Lighting the Way

autism awareness ribbon

Join us on June 11-12.

Registration is still open.

Keynote speakers will be Tom Fields-Meyer and Jennifer O’Toole.

View the 2015 Conference Booklet.

The Conference theme is Solutions for Success: Diagnosis Through Adulthood.

  • The $100 registration fee includes meals, breaks and handouts. Registration is limited to 300 people. Registration fee is refundable until June 1 with a $25 processing fee. Cancellations must be submitted in writing.
  • Books are available at the campus bookstore's website for your shopping convenience.
  • Registration: 8-8:30 a.m., Thursday, June 11, Edith Mortenson Center. Badges and materials for the conference will be available.
  • Reception for Parents: 4:30-6:30 p.m., Thursday, June 11, at the Fellows' Presidential Residence, located near campus at 2817 S. Grange Ave.
  • Parent Scholarships available — Contact SD Parent Connection at
  • Graduate Credit is available for additional fee. SDDOE renewal credit and CEUs are available at no additional cost.
  • Brochure — Contains the registration form that can be printed and mailed.
  • Sponsors
  • Campus Map and Lodging Options
  • Contact Us — If you have questions or need further information about the conference.

2015 Keynote speakers:

Thursday, June 11

Tom Fields-MeyerTom Fields-Meyer is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir "Following Ezra: What One Father Learned About Gumby, Otters, Autism, and Love from His Extraordinary Son," which was a finalist for the National Jewish Book Award. People magazine called "Following Ezra" “unexpectedly uplifting” and “a heart and mind-altering experience” and Kirkus Reviews said it “depicts parenting with grace and every child as a gift.” A popular speaker, Tom has delighted audiences in more than 30 communities around the country with his entertaining, humorous and moving talks, full of lessons for parents and professionals alike.

In August 2015, Simon & Schuster will publish his next book, "Uniquely Human: A Different Way of Seeing Autism," coauthored with the internationally renowned autism expert Dr. Barry Prizant.

Tom was a longtime senior writer for People magazine, where he specialized in producing inspiring human-interest stories. His freelance articles have appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. He has coauthored several memoirs and is an instructor of nonfiction writing at the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program. Tom lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Shawn Fields-Meyer, and their three teenage sons.

Friday, June 12

Jennifer O-TooleJennifer O’Toole is the winner of the Autism Society of America’s 2014 Outstanding Literary Work of the Year, the 2012 Temple Grandin Award, a recipient of GRASP’s 2012 Distinguished Spectrumite Medal, 2012 AuKids Speaker of the Year, and a nominee for the 2012 Autism Society Book Award and Godiva’s Woman of the Year. TV actress/activist Holly Robinson Peete even listed Jennifer among her “Autism Parent Superstars!”

Most recently, she’s been invited to speak to the President’s Council on Fitness at the White House Summit on Americans with Disabilities, and was added to the “Who’s Who” list of International Aspie Mentors — along with Temple Grandin and Stephen Shore – to contribute to Dr. Tony Attwood’s “Been There. Done That. Try This.” anthology. She is founder of Asperkids, LLC, a multi-media social education company, and Academy AK, an online “school of awesomeness for all.”

Jennifer was diagnosed as an Aspie in adulthood, is the mother of three Asperkids, the wife of an Aspie, an award-winning educator and author of the internationally celebrated “Asperkids” book series. She is a featured columnist for Autism Asperger’s Digest and The Australian Autism Asperger’s Network , and contributor to Autism Spectrum Quarterly Special magazine.

Lighting the Way Autism Walk: Saturday, June 13

9-11 a.m. — Meet at Commons Circle, near Morrison Commons on Augustana's campus.

The focus of the Lighting the Way Autism Walk is to raise awareness and connect families with each other and local resources.

Our goal is to have record attendance at the Autism Walk to help each family build a network of support as they continue their journey with their family member with autism.

Begin organizing your team now and join us for a walk celebrating stellar resources, networking with friends and families of individuals with autism, and SuFuDu (drum line) and the Mariachi Band!

For more information contact Dr. Julie Ashworth at 605.929.0031 or