Autism symposium presenters given
Apr 28, 2013 | 641 views | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend | print
This summer’s 11th Annual Southeastern Autism Symposium will feature keynote speakers Gina Gallagher and Patricia Konjoian, sisters and authors of “Shut Up about your Perfect Kid: A Survival Guide for Ordinary Parents of Special Children.”

The symposium, “Lights, Camera, Autism!,” will be Friday, June 21, at Lee University’s Helen DeVos College of Education.

Calling themselves “imperfect parents” of “imperfect children,” Gallagher and Konjoian take a comedic approach to the challenges faced by both parents and caregivers of special needs kids and the children themselves.

Gallagher and Konjoian were recipients of the National Alliance on Mental Illness' Heroes in the Fight Award in 2008 for their work in helping make life easier for those with serious and persistent mental illness. They were also recognized as the 2011 award winners in the YWCA of Merrimack Valley's Tribute to Women.

As part of their work in the special needs community, the sisters have written and help produce The Imperfection Connection, a Web-TV program on Family Network TV, a network dedicated to supporting and educating the special needs community.

2013 marks the 70th year since autism was first described as a developmental disorder by child psychiatrist Leo Kanner. Today, over 2 million Americans are living with the effects of autism spectrum disorder.

Geared toward parents, caregivers, medical professionals and educators of individuals with autism, this year’s symposium hopes to provide attendees with new tools to manage the complexities of autism.

Along with the keynote addresses, there will be several breakout sessions including but not limited to such topics as: Processing Difficulties of an Adult on the Spectrum, Dealing with Tantrums, Video Modeling and the iPad, Keeping Your Marriage Strong, Helping Individuals on the Spectrum Age Gracefully, and Meals for Problem Eaters.

Sessions begin at 8 a.m. on Friday. Participants will have the option to attend sessions only, attend sessions and lunch only, or attend the full event with lunch and dinner included.

During the week of the symposium, Lee will host the 5th annual Camp Spectrum, a day camp for individuals with autism ages 4 to adult. There will be activities on the Lee University campus in addition to swimming at the YMCA and therapeutic horseback riding. The camp runs Monday, June 17, through Thursday, June 20, 8 a.m.-noon.

The sponsors for the 2013 symposium include Elite Behavior, Life Bridges, Orange Grove Center, and Signal Centers.

For more information about the symposium visit or contact Karen Brown at 423-614-8192 or

For information on Camp Spectrum, contact Dr. Kim Moffett at