National Conference – Autism Society

Angelena Iglesia

Autism Society of America invites you to a two-day conference with presentations and breakout discussions covering a wide range of topics related to Autism. This year we have four theme tracks which encompass inclusion, community, innovation and much more! Our speakers will represent a variety of areas as it relates […]

Autism Society of America invites you to a two-day conference with presentations and breakout discussions covering a wide range of topics related to Autism.

This year we have four theme tracks which encompass inclusion, community, innovation and much more! Our speakers will represent a variety of areas as it relates to the autism lifespan.

Questions? Contact [email protected]  

We are pleased to announce our Keynote Speaker, Gwendolyn Harshaw, with a Special Performance by her son Zayne Harshaw!

At 4 years old he was diagnosed with autism. Gwen will share how they found strength through Zayne’s gifts instead of focusing on his weaknesses.

Today, Zayne is a member of the band Blue Spectrum which has 2 other autistic members.

He taught himself to play the guitar. Music has really transformed him from a painfully shy boy to an extremely confIdent musician.

Check out our 2019 Track Themes!

Leading Toward Innovation in Autism
There are endless options around Autism in technology, communication, culturally, and much more. These sessions will focus on providing resources to help live in a positive and optimistic way.

I Am Autism: Self-Empowerment
Autism continues to be redefined by the amazing individuals and their support systems constantly showing the world how great different can be. This session will focus on the resources and tools available to help support individuals becoming the best version of themselves and meeting the individuals’ particular needs.

20/20 Vision- The Future is You!
With rapid advances occurring every day the world around us will look very different. However, what will that future really look like, and how will it change our lives? Together we will explore best practices, tips, and what you need to know to navigate the years ahead and what that means for the autism community.

Assessment, Action, and Accountability
Achieving optimal quality of life measures for everyone living with autism is critical. The Autism Society’s 15 Quality of Life Outcomes range from self-sufficiency/decision- making, career opportunities, and essential aspects of the human experience. These sessions will focus on how to support your loved one’s journey and to help define success on your own terms.

Policy Advocacy Track Sessions

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Breakout Session 1: Budget and Appropriations 

How will federal programs supporting people with autism fare in this year’s budget and appropriations process? Learn steps to take to advocate for adequate funding for programs important to people with autism. Featuring Annie Acosta, Director of Fiscal Policy and Family Support, The Arc; Lisa Ekman, Director of Gov’t Affairs, National Organization of Social Security Claimants’ Representatives; and Richelle Friedman, Coalition on Human Needs.

Breakout Session 2: Health and Home and Community Based Services and Supports

Autism Society’s coalition partners explore federal policy developments related to health and services that support community living, including Medicaid, Social Security, Lifespan Respite Care Act, Affordable Care Act, and New health and long term services bills. Featuring Nicole Jorwic, Senior Director of Public Policy, The Arc; Jill Kagan, Director, ARCH National Respite Network and Resource Center; and TJ Sutcliff, Professional Staff Member, Social Security Subcommittee, House Committee on Ways and Means.

Breakout Session 3: Federal Education and Employment Policies

National experts discuss IDEA, Higher Education Reauthorization, Every Student Succeeds Act implementation and legislation to increase competitive integrated employment and transition services. Featuring Amanda Lowe, Policy Analyst, National Disability Rights Network (NDRN); Alison Barkoff, Director of Advocacy, Center for Public Representation; Kimberly Knackstedt, Professional staff, Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee; and Claire Viall, Office of Rep. Bobby Scott, House Education and Labor Committee.

Breakout Session 4: Autism CARES Act Reauthorization

The Autism CARES Act will expire September 30, 2019 if it is not reauthorized.  Federal legislative staff and other stakeholders discuss the law’s impact and plans for the reauthorization. Featuring Angela Lello, Autism Speaks; Rylin Rodgers, Director of Public Policy, Association of University Centers on Disabilities; and Kelsey Griswald, Office of Rep. Chris Smith.

Day on the Hill

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Join us for our day on the hill to meet with members of Congress to discuss policy and advocate for our community’s rights. Together we can positively affect change by making our voices heard and rallying for support around services needed for the autism community.

Autism Society day on the hill webinar archived here with more information

Frequently Asked Questions

I’m interested in being a speaker, what do I do?
The opportunity to present a session at our 2019 conference is currently by invitation only.

What if I need to cancel my registration?
Registration cancellation requests received before and on June 1, 2019 will be processed without a cancellation penalty. A full refund will be granted. Registration cancellation requests received after June 1, 2019 will be processed minus a $60.00 cancellation penalty. To cancel, contact [email protected].

Are you offering CEUs?
Yes, but only for Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA).

Do you offer Financial Aid to individuals on the spectrum?
Yes! Please complete the Financial Aid form here. 

What if the hotel room block is sold out?
There are a host of other hotels nearby, please click here for additional options. Click here to make hotel reservations. Please note, upon completion of your conference registration you will be immediately directed to hotel registration as well.

Will there be an exhibit hall?
We will not have an exhibit hall this year.

What services will be available to individuals on the spectrum and other special needs attendees?
The following accommodations will be available for the duration of the conference:
– Sensory Friendly Room
– Quiet Room
– Interaction Badges

How do I schedule my Day on the Hill Meetings?

  • Search for your Senators/Representatives (just enter your zip code at Find Elected Officials):
  • Call switchboard (202) 224-3121 to get connected to the office of your representatives and Senators; ask to schedule a meeting with the Disability or Health Legislative Assistant on July 11th after 10 am (9-10am Breakfast in Dirksen Senate Office Building)
  • Or look for numbers in our Find Elected Officials:
  • Plan to meet with your two Senators and your Representative(s).  Prioritize your visits with those on committees that have jurisdiction over our legislative priorities, e.g. House Energy and Commerce for Autism CARES Act.
  • Email [email protected] with questions






Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for updates about the conference! 

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