UVU Autism Conference

All Pieces of a Puzzle
By: McKenzie Nellesen
Medium: Metal

This piece was made specifically for the Melisa Nellesen Center for Autism. We are all pieces of a puzzle, and we all need to work together to get the full picture.

I’ve been welding for seven years. I like the creativity of welding. There’s no right or wrong. If something doesn’t work I can fix it quickly. Welding is soothing and has always been a passion. Both my great grandfathers were welders, which I just learned recently. Welding is fun for me.

Autism Conference 2018

The Melisa Nellesen Center for Autism, along with the College of Humanities and Social Science and the School of Education are excited to present the 8th annual Autism Conference at Utah Valley University. This single-day event will be held on Friday, April 13 from 9 am until 4 pm in the Sorenson Student Center on the Utah Valley University campus in Orem, Utah.

We are happy to announce that Erik Carter is our keynote speaker. The conference will also feature several concurrent sessions intended to help participants investigate various aspects of Autism Spectrum Disorder. We offer multiple sessions, meeting the interests/needs of students, professionals, educators, families, adults on the spectrum and service providers; and will feature informational booths sponsored by various services and support vendors from throughout the state.

Last year, nearly 500 participants attended. Register early to reserve your seat.

Register Now

Call For Proposals

The Melisa Nellesen Center for Autism, the College of Humanities and Social Science, and the School of Education are pleased to present the 8th annual Autism Conference at Utah Valley University on April 13, 2018. Our theme this year is Increasing Hope, Inclusion and Support through Best Practices.

We are looking for presentations that include the following components:

  1. Interest to the Autism Community
  2. Relevance to the theme: Increasing Hope, Inclusion and Support through Best Practices
  3. Connection to Evidence Based Approaches
  4. Presenter is Reputable and Engaging

Our audience includes:

  1. Individuals with Autism
  2. Families and the Community
  3. Educators
  4. Professionals

Click Here to Submit a Proposal

The deadline for submission is December 5, 2017.

Contact laurie.bowen@uvu.edu by email or phone 801-863-8759 with questions.

Keynote Speaker

UVU Autism Conference Keynote
Dr. Erik Carter, PhD

Toward a Future Flourishing:
Supporting Strong Transitions for Young People with ASD

The presentation will focus on what we know works best for equipping students with skills, supports, opportunities, and relationships that set them on a course for a “good life” during and after high school. Dr. Carter will highlight current research addressing effective approaches for supporting students to (a) access rigorous learning opportunities in their school, (b) connect to relevant school and community experiences that prepare them for adulthood, and (c) develop supportive relationships with peers and caring adults. He will focus the ways in which schools, families, service systems, and communities can work in tandem to create a future of flourishing for young people with autism.


Erik Carter, PhD, is an Cornelius Vanderbilt Professor of Special Education at Vanderbilt University and a member of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center. His research and teaching focuses on evidence-based strategies for supporting inclusion and valued roles in school, work, community and congregational settings for individuals with autism and developmental disabilities. Prior to receiving his doctorate, he worked as a high school teacher and transition specialist with youth with disabilities. He has co-authored 6 books and more than 150 articles and book chapters. He was the recipient of the Distinguished Early Career Research Award from the Council for Exceptional Children, the Early Career Award from the American Association for Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, the Patricia Sitlington Research Award from the Division on Career Development and Transition, and the Research Award from CEC's Division on Autism & Developmental Disabilities. He lives outside of Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife and three children.