Times Chronicle & Public Spirit

MCCC’s online Bridging to the Future Conference will help students with autism and special needs

Program strives to help with the transition to adult life after high school

- For MediaNews Group

WHITPAIN >> 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 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

For more informatio­n, contact Denise Garrigus at dgarrigu@mc3.edu or 215619-7403. Registrati­on is available online.

The event will feature Jane Thierfeld Brown a leading authority on autism in higher education, as the keynote speaker. 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.

 ?? PHOTO COURTESY MCCC ?? Montgomery County Community College’s central campus on 340DeKalb Pike in Blue Bell.
PHOTO COURTESY MCCC Montgomery County Community College’s central campus on 340DeKalb Pike in Blue Bell.
 ?? SUBMITTED PHOTO ?? The keynote speaker will be Jane Theirfeld Brown, a leading authority on autism in higher education.
SUBMITTED PHOTO The keynote speaker will be Jane Theirfeld Brown, a leading authority on autism in higher education.

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