Virtual Autism Conference

Inform, Influence, Innovate Together

Virtual Autism Conference

April 21st – 24th, 2021


The Autism Societies of Greater Wisconsin and Minnesota are pleased to announce a second year of partnership in combining both the Wisconsin and Minnesota annual autism conferences to a virtual event in 2021. The virtual conference, “Inform, Influence, Innovate Together,” will be held online April 21-24, 2021, and will feature 5 keynote presentations, dozens of livestream breakout sessions, virtual exhibit booths, an autism resources bookstore. Sessions will be recorded and accessible to participants up to one month after the live event.


Not an Autism Society of Greater WI member? Join at any time to immediately receive the member discount! Our annual membership program costs just $15 for an individual, or $20 for a family. Learn more here!

Minnesota residents, please register on the Autism Society of Minnesota’s website.

Registration Deadlines
  • November 9, 2020 – Early bird registration opens
  • January 25, 2021 –  Early bird registration *EXTENDED* deadline
  • April 16, 2021 – General registration closes
Confirmation Email

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.

Cancellation Policy

Written cancellations, requests for refunds, and/or changes will be accepted until Friday, April 16, 2021 and are subject to a $25 processing fee. Please email Amber at to cancel your registration. No telephone cancellations/refund requests can be accepted. After Friday, April 16, 2021, no requests for refunds will be accepted and no exceptions will be made to the policy.

Waiver Funding

Families enrolled in the Children’s Long-Term Support (CLTS) Waiver or Children’s Community Options Program (CCOP) may be able to use these funds to pay for conference registration fees. Please have your Service Coordinator fill out the PDF Registration Form and follow the instructions listed for waiver funding. Please contact Amber at with any questions.


The Autism Society of Greater Wisconsin has a limited number of scholarships for families and individuals who need financial assistance. Please email Amber at for more information. 

Keynote Speakers

Black and white image of Lydia X. Z. Brown, a young East Asian person with glasses, smiling and laughing, looking slightly away from the camera. Photo by Colin Pieters.
Lydia X. Z. Brown

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

Disability Justice is the Future of the Neurodiversity Movement

Disability Justice principles and practices offer radical and revolutionary ways of reimagining our relationships with ourselves, each other, and the communities where we live, work, and learn. During the global COVID-19 pandemic, Disability Justice offers urgent and vital interventions for addressing and ending the myriad harms of eugenics, the medical/carceral industrial complex, and capitalist oppression, all of which disproportionately harm autistic and other neurodivergent and disabled people. Disability Justice enables us to understand and examine interpersonal, systemic, structural, and institutional ableism and its impact on disabled people of color, queer and trans disabled people, and other disabled people at the margins of the margins. We have always been at the forefront of movements for justice and freedom, challenging assumptions about what is normal or healthy, demanding our right to exist as we are, building networks of care and solidarity for one another, and creating social and cultural transformations that enable us to experience rest and practice active love as co-teachers and co-learners.

Lydia X. Z. Brown is a disability justice advocate, organizer, educator, attorney, strategist, and writer whose work has largely focused on interpersonal and state violence against multiply-marginalized disabled people living at the intersections of race, class, gender, sexuality, nation, and language. They are Policy Counsel for the Privacy and Data Project at the Center for Democracy and Technology; Adjunct Lecturer in Disability Studies for Georgetown University; and Director of Policy, Advocacy, & External Affairs at the Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network. They are also founder and volunteer director of the Fund for Community Reparations for Autistic People of Color’s Interdependence, Survival, and Empowerment. Currently, they serve as a founding board member of the Alliance for Citizen Directed Supports, presidential appointee to the American Bar Association’s Commission on Disability Rights, and chair of the American Bar Association’s Section on Civil Rights & Social Justice, Disability Rights Committee.

Virtual Autism Conference Keynote: Peter Vermeulen
Peter Vermeulen

Thursday, April 22, 2021 – Morning Keynote

Autism and Happiness: from Neurodiversity to Neuroharmony

The pursuit of happiness: it’s what connects us all.  Unfortunately, happiness has received little attention in the field of autism. Outcome and effect studies, for instance, rarely take emotional well-being as a desired outcome. And when the focus is on well-being, it is often from a negative perspective, namely the lack of well-being and quality of life in autism.  

It is time to take a U-turn in our approach and change from an exclusive focus on what makes autism different (based on a clinical and medical approach) towards a shared and positive focus (we all want to be happy). In other words: let’s move from neurodiversity to neuroharmony.

In the presentation we will explore how we can increase the well-being of autistic people. We will talk about promoting positive feelings but also about life satisfaction and contentment as main sources of emotional well-being. And we will illustrate this with the story of Thijs, a boy we diagnosed back in the eighties and is now a happy adult. His story will show how we can move from neurodiversity to neuroharmony, an inclusive world where autistic and non-autistic people are living in harmony.

Peter Vermeulen, MSc, PhD, has worked with people with ASD and their families for more than 30 years. He is a Senior lecturer at Autisme Centraal, a training and education centre for autism spectrum disorders. Peter is an internationally respected lecturer/trainer and he presents all over Europe and beyond. Peter has written more than 15 books and over 150 articles on autism. His books include, “This is the title: on autistic thinking” (2001), “I am Special: handbook for psycho-education” (2000, revised edition 2013), and “Autism as Context Blindness” (2012), a book than won several awards in the USA.

Currently Peter is teaching, training and presenting all over the globe and in his work he focuses on many different topics, but some topics in particular: the autistic thinking (autism as context blindness), sensory issues in autism, psycho-education in autism (relationships, sexuality and coping with the diagnosis) and, last but not least: happiness & well-being in autism.

Virtual Autism Conference Keynote: McAlister Greiner Huynh
McAlister Greiner Huynh

Thursday, April 22, 2021 – Lunch Keynote

The Power of Accessibility: What Happens When We Change the World to Fit the Person Instead of Changing the Person to Fit Into the World

We all want success for the autistic people in our lives: success in their education, their relationships, their careers, their happiness. Yet, in our efforts to prevent autistic people from failing in this world, we have ignored the ways the world is failing them. In this session, learn from a neurodivergent educator–with a decade of professional experience working with autistic individuals–how an acceptance of differences and a focus on accessibility can make all the difference. After this session, you will be able to adapt your instructional approaches, educational support styles, and social-emotional interventions with the autistic neurology in mind to create a culture of acceptance, connection, belonging, and success for autistic individuals within the neurotypical-dominated world.

McAlister Greiner Huynh is a special educator in Raleigh, NC. She has been working with and learning from autistic individuals professionally for ten years, steadily growing in her passion for neurodiversity, disability culture, and radical acceptance. She received her Bachelor of Science in Special Education and Bachelor of Arts in English from UNC-Greensboro and her Master’s of Education with a concentration in Autism and Developmental Disabilities from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a Nationally Board Certified Exceptional Needs Specialist. McAlister is the educator behind “The Neurodivergent Teacher” pages on Facebook and Instagram, where she connects with families, professionals, and neurodivergent folx across the globe to share philosophies around teaching, self-advocacy skills, accessibility, and coping strategies.

Temple Grandin

Friday, April 23, 2021

Helping Different Kinds of Minds Be Successful

In this special presentation backed by personal experience and evidence-based research, Dr. Temple Grandin will provide a look into her personal experiences, including intervention, problems with sensory and over-sensitivity. She will also discuss the thinking process, the importance of developing strengths as well as the importance of work skills. Take away practical tips for parenting, teaching and learning from the individuals with autism in your life.

Temple Grandin, PhD, is a Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University where she researches and teaches. Dr. Grandin’s popular books include Thinking in Pictures, Emergence Labeled Autistic, The Way I See It, and The Autistic Brain. Dr. Grandin is a past member of the board of directors of the Autism Society of America. In 2010, Dr. Grandin was honored on Time Magazine’s list of “The 100 Most Influential People in the World.” She was inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame in 2012, and in 2017 was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.

Wale and Audrey Elegbede

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Rising to the Challenge – Unleash Your Superpower for Social Justice

Transformational social change requires passion, perseverance and truly original thinking. The Autism community with its focus on inclusion, neuro diversity, self-empowerment and genius is poised to make a significant contribution to social justice efforts.

Drawing on their expertise in systemic inequality, antiracism, autism advocacy, community building and strategic planning, Wale and Audrey Elegbede take us on a journey of new ideas and inspire us to actively engage in social equity efforts. Building on Wale’s TED Talk titled “It takes a community to eradicate hate”, Wale and Audrey demonstrate the power of community in advancing systemic change.

Wale and Audrey Elegbede bring a critical social justice, antiracism, and diversity leadership lens to engage us in a thought provoking discussion on the role of race, equity, and inclusion within the autism community.

Wale Elegbede, MBA, PMP is a TED motivational speaker, social justice leader and director of strategy management services at Mayo Clinic. Described as a community servant leader, Elegbede is president of NAACP Rochester Branch, Rada Distinguished Alumni of University of Wisconsin La-Crosse, and President of La Crosse- Rochester Project Management chapter.

Audrey Elegbede, PhD, ACC is Curriculum Development and Assessment Manager at the Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine, former Professor of Ethnic and Racial Studies, and active autism advocate. She is an educator, speaker, and professional coach, and she serves on state and local boards supporting the autism community.

They are the parents of three children, the oldest son of whom is autistic.

Breakout Sessions

Join us for informational sessions and influential speakers in April to walk away with innovative ideas for making the world a better place for autistic children and adults. 

Watch live or on-demand! All breakout sessions will be presented live and recordings will be available on-demand for one month after the conference.

Networking Lounge Sessions

The following topic-specific, moderated sessions will be offered for real-time interaction on Thursday and Friday of the conference.

The Neurodivergent Teacher – Continuing the Discussion
Thursday, April 22  |  1:30 – 2:30 pm

Join McAlister Greiner Huynh, the Neurodivergent Teacher, for a chance to ask questions, discussion her presentation, and chat with other community members.

Allyship Workshop
Thursday, April 22  |  4:30 – 5:30 pm

Join Zephyr James and Jillian Nelson for a chance to ask questions, discussion her presentation about building a culture of allyship in the autism community, and chat with other community members.

Autistic Adult Discussion Group
Friday, April 23  |  4:30 – 5:30 pm

Join autistic adults and share insights, favorite sessions, and ask questions. This lounge session will be moderated by Barb Luskin, PhD an AuSM Counseling and Consulting Services psychologist.

Navigating State Services Session

Spend time with representatives from Wisconsin agencies to learn about accessing available services. These sessions will be hosted over Zoom and are FREE to all! You do not need to be registered for the conference to attend these sessions.

Navigating State Services – An Introduction to Health Care & Long-Term Supports
Wednesday, April 21 |  3:00 – 4:00 pm

Presented by Lynn Renner and Brigit Frank of Family Voices of Wisconsin.

An overview of private and public health insurance benefits, community supports and services, and other resources for children with special health needs and disabilities.


Navigating State Services – An Introduction to DPI & Special Education Services
Wednesday, April 21 |  4:00 – 4:30 pm

Presented by Eva Shaw, DPI Special Education Consultant 

Learn about the resources offered by the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and how to access them. Participants will learn how to be an effective partner in their child’s education.


Meet Your Local Autism Society Affiliate
Wednesday, April 21 |  4:30 – 5:30 pm

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

Continuing Education

The Inform, Influence, and Innovate Together in 2021 virtual conference has been approved by the National Association of Social Workers, Wisconsin Chapter for 20 continuing education hours. These CEHs can be submitted to the Wisconsin Marriage and Family Therapy, Professional Counseling, and Social Work Examining Board.

There is no additional cost for continuing education hours.

To receive continuing education hours, participants must complete a brief CE Evaluation after attending the conference.

For all other professional boards, a Certificate of Attendance will be provided and can be submitted to your board for review.

Please contact Amber at with any questions.

VIP Evening with Temple Grandin

Friday, April 23, 2021

Join us for a special 2 hour VIP session with Temple Grandin!

Your VIP Pass includes:

  • Access to a 2 Hour Zoom session with Temple Grandin
  • Opportunity to ask Temple one question
  • Digital picture with Temple (emailed after the event)
  • Signed copy of Temple’s book (shipped to you)

You must be registered for the Inform, Influence, Innovate Together 2021 Virtual Conference to attend this event. If you register for this event without also being registered for the general conference, your payment will be refunded.


Sponsor & Exhibitor Opportunities

Virtual Exhibit 

 $500 MN or WI | $700 MN and WI (reserve by 3/31/21)

  • Booth in MN or WI virtual exhibit hall or one in both halls (logo, pdf resources, video/PowerPoint, social share links, website link, contact details)
  • Promotion through ASGW’s website
  • Social media acknowledgement
  • Targeted email acknowledgement
  • One virtual conference registration
Virtual/Print Program Advertising 

Full Page: $900 | Half Page: $700 (reserve by 3/24/21)

The 2021 virtual autism conference will include an online conference program that participants will access to navigate their experience, and that program also will be printed and mailed to the more than 800 participants who will use it to reference and access valuable tools long after the conference ends.

Sponsor Opportunities

Prices vary from $1,000 – $5,000 (reserve by 3/31/21)

Increase your visibility in the autism community by becoming a conference sponsor! With every sponsorship level you receive promotional opportunities for your products and services. Please see the full list of virtual Sponsor Opportunities here.  Don’t miss the opportunity to get in front of more than hundreds (if not thousands!) of attendees to promote your important initiatives, products and services.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does it cost to attend the virtual conference?

Member of the Autism Society:

  • Early Bird (November 9 – January 4, 2021): $215
  • General (January 5 – April 16, 2021): $235


  • Early Bird (November 9 – January 4, 2021): $250
  • General (January 5 – April 16, 2021): $270

Person with ASD: $105

What does my registration fee include?

The general conference rate includes an all access pass to:

  • 5 keynote presentations
  • 30+ live breakout sessions
  • Exhibit hall 
  • Networking opportunities
  • 1 month of post-event access to recorded sessions

Do I need to register for each individual session?

No, registrants will have access to all the sessions. The only exception is the VIP Evening with Temple Grandin which is an additional cost. 

How do I log in to the virtual conference?

Access to the virtual conference platform will launch closer to the conference dates. All registrants will receive an email with a link to the platform, access information, and additional reminders. Registrants will have access to the platform through May 24, 2021 to access the exhibit hall, resources, and continue viewing recorded content.

What are the technical requirements needed to participate?

To participate, you need an Internet connection and web browser. For the best viewing experience, we recommend that you join the conference using a supported internet browser, which includes Google Chrome, Firefox, and Safari.

What if I experience technical difficulties during the virtual conference?

Due to the nature of virtual events, we fully expect that there will be various technical questions throughout the conference. Feel free to contact us at if you need any assistance. If you happen to miss your session due to unsolvable technical issues, you will still have access to the recorded version. The online platform will also have a help desk to assist with issues during the live event. 

Will the keynote and breakout sessions be recorded and archived?

Yes! Each session will be recorded and archived. Your registration gives you access to the conference archive for 1 month after the dates of the conference. Can’t attend the live event or need to step away from your computer? No problem, log in whenever is convenient for you!

Can I share my access to the event with family members or colleagues?

No, registration includes access only for the person registered for the conference.

Do you offer group registrations?

Due to the virtual format of this event, each attendee will need to register in order to receive personalized log in credentials to attend the live presentations and access recorded content after the event concludes. Group registration is not available for this event.

Will the Autism Society of Greater Wisconsin and the Autism Society of Minnesota merge their conferences again in the future?

While we’re both excited by the opportunity to collaborate again for the 2021 virtual conference, we do not have plans to co-host conferences in the future. We will resume hosting our conferences as live events in the years to come.

Is financial assistance available to help cover the registration costs?

Scholarships opportunities are open to those living in Wisconsin or Minnesota. Please reach out to with Wisconsin scholarship requests and with Minnesota scholarship requests. The deadline to request a scholarship is April 12th.

Are certificates of attendance or CEUs available?

The conference has been approved by the National Association of Social Workers, Wisconsin Chapter for 20 continuing education hours. These CEHs can be submitted to the Wisconsin Marriage and Family Therapy, Professional Counseling, and Social Work Examining Board.

For all other professional boards, a Certificate of Attendance will be provided and can be summitted to your board for review.

Who do I contact for more information?

Please contact with any other questions.