2022 Milestones National Autism Conference
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Warrensville Heights, OH 44128

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Home Events 2022 Milestones National Autism Conference Keynotes, Sessions & CEUs Keynote and Featured Speakers

Keynote and Featured Speakers

Eric Garcia

Eric Garcia is a journalist who covers politics and policy in Washington D.C., currently serving as a senior correspondent for The Independent and columnist for MSNBC. His first book, “We’re Not Broken: Changing the Autism Conversation,” was published in August 2021, and gained praise from many critics including the Washington Post, who described the work as “outstanding.” Eric previously worked as an assistant editor for the Washington Post’s Outlook section, an associate editor at The Hill, and a correspondent for National Journal, MarketWatch, and Roll Call. He has also written for the Daily Best, the New Republic, and Salon.com. Eric is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Tuesday, 11:00am Keynote -- We’re Not Broken: Changing the Autism Conversation
Tuesday, 2:30pm -- Centering Autistic Voices: Refocusing the Autism Narrative
Tuesday, 4:00pm -- Broadening the Spectrum: How Narrow Diagnoses of Autism Actively Harmed People of Color and How to Fix It

Paula Kluth, PhD

Dr. Paula Kluth is a consultant, author, advocate, and independent scholar who works with teachers and families to provide inclusive opportunities for students with disabilities and to create more responsive and engaging schooling experiences for all learners. She is a former K-12 special educator who has served as a classroom teacher, co-teacher, and inclusion facilitator. Paula has also been a university professor and has taught courses on both inclusion and disability studies. Most recently, Paula’s work has centered on helping teachers and administrators educate all students in their schools and classrooms. She also frequently works with families and advocacy groups to support goals related to inclusion. In addition to inclusive education, her professional interests include Universal Design for Learning, co-teaching, and educating students with complex support needs.

All In: 18 Ways to Include All Students in Virtual Classrooms is Paula’s newest book. She is also the author or co-author of 15 other titles including Universal Design Daily, 30 Days to the Co-Taught Classroom, Don’t We Already Do Inclusion?, and “You’re Going to Love This Kid!”: Teaching Students with Autism in Inclusive Classrooms. She is also the author of a few books for children including Coaster, a story of a puppy with wonderful wheels.

Paula has won several awards in her field. She is the recipient of the PEAK Parent Center’s Ally for Inclusion Award; The PEAL [Parent Education & Advocacy Leadership] Center’s Inclusive Education Champion Award; The National Down Syndrome Congress’s Educator of the Year; The Belle Center of Chicago’s Inclusion Advocate of the Year; and the University of Wisconsin’s “Forward Under 40” Award.

Thursday, 9:30am -- You’re Going to Love This Kid!: Educating Students with Autism in Inclusive Schools

Maria Davis-Pierre, LMHC

Maria Davis-Pierre is a licensed mental health counselor, autism awareness advocate, and founder of Autism in Black. With a keen ability to educate and guide communities in desperate need of resources and support, Maria has transformed the lives of countless Black families parenting autistic children. As the parent of two autistic children, Maria understands firsthand the isolation, shame, and stigma that often accompanies an autism diagnosis. Through Autism in Black, she provides essential training to organizations so they can more effectively serve the Black disability community. A dynamic, in-demand speaker, Maria has conducted many powerful workshops and lectures on topics related to autism including autism in the Black community, the intersection of race and disability, and self-care. Her work has gained national acclaim with features in Forbes, The New York Times, USA Today, Parents magazine and on PBS. Maria has also collaborated with Microsoft.

Thursday, 9:30am -- The Black Side of Autism

Peter Gerhardt, EdD

Peter Gerhardt, Ed.D., is the Executive Director of the EPIC School in Paramus, NJ. Dr. Gerhardt has over 40 years of experience utilizing the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis in support of adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorders in educational, employment, residential and community-based settings. He is the author or co-author on a number of articles and book chapters on the needs of adolescents and adults with ASD and has presented nationally and internationally on this topic. Dr. Gerhardt serves as Co-Chairman of the Scientific Council for the Organization for Autism Research and is on numerous professional advisory boards including the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies. He currently serves as adjunct faculty in the Institute for Behavioral Studies at Endicott College. Dr. Gerhardt received his doctorate from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey’s Graduate School of Education.

Thursday, 9:30am -- Improved Outcomes for Adults on the Spectrum: Changing the Behavior of Behavior Analysts

Haley Moss, Esq

Haley Moss is a lawyer, neurodiversity expert, and the author of four books that guide neurodivergent individuals through professional and personal challenges. She is a consultant to top corporations and nonprofits that seek her guidance in creating a diverse workplace, and a sought-after commentator on disability rights issues. The first openly autistic lawyer in Florida, Haley’s books include “Great Minds Think Differently: Neurodiversity for Lawyers and Other Professionals'' (ABA Book Publishing; June 2021) and “The Young Autistic Adult’s Independence Handbook” (Jessica Kingsley Publishers; November 2021). Her articles have appeared in outlets including the Washington Post, Teen Vogue, and Fast Company.

Thursday, 9:30am -- Talking the Talk About Autism: Sharing, Advocating, and Telling

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