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30th Annual Conference

April 11 - April 13

Kalahari Resort and Convention Center
Wisconsin Dells, WI

The Autism Society of Wisconsin’s Annual Conference is a 3 day event where professionals, parents, individuals on the spectrum, family members and advocates gather to learn, share and discuss various topics in the field of autism. Attendees leave the conference with an understanding of strategies, resources and services that serve to improve the lives of individuals on the autism spectrum.

Friday, April 12th

Interoception, The Eighth Sense: Influence on Self-Regulation, Health and Emotional Well-Being

Kelly Mahler, MS, OTR/L

Interoception is an important sensory system that helps us to ‘feel’ body signals like a full bladder, growling stomach, tense muscles or speeding heart. Research indicates that our ability to clearly feel these internal signals enables us to accurately identify and manage how we feel: Do we feel Anxious? Frustrated? Hungry? Full? In pain? Need the bathroom? Many autistic individuals can have differences in interoception, causing significant challenges in identifying and managing the way they feel.  This presentation will provide participants with an overview of what research tells us about interoception as well as how this sense influences self-regulation, health and emotional well-being.

About Kelly: Kelly Mahler, MS, OTR/L, is a pediatric occupational therapist in the Central Pennsylvania region. She specializes in the development of self-regulation and social cognition skills. Additionally, Kelly is co-founder of Destination Friendship which is an organization providing fun, community-based opportunities targeted at developing friendship skills in children, adolescents, and teenagers with ASD. She is the author of several publications, and has presented at numerous national, state and local conferences.

Saturday, April 13th

Triumph: Overcoming the Odds

Russell Lehmann

The story of how a 28-year-old man with autism overcame debilitating mental health issues to lead a fulfilling life in which he travels the country spreading hope, awareness, understanding and acceptance. Shared are lessons learned, insights gained and poetry that gives a deeply personal and transparent look inside the world of autism, OCD, anxiety and depression. Eye-opening, motivational, informative and inspirational.

About Russell: Russell Lehmann is an award-winning and internationally recognized motivational speaker, poet, author and advocate whose words have reached over 20 million people worldwide, from Argentina to Norway, Lebanon to Australia. Russell’s book, “Inside Out: Stories and Poems from an Autistic Mind” which was featured in the LA Times, earned an Honorable Mention at the 2012 NY Book Festival and won the award for Literary Excellency at the 2013 International Autistic People’s Awards in Vancouver, Canada. Russell has a raging fire within him to stand up for those who are not yet strong enough to do so themselves. His goals in life are to erase the stigma and stereotypes that come with having a disability, and to make this world a better place by spreading hope, compassion, awareness, acceptance, belief and tolerance.

Pre-Conferences will take place on Thursday, April 11th. Pre-conference A & B will be during the morning session, and C & D will be during the afternoon session. Please choose one workshop per session.

9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Pre-Conference A:

Comprehensive Evaluation for Special Education Eligibility

DPI and Discretionary Grant Staff

Special education evaluations should be sufficiently comprehensive to allow the IEP team to determine eligibility and identify the needs of the student being evaluated.  Specifically, the IEP team must apply IDEA and Wisconsin Statute Chapter 115 requirements when administering tests or other evaluation procedures to determine a child’s eligibility for special education. The evaluation must also provide enough information to identify the student’s needs so the IEP team can subsequently develop an IEP that promotes  student access, engagement and progress in grade level standards based curriculum, instruction and environments.  Come learn about DPI’s upcoming guidance in relation to comprehensive evaluation and specific considerations for autism.

Pre-Conference B:

I Think We’re Ready for This… ASD and Preparing for Puberty

Shana Nichols, Ph.D.

Preparation for puberty and assisting youth as they navigate the physical, emotional, and social changes that occur during this time is an essential component of healthy sexuality education. Positive support and learning provides the foundation for this important time of social learning and growing up. Youth and young teens with ASD experience unique learning challenges that can impact their journey through puberty (e.g., sensory issues, difficulties with change); families, educators and professionals need to know how best to teach and assist youth during this time period in order to facilitate a smooth transition and positive growth and development. From privacy, boundaries and personal space, to learning about physical changes, taking care of one’s body, coping with emotions, and experiencing attraction, a lot happens during this developmental period. Therefore, puberty preparation encompasses knowledge, behaviors, thoughts, feelings, and skills. Ideally, it helps for youth to know about the changes associated with puberty before they happen so that they know what to expect.

Despite its importance, families may find that teaching about puberty is not easy. Success for parents comes from the 3 Cs: feeling Comfortable, Competent and Confident. This training will address how parents and their teaching team can help youth and young teens on the spectrum successfully progress through puberty – know your child, start early, and create and implement a teaching plan. If you are feeling behind, no worries – it’s never too late to get started! Engaging case presentations and materials will be shared providing practical skills that participants can use to create an effective puberty preparation education plan. From assessment to instruction and evaluation of progress, this training will guide participants in feeling confident, in developing a solid plan and a practical teaching “toolkit” and in accessing available resources related to puberty and healthy sexuality development and learning.

1:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Pre-Conference C:

College and Career Ready IEPs Through the Lens of Autism

DPI and Discretionary Grant Staff

This interactive workshop will increase participant understanding of the CCR-IEP Process. The focus will be on the application of Steps 1, 2 and 3 with examples of disability-related needs common among learners with autism. Participants are strongly encouraged to attend in groups of at least two from the same district. Each district team may bring a copy of a student’s IEP* to use as reference or have access to an IEP online to use during the training.

Pre-Conference D:

It’s Different For Girls: Understanding and Supporting Females with ASD

Shana Nichols, Ph.D.

In recent years, an emerging focus in both research and clinical practice has identified the importance of the female experience of ASD and how it may differ from that of males on the spectrum. This workshop will provide a brief overview of what is known about differences between males and females and the importance of an accurate diagnosis for girls and women. Appropriate diagnostic protocols for females suspected of having ASD will be discussed. The primary focus of this workshop will be identifying successful intervention strategies and approaches to support the unique needs of girls and women in living a meaningful and enriching life. Topics will include navigating the social world, emotional regulation and mental health, self concept, and healthy sexuality and personal safety. Using case examples and the experiences of women with ASD, effective strategies, therapeutic approaches and a wealth of resources will be reviewed.

*This presentation will provide a basic, brief overview of what was covered in last year’s session, but the primary focus will be to cover new information related to successful strategies and approaches that wasn’t previously presented.

Thursday, April 11th

Parent to Parent of Wisconsin Meet and Greet

5:00—6:00 pm

A casual gathering for attendees to meet up with parents you have been connected with over the years, make new friends and learn how you can become a support parent for another family or how to receive support when needed. Find out about our statewide network of parents who support each other on the journey of parenting children with special needs. Light refreshments will be served.

Friday, April 12th

Spectrum Social Hour 

4:45—5:45 pm

For those on the autism spectrum, ages 14 and up, to meet and get to know one other. Games and other activities will be available.

Teen Sibling Hour  

4:45—5:45 pm

A casual, informal gathering, exclusively for teen siblings of those on the autism spectrum (13 –18).

Autism Society Affiliate Networking Session   

5:00—6:00 pm

Join local Autism Society Affiliate leaders to learn more about your local affiliate and connect with others in your local community.

Family Reception & Essay Awards Presentation   

6:00—7:00 pm

Families with children with autism are invited to join us for pizza and cake at 6:00 pm. Help us in honoring Essay Contest winners in an awards presentation at 6:30.

Talent Show

7:00-8:00 PM

Help us celebrate the diverse and many talents of those with autism during our annual talent show.

Interested in participating in the talent show? 

Due to limited space, participation is accepted on a first come, first serve basis. It is a requirement to provide a valid email upon registering, as you will be notified via email once your registration has been received.  If capacity is reached you will be contacted and placed on the waiting list.

Each talent show participant is asked to limit their talent to 3-5 minutes (maximum).


8:00—9:30 pm

Time to let loose and unwind!

Saturday, April 13th


9:50 AM—12:40 PM

For kids aged 8-12 whose brothers and sisters have autism. This will be a fun morning filled with interactive activities combining recreation, learning, discussion and peer support.

Raffle Drawing

12:15 pm

Visit the raffle tables during the conference to get your tickets! All proceeds will benefit the Autism Society of Wisconsin. Winning tickets will be drawn at 12:15 on Saturday.

Lodging reservations must be made directly with the hotel at 877-253-5466.  Call in advance; only a limited number of rooms are blocked at a special rate of $109 per night for a single or $122 for a double, triple or quad room Wednesday – Friday. The rate will increase to $139 per evening for reservations on Saturday.  When making a reservation identify yourself with the Autism Society of Wisconsin room block.

NEW! You can also make reservations under our room block at the Kalahari using the following link: https://book.passkey.com/e/49887183

Room reservation cut off date is March 11, 2019; all unconfirmed rooms will then be released to the general public.

Complimentary Amenities:  All overnight guests are invited to indulge in the complimentary use of  the water park and fitness center.

Parking: The Kalahari has ample parking spaces available for hotel and conference guests.

Registration is now closed. Onsite registration will be available for an extra $25 fee. 

Autism Society Member

 If you are a current dues paying member of an Autism Society affiliate you may register at this discounted rate.  If you are unsure of your member status, please call us at 920-558-4602.

General Conference: $175 | Pre-conferences: $30 each


This rate is for individuals who are not a member of the Autism Society.  You may join at any time and immediately receive the discounted member rate.

General Conference: $210 | Pre-conferences: $30 each

Person with ASD

This rate is for individuals on the autism spectrum.

General Conference: $75 | Pre-conferences: $15 each

Support Person

To qualify for this rate your primary purpose for attending the conference must be to support an individual on the autism spectrum who is also registered for the conference. Please include their name on your registration form.  Only 1 support person (per individual on the spectrum) may register at this rate. 

General Conference: $75 | Pre-conferences: $15 each

Group Discounts

Groups of 4 or more employees from the same institution or organization are eligible to receive a 10% discount off the total cost of registration. To register at the discounted group rate, please download the group registration form.  Only 1 form of payment may be used for all attendees registering as part of the group.

Exhibiting provides the opportunity to engage with over 700 attendees including some of the top leaders committed to improving lives of individuals living with autism.  An exhibit will include a table for your organization to share your work and resources with educators, individuals on the spectrum, and families during any of our numerous breaks Thursday through Saturday of the conference.

Registration Pricing

Commercial Exhibitors
1 table = $350 | 2 tables = $500

Non-Profit Service Providers
1 table = $250 | 2 tables = $350

Individuals with ASD
1 table = $75 | 2 tables = $100

Resource Table
Shared table = $50
The resource table allows companies or organizations to display one or two of their printed material(s) (e.g. brochure, flyer) on a shared table.

The exhibitor fee includes a skirted 8’ table with chairs, a one-line I.D. sign, name in conference program, and one general conference registration (includes Friday & Saturday).  Sponsors are offered prime table locations, all other tables are randomly assigned. Electricity is an additional expense.

Exhibit Registration Deadline: 
March 15, 2019. 

Interested in further promoting your organization at our conference? Check out the advertising opportunities tab!

The Autism Society of Wisconsin offers various sponsorship opportunities for those wishing to support the conference and increase visibility of their business in the autism community. A conference sponsorship is a great way to deliver your message to our members and conference attendees.  Please click on the categories below for more information.

Executive Level

  •  4 full conference registrations ($250/person value)
  • 1 full page color advertisement in the conference booklet (excludes cover)
  • One exhibit table
  • Insertion of materials in the conference tote (all inserts must be approved by the conference organizer)
  • Name and logo recognition in the conference booklet
  • One banner advertisement on the conference mobile app
  • Link on the Autism Society of Wisconsin website (through July 2019)

Gold Level

  •  2 full conference registrations ($250/person value)
  • 1/2 page black and white advertisement in the conference booklet (excludes cover)
  • One exhibit table
  • Insertion of materials in the conference tote (all inserts must be approved by the conference organizer)
  • Name recognition in the conference booklet

Silver Level

  • 1/4 page black and white advertisement in the conference booklet
  • One exhibit table
  • Name recognition in the conference booklet

A La Carte Options


Availability Cost


Sponsor the pre-conference or keynote session 5


Introduce a pre-conference or keynote speaker. Signage will be displayed as well as recognition in the conference program

Sponsor a breakfast



Signage displayed at the breakfast buffet as well as recognition in the conference program



Name badges will be attached to the lanyard color of your choice, customized with your name/logo
Family Reception



Signage displayed at the reception, business/organization name decorated on the bottom of the cake as well as recognition in the conference program
Sponsorship Application Deadline: March 18, 2019.

Place an advertisement about your company’s products or services in our 2019 Conference Program! This is an additional opportunity to reach individuals with ASD, parents, educators, therapists, agencies, school districts and others.

Cover advertisements are filled on a first come, first served basis. Unless indicated, all advertisements are printed in black and white. Additional charges apply for color. Contact Amber at agollata@asw4autism.org or for more information.

Advertisement Pricing

Back Cover –  RESERVED

Inside Front Cover – RESERVED

Inside Back Cover – Color, 1 available 8″ x 10.5″ = $550

1 page, 8″ x 10.5″ = $400

1/2 page, 8″ x 5″ = $250

1/4 page, 4″ x 5.25″ = $175

Advertisement Application Deadline: March 15, 2019.

What is the cost to attend the conference?

There are different registration rates for different groups. The cost will also depend on when you register and whether you are part of a group registration. Registering early will ensure you receive the best rate. Please review the detailed descriptions under the Registration tab to help you understand what rate will be appropriate for you.

Are there any available funding sources to cover the cost?

The Children’s Long Term Support Waiver may cover the cost of attending the conference as part of Consumer Education and Training category. We encourage families to check with their county caseworker about funding options.  We also suggest that Autism Society members check with their local affiliate to ask about scholarship opportunities.

When is the deadline to register?

Early bird registration discounts are offered until January 4, 2019.  General conference registration will run from January 5th through March 18th, 2019Registrations will not be accepted after March 18th, no exceptions.  Substitutions may be made at no cost. Onsite registration is available to those who miss the pre-registration deadline for an additional $25.  Please note that conference materials are not guaranteed for onsite registrants.

How will I know I'm registered?

An e-mail confirmation will be sent once your registration has been processed. If you do not receive an email confirmation, please contact us to ensure your registration was received. It is important that you provide an email on your registration.  Important information, including access to handouts, will be emailed prior to the conference.

Is childcare available?

Due to the size of the conference we are unable to provide child care, please plan accordingly.  If you are registering your child with an autism spectrum disorder for the conference, please keep in mind that the child needs to be at least 14 years of age, and accompanied by a support person, if needed.

Is there a hotel room block?

Yes, we have reserved rooms at the Kalahari Resort & Convention Center. Lodging reservations must be made directly with the hotel at 877-253-5466.  When making a reservation identify yourself with the Autism Society of Wisconsin room block. Call in advance; only a limited number of rooms are blocked at a special rate of $109 per night for a single or $122 for a double, triple or quad room Wednesday– Friday.  The rate will increase to $139 per evening for reservations on Saturday.  All overnight guests are invited to indulge in the complimentary use of the waterpark and fitness center. Room reservation cutoff date is March 11, 2019; all unconfirmed rooms will then be released to the general public.

Are meals included?

All meals will be on your own.  There are several restaurants in the hotel and in the vicinity of the hotel.

What if I need to cancel my registration?

Written cancellation requests must be sent to agollata@asw4autism.org by March 18, 2019 and will be charged a $25.00 processing fee. Substitutions can be made at no cost.  No refunds after March 18, 2019- no exceptions. A $30.00 fee will accompany any returned checks or denied charges.

Please contact Amber at agollata@asw4autism.org with any questions.


April 11
April 13


Kalahari Resort & Convention Center
1305 Kalahari Dr
Baraboo, WI 53965 United States
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