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Northern California Autism Symposium Logo

Save the Date! September 24 & 25, 2021

Thank you to the 200 educators, practitioners, families, and individuals with ASD who attended our 3rd Annual Symposium. Thank you, also, to the 23 presenters who shared their stories, their expertise, and their resources. It was a content-rich two days of learning for all, and we hope to see you again next year at the 4th Annual Northern California Autism Symposium, September 24 & 25, 2021 at CSU, Chico.

2020 Featured Speakers

Steve Silberman

Steve Silberman will be a featured speaker at the 2020 Northern California Autism Symposium

Steve Silberman is an award-winning science writer whose articles have appeared in Wired, the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Financial Times, the Boston Globe, the MIT Technology Review, Nature, Salon, Shambhala Sun, and many other publications. He is the author of NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity (Avery 2015), which Oliver Sacks called a “sweeping and penetrating history…presented with a rare sympathy and sensitivity.” The book became a widely-praised bestseller in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Book Cover of "Neurotribes," by Steve SilbermanIn April 2016, Silberman gave the keynote speech at the United Nations for World Autism Awareness Day. He has given talks on the history of autism at Yale, Harvard, MIT, Oxford, the National Academy of Sciences, Queen Mary University, Apple, Microsoft, Google, the 92nd Street Y, Imperial College London, the MIND Institute at UC Davis, and many other major institutions. His TED talk, “The Forgotten History of Autism,” has been viewed more than a million times and translated into 25 languages. His article “The Placebo Problem” won the 2010 Science Journalism Award for Magazine Writing from the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Kavli Foundation, and was featured on The Colbert Report. His writing on science, culture, and literature has been collected in a number of major anthologies including The Best American Science Writing of the Year and The Best Business Stories of the Year. Silberman’s Twitter account @stevesilberman made Time magazine’s list of the best Twitter feeds for the year 2011. He is proud to be a member of the PEN American Center.

Silberman also won a gold record from the Recording Industry Association of America for co-producing the Grateful Dead’s career-spanning box set So Many Roads (1965-1995), which was Rolling Stone’s box set of the year. His liner notes have been featured in CDs and DVDs by Crosby, Stills, and Nash, the Jerry Garcia Band, and many other groups. As a young man, he was Allen Ginsberg’s teaching assistant at Naropa University. He lives with his husband Keith in San Francisco.

Josh Mirsky & Dave Thompson ~ All About Autism Podcast

"Sounds Like Autism" Podcast LogoJosh and Dave met in 2016 while working at Spectrum Designs Foundation, a nonprofit social enterprise that provides employment opportunities to people affected by autism and related conditions. As an educator, Dave was struck by just how effective an “off the cuff communicator” Josh could be. The pair worked together closely on many projects and helped each other constantly.

In 2018, Josh was hungry to bring his message to a wider audience. Realizing that he shouldn’t be the only one benefiting from Josh’ insight, Dave introduced Josh to the world of podcasting, which even he didn’t know much about. The two sat down after work, flipped on Dave’s microphone and recorded their first episode.

Josh MirskyAn advocate, thinker and change maker in the Autism community. Diagnosed with Autism at 13, Josh Mirsky has overcome misdiagnoses, bullying, lack of proper services, unemployment, and relationship struggles and come out a strong, outspoken young man. A natural speaker, Josh' empathetic and thoughtful personality is bound to wow anyone who bears witness. Josh is a Lead Production Assistant at Spectrum Designs Foundation, a self-taught artist, and has a passion for airplanes and world history. His goal is to spread awareness and understanding of Autism, and to lend a hand to those affected and their families at any chance he gets.

Dave Thompson, "Sounds Like Autism" PodcastAn educator, innovator and advocate in the Autism field for over 10 years. As Director of Workforce Development at Spectrum Designs Foundation, Dave Thompson has unique insight into just how valuable yet undervalued, deserving and yet under served the neurodiverse community is. He has an insatiable desire to see the world around him continue to evolve through employment opportunities, access to services, assistive technologies, and a more inclusive collective attitude toward people labeled ‘different.’

 Professional Development

Sessions for professionals on evidence-based practices will be delivered by CAPTAIN trainers. CAPTAIN, the California Autism Professional Training and Information Network, is a multiagency network developed to support the understanding and use of Evidence Based Practices for individuals affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder across the state. CAPTAIN is dedicated to providing statewide access to trainings and resources in Evidence Based Practices (EBPs) that are culturally sensitive, family centered, cost effective, and competency based.