Transitioning to adulthood can be a challenging time for students with autism and special needs as well as their families. Montgomery County Community College’s Bridging to the Future Conference can help connect students and families to the information, resources and strategies they need for successful transitions. The free online conference will be held on Saturday, May 1, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
This year's event will feature keynote speakerJane Thierfeld Brown, Ed.D, a leading authority on autism in higher education. Brown is an assistant clinical professor at Yale Child Study at Yale Medical School, Director of College Autism Spectrum and was the former director of Student Services at the University of Connecticut, School of Law. She has worked in disability services for 39 years and consults with many families, students, school districts, colleges and universities.
In addition to her teaching and consulting work, Brown has co-authored “Students with Asperger Syndrome: A Guide for College Personnel” (2009), “The Parent’s Guide to College for Students on the Autism Spectrum” (2012), and “Behavior Management and Self-Regulation” (2012), and she has appeared on Good Morning America, CBS News and NPR. She is the mother of three children, the youngest being a 27-year-old son with autism.
Following the keynote speaker, the conference will include sessions presented by MCCC’s Office of Disabilities, Gwynedd Mercy University Integrated Studies, Bloomsburg University, D.R.E.A.M. Partnership, PA ABLE/ PA Treasury Bureau of Savings Programs, St. Joseph University Kinney Center for Autism, 1847 Financial, Families Creating Communities for Adults with Special Needs (Families CCAN), PA Family Network-Vision for Equality, Integrate for Good, Leahy Life Plan, AHEDD, Parent's Place of MD, Modern Driver Institute, and PA Health Management.
The sessions will include information on finance, disability services, legal rights, insurance, and college and career planning, how to prepare for the transition, legal aspects, financial planning, rights and waivers, workforce and post-secondary preparation and more.
Additionally, more than 15 vendors from a variety of support areas will be available throughout the day to offer information on many topics and the services they provide. MCCC will have information about its Admissions, Workforce Development Division, Bridge to College Program, and Disability Services.
MCCC’s Bridge to College Program – a supportive, personalized six-week college-readiness program – is designed for college-bound high school students or recent graduates with high-functioning autism or special needs. This program helps students reduce the anxiety often associated with a major life change and develops the social and organizational skills necessary to promote independent functioning in college.
MCCC’s Office of Disability Services is a co-sponsor of the conference and supports the equitable participation of qualified individuals with disabilities in all aspects of the College experience.