On November 3rd we participated in the “Autism Across the Lifespan” conference in Camarillo, CA. The conference keynote speaker was Jerry Newport, an author with Asperger syndrome whose life was the basis of the 2005 film Mozart and the Whale (starring Josh Hartnett and Radha Mitchell). He is known for his frank advice and humor when giving presentations.
Jerry, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome in 1995, is married to Mary Meinel-Newport, also a savant with Asperger’s syndrome. They are internationally recognized as advocates and savants and have appeared on 60 minutes twice. Together they have written books on adult aspects of Asperger’s syndrome and have spoken in forty-six states and eight nations.
Jerry spent a great deal of time with Brent, taking our Unintentional Humor™ quiz and singing a Celebrate Autism puzzle piece. After asking Brent’s day of birth, Jerry was quickly able to identify that he was born on a Friday. (We checked, and he was correct!) Jerry recently posted on Facebook that both he and Mary enjoyed reading Unintentional Humor™!!
Linda served on one of the three autism parent panels featured at the conference. Joined by Anne O’Neill and Carol Bluechel, mothers with adult autistic children, they each shared their individual journeys of raising children with autism, along with advice and suggestions to maximize successful transiting to adulthood. The panel concluded with a lively question and answer session. SELPA did a great job hosting their first autism conference-we look forward to participating in 2013.