How Libraries Can Work with Local Stakeholders to Serve the Autistic Community : Collaborative Models in Illinois

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Amanda Marti, Community Advocate, provided a real-life step-by-step example of developing a community needs assessment and sustainable collaborations.  As Amanda points out, “It takes a village to raise a child. It takes a child with autism to raise the consciousness of a village.”  (Elaine Hall)

Click here to view Amanda’s entire presentation.

2018 forum Amanda Marti



Holly Jin (Skokie Public Library); Cathy Hoffman (Mokena Public Library); Deb Sherrick (Greenup Township Public Library); Kathy Claybaugh and Julie Ozier (Monat Gratitude Autism Squad of Cumberland County, IL, shared how they formed partnerships in their communities to enhance and expand library services to people with disabilities.

Click here to view their entire panel discussion.

2018 forum Holly Jin, Cathy Hoffman et al






Targeting Autism: Global Perspectives

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2018 forum Nancy Bolt

Nancy Bolt  has been active in the library profession for over 35 years. Ms. Bolt has expertise in strategic planning, project planning and evaluation, staff development and training and international library development. Her work with the International Federation of Libraries and Institutions (IFLA) and the United Nations (U.N.) focuses on services for people with disabilities. Ms. Bolt was 2016 recipient of the American Library Association (ALA) Elizabeth Futas Catalyst for Change Award. She was also named the 2016 recipient of the American Library Association (ALA) International Relations Committee’s John Ames Humphry/OCLC/Forest Press Award, given to a librarian or person who has made significant contributions to international librarianship. She has also authored a large number of influential publications.

Nancy Bolt’s entire presentation is available here.



2018 forum Sujin HugginsSujin Huggins, Ph.D., an Associate Professor at Dominican University’s School of Information Studies and a Targeting Autism project partner, was born and raised in Trinidad.  Dr. Huggins gave a compelling presentation on the history and culture of Trinidad, and how their citizens are beginning to address the needs of individuals with autism.

Sujin’s entire presentation is available here.



2018 Samuel Senyo Dogoe

Samuel Senyo Dogoe, Executive Director of Contemporary Consultancy Organization in Ghana, shared his ongoing work in building and developing the first diagnostic and treatment clinic and school serving children with autism in the Volta Region.

Samuel’s entire presentation is available here.




National Speaker, Writer, Consultant & Self-Advocate, Kerry Magro, Shares His Personal Story and Wisdom at the Forum

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2018 forum Kerry MagroKerry Magro, best-selling author, national speaker, movie consultant and non-profit founder had a very uncertain future growing up. Diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS) a form of autism, at age four, he was non-verbal and required countless hours of therapy and support. Kerry discusses overcoming obstacles and provides tips for living a successful life on the spectrum.

Kerry’s presentation can be viewed in its entirely and is linked below:

Part I

Part II


Morénike Giwa-Onaiwu: On the Theory of Intersectionality and the Particular Challenges of Being Black, Female and Autistic

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Morénike Giwa-Onaiwu is a community advocate, writer, Christian, wife, mom and educator.  American born to immigrant parents, Morénike is a black, autistic woman in a multicultural, neurodiverse family of color and a firm supporter of human rights.  Morénike is a contributing author/editor of several existing publications, abstracts, and books focusing on community engagement, disability, diversity and nontraditional leadership, including “The Real Experts: Readings for Parents of Autistic Children,” All the Weight of Our Dreams: On Living Racialized Autism,” “Knowing Why: Adult-Diagnosed Autistic People on Life and Autism,” and more.

Morénike’s entire presentation at the 2018 Targeting Autism Forum is available here.

2018 forum morenike Giwa Onaiwu

Susan Senator Kicks Off the Forum with Insights & Strategies for Living a Fulfilling Life with Autism

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Susan Senator — author, blogger, journalist, educator and mother of three sons, the oldest of whom is diagnosed with autism, Ms. Senator is the author of Making Peace With Autism as well as The Autism Mom’s Survival Guide and now, Autism Adulthood: Insights and Creative Strategies for a Fulfilling Life. A journalist since 1997, she has published pieces on disability, parenting, and living happily, in publications such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, Exceptional Parent Magazine, NPR, Family Fun, and Education Week. Senator has appeared as a guest on the Today Show, MSNBC, ABC News, PBS, NPR and CNN.  Her writings on Special Olympics took her to the White House in 2006, to a state dinner for Eunice Kennedy Shriver.

Ms. Senator’s complete presentation at the 2018 Targeting Autism Forum is available here.

Susan Senator at the 2018 forum

Panel Discussion on Helping Make Libraries Inclusive

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Librarians on the autism spectrum share their experience of being autistic and working in a library.  You can view the full panel discussion in a two part interview:

Part I; Part II

2018 forum librarians on the spectrum
From left to right: Charlie Remy – Academic Librarian, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga; Gyasi Burks-Abbott – a librarian and self-advocate and Advisor, Advocates for Autism of Massachusetts and a board member, Autism Housing Pathways; Steph Diorio – Archivist, Jewish Historical Society of North Jersey; Erin Miller – Library Aide, Cudahy Family Library, Cudahy, WI











A Spectrum of Presenters at the 2018 Targeting Autism Forum

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2018 Targeting Autism forum presenters on the spectrum
From left to right:  Gyasi Burks-Abbott; Morénike Giwa Onaiwu; Stephanie Diorio; Charlie Remy; Kerry Magro; Alyssa Huber; and Erin Miller


This year, we were excited to host seven speakers who are self-advocates on the autism spectrum.  We learned so much from these bright and talented speakers.

Presentations included:

  • A panel of librarians (Gyasi Burks-Abbott; Stephanie Diorio; Charlie Remy; and Erin Miller) who addressed questions such as, how they could promote positive change in a library or in the field of librarianship;
  • Morénike Giwa Onaiwu, who presented on living at the intersection of being black, female and autistic;
  • Kerry Magro, author, national speaker, movie consultant and non-profit founder, spoke about his journey to adulthood on the spectrum; and
  • Alyssa Huber, independent filmmaker showed her film, Through Our Eyes: Living with Asperger’s, followed by a Q & A.

All presentations will be available on the Targeting Autism YouTube Channel.