On October 24, ASA-ETC hosted parents and professionals interested in learning more about instructional techniques, financial planning, social skills, and other topics related to autism spectrum disorders.
Formerly held at a different Knox County high school each year, the 2015 Knoxville Autism Education Conference took place at the UT Conference Center. Guests were impressed with the professional layout and preparation of the sessions, luncheon, and exhibits.
"We've had very positive feedback on the new venue and the added professionalism of this year's conference, ” Margaret Stanley, ASA-ETC Executive Director noted. "We had some incredible speakers sharing information that we feel confident will help parents navigate their way and help professionals better serve individuals on the spectrum."
Presenters from several different locations spoke on a variety of topics. Local speakers included Tamra Bell of Knoxville Center for Autism; Lisa Ross and Tracie Beeler of Knox County Schools, parent Ashlie Kunkel, and Beth Smith of STEP.
One speaker travelled from Talisman Programs in Zirconia, North Carolina. “Robiyn Mims was beyond fantastic. Her straight forward, yet entertaining style, both validated my approach to teaching and challenged me to dig deeper for information to support my students with autism,” said Melanie Bloomer, Special Education Teacher at Oak Ridge City Schools.
Katelyn Sipple, Public Relations Intern at Autism Site Knoxville, agreed. “Robin’s lecture was incredibly easy to follow and understand. She really knows how to teach others about autism without being confusing.” As a newcomer to the autism community, Katelyn said, “The conference as a whole was a great way to get my foot in the door for having a much better understanding of autism.”
Other popular speakers included Nashville attorney Cindy Gardner and Tonya Osborne-Simpson of Breakthrough.
Additional exhibitors included UT Speech & Audiology, STAR Therapeutic Riding, Autism Site Knoxville (ASK), CTS Physical Therapy, Knoxville Center for Autism, Jaclyn Paige Photography, and Laurel Heights Hospital.
ASDhub.org was also unveiled at the conference. This resource website was developed by ASA-ETC with support from Autism Site Knoxville. It allows family members, professionals, and individuals with ASD to search for autism resources in East Tennessee by city and category of services provided.