONAL)
$185.00 ($215.00 after 3/30/18)
MEMBER (YOUNG ADULT INDIVIDUAL WITH ASD)
$80.00 ($100.00 after 3/30/18)
NON-MEMBER (PARENT or FAMILY MEMBER)
$150.00 ($180.00 after 3/30/18)
NON-MEMBER (PROFESSIONAL)
$225.00 ($255.00 after 3/30/18)
NON-MEMBER (YOUNG ADULT INDIVIDUAL WITH ASD)
$120.00, ($135.00 after 3/30/18)

Register for the Spring 2018 Conference OnlineRegister for the Spring 2018 Conference by mail

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 conference sponsorship letter and form.

↑ top

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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.