Workshop Helps Teens, Parents Navigate the Autism Spectrum

Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support to bring best-selling author John Elder Robison to share personal experiences

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

PHILADELPHIA (November 2, 2011)  — Dealing with autism in childhood is difficult, but as children become teenagers, new challenges emerge. Saint Joseph’s University’s Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support will host a unique, one-day workshop designed to help parents and their teenagers with high-functioning autism, as well as professionals in the field, to be held Saturday, Dec. 3, 2011, from 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. in Merion Hall. The workshop begins by dividing parents and teens into separate break-out sessions, after which parents and teens will reconvene for a full panel question-and-answer session.

The parents and professionals session will Feature New York Times best-selling author of Look Me in the Eyes, John Elder Robison. Robison has Asperger’s Syndrome, a milder form of autism characterized by difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal behaviors, and is the father of a teen on the autism spectrum. Robison will share the challenges he has faced while raising a teen on the spectrum and insights into his own experience with autism.

The session for teenagers will feature Robison’s teenage son Jack and his girlfriend Kirsten Lindsmith. The pair will candidly discuss the social obstacles they have overcome and offer advice to participants.

“The transformation from child to teen is a complicated time for all parents, but even more so for this population,” says Michelle Rowe, Ph.D., executive director of the Kinney Center and professor of health services. “The workshop aims to help parents and teens grow together during this critical time.”

Space is limited and applications are required for both parents and teenagers. Admission decisions will be based both on the date of application and how suitable the applicant is for the program. Since the parent and teen groups will be working independently of each other, the teenagers must be behaviorally and cognitively ready to fully participate in the program. Single admission is $125. For parents and teens who sign up together, the cost is $225.

A continental breakfast and a boxed lunch will be served. Workshop fees are due by Friday, Nov. 18, 2011.

To register visit,

About: With its roots in the Jesuit mission of service and cura personalis, or care for the whole person, the Kinney Center for Autism Education and Support seeks to address the needs of those who struggle day-to-day with autism, either as individuals or caregivers. The mission of the Kinney Center is to provide multi-disciplinary education and research opportunities for students, teachers, professionals, and parents who seek to improve and extend opportunities, outcomes, quality of life and best practices in treatment for people with ASD. The Kinney Center offers services, resources, and information; support and guidance; and tools for public and individual advocacy that contribute to improved autism awareness and care.

Media Contact

 Kelly Welsh, Director of Communications for the College of Arts and Sciences, 610-660-1385,

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