Temple Grandin, an animal science expert diagnosed with autism as a child, will be the keynote speaker for the 10th annual Southeastern Washington Autism Conference at the Three Rivers Convention Center on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Grandin has written several books about animal science and autism, and had an Emmy-winning movie made about her life. This will be the second time she has spoken at the event. She will address the importance of helping people with autism develop social skills and nurturing their natural intelligence.
"There's too much emphasis on the deficits and not the benefits (of autism)," she said.
More than 500 people have registered for the event. Grandin is a big draw, but many educators, professionals and family of people with autism will attend to learn more about the disorder and working with those diagnosed with it.
"We really do try to have tracks to accommodate both (family and professionals)," said Heidi Hill, coordinator with the Kadlec Neurological Resource Center in Richland.
Hill said the event originated with a request from a local family to provide autism outreach for families and those working in health care and education.
Grandin may be the main speaker, but many other experts also will attend and offer sessions on topics ranging from bullying people with autism and communication strategies to nutrition and behavior analysis.
Pre-register online at www.kadlec.org/knrc or call 509-943-8455.
Cost is $95 to $120 for families and students and $145 to $195 for professionals.