EASTHAMPTON — April is Autism Awareness month, and Autism Connections, the Western Mass. autism center serving families and individuals in Berkshire, Franklin, Hampshire, and Hampden counties, will host its 30th annual Autism Conference on Thursday, April 29.
The day-long, virtual educational conference brings together hundreds of parents, caregivers, educators, people with autism, self-advocates, professionals, organizations, and service providers to build awareness and knowledge, be inspired, and make meaningful connections.
“The conference is virtual this year, but the engagement that people associate with the annual conference will be the same.” said Karen Serra, director of Autism Connections. “We know how busy people’s days are right now, and we are thrilled to be able to offer all who register access to recordings of the conference until December 2021.”
Morning and afternoon breakout sessions led by experts will focus on topics as they relate to autism, including “Boundaries and Relationships,” “I Used to Be Bullied for Having Autism — Here’s When it Stopped,” “Combating Diagnostic Disparities in African Americans,” “Individualized College Support for Students in Need of Transition Services,” and many more.
Educator, writer, and global advocate Morénike Giwa Onaiwu is the morning keynote speaker, and will also present a breakout session titled, “Forged by Fire: the Intersection of Race, Disability, and Gender.”
Stacey Gordon, an American puppeteer who is best known for portraying Julia, a 4-year-old female Muppet with autism, on Sesame Street, is the afternoon keynote speaker. Gordon, who is the mother of a child with autism, will also present a breakout session on “Puppeteering for Parents and Professionals” on connecting with children through puppets.
This year’s event is made possible in part thanks to the generosity of presenting sponsor Radcliffe is the Reason and Arthur Too! Fight for Autism.
For more information about Autism Connections or the 30th annual Autism Conference, visit autismconnectionsma.org or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.