Hundreds Heading to Cleveland for Annual Autism Conference

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CLEVELAND – Hundreds of parents are heading to Cleveland for the Milestone Autism Organization’s annual Autism-Asperger’s Conference

“What I love about the conference is I think you get a burst of energy. You feel empowered,” said Ilana Hoffer Skoff, executive director of Milestones Autism Organization. “I’m going to try this. I sit in a session. I take notes. I say how can I apply this to myself.”

Skoff co-founded the conference 10 years ago.

She also has a child with autism and said the event provides resources every family needs, including state-of-the-art technology.

“You’re going to have the choice of over 70 workshops,” Skoff said. “They’re on topics on things, ranging from toddlers to adults, challenging behavior, communications.”

More than 800 parents and professionals are expected to attend the two-day conference.

The Organization for Autism Research is sponsoring guest speakers, including Dr. Brenda Smith Myles, Dr. Diana Twachtman-Cullen, Dr. Beth A. Glasbert, Dr. Joanne Gerenser and Peter Gerhardt.

“If anybody in any way is touched by autism, where it’s a family, whether it’s a professional, whether it’s a school teacher, this is where they’re going to learn,” said Mike Maloney, of OAR. “They’re going to learn from the presenters, they’re going to learn from the other people in the conference.”

Skoff encourages any family affected by autism should attend, as the conference will put them in touch with local resources to help improve their child’s life.

“There are so many great things, great resources here in Cleveland,” she said. “And that's what I look forward to. Things that I can use to help improve what I do with my own child and that's what I like to share with other people.”

The Milestone Autism Organization’s 10th Annual Autism-Asperger’s Conference is from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Cleveland Public Auditorium and Conference Center, 500 Lakeside Ave.

Tickets start at $85. Scholarships are available – even at the door – for those who cannot afford to attend.

For more information, go to visit www.milestones.org.