UVU hosts annual Conference on Autism on April 14

University Marketing & Communications: Layton Shumway | 801-863-6863 | LShumway@uvu.edu


Utah Valley University’s College of Humanities & Social Sciences, College of Science & Health, School of Education, and Melisa Nellesen Center for Autism will host the seventh annual UVU Conference on Autism on Friday, April 14, in the Sorensen Student Center on UVU’s Orem campus.

This year, the conference will feature Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and bestselling author Ron Suskind. His most recent book, “Life, Animated, A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes and Autism” documents his family’s two-decade struggle with regressive autism. Using a technique called Affinity Therapy, the book recounts how the Suskinds broke through to their autistic son Owen by exposing him to Disney movies, which Owen memorized and used as a pathway to communication. The documentary film, based on the book, was nominated for an Academy Award this year.

Several concurrent sessions on various topics related to autism and autism education — including a special all-day workshop designed particularly for those seeking BCBA continuing education units (five will be offered) — will also be featured. Plus, state and community service providers will be exhibiting and providing additional resources and information to participants. A full program can be accessed, along with presenter bios, on the conference website at www.uvu.edu/chss/autism.

“The conference is extremely important to our community,” said Toni Harris, Assistant Dean for the College of Humanities & Social Sciences. “We want to give professionals, parents, and individuals on the spectrum the support and tools they need to be successful.”

“Utah Valley University has a tradition of supporting autism in our community through several different avenues,” said Laurie Bowen, Director of Community Services for the Melisa Nellesen Center for Autism at UVU. “The conference has been the seedbed for a multitude of additional related community supports. Several autism-focused areas of studies are now available from a minor to a master’s degree. Programs like Passages, serving those with ASD transitioning into adulthood have been going strong now for nearly three years. Beyond this, awareness events, including the annual ‘Uplifting Celebration for Autism,’ which will be held this April 22 from 11-1, Moving Mountains Soccer Camp in June, Sensory Friendly Performances at the Noorda Theater for children, and regularly held awareness athletic events co-sponsored with UVU athletics take place throughout the year.”

The Melisa Nellesen Center for Autism, located on UVU campus, will open this May.

The conference is open to the public and includes five CEUs endorsed by the National Association of Social Workers. Registration, which includes parking and lunch, is $59. Online registration and more information can be found at www.uvu.edu/chss/autism.

Fourth region (Section 1)