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Contact: Stephen Hudik

Kean University Will Host Conference on Autism

Putting the Pieces Together: Conference for Teachers, Parents, and Professionals

UNION, N.J. - Kean University will host an interdisciplinary conference on autism, Putting the Pieces Together: Conference for Teachers, Parents, and Professionals, on Friday, November 21. Registration will begin at 8 a.m. in Kean Universityís Downs Hall located at 1000 Morris Avenue in Union, N.J. The conference will feature leading research and medical experts on autism from across the country.

The conference lunchtime speaker is Jim Watkins, who co-anchors the CW11 News at 10. Watkins and his wife, Lauren Thierry, are the parents of an autistic child. They have been active in numerous organizations, including The New York Center for Autism, in promoting awareness about autism and research. The two support numerous charities throughout the New York metropolitan area, including Ronald McDonald House, Project ALS, Special Olympics and The Leukemia Society.

Jim Watkins has often served as emcee at numerous community events. Lauren made a much-praised documentary, Autism Every Day, which premiered to a sold-out audience at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. An excerpt from the film will be shown at the conference.

Jake Greenspan, one of the co-directors DIR Support Services in Bethesda, Md., is the conference keynote speaker in the morning. DIR Support Services is a child development center specializing in the use of the DIR/Floortime model. Greenspan and his co-director Tim Bleeker, with the help of Dr. Stanley Greenspan, developed evaluation and intervention programs based on the DIR (Developmental, Individual Differences, Relationshipship-based) model.

A series of panel discussions in the afternoon will allow families, teachers, health care professionals and others to learn more about a broad range of topics. Panelists will discuss the latest discipline-specific research, as well as the various strategies used to cope with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).

The panel session topics include:

A networking reception ends the program at 2:30 p.m. For more information, visit