Monday April 10, 2017
from 11:30 AM to 1:00 PM CDT

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The Junior League of Houston
1811 Briar Oaks Lane
Houston, TX 77027

Driving Directions 


Alyssa Purcell
Avondale House


Luncheon Co-Chairs
Marye & John Nickens

Gail Parazynski 

Luncheon Committee
Cassie Clark

Sarah Maytum
Debbie Pacholder
Melinda Stubbs
Eric Williams
Stacie Williamson
























Avondale House is a Houston non-profit organization that serves    
children and young adults with autism. This unique environment nurtures each individual affected by autism with love, patience and dignity.

Compassion is at the core of what Avondale House offers, and so
we thought it fitting for compassion to be the theme of our annual Challenging Autism luncheon. We are so fortunate to welcome Dr. Kristin Neff, an Associate Professor of Educational Psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, and a mother to a son with autism, as our guest speaker. 

She is a pioneer in the field of self-compassion research, conducting the first empirical studies on self-compassion over a decade ago. In addition to writing numerous academic articles and book chapters on the topic, she is author of the book "Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself," released by William Morrow, and the 6 CD audio set called “Self-Compassion Step by Step,” released by Sounds True.  In conjunction with her colleague Dr. Chris Germer, she has developed an empirically supported eight-week training program called Mindful Self-Compassion, and offers workshops on self-compassion worldwide.  Kristin is also featured in the bestselling book and award-winning documentary The Horse Boy, which chronicles her family’s journey to Mongolia where they trekked on horseback to find healing for her autistic son.

Self-compassion is a crucial skill to learn for anyone involved with caring for individuals on the autism spectrum.  Self-compassion involves treating ourselves like we would a close friend we cared about. It involves generating kindness toward ourselves when we fail or struggle, offering care and comfort as well as support and protection.  It also involves recognition of common humanity - that all people are imperfect and lead imperfect lives - allowing us to feel less alone in times of suffering.  Finally, self-compassion entails mindfulness, the ability to be present with the inevitable struggles of life with stability and balance.

Dr. Neff will present theory and research on self-compassion, which a burgeoning empirical literature has shown to be powerfully associated with psychological wellbeing.  Self-compassion has also been shown to help caregivers to sustain caring for others without burning out. Finally, Dr. Neff will discuss how crucial her practice of self-compassion was in helping her to thrive while raising her son Rowan, who has autism.

Please note the fair market value of a table sponsorship is $280.