WHO SHOULD ATTEND THIS CONFERENCE?

Families and anyone who desires to understand more about Autism Spectrum Disorders and options to help those individuals. The Kids & Dreams Foundation knows that everyone’s autism experience is unique and what works for one, may not work for all. Our goal is to present a conference with a variety of resources, options, and topics related to Autism Spectrum Disorders. Whether you learn something for today or are able to save the information for a later time, we hope you gain something new by attending that will help an individual with autism progress.

HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?

$50 - Students $75 - Individuals $125 - Couples $100 - Professionals wanting CEU’s (Unfortunately, we cannot offer PT this year.)

WHAT IF MY EMPLOYER WILL PAY FOR MY REGISTRATION?

Many schools and business pay on behalf of their employees. If you school/business would like to be invoiced for your registration, please use the “Invoice My Registration” button below.

Cancellation Policy: Conference registration canceled on or before September 20th is refundable minus $25 towards administrative costs incurred. Registrations cancelled after September 20th are no longer eligible for a refund. *Applies to both online & invoiced registrations.


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INTRODUCING Keynote speakers:

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Alyson beytien

Alyson is a popular speaker, trainer and mother of 3 sons with autism. She does training and consulting throughout the U.S. and Canada. Alyson is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and has a Masters degree in Autism Spectrum Disorders from the University of Kansas. Alyson is a Behavior Analyst for Hills and Dales in Dubuque, IA where she is involved in diagnosis, assessment, intervention and training. She is the author of “Autism Everyday” which received the 2012 Literary Work of the Year from the Autism Society of America. Alyson listens to true crime podcasts, loves to quilt and read, and is trying to learn the meaning of the word “relax.”

In her keynote, Alyson will present: “Autism Everyday: Five Keys to Supporting a Child with Autism". The challenges of supporting a child with ASD are many, and the amount of research and interventions currently available can be overwhelming. This presentation focuses on what everyone--parents, teachers, extended family, support personnel--can do each day to ensure success for the child and for all involved. This presentation is full of humor, reality, and practical ideas.


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Kerry magro

Kerry is an award-winning professional speaker and best-selling author who's on the autism spectrum. He started professional speaking 8 years ago via the National Speakers Association and has spoken at over 800 events during that time. Kerry regularly speaks at schools, businesses, parent groups, nonprofit organizations and other special events on topics ranging from but not limited too disability, innovation, school bullying, the power of communication, diversity, workplace bullying, servant leadership and much more!

 In addition Kerry is CEO & President of KFM Making A Difference, a nonprofit organization that hosts inclusion events and has provided 60 scholarships for students with autism for college. This year will be his 5th year in a row playing an Autism & Sensory-Friendly Santa for our special needs community to enjoy.  In his spare time he hosts a Facebook Page called A Special Community that now has 160,000 Facebook followers where he does on-camera interviews highlighting people impacted by a diagnosis. His videos have been watched over 25 Million times. He'll be available during the event to interview several self-advocates during the event to highlight their stories.

 Kerry’s best-selling books Defining Autism From The Heart and Autism and Falling in Love have both reached Amazon Best-Seller Lists for Special Needs Parenting. He’ll be available after his talk to sign copies of both his books.  For his efforts, Kerry has been featured in major media and worked with amazing brands including CBS News, Inside Edition, Upworthy and Huffington Post among others. Kerry resides in Hoboken, New Jersey and you can learn more about him and his work at Kerrymagro.com or contact him directly at Kerrymagro@gmail.com.

In his keynote, Kerry will present “Defining Autism: From Nonverbal to Professional Speaker” sharing about the challenges of leaving behind an IEP, the impact of adults with autism pursuing self-advocacy in the autism community, and some of the challenges facing the autism community in terms of employment and housing opportunities for those reaching adulthood with autism.


NEW FOR 2019 - BREAKOUT SESSIONS FEATURING:

  • Dr. Kaye Otten; PhD, BCBA, LBA

About Kaye: Kaye Otten is a board certified behavior analyst with an doctorate in special education specializing in emotional, behavioral, and autism spectrum disorders.  She serves as adjunt faculty at the University of Central Missouri and with The Mandt System, an international leader in crisis prevention and intervention since 1975.  Kaye has over twenty-five of experience in public and private schools as a general and special educator and consultant and has experience working with all ages, ability levels, and disability categories.  Kaye is the Co-Founder of Camp Encourage, a not for profit organization which provides one of the only overnight camps in the United States for children with autism spectrum disorders. She is the co-author of the top selling book “How to Reach and Teach Children with Challenging Behavior: Practical Ready-To-Use Strategies that Work”.

Presentation: “Brains are Built Not Born: Overcoming the Challenge and Stigma of Executive Functioning Deficits” Deficits in executive functioning skills have been associated with several behavioral challenges common in individuals with ASD such as shifting attention, inhibiting impulses, initiating activity, organizing actions and materials, time management, working memory and emotional control. These deficits sometimes result in stigmatizing labels such as “lazy”, “scatterbrained”, or “emotionally disturbed”. This session will focus on clearly understanding executive functioning deficits and will outline a proactive approach for helping individuals with these deficits experience greater success through various support and instructional strategies.

  • Meggin Funk, M.S. Ed., CCC-SLP

About Meggin: Meggin Funk is a Regional Coordinator for the Nebraska ASD Network. She provides behavior analytic services to ASD Network referrals, birth-21, requiring more intensive support. Meggin graduated from Chadron State College in 1998 with a B.A. in Social Psychology and Communications. She went on to receive her M.S.Ed in Communication Disorders from the University of Nebraska at Kearney in 2003. While working as a Speech-Language Pathologist, she realized that she would attend meetings for students with ASD, often leaving with more questions than answers leading her to pursue further education, attending every training she could in the hopes of finding some answers to better serve her students. During this journey she learned of applied behavior analysis, a scientific approach to systematically teach and change behaviors. She completed her Applied Behavior Analysis coursework through Florida Institute of Technology in June 2019. With her dual education and expertise in communication disorders and autism, Meggin supports families, professionals, and school districts to build capacity in educating students with ASD. In her free time, Meggin enjoys being with her husband, Jason, and their three children; Eden, Amara and Asa.  

Presentation: “Proactive Behavior Management”   Join Meggin as she shares about the basic functions of behavior, increasing appropriate behavior, and decreasing problematic behavior through proactive relational strategies.  A Review of Educational Research analysis of 46 studies found that strong teacher-student relationships were associated in both the short and long-term with improvements on practically every measure schools care about: higher student academic engagement, attendance, grades, fewer disruptive behaviors and suspensions, and lower school dropout rates (Education Week, 2019). Additionally, a research looking at 156 different studies, researching the effectiveness of parenting programs and found that when severely disruptive behavior had already emerged in children, a combination of teaching parents how to manage behavior along with relationship-building strategies was more effective (Child Development, 2018). 

  • Nicole Lopez & Sara Oberg

About Nicole: Nicole Lopez is an early childhood special educator for Lexington Public Schools. She has been with the district for 9 years. She has experience in working specifically students three to five years old. She was trained in verbal behavior in 2016 and has established over twenty verbal behavior programs from the ground up. In 2019, Nicole took on the role of Verbal Behavior Co-Coach for the district. She obtained her Bachelor’s of Science in Education from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. She received her Master’s of Science in Special Education from the University of Nebraska at Lincoln.

About Sara: Sara Oberg is a Speech Language Pathologist with Lexington Public Schools. She has been with the district for 10 years, serving students in early intervention, as well as at the elementary and middle school level. She was trained in verbal behavior in 2016 and has established over twenty verbal behavior programs from the ground up. She attended the University of Nebraska-Kearney, where she received her Bachelor’s of Science in Education and Masters in Speech Language Pathology.

Presentation: “What’s All This Talk About Verbal Behavior? An Intro Into The World Of Errorless Teaching” Verbal Behavior is a buzzword that you have heard in the Autism community over and over again, but what is it? In this session we will explore what verbal behavior is and dive more in depth in what it really looks like. Sara and Nicole will share real life examples of how to bridge the gap from intensive teaching sessions to utilizing verbal behavior in any environment including outside of the school settings. Previous training in verbal behavior is not required for this session.

  • Jennifer milleR & jenny daup, OTR/L

About Jennifer: Jennifer (Jenn) Miller is a special education advocate serving school-aged (5-16) children for PTI Nebraska. PTI Nebraska is a non-profit organization and a statewide resource that supports families who have children with disabilities and special healthcare needs. Their mission is to empower families by increasing their knowledge and advocacy skills so they can better navigate the challenges of the special education system.  Jennifer conducts workshops across the state on topics such as IEPs (Individualized Education Programs), PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports), Bullying, ADHD, Autism, Self-Esteem, and Improving Communication Between Families and School Professionals. She and her coworkers help parents via phone calls, emails, and in-person meetings, and at the various trainings they hold throughout the year. Their goal is to help children and young adults with disabilities reach their fullest potential in school and in life. School personnel and other professionals in the community can also contact PTI for information and support.  Jennifer is married and has three wonderful, energetic children. Her oldest son Gabriel, who has autism and epilepsy, is the one who inspired his mom to become a special education advocate. Jenn is a favorite amongst conference attendees; her talks are never boring, and you will leave knowing the latest dance moves!

About Jenny: Jenny is certified by NBCOT (National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy) and graduated with a Bachelors of Science from Creighton University in the area of Occupational Therapy (BSOT). She has worked in schools, nursing homes, hospitals, and private pediatric therapy clinics. Jenny has also worked with a variety of special needs individuals including children on the Autism Spectrum in schools like Lexington, North Platte, Brady, Maxwell, Hershey, Stapleton, Sutherland. She has spoken at the Nebraska ASD State Conference on three different occasions. Currently, Jenny is employed by OT Services Inc. and serves Lexington Public Schools and a number of other schools in the ESU 16 area. Her main area of expertise is sensory processing.  In addition, Jenny is a HUGE asset to the Kids & Dreams Foundation and serves as the Assistant Director for Operation Shine Camp, our 3-day camp for children ages 7-12 with autism related conditions.

Presentation: “Change the World! Creating High Expectations” Shoot for the stars! Set high goals! Push beyond the comfort zone! Let’s change the world! But whose job is it to meet the goals we have set? Sometimes a parent’s “expectation” for their child seems insurmountable. What is the reality of our expectations for our children and whose job it is to teach the skills we want our children/students/employees to learn? The most important skills a person with autism can master are not only ABC’s and 123s. Developing communication skills, socio-emotional skills, alternative behaviors and vocational skills are the key to success as an adult. Jenn Miller often states, “I have never met a person who has lost their job because they could not do algebra or had bad handwriting...but I have met plenty who have lost a job because they had poor communication or social skills.” Children begin to develop these skills in preschool and continue to refine these skills throughout their lifetime. This session will focus on developing achievable expectations for our children/students/employees and present the reality of what it will take to achieve these expectations. Parents, teachers, employers, therapists, and medical personnel will be engaged in a session where they will examine their expectations/goals and develop a game plan for how to work together as a team to shoot for the stars!

  • Stuart Stofferahn & Kerry Magro

About Stuart: Dr. Stuart Stofferahn serves as the Executive Director of Nebraska Transition College which serves individuals who have an Autism Spectrum Disorder or other learning difference by empowering them to live interdependently through employment and community support systems.  Stuart has taught vocal music in the elementary school, served as a director of youth and family ministries, and he has recently completed 31 years of reserve and active duty military service through the United States Air Force.  He received his doctorate in education leadership, and he is an active volunteer in the Lincoln community. 

Presentation: “Dude Where's My IEP: Succeeding In College With Autism” will be presented by Kerry Magro along with Stuart Stofferahn on what the future can hold for individuals with autism. Kerry will share about the transition to adulthood facing those with autism and other cognitive disabilities, the differences between an IEP and 504 reasonable accommodations, and insight on self-advocacy tips to help individuals on the spectrum become their best advocates in a post-secondary setting. Dr. Stofferahn will share on NE Transition College and how they are making an impact on young adults transitioning into adulthood, independence, and productivity.

  • Kerry magro

“Autism & Bullying: What You Need To Know” This presentation will explore 10 reasons bullying needs to stop today in our community, share helpful tips for empowering students with autism to speak up when bullying may occur and to encourage bystanders to help out when appropriate, and provide seven tips participants can take to take a stand against bullying today.

  • alyson beytien

"Mermaid Troubles: Navigating the Sea of Autism and Adolescence" Individuals with ASD experience the same challenges of Adolescence as other teenagers--but in the extreme! This two-part presentation focuses on practical ideas for teaching sexuality, hygiene, critical concepts and the complicated issues of teenage relationships. Resources, visual supports, and curriculum will be provided for discussion. Ms. Beytien will share her real-life experiences working with, and raising, teenagers with ASD.