3rd Spectrum of Opportunity Conference

3rd Spectrum of Opportunity Conference

Students with autism and with a variety of support needs are increasingly enrolling in college and university programs. This year’s conference will focus on providing vital college preparation information to equip middle school, high school, and college-aged students with autism. Students, their families and educators are invited to the conference to learn more about preparation, access and success in higher education. Dynamic presentations will be delivered by autistic self-advocates, educators and community resource professionals.


8:30 - 9 a.m. – Continental Breakfast

9 - 9:20 a.m. – Welcome (Edlyn Peña, PhD, Director of Autism and Communication Center)

9:20 - 9:50 a.m. – Our Story: The Journey from Special Education to University (Dillan Barmache, California Lutheran University; Debbie Spengler, Verdugo Hills Autism Project)

9:50 - 10 a.m. – Interactive Table Discussion

10 - 11 a.m. – Keynote Panel: Thriving as Autistic College Students (David Teplitz, University of California at Berkeley; Hari Srinivasan, University of California at Berkeley; Samuel Capozzi, California State University, Channel Islands)

11 - 11:15 a.m. – Transition Break

11:15 a.m. - noon – Paving the Way to College for Nonverbal Students with Autism (Breakout Session A: Sue Rubin, Autistic Consultant)
11:15 a.m. - noon – Persistence, Partnerships and Other Pointers for People Planning for College (Breakout Session B: Steve Turner, Tom Dalton, Leah Silverman, and Students with Autism, Ventura Community College District)

Noon - 12:45 p.m. – Lunch (Discussion Groups)

12:45 - 1:30 p.m. – Advocacy, Possibility, and Missed Opportunity for College Students who Type to Communicate (Breakout Session C: Kayla Takeuchi, Fresno City College; Emily Nusbaum, PhD, University of San Francisco)
12:45 - 1:30 p.m. – Key Disability Support Accommodations in Community, Public, and Private Colleges (Breakout Session D: Steve Turner and Mario Rivera, Ventura College; Wendy Jimenez, California Lutheran University; Souzan Vanlerberg, California State University, Northridge)

1:30 - 1:45 p.m. – Transition Break

1:45 - 2:30 p.m. – Fostering an Inclusive Climate for Postsecondary Students who Type and Spell to Communicate (Breakout Session E: Talar Touloumdjan, California State University, Channel Islands; Valeri Cirino-Paez, California State University, Channel Islands, Samuel Capozzi, California State University, Channel Islands)
1:45 - 2:30 p.m. – The Freshman 15: Navigating  Social-Emotional Issues in the Transition to College (Breakout Session F: Tom Reyes, Insight Psychotherapy; Chiconia Anderson, Insight Psychotherapy)

2:30 - 3 p.m. – Closing: Final Words from Autistic Self-Advocates

*Agenda is subject to change.

Additional activities for families:

Oct. 5, 6:30-8 p.m. – Drum Circle ReceptionRegistration and Information.

Oct. 6, 6:30-8 p.m. – Alternative Communication SocialRegistration and Information.

Sponsored By
Autism Society of Ventura County