October 12, 2017 by HCDE-Texas
Fifty-four educators in the Greater Houston area attended Autism Summit 2017 on Oct. 4-5 at Harris County Department of Education. The summit featured keynote speakers Carol Gray and Dorothea Lerman and provided breakout sessions with autism experts that focused on autism legislation and transition services. Participants also heard testimonials from a panel of young adults with autism spectrum disorder.
During the first day of the summit, Gray provided a workshop on using “Social Stories™” to help students with autism dealing with the impact of Hurricane Harvey. Social Stories™ is a tool that supports safe, meaningful exchange of information between parents, professionals and people with autism. On the second day, Lerman provided important insight for participants as the director of the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities at the University of Houston – Clear Lake.
“This Autism Summit was informative and engaging,” said Leslie Willis-White with Gulf Coast Community Services Association. “It provided a different perspective for working with students with autism.”
The Autism Summit also featured a “Question and Answer” session with a panel of young adults with autism spectrum disorder. The panelists included Madison Flavin, graduate student at Rice University who was diagnosed with autism at age 19; Nicholas Guillerman, Katy ISD Career and Technology teacher involved in Houston Autism Resources and Support (HARS); and Grant Manier, emerging Eco-artist who has won multiple awards for his Eco-impressionism and recently published a children’s book about his experiences.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral challenges. CDC statistics show that one in 68 children has been identified with autism spectrum disorder, and the condition occurs in all ethnic and socioeconomic groups. To view photos from the summit, visit https://hcdetx.smugmug.com/ISS/Autism-Summit-2017/ (password: hcde1889).