By Jeff Noble / Staff Writer
Autism, and Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are general terms for a group of complex disorders of brain development.
That is according to the advocacy organization Autism Speaks, who claim autism affects over two million people in America, and tens of millions of people around the world.
Those in the Tri-County wth loved ones affected by autism can learn more about the disorder and the options they have during an autism conference to be held Friday, July 19 at 5 p.m. at the Corbin Center.
Sponsored by the Corbin-based non-profit organization Autism Spectrum Solutions of Kentucky, Inc., the session will feature three expert speakers who will bring their expertise and knowledge of matters relating to autism for those attending the conference.
“I was told they would have as many as 100 people at the conference,” said Robert McClelland, a Lexington attorney who is scheduled to speak.
While at the session, he will explain estate trust planning, guardianship planning and special needs trusts. McClelland is recognized for his expertise in elder law — which includes topics and legal issues facing older adults and their families.
“The ‘whys’ of estate planning are so complicated to understand for the parents. But we can create third party trusts, and it needs to be there before the parent or parents pass away. I’ll explain that, as well as explain SSI (Supplemental Security Income), Medicaid and SSDI (Social Security Disability Income) benefits. And I’ll answer as many questions as I can at the conference,” McClelland said.
Kentucky Autism Training Center (KATC) Executive Director Larry Taylor is also scheduled to speak at the conference about communication and behavior along with other topics.
Appointed in January 2012 as executive director, Taylor received a BS degree from Cumberland College (now the University of the Cumberlands) in Williamsburg in the areas of learning and behavior disorders, elementary education and a master’s degree in special education. He holds certifications from both Eastern Kentucky University and the University of Kentucky in several areas of education. Taylor has also worked 23 years in local school districts, serving as teacher of exceptional children, school counselor, instructional supervisor, director of special education and assistant superintendent of personnel, curriculum and instruction.
Located on the University of Louisville’s campus, the KATC is Kentucky’s leading resource on Autism Spectrum Disorders. They work to strengthen the state’s support networks for people affected by autism by bridging research to practice and by providing training and resources to families and professionals. The KATC informs them about education, early childhood, mental health and employment concerns.
It also facilitates networks, encourages families to access resources, builds regional capacity, develops evidence-based information, and works with the Kentucky Department of Education to develop training and technical assistance for schools and school districts.
Sarah Johnson, an advocate with the independent state agency Protection and Advocacy in Frankfort, is also listed on the agenda to speak at the conference.
She will discuss legal rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (known as IDEA 04, a reauthorization of the original IDEA act). It guarantees all students between 3-21 the right to a free, appropriate public education designed to meet each student’s individual needs. IDEA has six principles that guarantee the rights of children with disabilities and their families: Free appropriate public education, appropriate evaluation, an individualized education program, least restrictive environment, parent and student participation in decision making, and procedural safeguards.
Admission to the conference is $10 a person, excluding presenters and vendors.
More information on the autism conference in Corbin can be obtained at this website: www.autismspectrumsolutions.org. You can also find out more by emailing email@example.com, or at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling (606) 670-1193.
In addition, information is on Facebook at the support group pages Southeast Kentucky Autism Team and Brilliant Beau.