2019 TASH Conference has ended
Each year, the TASH Conference brings together our constituents to share resources and success stories, learn about field-driven best practices, and network within a community engaged in shared values. The Conference is attended by passionate leaders, experts, and advocates from every corner of the disability community. Conference attendees are influential in their fields and communities, and play an important role in the provision of services and supports for the millions of individuals and organizations around the world; and include professors and researchers from leading institutions; those involved in local, state, and federal governments and public policy; special and general educators, and school administrators; self-advocates, adult service providers; students, family members, and many others.  This year’s conference theme, Building Diverse and Inclusive Communities, reminds us that equity, opportunity, and inclusion relies on the input of broad perspectives and experiences.
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Friday, December 6 • 3:20pm - 4:10pm
Spelling My Way to Higher Education Seating Available

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Limited Capacity seats available

I am a 23-year old woman with autism going to college to pursue a degree in Biology, and work in the field of neuroscience research. I am fighting every day to have the same opportunities as my peers in higher education and employment. I am the first student at Montgomery College, Maryland, to graduate with an AS Science-Life Science degree, using a letter board and a communication partner. I am a Latina immigrant moving from Brazil to the U.S. with my family when I was five years old. Words come out of my mouth by impulses and compulsions, but very seldom do they express what I am thinking. Learning to spell on a letter board allowed me to conquer the basic human right to have a voice and to be heard. My outlook on life changed from despair to life with endless possibilities, because at that moment, I found my voice. My journey to college was not an easy one since I did not start communicating on a letter board until I was a sophomore in high school. However, it was a turning point in my life because it changed my path from a certificate of completion to a high school diploma. It was not an easy road, but it was a successful one because it created a path for many other students with autism after me. I started college by taking only one class, and my first day was a collection of feelings of accomplishment and dreams coming true. I added a course each semester until I started taking three classes. Every time I have an interaction with my professors or classmates, I hope to plant a seed of inclusion, acceptance, new possibilities, and equality for all. Last year, I was inducted into Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Kappa Omega Chapter. When I started college, I would stay only an hour or so on campus. Now my longer days are 12 hours, and those are the happiest ones. My goal is to live a life filled with meaning and purpose. I have goals to continue my education, pursue a career in neuroscience, and to live in a supportive and inclusive community. If you are going to dream, shoot for the stars. Because as you get higher each day, your view gets better, your problems look smaller, and the journey makes you stronger.

avatar for Lisa Vallado

Lisa Vallado

Student, Montgomery College
I have autism, and I spell/type to communicate. I am currently enrolled at Montgomery College, and I am transferring in the Spring to finish my bachelor’s degree in Biology. My goal is to pursue a career in neuroscience and research. I live with my parents in Silver Spring, and... Read More →

Friday December 6, 2019 3:20pm - 4:10pm MST
Meeting Room: Bird 5594 West Wild Horse Pass Blvd., Phoenix, AZ 85226