ASA's 37th National Conference on Autism Spectrum Disorders (July 13-15, 2006)

    ASA Homepage
Saturday, July 15, 2006: 12:15 PM-1:30 PM
553 A-B
#2107- How to Establish a Strong Relationship Between Vocational Rehabilitation and the Autism Community
An experienced Vocational Rehabilitation Professional, an adult with ASD starting a small business, and the Executive Director and Director of Advocacy of the Autism Society of North Carolina will discuss how to develop an effective working partnership. Advocacy through the Rehabilitation Council is an important means to facilitate the entry of individuals on the Autism Spectrum into the workplace. An exciting collaboration between the VR training staff and the Autism Society of NC will be highlighted.

Presenters:Jill Hinton Keel, Ph.D., Autism Society of North Carolina, Executive Director - Jill Hinton Keel is a licensed psychologist and Executive Director of the Autism Society of North Carolina. She is responsible for administering all programs and services of the organization. She has over twenty years experience in the field of autism and has worked with the Autism Society of North Carolina since 1986. Before assuming the role of Executive Director in 1995, she worked as a Vocational Coordinator for the agency. Dr. Hinton Keel obtained her B.S. in Psychology from North Carolina State University and a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Elizabeth H. Thompson, B.A., Autism Society of North Carolina, Director of Advocacy - Elizabeth H. Thompson is the Director of Advocacy of the Autism Society of North Carolina. She is the parent of Matthew Thompson, an adult with autism spectrum disorder. She has presented at the Pre-Conference of the Autism Society of America, at the ASA Conference "Opening Doors" on vocational options for adults, and at statewide Autism Society of North Carolina Conferences on transition and to local Chapters and Lorman Seminars. Ms. Thompson has received the Autism Society of North Carolina's Professional of the Year Award for outstanding service to persons with autism.

Matthew B. Thompson, adult, with, ASD, Capital Canine Catering, Owner - Matthew B. Thompson is an adult with autism spectrum disorder and Fragile X. He is the owner of a small business, Capital Canine Catering.

Jo Perkins, BA, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Department of Health and Human Services (N.C.), Assistant Director , Division of Vocational Rehabilitation - Jo Perkins is the Assistant Director of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation in North Carolina. She has developed program and budgetary service delivery models that are being used in North Carolina and across the nation in the disability area of autism. Ms. Perkins has presented at The Autism Society of America Conference in Seattle; The National Association for Persons in Supported Employment-Orlando; The International Psycho-Social Clubhouse Conference-Salt Lake City and over 200 speaking engagements in N.C. She has received the Annual TEACCH Award, UNC School of Medicine-Psychiatry Department for outstanding contributions for people with autism.

This session will show how to establish and maintain a strong relationship between your state Vocational Rehabilitation and your autism community. The audience will learn how to get involved and advocate with the state Vocational Rehabilitation through the Rehabilitation Council. Listeners will hear how to make Vocational Rehabilitation services work for the individual with autism. A Vocational Rehabilitation leader will explain the eligibility criteria for services. Participants will be able to describe meaningful days and positive vocational outcomes for individuals with autism spectrum disorder. The audience will be able to describe autism-specific vocational initiatives. Efforts to place individuals with the most severe disabilities, collaborative training between Vocational Rehabilitation training staff and the Autism Society of North Carolina, development of a joint (TEACCH-ASNC) Supported Employment program and new options including small business ownership and microenterprise will be discussed.

Planning for a career or business for a person with ASD has significant challenges. Individuals with ASD deserve all the support they can get and may need Vocational Rehabilitation and government benefits. Start with the individual and remember that the autism is an important part of the person. Self-advocacy skills and knowledge of his/her disability will enable the individual to make better choices and get appropriate accommodations. Then the professionals can work with the individual to build on the individual's interests and strengths in making a good job match. Remembering that autism is a life-long disability, taking into account the communications difficulties, the lack of social skills and behavioral issues can enable the individual with ASD to create a structured work situation that is a more enjoyable than stressful part of a good life.

See more of The ASA's 37th National Conference on Autism Spectrum Disorders (July 13-15, 2006)