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October 1, 2020

Regular Registration Deadline

October 26, 2020

Late Registration Deadline

College Autism Summit 2020

Division/Group Events

The College Autism Summit brings together scholars, practitioners, administrators, employers, self-advocates and their family members to discuss evidence-driven strategies that help support college students with autism and related learning differences.Transition to college, experience while in college, and transition to employment and independent living are all areas of focus.

To learn more about the 2021 College Autism Summit, click here. 

Presented By


The Summit is for:

  • Professionals working in campus-based or independent programs that support students with autism;

  • Scholars whose research focuses on students with autism and their college experience;

  • Professionals who work with students with autism as coaches, employers, employment advisors, and advocates;

  • College students and alumni with autism who wish to contribute to conversations and learning related to autism on campus

  • Families and parents of future or current college students with autism


This year’s Summit will be a virtual event, held October 27-30. Bookmark this site and check back for more information. 


Conference Themes & Learning Outcomes

Program Development
  • Participants will be able identify key collaborations needed across disciplines and communities to develop and sustain a support program.

  • Participants will develop a framework for timelines and data collection that will meet their specific program’s needs.

  • Participants will be able to compare and contrast different service models to develop what is needed for their particular university. 


Transition from High School to College
  • Participants will explore skills related to college success that occur inside and outside of the academic classroom.

  • Participants will compare and contrast high school expectations versus postsecondary expectations.

  • Participants will be able evaluate support programs and campus environments to help identify the “best fit” for their son/daughter/student/client.


Teaching & Educational Strategies
  • Participants will explore a variety of educational resources/strategies that are implemented by universities and support programs.

  • Participants will gain information on supporting the student’s socialization both in the classroom and through campus living opportunities.

  • Participants will gain effective tips for supporting students within their classrooms and other campus programs.


Social/Emotional Supports and Services
  • Participants will gain resources/strategies for developing a student’s social and emotional wellbeing on campus.

  • Participants will learn how to support twice-diverse students, including underrepresented identities (race, gender, sexual identity, first-generation and socioeconomic status) in their college experience.

  • Participants will gain resources/strategies for helping students navigate young adult situations such as dating, disclosure, safety on campus, etc.


Employment and Workforce Transition
  • Participants will learn techniques for engaging students in pre-employment skills and opportunities
  • Participants will learn about different neurodiverse initiatives in the current workforce and how to develop these initiatives within their specific community.
  • Participants will be given resources/strategies to better help students select a major or internship that will meet their career goals.
  • Participants will explore how different universities and programs are providing support to students during the COVID pandemic.

  • Participants will develop a strategies tool kit for supporting students through virtual platforms.

  • Participants will explore ways to keep students connected to each other and their support systems through the COVID pandemic.


Featured Speakers

The College Autism Network is pleased to announce our opening speaker, Robia Rashid, creator of the Netflix series "Atypical," and our closing speaker, Anthony J. Pacilio, Vice President and Global Head of Autism at Work for JP Morgan Chase. They will be joined by Perry LaRoque, author of "Taking Flight: College for Students with Disabilities, Diverse Learners and Their Families" and founder and president of Mansfield Hall. 


Registration as a member is based on individual membership status. If you are employed by a college or university that is an institutional member, you can join as an individual member at the $75 rate. This gives you the conference registration and a year of membership for less than the non-member registration fee. If your institution is NOT a member, then you will need to join at the associate affiliate rate of $242 and then you can pay the individual member rate for conference registration. Visit the Membership section of the NASPA website to learn about membership types.

Registration  (through October 26)
Family Member or K-12 Professional (non-higher education employee)
NASPA/CAN Student Member
Preconference Workshop
$50 (each)

Preconference Sessions

We are pleased to offer two preconference workshops at the Summit. Both will occur on Tuesday, October 27 and each involves about 3 hours of content. It is possible to participate in both.

Session 1: Building, Expanding or Improving a College Program for Students with Autism (Tuesday, Oct 27, 11 am-1 pm ET with an additional hour of asynchronous content)

Many colleges, universities and programs for students with autism are looking for unique ways to provide supports. This preconference workshop will assist participants in planning creative supports using examples from around the country. Topics will include: establishing a campus wide response; options for developing a mentoring program; the importance of keeping a career ready focus, and using key performance indicators to evaluate program effectiveness. 

The presenters will address many of the above issues, and more, in a unique virtual environment.  The initial session will be a pre-recorded information sharing session followed by a one hour open dialogue, giving participants an opportunity to share ideas and learn from one another. We will end the pre-conference with a moderated panel of service providers and students discussing important considerations, emerging best practices, and ways to improve existing supports. 

Jane Thierfeld Brown, Ed.D has worked in Student Affairs, Disabiltiy Services for 40 years and specializes in working with college students with autism.  

Laurie Ackles, MSW is Director of the Spectrum Support Program at Rochester Institute of Technology and a leading authority on college autism programs.


Session 2: Preparing Students to Transition to Employment: It’s Not the End but the Beginning (Tuesday, October 27, 2-4 pm ET with an additional hour of asynchronous content)

Many programs across the country push for successful graduation of their neurodivergent students.  For others this is just the beginning of the road to achieve positive outcomes data and to have those graduates obtain sustainable and meaningful employment.  This preconference workshop will assist professionals in planning and following the road map that leads to successful transition out of college programming and into vocational endeavors.  Topics will include 1) Curriculum areas that a vocational transition program should contain, 2) How to build relationships and partnership with corporate entities, 3) How to build in vocational opportunities before students graduate 4) Pinpoint Planning and other lessons learned.  

Bradley McGarry is Director of the Autism Initiative at Mercyhurst University  

Teresa Thomas is The MITRE Corporation's Program Lead for Neurodiverse Talent Enablement



Research Symposium

Join any or all of the four Research Symposium sessions happening during the Summit. Each session is an opportunity for scholars working on the cutting edge of autism-in-college research to share their current work, inviting attendees to share their insights and prompt questions about research related to the scholar's area of expertise. In the Capstone session, four scholars will provide an overview of the state of autism-in-college research based on what they have heard throughout the Summit.  


All events are in Eastern Standard TIme. A more detailed schedule will be posted as information becomes available.

October 27
October 28
October 29
October 30
11:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Preconference workshops (preregistration required)

Pre-recorded content will be available to workshop attendees ahead of time for convenient viewing. We will then have Building Blocks live content from 11 am - 1 pm ET, with Employment live content from 2 pm -4 pm ET. See Preconference Sessions section for descriptions.

4:00 PM - 7:00 PM

Opening Session and a Conversation with Robia Rashid

All times Eastern Standard Time. More specific information will be available closer to the start of the Summit.

12:00 PM - 12:20 PM

Live at the Summit

12:30 PM - 6:00 PM

Talkaround Sessions (Live): Follow-up conversations to recorded sessions

2:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Program Spotlights: Brief highlights of exceptional programs and services

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Student Panel

Join John Sheehan for a conversation with students who understand the experience of life on the spectrum on a college campus. With Rachel "Harmon" Harmon (Emory University), Teresia "T.C." Waisman (University of Calgary), Patrick Dwyer (UC Davis), Abigail Leaver (Bellevue College)

3:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Summit Working Groups: Networking opportunity for all attendees

5:30 PM - 6:30 PM

Research Symposium Session 1


Discussion of current research by the people doing it:  

Kristen Gillespie-Lynch (developing strengths-based and participatory supports in college) Edlyn Vallejo Peña (working with and learning from nonspeaking autistic individuals) Amy Radochonski (creating transition supports into college)

All times Eastern. More specific times will be posted as they become available closer to the date of the Summit. Check back!

12:00 PM - 12:20 PM

Live at the Summit

12:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Talkaround Sessions (Live) Followup conversations with presenters of yesterday's recorded sessions

1:30 PM - 2:30 PM

Research Symposium 2

A discussion of current research by the people doing it:

Jodi Duke (addressing college students' mental health issues), Monique Colclough (tracking college students' success and retention), Theo Bakker (navigating students' transitions into and retention through college)

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Perry LaRoque (plenary speaker)

4:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Summit Working Groups (SWGs)

5:00 PM - 6:30 PM

Employer Panel: Neurodiversity Hiring Initiatives: Connecting Autistic Students to Competitive Careers


Companies across the country are rethinking how they find, hire, and retain talent and taking steps to hire more neurodivergent employees. But how can colleges and universities connect with these companies and find opportunities for their students? What are recruiters looking for in potential employees? This panel, facilitated by Joe Riddle of Neurodiversity in the Workplace,  will feature hiring managers, nonprofit and neurodiverse employees to answer your most pressing questions.


Manjot Chahal, VMware

Sydney Fong, VMware

Alicia Peracchia, SEI

Bridget McElroy, Neurodiversity in the Workplace

All times Eastern Watch here for more specific schedule details as they become available.

12:00 PM - 12:20 PM

Live at the Summit

12:00 PM - 2:30 PM

Talkaround Sessions (Live): Followup conversations with presenters of yesterday's recorded content

1:30 PM - 2:30 PM

Research Symposium 3


A discussion of current research by the people doing it:

Jonathan Vincent (supporting students' pathways into employment), Brad Cox (re-shaping higher ed to be more adaptive for autistic students), Nicholas Gelbar (conducting survey research and using quantitative methods when studying autism in higher ed)

2:30 PM - 4:00 PM

Closing speaker: Anthony Pacilio


Moving the Needle: Neurodiversity and Employment

Five years from the start of our Autism at Work pilot at JPMorgan Chase, here's what worked, what didn’t and how are we adapting to the climate of jobs in the workforce. This talk will also focus on dealing with the culture shift that working with someone on the spectrum brings and making sure it’s not all about numbers.

Anthony Pacilio is the Vice President and Global Head of Autism at Work for JP MorganChase.

4:00 PM - 4:30 PM

Closing Session

It's a wrap! Join us for a brief discussion of where we go next. And our final giveaway of the Summit!

4:30 PM - 5:30 PM

Research Symposium Capstone Session

Four scholars reflect on what they've heard throughout the Research Symposium and consider what happens next on the international research agenda. With Monique Colclough, Brad Cox, Jodi Duke, and Edlyn Pena.

Planning Committee


Interested in sponsoring this event? Click here for the application. Have questions? Contact Kristie Jerde, Assistant Director, Advertising and Exhibits.

Gold Sponsors

Silver Sponsors