VKC co-hosts Nov. 29 Autism, Innovation, & the Workforce Conference

By: Elizabeth Turner

The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center (VKC), along with the Vanderbilt Initiative for Autism, Innovation, & the Workforce, will hold its AIW Envisioning the Future of Human Technology Partnerships HTF Fall Conference on Thursday, Nov. 29, beginning at 8:30 a.m. CT at the Hilton Garden Inn Nashville-Vanderbilt, located at 1715 Broadway, Nashville.

This daylong conference will showcase technologies and innovations designed to help people on the autism spectrum develop their strengths, find meaningful employment, and succeed in the workplace. Also included in the agenda will be lunchtime keynote speaker Dr. Temple Grandin, who will speak on “Visual Thinking in Autism: Leveraging and Supporting Autistic Strengths,” as well as an autism self-advocate panel discussion in the afternoon.

This conference, supported in part by the National Science Foundation’s Human-Technology Frontiers (HTF) program, is open to innovators and practitioners who are developing, planning, or commercializing technologies that advance employment opportunities for individuals with autism, as well as educators, students, self-advocates, community organizations, and family members of individuals on the autism spectrum.

The centerpiece of the HTF Conference will be “technology showcases,” featuring innovations for adults on the spectrum seeking/maintaining meaningful employment. The context for the meeting is a model employment pipeline — called the “Nashville Model” — that seeks to embed helpful human-technology partnerships into the journey toward employment for people on the autism spectrum. Examples of technology that will be showcased include a driving simulator with eye-tracking capabilities to help teens and adults with autism become ready for on-the-road driving instruction, online games to develop collaborative work skills, and mobile app versions of new visuo-spatial tests to measure autistic “visual thinking” strengths.

Additionally, the conference will include a compelling panel of autism self-advocates to share personal stories of employment successes and struggles and to discuss their experiences and their aspirations for technologies to support autism at work.

Conference keynote speaker Temple Grandin is a celebrated autism self-advocate who has traveled the country sharing her insights and experience of being on the autism spectrum. In addition to participating in this conference, Dr. Grandin will also deliver a Vanderbilt Chancellor’s Series lecture and panel discussion at Vanderbilt University’s Student Life Center at 6:30 that evening. Participants in the HTF Conference have the option to reserve premium seats as part of registration.

Registration fees for the HTF Fall Conference are $250 for professionals; $50 for K-12 educators and family members; and $25 for students and autism self-advocates. There will be no on-site registration. Click here to register. Advance registration and payment are required by the Friday, Nov. 9, deadline.

The Vanderbilt Initiative for Autism, Innovation, and the Workforce — a Vanderbilt Trans-Institutional Programs (TIPs) pilot initiative — represents a collaboration of Vanderbilt engineers, scientists, disabilities researchers, and business scholars, together with major employers in Nashville and leading autism-related organizations nationally. Click here to learn more about the Vanderbilt Initiative for Autism, Innovation, & the Workforce.

Last Updated: 10/24/2018 2:34:30 PM

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