2018 Autism Conference Speakers

Welcome to the 2018 Autism Conference in Savannah, GA! Featuring keynote speaker, Lydia X.Z. Brown!


[Photo: Lydia Brown, a young East Asian person wearing navy blue suit and retro-patterned necktie, smiling. Photo by Rachel Mondragon, February 2017, Denver, Colorado.]

Lydia is an advocate, organizer and writer whose work has focused on violence against disabled people in schools, institutions and prisons and by police. They have worked to support disabled people on the margins of society, including people of color with disabilities and LGBTQ+ people with disabilities.

Lydia is a visiting lecturer at Tufts University, where she designed and teaches a course on disability and intersectional social movements.

Lydia is also a founding board member of the Alliance for Citizen-Directed Supports, which advocates for people with disabilities to have full community integration and control over their services.

From 2011-2015 Brown worked with the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN), most recently as a Policy Analyst. Lydia has worked with TASH (an international leader in disability advocacy) since 2012 and is currently the co-president of TASH New England. This past summer, Lydia was a legal intern in the Disability Rights Program at the ACLU.

Brown graduated from Georgetown University in 2015 and is now a law student at Northeastern University School of Law. They are the author of autistichoya.net and co-editor of the newly released “All the Weight of Our Dreams: On Living Racialized Autism,” a first-ever anthology entirely by autistic people of color.

Read Lydia’s complete bio here.


Other speakers include:

 Jennifer Phillips, MEd., LCSW

Mrs. Phillips is currently the Director of Professional Learning at Mid-Valley Special Education Cooperative in St. Charles, IL. She provides professional learning and coaching support to school staff in the areas of classroom management, student engagement, autism, functional behavior assessment/behavior intervention planning, and multi-tiered system of supports. She has worked to build staff capacity to support diverse learners within the general education setting and has supported this work at the state, district, building, and classroom level. Mrs. Phillips is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has her Masters in Educational Leadership.

Read about Jennifer’s breakout sessions here




Daniel Wendler

Daniel Wendler is the author of “Improve Your Social Skills,” and a doctoral student in clinical psychology at George Fox University. After being diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in high school, Daniel started teaching himself social skills the same way one might learn a foreign language. His TEDx talk, “My Life With Asperger’s” has been viewed over 325,000 times.


Read about Daniel’s breakout sessions here.



Suzette Rosario

Suzette is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with a Master’s Degree in Psychology from Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Alabama. She has nearly 10 years of experience working with and supporting individuals on the autism spectrum of all ages.


Suzette began her her career with the May Institute in 2013 as a Behavior Analyst in Tennessee. Currently, she is the Program Director at the May Institute in Savannah, GA.

Read about Suzette’s breakout sessions here



Rachel Seaman, PhD, BCBA-D

Rachel Seaman is a post-doctoral fellow at the Emory Autism Center. She received her doctorate in Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis from the Ohio State University, and has published and presented extensively in the areas of educator training, video prompting, and employment supports for individuals with ASD. Her primary role at the Emory Autism Center includes school-based consultation, transition assessments, development of research protocols and evaluation of transition curriculae.

Read more about Rachel’s breakout sessions here.



Other speakers include:

  • Tom Kohler, Executive Director, Chatham-Savannah Citizen Advocacy
  • Christy Calbos, Attorney at Law, The Calbos Law Firm
  • Debbie Dobbs, Advocacte, Debbie Dobbs Advocacy LLC