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Banner for NIMH special event for autism awareness month. Includes two book covers.

NIMH Special Event for Autism Awareness Month

A Woman’s Voice: Understanding Autistic Needs

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Office of Autism Research Coordination (OARC) is pleased to invite you to attend our annual special event to recognize National Autism Awareness Month, A Woman’s Voice: Understanding Autistic Needs. We will be hosting a Panel Presentation featuring three authors of the book Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism, Barb Cook, Liane Holliday-Willey, Ed.D., and Dena Gassner, M.S.W. The panel will also include Jennifer O'Toole, author of Autism in Heels: The Untold Story of a Female Life on the Spectrum. Panelists will discuss their books and life from the perspective of a female on the spectrum.

meeting announcement Event Information
Topic Topic Description
Date: Tuesday, April 23, 2019
Time: 2:30 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Eastern
Location and Directions: NIH Main Campus
Porter Neuroscience Research Center
Building 35A, Rooms 620/630 (Ground Floor)
9000 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20892
To have books signed, please bring your copies or purchase beforehand at:
FAES Bookstore
Building #10, First Floor, Room 1C172
Cost: The meeting is free and open to the public.
Registration: Pre-registration is recommended to expedite check-in. Seating in the meeting room is limited to room capacity and on a first come, first served basis. Onsite registration will also be available. Register
Remote Access: Conference Call:
Dial: 888-957-9825
Access code: 1910071
Webcast: https://videocast.nih.gov/summary.asp?live=31703&bhcp=1
Members of the public who participate using the conference call phone number will be in listen-only mode. If you experience technical problems with the webcast or conference call, please call 240-668-0302 or e-mail IACCPublicInquiries@mail.nih.gov.
Disability Accommodations: This event will provide Closed Captioning through the NIH videocast website. Remote CART is provided through a web application and will be available at all meetings; the application can be used on a laptop computer or mobile device. For details please inquire with the Contact Person listed on the notice. Individuals whose full participation in the meeting will require special accommodations (e.g., sign language, or interpreting services, etc.) must submit a request to the Contact Person listed on the notice at least seven (7) business days prior to the meeting. Such requests should include a detailed description of the accommodation needed and a way for our office to contact the requester if more information is needed to fill the request. Special requests should be made as early as possible; last minute requests may be made but may not be possible to accommodate. A quiet room will also be made available.
Security: In the interest of security, NIH has instituted stringent procedures for entrance onto the NIH campus. All visitor vehicles, including taxicabs, hotel, and airport shuttles will be inspected before being allowed on campus. Visitors will be asked to show one form of identification (for example, a government-issued photo ID, driver’s license, or passport) and to state the purpose of their visit.

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meeting agenda Agenda
Time Event
 2:30 p.m.
Introductory Remarks
Susan Daniels, Ph.D.
Director, Office of Autism Research Coordination, National Institute of Mental Health
Joshua Gordon, M.D., Ph.D. Director, National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) and Chair, IACC
 2:40 p.m.
Presentation
Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism
Barb Cook Editor-in-Chief, Spectrum Women Magazine, Author, Speaker, Consultant, Mentor, Advocate

Autism in Heels: The Untold Story a Female Life on the Spectrum
Jennifer Cook O’Toole Author, Speaker
 3:00 p.m.
Panel Discussion and Q&A
Barb Cook
Editor-in-Chief, Spectrum Women Magazine, Author, Speaker, Consultant, Mentor, Advocate
Liane Holliday-Willey, Ed.D. Developmental Delays Consultant, Behavioral Resources And Institute for Neuropsychological Services, Author, Autism Consultant, Motivational Speaker
Dena Gassner, M.S.W. Ph.D. Candidate, Adelphi University, Adjunct Professor, Towson University
Jennifer Cook O’Toole Author, Speaker
Moderator: Susan Daniels, Ph.D.
Director, Office of Autism Research Coordination, National Institute of Mental Health
 3:55 p.m.
Closing Remarks
Susan Daniels, Ph.D.
Director, Office of Autism Research Coordination, National Institute of Mental Health
 4:00 p.m.
Meet & Greet
To have books signed, please bring your copies or purchase beforehand at FAES Bookstore
 5:00 p.m.
Adjournment

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meeting speakers Panelists

Barb Cook

Editor-in-Chief, Spectrum Women Magazine, Employment Services Manager, Thriving Now Pty Ltd, Author, Speaker, Consultant, Mentor, Advocate

Photo of Barb Cook

Ms. Barb Cook is Editor-in-Chief of the online Spectrum Women Magazine and editor and co-author of Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism. She is also the Employment Services Manager at Thriving Now Pty Ltd where she works alongside clinical psychologists Mr. Jay Hobbs and Drs. Tony Attwood and Michelle Garnett. Ms. Cook was formally identified on the autism spectrum along with ADHD and phonological dyslexia in 2009. She provides consulting, mentoring, and life coaching services as well as workshops, webinars and presentations for the neurodiverse community, including individuals on the spectrum, parents, educators, and employers. She is also co-founder of Bikers for Autism Australia, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping families and individuals on the spectrum through fundraising events. Additionally, she is a Community Council Member of AASET (Autistic Adults and other Stakeholders Engaged Together) and an independent autistic peer reviewer of the journal Autism in Adulthood. Ms. Cook is currently attending the University of Wollongong in Australia for a Master of Autism in the areas of education and employment.

Liane Holliday-Willey, Ed.D.

Developmental Delays Consultant, Behavioral Resources and Institute for Neuropsychological Services, Author, Autism Consultant, Motivational Speaker

Photo of Liane Holliday-Willey

Dr. Liane Holliday-Willey is a Developmental Delay Consultant at Behavioral Resources And Institute for Neuropsychological Services (B.R.A.I.N.S). She was diagnosed with autism at age 35. She has written multiple books, the first of which, Pretending to be Normal: Living with Asperger’s Syndrome, was one of the first female autobiographies on Asperger syndrome. Dr. Holliday-Willey’s next book is a memoir about life growing up with a father who had Asperger syndrome. She is also a contributor to Spectrum Women. She serves on several professional boards including Imperative Pictures, a Los Angeles based film company dedicated to the production of mainstream movies focusing on a variety of diversity issues; The Asperger Association of Michigan; The Asperger Syndrome Coalition of the United States (ASK-US); The Equest Center for Therapeutic Riding, and More Able Autistic People (MAAP). She serves as a Senior Editor for Autism Spectrum Quarterly and runs the website Aspie which is dedicated to the understanding and support of Asperger Syndrome. Dr. Holliday-Willey runs Kirkshire Farm, an equine boarding and training facility she owns and runs in Sparta, Michigan. She has a Doctor of Education with a specialty in psycholinguistics and learning style differences from Mississippi State University.

Jennifer Cook O’Toole

Author, Speaker

Photo of Jennifer OToole

Ms. Jennifer O’ Toole is the author of Autism In Heels: The Untold Story of a Female Life on the Spectrum as well as the Asperkids book series and Sisterhood of the Spectrum. Ms. O’Toole received her autism diagnosis in 2011 after her three children received similar diagnoses. She keynotes internationally, has advised the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, & Nutrition’s White House Summit on Americans with Disabilities, and is the Senior Directorial Consultant at Jefferson University Medical Center’s newly-established Center for Autism & Neurodiversity. Ms. O’Toole sits on the Autism Society of America’s Panel of People on the Spectrum, is a columnist/expert panelist for Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls at the Party, and a contributor to the online Spectrum Women Magazine. She also consulted with Children’s Television Workshop on the creation of Sesame Street’s first autistic character Julia. She is also a commentator for National Public Radio, the BBC, and NBC. Ms. O’Toole graduated from Brown University and went on to the Graduate School of Social Work at Columbia University and Graduate School of Education at Queens University.

Dena Gassner, M.S.W.

Ph.D. Candidate, Adelphi University; Adjunct Professor, Towson University

photo of Dena Gassner

After spending 20 years navigating systems for her autistic son and providing direct service to autistic teens and adults, Dena Gassner is in the dissertation phase for her Ph.D. in Social Work at Adelphi University. She is an adjunct professor for the Department of Social Work at Adelphi and is working as an adjunct teaching in the Post Baccalaureate Certificate Program in Autism Studies for Towson University. She is a training consultant for New York University's NEST Program and holds seats on the Board of Directors for The Arc US, the professional advisory board for AHANY and is a grant reviewer for the Department of Defense. Her private practice focuses on systems navigation for transition aged autistic teens and adults. In 2018 she had a viral video with Huffington Post on Autistic Mothering and presented at World Autism Awareness Day at the United Nations. She has spoken in Russia, Geneva (UN), Scotland, Birmingham University (UK) at Cambridge, INSAR and has provided key testimony to multiple groups including the IACC and the Government Accountability Offices in Washington, DC. She has contributed articles and chapters to multiple publications including "College for Students with Disabilities: We Do Belong" and "Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism" with another chapter in-press for Routledge Press, "Treatment on the Spectrum: Diverse Interventions for Adolescent and Adult Clients with Autism Spectrum Disorder".


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