Understanding the Puzzling Pieces of Autism
Loading Events

« All Events

  • This event has passed.

2017 Autism Risk & Safety Conference – Des Moines, IA

June 21 @ 12:30 pm - 4:30 pm

Wednesday, June 21   Registration begins at 12:30pm
The Autism Society of Iowa is pleased to present a half day conference featuring keynote speaker, Dennis Debbaudt, who will be presenting “Plan Your Response for an Autism Emergency!” This event is valuable for any person on the spectrum, caregiver, family member, and anyone interested in the safety of those with autism spectrum disorders.  3.5 CEU’s will be offered for social workers.

Registration is $10 or free for those with an Autism Spectrum Disorder.


Conference Agenda

12:30 p.m. – Registration

1:00 p.m. – Plan Your Response for an Autism Emergency! -Part 1 Speaker Dennis Debbaudt and Safety Panel


Session Goals & Objectives:

  1. Identify issues of autism-related risk
  2. Provide strategies to help manage ASD risks at home, school
  3. Disclosure options: ID cards, 911 registries, and field disclosure
  4. Discuss prevention, alert, and response plans for dangerous wandering
  5. Identify and minimize victimization of persons with autism
  6. Identify tools and options for parents, care providers, educators, and persons with autism to develop partnerships with law enforcement, first response, and criminal justice agencies.

Target audience • Persons on the autism spectrum • Parents, family members and supporters • Autism professionals • Educators: teachers, paraprofessionals, supervisors • Non-teaching staff, maintenance, food service, transportation • Human and social services professionals • Adult and child care professionals • Vocational and employment specialists

For discussion and review:

  • Identify issues of autism-related risk
  • Wandering
  • Contact with police and first responders
  • Safety at home, on campus and when traveling
  • 911 data base alert & registry programs
  • Developing an autism emergency handout
  • Discuss sensory scene management (hyper and hypo sensitivities)
  • Sharing de-escalation techniques
  • Identify issues of autism-related risk
  • Provide strategies to help manage ASD risks at home, school
  • Developing safety programs for home, campus, work/recreational settings and in the community
  • Discussion on reducing victimization
  • Safety & risk life skills training
  • Developing partnerships with law enforcement & first response agencies

2:00 p.m. – Break

2:15 p.m.  – Plan Your Response for an Autism Emergency! – Part 2 Speaker Dennis Debbaudt and Safety Panel

3:15 p.m. – Break

3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. – Question and Answer Session


Keynote Speaker – Dennis Debbaudt

Dennis Debbaudt is the proud father of Brad, a young man who has autism. In the 1980’s, he wrote for the Detroit News and worked with network television current affairs programs in the U.S., Canada and United Kingdom. A professional investigator and journalist since 1977, Debbaudt turned his attention to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in 1987 after his son was diagnosed with this condition. His acclaimed 1994 report, Avoiding Unfortunate Situations, became the first published chronicle of police and autism related interactions.
Over the past 22 years, Debbaudt has trained and developed training materials for law enforcement, first response and criminal justice professionals throughout the United States, Canada, Iceland, Australia, New Zealand, Northern Ireland and United Kingdom. Debbaudt’s recent sessions include NYPD Academy, Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Annual Training Symposium, Palm Beach County Florida Sheriff’s Office, Virginia Association of Crisis Intervention Teams conference, Florida Child Abduction Response Team (CART) conference and for the Police Service of Northern Ireland in Belfast. He is a subject matter expert for FDLE’s 2017 autism curriculum development team.


Speaker Panel

Officer Ashten Hayes  – Officer Hayes is with the Iowa City Police Department as the Crime Prevention Officer; and prior to taking that assignment she worked patrol on the evening watch (3-11pm.) She is one of the defensive tactics instructors for the department and an ALICE instructor (active shooter.) In her off time, she stays busy being active outside, umpiring softball, and being a competitive triathlete – participating in over 55 triathlons and completing four Ironman’s.

Captain Mark Logsdon  – Iowa State Patrol Captain Mark Logsdon is the Commander of the Executive Protection Unit and Capitol Police as well as a father to twins with Autism.

Mary Roberts–  Mary Roberts is a Behavioral Health Consultant and the Autism Center Coordinator for the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. She is also the parent of two young adults, both of whom are significantly affected by autism, and the President and Co-founder of The Village Community, a 501c3 disability service provider located in Johnson County, which works to provide a cooperative model of learning and working for young adults with developmental disabilities.

Jennifer James – Jennifer is the mother to a son, Matthew, who has autism and no oral communication, who wanders. Three times the police have assisted with locating her son, and Jennifer will share her stories and how to set up a plan in rural Iowa.


June 21
12:30 pm - 4:30 pm
Event Category:


Kris Steinmetz
(515) 327-9075


Embassy Suites Des Moines
101 E Locust St
Des Moines, IA 50309 United States
+ Google Map