In today’s society, those living with autism are participating in normal activities in ever-increasing ways. Only thirty years ago, a diagnosis of autism usually meant institutionalization, but today, you’re more likely to be driving a car, going to college and enjoying meaningful employment.

Despite this gradual integration, few in mainstream society have prepared for the autistic to be a part of the general community. Many physicians, dentists, opticians and ophthalmologists, or medical specialists outside the neurological fields have sufficient training to assist an autistic patient. Lawyers, courts, prosecutors and public defenders are unprepared and untrained to deal with the nature of an autistic individual in the legal system, even though statistics have shown this is happening increasingly.

Businesses are equally uncertain how to deal with autistic customers, and lack the understanding or training to respect their needs. Very few companies know how to hire autistic employees, resulting in an 67 percent unemployment rate for those autistic seeking gainful employment.

The Conference on Learning Autism is intended to help build educational resources that we will provide online. The discussion will focus on the implementation of educational resources for making life with autism easier in the broader community.