Stephanie Birkdale 
Asperger/Autism Network 
617-393-3824 x32 


Saturday, February 23, 2019 8:15AM - 4:30PM

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Crowne Plaza Boston-Newton Hotel 
320 Washington Street
Newton, MA 02458

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Jody Acford Benefits Conference

Asperger Syndrome and Adult Life
Navigating the Massachusetts Public and Private Supports and Service Systems

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Crowne Plaza Boston-Newton Hotel
320 Washington Street ~ Newton, MA
, 02458

This is a full-day conference for adults with Asperger Syndrome (AS) or related profiles and family members of adults and older teens with AS/related profiles. Experts will explain the many public and private supports that may be appropriate for adults who live in Massachusetts.

Conference Schedule
8:15-9:00am  Registration & Continental Breakfast
9:00-9:15am  Opening Remarks
9:15-10:15am  Benefits Overview
10:15-10:30am  Break
10:30 - 11:30am  Workshop Session 1 (see list below)
11:30-11:45am  Break
11:45am - 12:45pm  Workshop Session 2 (choose one)

12:45-2:15pm  Lunch
2:15 - 3:15pm  Workshop Session 3 (choose one)

3:15-3:30pm  Break
3:30 - 4:30pm  Workshop Session 4 (choose one)
8:00am-4:30pm  Information Tables Remain Open 


Conference Workshops
*Please note that all workshops are first come, first serve. Selections are presented for planning purposes to guage level of interest.

Benefits Overview
Benefits Overview (all attendees)
Presenter: Michele Cantara & Nancy Schwartz, Co-Directors of Adult Services, Asperger/Autism Network
Michele and Nancy will give a one hour presentation on the basics of state (Masachusetts) and federal benefits that are available to people with an Asperger's diagnosis or a related Autism Spectrum Profile.

Workshop Session 1 (select one)

Workshop 1A: Private Housing Options
 Michael Caballero (Specialized Housing Inc), Holly McCarthy (JF&CS), & Alan White (TILL)
This panel of experts have developed interesting and creative housing models for adults with Asperger profiles. They will discuss these new models and answer your questions.

Workshop 1B: LifeNet
Presenters: Jay O'Brien, Director of LifeNet, Asperger/Autism Network
This workshop is a presentation of the new AANE case management program called LifeNet. It is a private pay, independent living support programs for adults with Asperger's or similar autism spectrum profiles. LifeNet is designed to offer peace of mind that an adult on the spectrum will be supported as they navigate adulthood by a devoted tream from the trusted AANE non-profit organization.

Workshop 1C: Healthcare
Presenters: Terri Farrell (Project Director, Autism Insurance Resource Center) & Jo Anne Bayliss (DDS)
Focusing on health care coverage for adults with AS, this workshop will include information about Medicare, MassHealth, Commonwealth Care, One Care, and the impact of the Affordable Care Act on insurance coverage. 

Workshop 1D: Thinking About Housing
Catherine Boyle, President, Autism Housing Pathways
This housing workshop is a step-by-step guide to planning for your child's future home. It will focus upon combining personal resources and government benefits to create a home for your loved one. Topics include residential options, government benefits & legal considerations to help identify what is needed, how much it will cost & how to do it. This presentation is "Housing 101." Thinking About Housing introduces families and individuals to the range of federal and state funds available to pay for housing and supportive services. Some examples are given of how these can be combined with private funds to create housing opportunities.

Workshop Session 2 (select one)

Workshop 2E: Public Vocational Options
Presenters: Yvonne Tylinski, Michael Newton, Andrea Jackson, Anna Hermann
This workshop will focus on the variety of services and supports that the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) can provide to adults with Asperger Syndrome, including Vocational Assessment, Career Counseling, Interviewing Skills, and more. The workshop will also include a discussion of balancing work with benefits.

Workshop 2F: Private Vocational Supports
Presenters: Barbara Bissonette (Forward Motion Coaching), Nataliya Poto (AANE LifeMAP), Leslie O'Brien (MGH Aspire), & Micah Fleisig (JVS)
These experts will review their innovative and successful programs for helping adults with AS obtain and sustain employment. There will be ample time for questions and answers.

Workshop 2G: Healthcare
Presenters: Terri Farrell (Project Director, Autism Insurance Resource Center)  & Jo Anne Bayliss (DDS)
This presentation is a repeat of workshop 1C.

Workshop 2H: DDS
Lea Hill, Autism Program Coordinator, DDS - Northeast Region 
This workshop will discuss changes in the Department of Developmental Disability eligibility criteria and available services for adults with autism spectrum profiles as a result of the passage of the Omnibus Autism Bill.

Workshop Session 3 (select one)

Workshop 3I: Legal Planning and Alternatives to Guardianship
 Ken Schulman, Partner, Day Pitney, LLC & Barbara Jackins, Attorney, Legal Planning for Special Needs
This workshop will focus on estate planning, which is important to assure an adult child of long term financial security and also to make sure that financial systems are in place to protect both assets and any benefits an adult may be receiving. This workshop will also discuss alternatives to guardianship that are appropriate for adults with Asperger profiles. 

Workshop 3J: Private Vocational Supports
Presenters: Barbara Bissonette (Forward Motion Coaching), Nataliya Poto (AANE LifeMAP), Leslie O'Brien (MGH Aspire), & Micah Fleisig (JVS)
This presentation is a repeat of workshop 2F.

Workshop 3K: Asperger Syndrome Employment and Social Security Benefits
Presenters Kathryn Collins-Wooley, Ph.D
When competitive employment is not an option, most people will turn to Social Security for diasbility benefits, either SSI (Supplemental Security Income) or SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance). This session will summarize these benefits and cover the adult social security application process.

Workshop 3L: Thinking About Housing
Presenters: Catherine Boyle, President, Autism Housing Pathways
This presentation is a repeat of Workshop 1D.

Workshop Session 4 (select one)

Workshop 4M: LifeNet
Jay O'Brien, Director of LifeNet, Asperger/Autism Network
This presentation is a repeat of Workshop 1B.

Workshop 4N: Public Vocational Supports
Yvonne Tylinski, Michael Newton, Andrea Jackson, Anna Hermann
This presentation will be a repeat of workshop 2E.

Workshop 4O: Asperger Syndrome Employment and Social Security Benefits
 Kathryn Collins-Wooley, Ph.D
This presentation is a repeat of workshop 3K.

Workshop 4P: DDS
Lea Hill, Autism Program Coordinator, DDS - Northeast Region
This presentation is a repeat of Workshop 2H.

General Conference Information

Conference Location: Crowne Plaza Boston-Newton Hotel, 320 Washington Street, Newton, MA.

Registration Fees:
Registrant: $100/person
Additional family members (at the same address): $60/person
Registration fees include morning coffee and lunch. There is no discount if you cannot attend the entire day’s program or if you bring your own lunch. Payment is required to complete registration & to attend the conference.

Financial Assistance: If you are a parent or an adult with AS/related profile who needs financial assistance to attend this conference, please contact Stephanie at 617-393-3824 ext. 32 to discuss financial aid opportunities.

Refund Policy: Refunds, minus a $10 processing fee per person, are available until the end of our business day on February 15, 2019. No refunds/credits after February 16 or for no-shows. 

Lunch and Special DietsLunch includes a variety of sandwiches, wraps, and salads (including vegetarian and gluten-free options), chips, cookies and brownies, and a beverage. We cannot accommodate any other dietary restrictions and there is no discount if you bring your own lunch.

Directions & Parking: Log on to If you are using GPS input the address 317 Washington Street or Buff's Pub to get the most accurate driving directions. Parking is free in the attached garage. If you are taking public transportation the hotel is near several bus routes and a short ride from the Newton Centre (Green Line) MBTA station. 

Lodging: A limited number of Crowne Plaza rooms are available at a preferred group rate on Friday (February 22) and Saturday (February 23) nights. You must book your own reservations directly with the hotel.

Dogs: Only leashed service dogs permitted.

Chemical Sensitivities: Due to chemical sensitivities among those in our community, please refrain from wearing perfume or scented products at the conference.

Inclement Weather on February 23: If we need to reschedule the conference due to snow, an announcement will be made by 6:00 a.m. on February 23—call AANE at 617-393-3824, ext. 32. We will also send an email to the address you used when registering.  We have scheduled a snow date on February 24, 2018. If you are not able to attend on the new date  we will refund your registration fee. 

Accommodations: If you require an ADA and/or a communication access accommodation, please contact Janeka at 617-393-3824 or Requests must be received by January 23, 2019. For those who make requests after this date every effort will be made to provide a reasonable accommodation, however we might not be able to do so given the time constrains.

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