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2018 ICare4Autism National Conference

The 2018 ICare4Autism National Conference joined together speakers and experts in order to strengthen the workforce and increase employment opportunities for people with special abilities across the United States.

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The Center for Autism Research and Education, 

ICare4Autism, has brought global awareness and initiated training programs around the globe. Now, the non-profit organization is announced it's newest initiative this October at the 2018 National Conference at the United States Congressional Auditorium.


Experts and key officials joined together to introduce a comprehensive training program across the United States for high school students with disabilities, meaning individuals with special abilities and strengths as well as challenges.

Our ultimate goal is the high school graduation of each student with a general education degree, and the readiness skills needed to pursue higher education and/or a well-paying job that will enable them to live full and independent lives.

Dr. Weinstein, Founder and CEO
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“In recognizing the numerous opportunities in the high growth technology sector and the unique skills that high school students with disabilities possess, all of which can lead to high level career opportunities.


This comprehensive apprentice workforce program provides individuals (prior to leaving High School) with a personalized transition plan which, if needed, will also include an employment specialist, job coach, assistance with job searches, as well as on-the-job training and support services.”

2018 National Conference Magazine

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Here's a closer look at Conference Presenters

Speakers and Panelists

Julian Alvarez III Commissioner Representing Labor (TX)

Julian Alvarez III is the Commissioner Representing Labor of the Texas Workforce Commission. Gov. Greg Abbott reappointed him to the three-member Commission on March 7, 2017. His Commission appointment expires February 1, 2023. The Commissioner Representing Labor represents the interest of more than 13 million Texas workers with respect to TWC services and ensures that their concerns are considered in all Commission actions. Prior to his appointment, Commissioner Alvarez served as president and CEO of the Rio Grande Valley Partnership fostering relationships and coordinating programs to advance regional economic development and employment opportunities. 

Commissioner Alvarez has also served as a Texas regional director for the U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson advising on legislative and policy issues related to South Texas Prior to that, Alvarez served on the South Texas Drug Task Force as a state trooper for the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). After his service with DPS, Alvarez inspired stewardship and leadership as the director of college information for Texas State Technical College in Harlingen. Pre-Apprenticeship and Registered Apprenticeship: Building careers for people
with Special Abilities


Dr. Stephen M. Shore, Ed.D., (NY)

Stephen M. Shore, EdD was diagnosed with "Atypical Development with strong autistic tendencies." He was viewed as "too sick" to be treated on an outpatient basis and recommended for institutionalization. He was nonverbal until four, and with much help from his parents, teachers, and others, Dr. Shore completed his doctoral degree in special education at Boston University in 2008 with a focus on help-ing people on the autism spectrum develop their capacities to the fullest extent possible. Dr. Shore is a Professor at Adelphi University in New York and teaches special education.In addition to working with children and talking about life on the autism spectrum, Dr. Shore presents and consults internationally. He has presented in 26 countries, 47 US states, and 6 continents.

Dr. Shore presents on adult issues pertinent to education, relationships, employment, advocacy, and disclosure as dis-cussed in his book Beyond the Wall: Personal Experiences with Autism and Asperger Syndrome, Ask and Tell: Self-advo-cacy and Disclosure for People on the Autism Spectrum, and Understanding Autism for Dummies. Dr. Shore has presented at many USAAA Annual World Conferences since 2007. Dr. Shore serves on the US Autism & As-perger Association advisory board. He was presented the 2013 USAAA Chairman's Award for extraordinary contributions to USAAA and the autism community. Opening Doors for Employment: A neurodiversity employment curriculum Carol

Congressman Don Beyer of Virginia

Congressman Don Beyer (D) represents Virginia’s 8th congressional district and is currently serving his second term in office. A longtime public servant, Representative Beyer has served as Virginia’s lieutenant governor and as Ambassador to Switzerland and Liechtenstein. His signature work as lieutenant governor included advocacy for Virginians with disabilities and ensuring protections for Virginia’s most vulnerable populations as the Commonwealth reformed its welfare system in the mid-1990s. Congressman Beyer presently serves on the Joint Economic Committee, the House Committee on Natural Resources, is Vice Ranking Member of the Science Space and Technology Committee and Ranking Member of the Oversight Subcommittee.

Scott Michael Robertson Ph.D.

Dr. Scott Michael Robertson, who is an autistic person with learning disabilities, graduated from MBS in 1999. During his six years at MBS, Scott served as Co-Editor-in-Chief of Salmagundi, and he earned induction into the Cum Laude Society. Graduating Summa Cum Laude from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Scott completed a bachelor's degree in computer science. He then earned his master's degree in human computer interaction from Carnegie Mellon University's School of Computer Science. 

Recently, Scott completed his Ph.D. degree in information sciences and technology at Penn State University after studying cyber- and face-to-face bullying of autistic youth for his dissertation. He then began a Public Policy Fellowship at the U.S. Senate funded by the Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation. Scott works for U.S. Senator Tom Harkin at the Disability Policy Office (DPO) of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) in Washington, D.C. Scott helps develop legislation to improve access and opportunity for children and adults with disabili-ties; he also assists other DPO activities, such as work to advise Senator Harkin on disability policy issues. In 2006, Scott co-founded the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), a national 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization focused on protecting the rights of people with disabilities. Led by autistic people, ASAN runs initiatives in leadership development, educational outreach, technical assistance and training, and community-based research. Scott has served on the U.S. Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee as an appointee of Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. The IACC helps coordinate and monitor federal activities focused on autism, including federal funding of research. Scott has also served as a Council Member and Executive Committee member of the Pennsylvania Develop-mental Disabilities Council, a federally funded state agency. During his career in national disability rights advocacy, Scott has earned many awards and honors. In 2011, the American Public Health Association awarded him their Jay S. Drotman Memorial Award for emerging leadership in policy and practice. Invited by the SpecialAssistant to the President for Dis-ability Policy, Scott contributed his subject matter expertise at White House conferences and meetings on disability policy Invited Address on competitive integrated employment


M. Schall, Ph.D. (VA)

Dr. Carol Schall is the Co-Director of the Virginia Commonwealth University Autism Center for Excellence, the Director of the Virginia Autism Resource Center, and the Principal Investigator in the development of the Community Based Functional Skills Assessment for Transition Aged Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorders, a grant funded by Autism Speaks.  She has over 30 years experience supporting adolescents and adults with ASD as a teacher, administrator, researcher, and consultant. 

Dr. Schall is also the co-developer and research coordinator for Project SEARCH Plus ASD Supports. Additionally, Dr. Schall has consulted nationally and internationally on issues related to adolescents and young adults with ASD. Invited Address on customized employment research

Dr. Robert Naseef, Ph.D. (PA)

Robert Naseef, Ph.D. has a distinct voice as a psychologist and father of an adult son with autism. He has spoken around the country and trained professionals internationally in treating autism and supporting families. Along with Stephen Shore, Ed.D., Dr. Naseef is a lead consultant to the Arc of Philadelphia and SAP’s “Autism at Work” program which involves collaboration with the Pennsylvania Department of Education and the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation. He speaks at conferences nationally and internationally on issues facing families of children with autism and other special needs. He has a special interest in the psychology of men and fatherhood.

Dr. Naseef’s 2013 book, Autism in the Family: Caring and Coping Together (Brookes Publishing) integrates advances in research and treatment with clinical experience to help families navigate the emotional landscape and the practical road-map through the lifespan. Special Children, Challenged Parents: The Struggles and Rewards of Parenting a Child with a Disability (1996), his first book, received international recognition. He has appeared on radio and television. Living Along the Autism Spectrum (2009) is a DVD which features him with Stephen Shore and Dan Gottlieb. In 2008, Robert Naseef was honored by Variety, the Children’s Charity for his outstanding contributions to the autism community. Dr. Naseef has a variety of presentations available for centers or institutions looking for training or speaking engagements. Opening Doors for Employment: A neurodiversity employment curriculum


Jennifer Sheehy, MBA-Deputy Assistant Secretary, ODEP

Jennifer Sheehy is the Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), US Department of Labor. The mission of ODEP is to develop policy that increases job opportunities for youth and adults with disabilities. Prior to her current position, Jennifer spent ten years at the US Department of Education in many roles, including acting Director of the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, acting Deputy Commissioner of the Rehabilitation Services Administration and Special Assistant to the Assistant Secretary of Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.


Dr. Joshua Weinstein, Ph.D., M.B.A.

Dr. Joshua Weinstein was an educator and administrator in public and private school systems for over forty years. He also served as a CEO in healthcare, social services, and the corporate world. In 1998, Dr. Weinstein established Shema Kolainu-Hear Our Voices -- the school and center for children with autism. Today, Shema Kolainu reaches over 1,000 children in both school-and-community-based settings throughout New York City.


In 2004, Dr. Weinstein founded ICare4Autism, an international organization which mission is to drive research - through worldwide collaborations among centers that investigate and study autism- to uncover the causes of autism and build consensus on the issues and best practices in autism research and diagnosis. Through the ICare4Autism initiative, Dr. Weinstein provides leadership in advancing the rights and future of individuals with autism and helps them integrate with the society on the global platform.  


Beth Diviney, Ph.D., BCBA, LBA

Beth Diviney, Ph.D., BCBA, LBA is a behavior analyst who consults in health care clinics, early intervention centers, schools, homes and other community based programs throughout the New York tristate area in the USA. Beth received a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from SUNY at Stony Brook where, under the supervision of Dr. Ted Carr and his graduate students, she discovered the field of Applied Behavior Analysis. She earned her M.A. in Experimental Psychology at LIU, and Ph.D. in Applied Psychology at NYU.  Beth is a peer-elected Past President of the NYS Association for Behavior Analysis, Director New Initiatives at icare4autism (International Center for Autism Research & Education), and Director Behavioral Services at CARES.  She is a cofounder of the Premier HealthCare Training Institute, serves on several advisory committees and presents at nationally and internationally held professional conferences.  Her research and practice focus is on the health and well-being of families, learning, autism and related disorders, and the integration of behavior analysis with parenting, education, medical and dental care. Closing Remarks

Jennifer came to the Department of Education from the Presidential Task Force on Employment of Adults with Disabilities where she was Senior Policy Advisor and served a detail as Associate Director in the White House Domestic Policy Council. Before she joined the task force staff, Jennifer was Vice President of the National Organization on Disability and Director of its CEO Council. Jennifer earned a BA from Cornell University and graduated with honors from Georgetown University, where she received her MBA. While in graduate school, she worked in marketing research with Anheuser-Busch Companies in St. Louis. Before graduate school, Jennifer also worked in marketing and management for Sheraton and Marriott. Jennifer lives in Washington, DC, with her husband. Invited address on inclusive apprenticeships

Congressman Donald M. Payne, Jr. of New Jersey

U.S. Representative Donald M. Payne, Jr. is a lifelong resident of Newark, New Jersey. Since 2012, he has served the people of the 10th Congressional District of New Jersey, which covers portions of Essex, Hudson, and Union counties. Rep. Payne, Jr. is a tireless fighter for New Jersey families, work-ing to create jobs and grow the economy, protect and invest in our children, and ensure the health and safety of our communities. In 2017, Rep. Payne, Jr. was appointed to serve as a member of the powerful House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure. He led the Build America series 
of convenings to bring together government, industry leaders, small businesses, and women- and minority-owned businesses to increase diversity in federal government contracting projects. 

Rep. Payne, Jr. began his long career in public service when he founded Newark South Ward Junior Democrats, becoming its first president. He also served as an adviser to the YMCA Youth in Government program. He attended Kean College (now Kean University), where he studied graphic arts. He lives in Newark with his wife Beatrice and their triplets, Donald III, Jack, and Yvonne.

David Kearon, Director Adult Services, Autism Speaks (NY)

As the Director of Adult Services at Autism Speaks, Dave Kearon helps manage the organization’s mission to promote supports for adults with autism spectrum disorders throughout the country. He works to increase the quality and quantity of opportunities and resources available to adults with autism related to employment, housing and residential supports, postsecondary education and community integration. Prior to joining the Adult Services team, Dave worked at Autism Speaks in the role of Psychometrician for the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE). In that position, he visited children and families across the United States and collected clinical data. Previously, Dave attended the graduate program in School Psychology at Queens College in New York and spent 8 years work-ing with children and teens with developmental disabilities in public schools on Long Island

Craig E. Leen

Craig E. Leen serves as Acting Director and Deputy Director of the Oce of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) at the U.S. Department of Labor, after previously serving as Senior Advisor. Prior to serving at OFCCP, Mr. Leen was the City Attorney of Coral Gables, Florida, where he was the general counsel and chief legal ocer for a full–service city in Florida. In that role, he practiced in the areas of constitutional law and civil rights, labor and employment, land use and zoning, ethics, procurement, real estate, construction, code enforcement, and appellate law. Before serving as City Attorney, Mr. Leen was the Chief of the Appeals Section and then the Chief of the Federal Litigation Section at the Miami-Dade County Attorney’s Oce. Mr. Leen has also worked at several international law rooms, and served as a law clerk to the Honorable Robert E. Keeton, United States District Judge, District of Massachusetts. Mr. Leen is also board certied by the Florida Bar in City, County, and Local Government law, and is admitted to practice law in Florida, Massachusetts, and New York. Mr. Leen has also taught courses in various legal subjects as an adjunct professor at FIU College of Law and the University of Miami School of Law, and was recently appointed as a professorial lecturer in law at The George Washington University Law School, where he will be teaching an evening class in Legal Drafting (Litiga-
tion) in the Fall Semester of 2018. Mr. Leen received his Juris Doctorate from Columbia Law School, graduating as a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar, and having served as a teaching fellow in both Con-
tracts and Torts. Mr. Leen received his Bachelor of Arts, cum laude, from Georgetown University, where he double majored in Government and Economics.

Rachael Rounds, M.S. , Business Connections Program Manager (VA)

Rachael joined the VCU RRTC team as an employment Specialist in November, 2010. She received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from VCU. She has direct service and administrative experience in the supported employment field. Her caseload consists of primarily Virginia Department of Rehabilitative Services. Rachael earned ACRE-certification through the supported employment web-based certificate series in 2011. Rachael was recently promoted to Business Connections Program Manager. Mrs. Rounds holds a Master's Degree in  Rehabilitation Counseling. Publications include Employment Interventions for Individuals with ASD: The Relative Efficacy of Supported Employment With or Without Prior Project SEARCH Training. Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 45(12), 3990–4001. Panelist on Employment Specialists & Coaches who Guide Employees with Special Abilities 

Jennica Johansen, Vocational Rehab Counselor (VA)

Jennica joined the VCU RRTC team as a community-based employment specialist in 2014. She earned her ACRE certification for community rehabilitation, and her NAWDP certification for rehabilitation into the workforce post incarceration. She graduated from VCU with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Panelist on Employment Specialists & Coaches who Guide Employees with Special Abilities. Panelist on Efforts Being Made by Employers and Employees with Special Abilities

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