Families, educators and healthcare workers will gather Saturday, April 11 at Florida Gulf Coast University for Promising Pathways, the eighth annual National Conference on Autism.
Chantal Sicile-Kira, an award-winning author, motivational speaker and leader in the field of autism, will be the keynote speaker. Activities begin at 8 a.m. with registration and vendor presentations in the Cohen Center. The keynote speech will be at 9:15 a.m., and special-topic sessions will be held throughout the rest of the day, ending at 4 p.m.
Sicile-Kira is the founder of AutismCollege.com, which provides practical and inspirational information and online training for raising children and teens with autism. Her first experience with autism was at a state hospital, teaching self-help and community living skills to severely developmentally disabled and autistic adolescents in preparation for their leaving the institutional setting. She has appeared on PBS, NPR and Fox, and her first book, “Autism Spectrum Disorder,” was updated and reissued last year. Her fifth book, “A Full Life with Autism: From Learning to Forming Relationships to Achieving Independence,” was written with her son, Jeremy, who has autism.
“If you are accepting of the belief that life can be good even with autism, then your child will think so, too,” she writes in the book. “You are the most important person in your child’s life, and you can make them believe that anything is possible.”
The conference is free, but participants can order lunch for a fee when they register. For information about continuing education credits or to register, go to http://www.fgcu.edu/events/PromisingPathways.
The College of Education at FGCU offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in special education designed to prepare students to attain certification in Exceptional Student Education in grades K-12 grades. The programs enable graduates to teach children with emotional and behavioral disorders, developmental disabilities, specific learning disabilities and physical disabilities. For more details, go the college’s website, http://coe.fgcu.edu/index.html.