A Live Controversy

Conferences and Training

Next Event

Living with Autism

April 15, 2015
German Club Manor
711 Southgate Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24060

Cost: Early Registration (must be received before April 01, 2015) $75/person
Regular Registration (on or after April 01, 2015) $100/person
morning coffee and lunch included

Presenter: David Hamrick is a 34-year-old man with high-functioning autism. He has a Master's of Science degree in meteorology from North Carolina State University. He is currently a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in College Park, Maryland, and has been an employee of the NWS since 2006. In addition to his academic pursuits, Mr. Hamrick is also active in the autism community. He has been an active board member of The Autism Program of Virginia, and has served as an officer of a Virginia autism society chapter in Newport News. Since 1999, he has been a frequent presenter at autism conferences throughout Virginia and neighboring states about how autism has personally influenced him.

Presenter: Lindsey Nebeker is a 29-year-old woman with autism. She also has a brother diagnosed with autism. Both Lindsey and her brother were born in Tokyo, Japan, where they spent most of their early childhood before moving to the United States. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Technology from the College of Santa Fe in New Mexico. Lindsey has been in a long-term relationship with her boyfriend, Dave Hamrick, who also has a diagnosis of high-functioning autism. She has been active within the autism community in the United States and Canada by presenting at conferences and workshops about how autism has personally affected her, and serves as the Washington DC Liaison for the Autism Women’s Network. Lindsey also made an appearance in Glamour Magazine, ABC's Good Morning America and the cover of Autism Spectrum Quarterly along with Dave Hamrick in 2009.

Presenter: Roxana Hartmann is a autism consultant and International speaker on disability issues and educational practices. With over 25 years of experience in the field of autism. Roxana advocates for Inclusive Education, Person Center Planning, Positive Behavior Supports, Self-determination, Friendships and Natural Supports to ensure the best outcomes for children in the autism spectrum. She is the mother of a young man with autism who is nonverbal and was fully included through high school. She is the co author of the book A Live Controversy Roxana appeared on the Today Show, on CBS This Morning, and on The News Hour with Jim Leher. She was featured in the Washington Post,in People Magazine, New York Times, USA TODAY, and by the AP Worldwide.

Presenter: Laura Hartmann has spoken nationally and internationally about her experiences from the other side of the spectrum, as a person growing up with a sibling with autism. Laura has earned an English M.A. from Virginia Tech and a Spanish M.A. from St. Louis University. She is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in English literature at Northeastern University in Boston. Laura actively pursues ways to blend her academic interests and her role as a sibling advocate.

Topics Covered:

  1. Living with Autism
  2. Full Inclusion: Educating my Nonverbal Son with Autism
  3. Weathering Autism and Employment
  4. Living with a Sibling with Autism
  5. Unconditional Love
  6. We Are No Longer Silent: A Heart-To-Heart Conversation on Autism and Sexual Abuse
  7. Nine Things You Must Include in Sexuality Education for Individuals with ASD

Intended Audience:

  • Teachers
  • Therapists
  • Specialists
  • Psychologists
  • School Principals
  • Paraprofessionals
  • Parents of individuals with ASDs

Please remember to register early, since our workshops and training spaces fill up fast. There will be NO on-site registrations. Please mail in the Registration Form below or register online.

Download the Conference Information Flyer and Registration Form

Register Online Here


Past Events

Strategies for Supporting Adolescents and Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder

October 28, 2014
German Club Manor
711 Southgate Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24060

Cost: Early Registration (must be received before October 22, 2014) $50/person
Regular Registration (on or after October 22, 2014) $60/person

Presenter: Richard C. Kriner, M.S., CRC, PBSF, LPC, is responsible for supporting DARS' involvement in Autism focused projects and activities, managing VR participation on research activities, ensuring knowledge dissemination to stakeholders, and integrating evidenced-based results into DARS service delivery. Richards has presented on Autism and effective VR practices through state and national conferences, national webcast, and contributed to professional journals and practice briefs. At the state level he has played a key role with integrating findings from evidence based research into the VR program through the development and delivery of formalized trainings, policy development, and the implementation of new autism focused service models. He joined DARS in 2002 as a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor with a specialty caseload in long-term mental illness. He has experience planning, directing, and managing programs for people with disabilities including, DARS activities on the Assistive Technology for Cognition research study, VA DARS Autism Services Pilots, the Virginia Disability Program Navigator Initiative, Virginia's Disability Services Boards, and the Statewide Independent Living Council.

Presenter: Dr. Antoinette Sabatino received her PhD in Developmental Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2013 with a research focus in Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD). She is currently the research coordinator for the Virginia Tech Center for Autism Research (VTCAR) and a higher education representative for the Virginia Autism Council (VAC). Antoinette has several years of experience working with children and adults with ASD, specifically school aged children, adolescents, and adolescents/young adults transitioning out of secondary education.

Presenter: Teresa Cogar, M.Ed., PBSF, is a Training Associate for Virginia Commonwealth University - Autism Center for Excellence (VCU-ACE). She earned her Master's Degree in Special Education from James Madison University. Teresa has worked in Virginia serving individuals with disabilities since 1998. She has worked in Virginia Public schools supporting students with ASD at the elementary and secondary level. Teresa also has seven years' experience as a Training Coordinator with the VDOE's Training and Technical Assistance Center at James Madison University. She enjoys working with individuals with disabilities and those who serve them to assist them in developing a better quality of life throughout their lifespan.

What is Covered: Strategies for Supporting Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) is a workshop designed to introduce participants to good general strategies for supporting people that experience social, communication, and sensory issues related to ASDs across the life span. Participants in this workshop should have a basic understanding of autism spectrum disorders. Participants must attend the entire day. This training is geared for high school educators, adult service providers and parents of adults with ASD.

Intended Audience:

  1. Parents of individuals with ASDs
  2. Administrators
  3. General and special educators
  4. Paraprofessionals
  5. Therapists
  6. Community service providers
  7. Adult service providers

Please remember to register early, since our workshops and training spaces fill up fast. There will be NO on-site registrations. Please mail in the Registration Form below or register online.

Download the Conference Information Flyer and Registration Form



Two Half-Day Workshops: Senses & Sensibilities and Obstacles into Opportunities

May 8, 2014
German Club Manor
711 Southgate Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24060

Cost: Early Registration (must be received before April 18, 2014) $75/person
Regular Registration (on or after April 18, 2014) $100/person

Presenter: Dr. Stephen Shore, Ed.D. is an assistant professor of special education at Adelphi University in New York. As a child, he was recommended for institutionalization after being diagnosed with "Atypical Development and strong au-tistic tendencies" and "too sick" for outpatient treatment. Nonverbal until age four, and with much support from his parents, teachers, wife, and others, Stephen is now a professor at Adelphi University where his research focuses on matching best practice to the needs of people with autism.

In addition to working with children and talking about life on the autism spectrum, Dr. Shore presents and con-sults internationally on adult issues per-tinent to education, relationships, em-ployment, advocacy, and disclosure.

Senses & Sensibilities: An Inside View on Sensory Issues, What They Look Like, Avoiding Them, and Working Through Ones That OccurLike, Occur: The aim of this presentation is to enable susceptible individuals and those close to them to avoid and minimize the effect of sensory overload through easy to implement solutions, thereby enabling those with sensory issues to lead fulfilling and productive lives.

Goals of the Training:

  1. Experience what sensory overload may feel like for an individual on the autism spectrum.
  2. List at least three situations that might indicate that a sensory issue is present.
  3. Learn how to develop and implement accommodations for sensory issues.
  4. Become familiar with instruments for assessing for sensory issues.

Obstacles Into Opportunities: Turning Away from Closed DoorsObstacles Doors and Opening New Onesand Ones: In this second presentation, Dr. Shore employs an autobio-graphical structure combined with experiences of others with autism to examine how deficits and challenges so per-vasively attributed to autism can be reframed as strengths.

Goals of the Training:

  1. List at least three situations where deficits can become strengths.
  2. Develop a familiarity as to how strengths can be used to navigate around challenges.
  3. Learn that considered decisions can be made to avoid areas of challenge while still leading a fulfilling and productive life.
  4. Understand the importance of people with autism and other disabilities in understanding themselves as a key factor in success.

Please remember to register early, since our workshops and training spaces fill up fast. There will be NO on-site registrations. Please mail in the Registration Form below or register online.

Download the Conference Information Flyer and Registration Form



Liane Holliday Willey: Understanding, Supporting and Living with Asperger Syndrome

November 6, 2013
German Club Manor
711 Southgate Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24060

Cost: Early Registration (must be received on or before October 21, 2013) $75/person
Regular Registration (after October 21, 2013) $100/person

Presenter: Liane Holliday Willey, Ed. PH.D, received her B.A. in Speech Communications (1981), her M.Ed. (1983) at the University of Missouri, and her EdD in Reading Education-Psycholinguistics (1988) from Mississippi State University. Her first book, Pretending to be Normal: Living with Asperger's Syndrome (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 1999) is a bestseller in the field having sold over 70,000 copies to date. Her books Asperger Syndrome in the Family: Redefining Normal (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2001) and Adolescents and Asperger Syndrome in the Adolescent Years: Living With the Ups and Downs and Things in Between (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2003) are also on their way to becoming bestsellers in the field. Liane has also contributed individual chapters to several books on Asperger syndrome. Her fourth release, Safety Skills for Asperger Women ~ How to Save a Perfectly Good Female Life, debuted to great reviews in July of 2011.

In this presentation, Professor Liane Holliday Willey shares her personal journey with Asperger syndrome as a person with AS, a parent of an Aspie and an academic who studies communications and learning style differences. From her unique perspective, Liane leads a frank discussion on the challenges people with AS face, followed by practical support suggestions that address communication, executive functioning and emotional challenges. This presentation is best suited for parents, counselors, teachers and caregivers to people with AS.

To learn more about Liane visit www.aspie.com

Download a list of books by Liane Holliday Willey

Download the Conference Information Flyer



Executive Function Deficits: A Practical Strategies Seminar for Educators and Clinicians Working with Students Diagnosed with Executive Function Disorder, Autism, Asperger's, ADD, NVLD

April 17, 2013
German Club Manor
711 Southgate Drive
Blacksburg, VA 24060

Cost: Early Registration (must be received on or before March 1, 2013) $75/person
Regular Registration (after March 1, 2013) $100/person

Presenter: Rebecca Moyes, M.Ed., is a former regular education teacher for nine years in public and private schools in Pennsylvania. She has two children, one of whom has been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome. She left her teaching position to become an autism inclusion consultant. Today, she serves as the Regional Coordinator for Autism Training and Consultation at Pressley Ridge in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania. Rebecca also serves as an autism presenter with the Bureau of Education Research and travels to many cities throughout the United States and Canada. She is highly recognized as an authority in the field of autism education.

Description of Training: Executive functions are the cognitive tasks that allow us to plan, organize, initiate, attend to task, and regulate & monitor behavior. They are the key building blocks to learning! Until recently, not much as been known about how to address executive function disorder in children and adolescents with autism. Many times, the child's problems were considered to be "just poor behavior," but we do know that kids with autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, and certain types of learning disabilities (including nonverbal learning disability) can all be impacted from executive function deficits.

To learn more about the speaker visit: www.rebeccamoyes.com.

Download a list of books by Rebecca Moyer