The Jody Acford Spirit Conference 2016
Know Yourself – The Key to a Better Life
September 17, 2016
Bowles Conference Center
2014 Washington Street, Newton, MA
Note: This conference is ONLY for neurodivergent* adults (post-high school and older)
(*Those with Asperger Syndrome and related Autism Profiles)
About the Adult Conference
The Jody Acford Spirit Conference 2016 — Know Yourself – The Key to a Better Life — is AANE’s tenth annual conference designed for neurodivergent* adults (post-high school and older). (*Those with Asperger Syndrome and related autism profiles). Headlined by a dynamic keynote speaker and combining a diverse program of workshops, networking and social connections, we hope this conference will leave you knowing youself better, learning practical strategies to improve your life, and, more importantly, knowing that you are not alone. We look forward to seeing you at the conference!
Please join us in thanking the Burgay Family
who are generously underwriting this conference.
Lydia X. Z. Brown
About the Keynote Presentation
Neurodiversity and the Autism Right Movements
(As described by Lydia Brown)
Flapping, spinning, rocking, and humming, we autistic people are everywhere. But most representations of autistic and other disabled people are related to inspirational stories of overcomers and supercrips, and most discussions of autism and disability are limited to patronizing awareness laced with pity and fear-mongering campaigns to cure the “low-functioning” and “mentally challenged.” Too often, disability is thought of as someone else’s private medical problem instead of a diversity and social justice imperative for everyone in society. We must critically examine how ableism impacts autistic and other disabled people and centers the bodies and minds of those considered “normal,” “healthy,” “desirable,” and “ideal,” while others are constructed as “deviant,” “sick,” “defective,” and “undesirable.” Neurodiversity in the disability justice framework offers a powerful call for us to move beyond disability simulations, buddy programs, and tokenism—and toward a future where radical access is the norm and neurodivergent people in all our complexities are integral, valued parts of our communities.
About Lydia X. Z. Brown
Lydia X. Z. Brown (Autistic Hoya) is a gender/queer and transracially/transnationally adopted East Asian autistic activist, writer, and speaker whose work has largely focused on violence against multiply-marginalized disabled people, especially institutionalization, incarceration, and policing. They have worked to advance transformative change through organizing in the streets, writing legislation, conducting anti-ableism workshops, testifying at regulatory and policy hearings, and disrupting institutional complacency everywhere from the academy to state agencies and the nonprofit-industrial complex. At present, Lydia is co-president of TASH New England, chairperson of the Massachusetts Developmental Disabilities Council, and a board member of the Autism Women’s Network. In collaboration with E. Ashkenazy and Morenike Giwa-Onaiwu, Lydia is the lead editor and visionary behind All the Weight of Our Dreams, an anthology of writings and artwork by autistic people of color. Most recently, Lydia is a 2016 Holley Law Fellow at the National LGBTQ Task Force and a Fall 2016 Visiting Lecturer at Tufts University’s Experimental College.
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8:45 – 9:30 am: Registration and Coffee
9:30 – 9:45 am: Welcome
9:45 – 11:45 am: Keynote
11:45 am – 12:45 pm: Lunch
12:45 – 2:15 pm: Workshop Session One
2:15 – 2:30 pm: Break
2:30 – 4:00 pm: Workshop Session Two
4:00 – 4:30 pm: Ice Cream Social (included in registration fee)
Conference Fee, per Person: $65, includes boxed lunch and ice cream social.
Financial Aid: Please contact Karen Doran, Registrar, at (617) 393-3824, ext. 30
Refunds: No refunds are available after noon on September 16, 2016, or for no-shows. There is no discount if you can’t attend the entire day.
No photographs or videos: Please respect the privacy of all our attendees — refrain from taking photos or videos during the day.
Chemical Sensitivities: Due to chemical sensitivities among those in our community, please refrain from wearing perfume or scented products.
Dogs: Only leashed service dogs allowed.
Directions, Parking & Public Transportation: Directions to Newton-Wellesley Hospital (Link includes driving and MBTA directions) Click here
Directions to Bowles Conference Center: Located on the second floor of the Hospital. Enter the Hospital grounds at the set of lights on Washington Street for the East Entrance. Take your first right into the Patient/Visitor parking garage. Park as close to the third level as possible. The third level of the parking garage connects with the first level of the Hospital. Follow the signs to the Main Lobby of the Hospital through the White Building. From the Main Lobby, take the West elevators to the second floor. Turn left and follow the signs to the Conference Center located after the Cafeteria.
Parking: When attending an event on the Newton-Wellesley Hospital campus, please park in the Patient/Visitor Parking Garage located at the Hospital’s East Entrance. Please do not use the Emergency Department parking garage. Parking rates: $10, limited meter parking on Washington Street available
Workshop Session One
Click here for workshop descriptions
Workshop A: Strategies for Work and Life Success on the Spectrum
Presenter: George Bishop
Workshop B: Relationships in the Age of Autism and Neurodiversity
Presenters: Eva Mendes & Eric Endlich
Workshop C: Meditation Tools for Relaxation, Self-Acceptance, and Self Understanding
Presenter: Kim Davies
Workshop D: Same Mess, Different Day: A Practical Approach to Tackle Executive Function and Organizational Challenges
Presenter: Travis McArthur and Matthew Kosiorek from College Internship Program (CIP)
Workshop Session Two
Click here for workshop descriptions
Workshop E: Panel of LifeMap Coaches and Clients
Presenters: Joseph Jeresaty
Workshop F: Getting into the Real World
Presenter: Jack Robison
Workshop G: On Overlap Between Transgender & Autism
Presenter: Jeff Brody & Jamie Freed
Workshop H: Question and Answer with our Keynote
Presenter: Lydia X. Z. Brown