A Huge Thank You!

From the Director

June 1, 2011 Prism Newsletter
By Tonia Ferguson

Thank you so much to all who attended the Autism NOW DC Metropolitan Area Regional Summit in Beltsville, MD, on May 14th and 15th!

Because of each of you, our regional summit was a huge success. Our lives here at the Autism NOW Center have been changed because of your opinions and voices, and we hope that each of you learned valuable information, had the chance to meet other families in the metropolitan area, and were inspired and empowered by the voices of self-advocates and parents who spoke during the summit.

Summit Highlights

For those of you who were unable to join us, here are some highlights:

  • On Saturday, we were honored to have the Commissioner of the Administration on Developmental Disabilities, Sharon Lewis, give the keynote presentation for the summit. She shared several wonderful stories about her daughter who has an intellectual disability as well as discussed some the real life challenges we face in the disability field.
  • On Saturday afternoon, Art-Stream, an inclusive theater and musical organization, performed. This organization brought along groups from several regions across the DC Metropolitan Area to share with us the songs and scenes that they have created. These songs filled all of us here at the Autism NOW Center with laughter and joy, and we are extremely grateful for their performance!
  • Check out photos from the summit on our Facebook page or our Flickr account.

Thanks to all the presenters and session leaders for their time and effort; most importantly, thank you to these presenters for sharing their knowledge and experiences with attendees. I have received several comments by email and in person from attendees that said that because of you and your generosity, “my life was changed tremendously.” As Director of the Autism NOW Center, I was so grateful to hear those words because I know that there are many challenges and joys that go along with parenting a child with autism or another developmental disability. The feeling that the Autism NOW staff and I were able to help improve the lives of people at the regional summit not only reinforces my belief that “it takes a village” to raise a child but that perhaps we have helped some of the attendees build this village further. As I said during the summit, we are to make “You, empowered.” to achieve the goals that you have for yourself or for your loved one.

Thank you, again, for all of you who were involved in the DC Metropolitan Area Regional Summit, and stay tuned for other 2011 Autism NOW upcoming events!

Tonia Ferguson is Director of the Autism NOW Center.

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