For the 2015 Spring Symposium, topics are focused on using technology apps, dealing with behavior issues, family leadership, employment supports, collaborative leadership, along with the expertise the Center is known for, like Autism Spectrum Disorder and Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder related topics. Like last year, there will also be a World Café community conversation and topical table talks where attendees can share their knowledge and experience and work together as a team to discuss how to overcome job-related challenges and community issues.

Some of the session titles include “Adaptive Skills Lab,” where attendees move from station to station and learn how to incorporate support in a home environment with washing clothes, dressing independently and shopping skills; and “What to do when ‘Leisure’ isn’t all Fun & Games,” a session focused on individuals and their struggles during unstructured times like recess and play time, and how to reduce the stressors during those times. More titles will be announced soon.

The first keynote speaker this year is Andy Imparato, Association of University Centers on Disabilities executive director. The Center is excited to announce another keynote speaker, Joe Steffy, the sole proprietor of Poppin’ Joe’s Gourmet Kettle Korn. Steffy is a business owner with a dual diagnosis of Down Syndrome and ASD, and since founding Poppin Joe’s in 2005, you can now find his popcorn in Walmart, fairs, and other events throughout Kansas, Georgia and nationwide. You can find more information about Poppin Joe’s at

“I am excited about our second annual symposium and the chance for all of us to come together, share ideas and learn from each other,” said Wendy Parent-Johnson, Center for Disabilities executive director. “We can celebrate our successes and strategize to address the issues we face. This event is about becoming leaders in our own right and engaging others to join us.”

For more information on the Center, go to To register for the Spring Symposium, go to If you register before Feb. 1, the early bird price is $135, and increases to $150 after that date. Student registration cost is $75, and family members of or a person with a disability are also $75. One graduate credit or one undergraduate credit is also available from the University of South Dakota.

Press Contact
Hanna DeLange
Contact Email
Contact Website website