2013 Lowcountry Autism Forum
- Published: 05 June 2013
Each year, the LAC presents a free, live forum for the Charleston autism community. If you're a part of the autism community, you can attend and access up-to-date, relevant, vital information.
2013 Forum in the News
- "Autism forum held in Charleston," ABC News 4 feature article
- "Autism experts gather in Charleston for largest regional forum," WCBD-TV Charleston feature article
- "Lowcountry forum highlights resources in autism community," The Post and Courier feature article
When and Where Will the Forum Take Place?
The Second Annual Lowcountry Autism Forum took place on ...
The College of Charleston's Sottile Theater
44 George Street
Charleston, SC, 29401
For directions to the theater and visitor information, click here.
How Much Does it Cost to Attend?
Admission to the forum is free. The Forum is sponsored by the Lowcountry Autism Consortium (LAC) in cooperation with Trident Academy and MUSC Project REX.
Who Should Attend?
- Family members who have a child or relative on the spectrum
- Medical providers (physicians, psychologists, therapists) who serve individuals with ASD, including those who practice at ASD-specific diagnostic and treatment centers
- Teachers, aides, and tutors who work with ASD populations; college and university representatives
- Direct-care workers and support providers
- Autism researchers
- State and local autism organizations; representatives from national autism organizations with local chapters
- Regional civic and community groups, as well as corporations with an interest in supporting and hiring the ASD community
What's on the Schedule?
The Forum's morning session keynote speeches begin at 9am, followed by a courtesy lunch and afternoon workshops until 5pm. The admission-free event is open to the public.
Keynote speakers include:
- Peter Gerhardt, Ed.D., education director for the McCarton School, New York City
- Lorri Unumb, vice president for state and governmental affairs for Autism Speaks, Columbia, SC
- Frampton Gwynette, M.D., pediatric psychiatrist for the Medical University of South Carolina
- Jane Charles, M.D., developmental pediatrician for the Medical University of South Carolina
The 45 autism experts conducting workshops (1-5pm) include James Emmett, a Chicago-based vocational and disability consultant, and Barbara J. Newman, the Michigan-based author of Autism and Your Church.
Workshop topics include:
- early diagnosis and treatment intervention
- social skills development
- vocational and occupational training
- residential care and placement
- long-term care planning
The Forum also features:
- a SC Autism Society bookstore
- software demonstrations by vendors affiliated with iTaalk Autism Foundation
- exhibitions by autism service providers, pharmaceutical companies, and municipal, corporate, and civic groups
Rising Autism Prevalence
According to LAC executive director Rob Scharstein, M.D., the Forum's projected turnout is above last year's 300 attendees, a primary reason being the rise in autism prevalence. "The number is 1 in 88. Increasingly, families are searching for the latest in autism research and quality services," Scharstein said.
The LAC was formed in May 2011, when 25+ local autism groups banded together. Now a not-for-profit group, LAC's board members include: Scharstein, Charles and Gwynette; Laura Behringer, Laing Middle School; Phil Blevins, Carolina Autism Supported Living Services; Kathy Cook, Trident Academy; Danielle Gilbert, Charleston Young Adult ASDs; Florence Iwegbue, Livewello LLC; Walter Jenner, MUSC; Todd Kenney, The Kenney Law Firm; Sarah Logan, MUSC; Clay Middleton, US Department of Energy; David Miller, Kickin' Chicken Restaurant.