2017 Targeting Autism Forum — A Huge Success!

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The 2017 Targeting Autism Forum, held on May 11-12 was educational and offered a  group of library staff, autism and other disabilities service providers, teachers and therapists  from Illinois, as well as, nationwide and Canada, an opportunity to network with over 80 “like minded”  people who share their vision of a world that is inclusive of autism and other hidden disabilities.  While the forum included a variety of topics pertaining to all ages, many of our speakers and panels addressed the issue employment and support for individuals who are transitioning out of high school.

The following includes photos from the forum.  All sessions were recorded and are available on the Targeting Autism YouTube Channel.  Links to individual presentations are highlighted below:

Michael John Carley

Michael John Carley — author of Asperger’s From the Inside Out and Unemployed on the Autism Spectrum.  Carley was also the founder and first Executive Director of GRASP an former Executive Director of ASTEP.  Click here to view presentation,   Part I and Part II.


from left to right: Philip Zupon, Dan O’Hara, Ata Bird, Tina Dolcetti and Russ Bonanno (moderator)

Employed and on the SpectrumA panel discussion with Philip Zupon, Librarian, Ionia Correctional Facility; Dan O’Hara, Librarian, Midlothian Public Library; Ata Bird, Teacher/BCaBA, Champaign, IL; Tina Dolcetti, Librarian, Moose Jaw Public Library. Moderated by Russ Bonanno, The Autism Program of Illinois (TAP).  Click here to view the presentation, Part I and Part II.

Brian R. King

The Role of Relationships in Successful Adulting with ASDBrian R. King, author of Strategies for Building Successful Relationships with People on the Autism Spectrum.  Click here to view the presentation.

Donald Cohen, Colin Eldred-Cohen, Anlor Davin, and Greg Yates

Sparking Creative Expression for Adults on the Spectrum and Ideas for Libraries.  An engaging presentation about the path to creative writing, publishing and the special difficulties that creative people on the spectrum face and how libraries can support them.  Colin Eldred-Cohen, author of children’s book, The Fire Truck Who Got Lost and Anlor Davin, author of Being Seen.  Click here to view the presentation Part I and Part II.

Linda Hodgdon

5 Essentials for Engineering the Library Environment to Meet the Needs of the Autism Community.  Linda Hodgdon, author of Visual Strategies For Improving Communication, autism consultant, referred to as “The Queen of Visuals,” shares how a few easy accommodations can provide significant opportunity for patrons to benefit from libraries.  Click here to view the presentation.

Carrie Banks

Inclusion in the Library: Making it Real presented by Carrie Banks, Director, Brooklyn Public Library’s Inclusive Services and author of Including Families of Children with Special Needs.  Click here to view presentation, Part I and Part II.

Debra Vines, Keisha Hester and Katrina Thompson

Exploring Library Services for Underserved Populations.  Debra Vines, Founder & Executive Director of The Answer, Inc., along with Keisha Hester and Katrina Thompson explore the impact of autism in communities of color and the important charge for libraries to engage all members of their community.  Click here to view presentation.

Carlos and David Ovalle, Arturo Cabral, Philip Marsh, Carlos Espinoza and Virginia Murray

Tu Y Yo’s Dream Libraries.  Tu Y Yo is Grupo Salto’s peer mentorship group for adolescents and adult autism self-advocates serving the Chicagoland area.  The group name Tu Y Yo is the Spanish phrase for “you and I’ which expresses connection to the Spanish speaking cultures many of the participants come from.  Their panel shares ideas to make libraries more inclusive learning environments.  Click here to view the presentation.

Magi Henderson and Janet McAllister

Libraries Providing Work Experiences for Those on the Spectrum — A Report by Magi Henderson, Glen Carbon Centennial Library and Janet McAllister, Rochester Public Library.  Click here to view the presentation.

Beth Paoli and Debra Aggertt

Library Departments Working Together Toward Inclusion — A Report by Beth Paoli, Literacy Consultant, IL State Library, and Debra Aggertt, Associate Director for Library Development, IL State Library.  Click here to view the presentation.

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