Young Adult Finds Hope at YAI Autism Conference

Wed, November 11, 2009

Asher is a 15-year-old with Asperger's syndrome. Like most teenagers, he wants to make friends at school. “I live a pretty normal life. I like music, art and museums, just like everyone else. But sometimes people tease me because I have a disability and that makes it hard,” Asher says.

Determined to get advice from a trusted professional who could understand what he was going through, Asher, accompanied by his mother, Raizel, recently attended YAI's Full-Day Conference on Autism with Dr. Tony Attwood. Dr. Attwood is one of the world's top experts on Asperger's syndrome and high functioning autism. The conference was sponsored by the YAI Autism Center and the YAI Network.

Asher joined more than 340 professionals and family members at the McGraw-Hill auditorium on October 19 to hear Dr. Attwood present "The Complete Guide to High Functioning Autism and Asperger's Syndrome: Making Friends and Managing Feelings.”

During the conference, Asher learned practical tips for overcoming social and emotional barriers. He took comfort in hearing about others who overcame similar experiences to succeed, which also helped him build self-esteem.

“Today was important because Dr. Attwood was very inspiring and helped me learn how to deal with my feelings,” said Asher. “I think it was also important for families and professionals to come. I wish for everyone to be educated about people like me. When people are educated, then that can lead to more services and more ways to help. I am very thankful to the YAI Network for having this conference and giving me the chance to meet Dr. Attwood."