We are less than one month away from this year’s Autism Speaks National Conference for Families and Professionals! We were lucky enough to sit down with Dr. Stephen Shore, who will be one of the keynote speakers.
Diagnosed with "Atypical Development and strong autistic tendencies" and "too sick" for outpatient treatment, Dr. Shore was recommended for institutionalization. Nonverbal until four, and with much support from his parents, teachers, wife, and others, Stephen is now a professor at Adelphia University where his research focuses on matching best practice to the needs of people with autism.
Here is a little spoiler alert about what exciting topics the amazing Dr. Shore is going to discuss in Columbus next month!
Given the title of the conference Treating the Whole Person with Autism: Care Across the Lifespan , Stephen plans to focus on what can be done to promote the success of individuals with autism through their lifespan. He will share several strategies that parents, educators and others can utilize to set the stage for success from the first diagnosis to early intervention and carrying that forward into what can be done throughout their path to adulthood. Stephen stresses one important thing to always remember: “If you’ve met one person with autism, you’ve met one person with autism.”
Another topic Stephen plans to touch on is employment. We can use primary education to set the stage for employment. He said, “Autism is a study of extremes,” and if we can focus on the strengths and interests of individuals rather than weaknesses, a good employment fit is possible. All of us are more successful when working in an area related to our interests and this is especially true for people on the spectrum.
Stephen often sees parents trapped into focusing on the deficits their child may have and worrying about what their child “doesn’t” or “can’t” do. Certainly there are challenges faced by individuals with autism, but we all need to be cognizant of and focus on strengths wherever and whenever possible. He believes with its size and international reach, Autism Speaks is in a unique position for connecting research to intervention and education, working with families, and finally – the reason we are all here – to improve the lives of individuals on the autism spectrum. Together we can make it a reality to have those with autism living fulfilling and productive lives the rule rather than the exception.
Learn more about the Autism Speaks National Conference here!