Creating the Future Today: Changing Society’s View of People With Autism Spectrum Disorders

This is an inspiring and energizing keynote or first session of the day. We discover together that e ach of us has a profound impact on societal perspectives towards people with special needs, regardless of our roles in their lives. We can help to create a future world society that honors, embraces and values all people. This presentation helps to empower participants to more consciously influence the attitudes of those around them, and thus, society and the world.

Families, friends and staff who know, love and support people with autism spectrum disorders and other diagnoses want society to respond with recognition, understanding, valuing and acceptance. Our destination is a society that embraces human diversity and values everyone. Who is society? How is society going to learn to appreciate people with special differences?

Perhaps the most powerful tool for societal change that families, friends and service providers have is ourselves! WE are the teachers of society in the journeys of our lives and relationships. Our behavior shapes societal values whether we know it or not! People in all communities are trained and attitudes are shaped when anyone observes our interactions with the special individuals we love and support. This presentation explores the powerful role of family members, friends and service providers in consciously creating the attitudes of the world of the present and future.

Participants will learn:

how and when opportunities to influence societal attitudes occur
how to model the types of interactions that promote valuing all individuals
the importance of choosing service goals that help individuals belong and contribute
interactive styles that demonstrate valuing people with disabilities
ways to prepare people with disabilities to contribute to their communities
activities that increase belonging for people with disabilities