Kim Schweikert, College of Professional Studies and Lifelong Learning, 896-5888
Dan Carter, University Relations, 657-2269
June 29, 2010
Autism conference focuses on teaching, learning
Annual MSU Billings event sheds light on understanding the disorder
MSU BILLINGS NEWS SERVICES — It was a normal four-year-old’s birthday party, right up until the Mickey Mouse cake was about to be cut.
Suddenly, a young Taylor Crowe goes into a panic and makes such a scene that the celebration comes to a near halt. And that’s about the time he was diagnosed with autism.
In matter-of-fact description on a YouTube video, Crowe notes that for some reason, he wanted things a certain way and he absolutely hated the notion of anything happening to Mickey Mouse, even it was just a cake. Eventually, his life was totally different and a new learning process for him, his family, his friends and his teachers.
Now 28, Crowe spends his time traveling the country talking to others about autism, explaining how to deal with autistic students and showing his artwork.
“Understanding who we are and how we’re different is important,” he says in the video, which ends with a simple statement: “Autism is part of my life, not all of it.”
Crowe will be among the featured speakers at this month’s two-day conference, “Autism: Teaching, Caring, Loving, Learning.” The event, designed for educators, counselors, parents, social workers and the public, is scheduled for July 21-22 at the MSU Billings main campus in Library 148.
The cost of the conference, including lunch both days and dinner on Wednesday evening, is $159 or $125 for the parent of an autistic child. The conference is also available for college credit for an additional $100.
This year’s conference will provide access to Crowe and Dr. Tony Attwood, one the world’s foremost experts in the area of Asperger’s Syndrome. The men will provide insight from completely different perspectives that will allow conference participants inside the world of a person with autism.
Attwood is traveling to Montana from Australia to share his extensive knowledge. His book, “Asperger's Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Professionals,” provides information on diagnosis, problems of social relations, sensory issues, motor control and other typical issues which face people with Asperger's and their support networks. The book has now been translated into 20 languages.
Attwood’s work and insights will be featured during the first day of the conference. Educators, parents and professionals who wish to take in Attwood’s one-day session only, can do so for $125. A parent of a child with autism can attend Attwood’s workshop for a discounted price of $95.
The second day will feature Crowe and his family talking about their experiences and lessons learned from a life with autism.
For more information about the conference, call the MSU Billings College of Professional Studies Lifelong Learning at 896-5890 or go to www.msubillings.edu/summer and clicking on the autism conference link.
PHOTO ABOVE: Taylor Crowe, a 28-year-old artist who was diagnosed with autism when he was about 4 years old, will be a featured speaker at this month’s autism conference at MSU Billings. He travels the country talking about his life with autism and his art.