National Autism Conference

On behalf of the entire Milestones team, thank you to each attendee, volunteer, exhibitor, speaker, and sponsor who played a vital role in this year’s conference. Your support and participation make this event possible.
We are delighted to announce that over 1,200 individuals were in attendance, representing 22 states, making our 16th conference the biggest one to date!

To all of you who experienced the Milestones National Autism conference, we hope you left feeling inspired and informed. It is our privilege to provide this annual opportunity for professionals, families, and invidivuals with ASD to connect and educate one another on topics affecting the autism community.

Now is the time to take your new knowledge back to your schools, your homes, and your communities, and to educate those within your circle.

Again, thank you for joining us this year. Please share your Milestones experience on social media
using the hashtag #MNAC2018.

Continue learning, supporting one another, and discovering the #SpectrumofPossibility.

We’ll see you next year, June 11-12, 2019!


Thursday Keynote: Paula Kluth

“Having a conference where you bring together a lot of different stakeholders is critical for on-the-job development, social support — these interactions happen outside of the sessions and come from having so many populations involved.”

Friday Keynote: Alex Plank

“This conference lets people learn from each other’s experiences and that’s a big deal; its a great thing that Milestones does.”


Award Recipients

Amy and Jeff Belles, Parent Tribute Award

Inspired by thier son with autism, Amy and Jeff have become leaders in making NE Ohio a trendsetter in the nationwide inclusion movement. What started as a tweet from Amy to Quicken Loans Arena after a disappointing experience with her son sparked the development of employee training and the Delles working with KultureCity to turn the Q into the first sensory-inclusive arena in the country. KultureCity is now an NBA Cares partner and many other arenas are in the process of establishing similar programs.

Jay Casamento, Everyday Hero Award

For the last eight years, Jennifer has dedicated her lefe to supporting, guiding and celebrating the lives of students with disabilities as a paraprofessional. She is known to go the extra mile to provide a safe and supportive environment for her students in and outside the classroom — it is not out of the ordinary for her to attend private appointments with her students, provide haircuts at school for children with sensory issues, or to purchase items for her students with her own money.

Chris Filler, Professional Excellence Award

As Director of the Lifespan Transition Center at The Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI), Chris works tirelessly to find solutions at the individual, local, and state levels to change policy and practices affecting people on the autism spectrum. Her experience and knowledge gained from being a mother to a son with autism have enabled her to serve as a key player in bringing effective transition services to those who need them most.

Brad McGarry, MA,
Professional Excellence Award

Brad serves as the Director of the Autism Initiative at Mercyhurst University (AIM), where he has adapted the lessons he’s learned while traveling with his son who has Angelman’s Syndrome. Brad’s programs bring life-changing experiences to individuals with autism through encounters with the outdoors — so far, his programs have taken groups to Mt. Kilimanjaro and the Grand Canyon, and they’re currently planning more adventures to other international destinations.

Jordyn Zimmerman, Personal
Achievement Award

As a non-verbal individuals with autism, school was never a walk in the park for Jordyn — but now, she is a sophomore at Ohio University working to create a more inclusive world. Jordyn found her voice through assisted technology and is using that voice to make real changes. After seeing a lack of inclusive opportunities at OU, Jordyn started an organization to raise the public symbol of acceptance throughout the student body and community.

Workshops and Panels

Over 170 speakers gathered at the Cleveland I-X Center to share practical strategies, new research and inspirational insight. Family members, individuals with ASD, and professionals from over a dozen disciplines were represented.


Thank you to all of our exhibitors for providing attendees with new information and resources during their time at the Conference. Looking to learn more about a vendor? Check out our full exhibitor list here!

Stay Involved!

While the Conference may be over, there are so many other ways to be a part of the Milestones mission year-round! Call our team at 216.464.7600 or connect with us at to ask about volunteering, joining a committee, or helping to plan next year’s conference.