A Different Type of Autism Conference

September 30, 2023
Benton Event Center
Benton, Arkansas


What's Different?

Drawn from the experiences of Autism Connections, AUSUM 2023 is the first of its kind conference that addresses issues special needs families need to know. From IEP and special needs trusts to PASSÉ, we've got it all covered.

Don’t miss the opportunity to know more!


Self-Determination Starts at Home

Self-Determination Starts at Home

Presenter: Arkansas Alliance for Disability Advocacy

Arkansas Alliance for Disability Advocacy educates and empowers disability advocates, builds awareness about the issues people with disabilities face daily, and fosters collaboration between programs to give self-advocates, allies, parent advocates, and legislators the tools they need to be active participants in the disability advocacy movement. During the workshop hosted by The Alliance, you will learn about self-determination, dignity of risk, and how to support the person you love when practicing self-determination..

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Tips for Parents & Caregivers to Support AAC Users

Tips for Parents and Caregivers to Support AAC Users

Presenter: Nancy Dunn

This session will provide parents and caregivers with tips and strategies that can help support their children in learning how to communicate more effectively using augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). We will discuss types of AAC (no tech, low tech, mid tech, and high tech AAC devices), the assessment process to determine the best system to use, funding options, and more.

Arkansas Achieving a Better Life Experience Plan

Arkansas Achieving a Better Life Experience Plan

Presenters: Fran Jansen and Chris Scott

The Arkansas Achieving a Better Life Experience Plan (AR ABLE) offers individuals with disabilities and their families an affordable way to save for many daily, disability-related expenses on a tax-deferred basis – without limiting their ability to benefit from supplemental security income (SSI), Medicaid and other federal programs. ABLE savings may grow and be withdrawn tax-free, provided the funds are used for qualified, disability-related expenses. Qualified expenses include, but are not limited to, costs associated with education, housing, transportation, legal fees, assistive technology, employment training and more. The AR ABLE plan also includes a checking account option for more regular withdrawals.

Medicaid Waiver

Medicaid Waiver

Presenter: Joe Winford

Information on our DDS Programs and Services which includes our DDS Community and Employment Supports (CES) waiver and our Community Integrated Support Services. Will be discussing the array of services offered to all eligible Arkansas residents. We will also be discussing and providing information on our DD eligibility criteria that must be met to receive DDS Services. As well as the various ways someone can access DDS Services through our Public Citizen portal, our DDS web page or at the local DHS offices. We will also share information on the on our five (5) Human Development Centers (HDC).

Parent Panel

Parent Panel

Presenters: Oliva Dick, Holly House Crutchfield, Kim Mitteer, and Tosha Thibeau

Parents who've been there share the tips and insights they've have learned along the way. A Q&A session will follow.


08:00 - 08:30
08:45 - 9:00
09:00 - 10:00
10:15 - 11:15
11:30 - 12:30
12:45 - 1:45
2:00 - 3:30
3:45 - 4:30

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