Education & Seminars

HAD 2020 is canceled

Delta Marriott Hotel, Hunt Valley, MD

COST:  $50 per person

We have scholarship money available. If you need financial assistance please contact Heather Thoms Chesley at

Honestly Autism Day is a day devoted to understanding Autism and is presented by the Partnership Project, which is a collaboration of committed volunteers from the Autism Society of Baltimore-Chesapeake,  Baltimore County Public Schools, and the Department of Special Education at Towson University. Parents, family members, professionals and people with Autism come together to listen, ask questions and learn from each other.  Experienced speakers share their knowledge of vast topics related to Autism and individuals with Autism give open and honest insight into their lives on the Autism spectrum.  It is a positive, uplifting day filled with revelations and shared ideas.

HAD is brought to you by:

2020 Keynote   






Morénike Giwa Onaiwu 

Neither Created Nor Destroyed 

Like energy, Autism is an internal, natural force. Though unseen, it is a vital component for sustaining life and its presence is manifested in a variety of ways. In the right circumstances, it has a seemingly unlimited capacity for growth and transformation, but if isolated or overextended, chaos ensues. This interactive keynote focuses on how to cultivate an environment to maximize its powerful energy.

Morénike Giwa Onaiwu is an educator, writer, public speaker, parent, and global advocate. A proactive, resourceful professional and disabled woman of color in a multicultural, neurodiverse, serodifferent family. Morénike, who is American-born to immigrant parents, possesses undergraduate and graduate degrees in International Relations and Education. She is passionate about human rights, justice, and inclusion.

She is involved in various social justice advocacy endeavors including HIV awareness, learning via technology, research, gender, disability, and racial equity and other issues. A prolific writer, Morénike has written for and/or been featured in numerous blogs, abstracts, magazines, books, and other platforms, often drawing from her personal experiences as a late-diagnosed Autistic adult woman, a person of color, an Autistic parent of Autistic and non-Autistic children, and a survivor of intimate partner violence. She is also involved in several projects in addition to her advocacy and writing; notably, she is one of the editors (along with Lydia X.Z. Brown and E. Ashkenazy) of a groundbreaking anthology on Autism and race as well as a co-coordinator of the Fund for Community Reparations for Autistic People of Color’s Interdependence, Survival, and Empowerment.

Morénike has been an invited speaker in the White House, at the United Nations Headquarters, and a keynote speaker and/or presenter at numerous peer-reviewed advocacy, education, disability, and research conferences. She has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the “Advocating for Another: Health Activist of the Year” 2014 WEGO Health Award and the “Service to the Self-Advocacy movement” 2015 Autistic Self Advocacy Network Award.




Jmaxx & The Universal Language is an award-winning short film directed by Ryan Mayers. Jarell is a teenager with Autism who has learned to use hip-hop dance as a means to communicate his true self to the world.


We are proud to welcome the filmmaker, Ryan Mayers, Jarell, and the entire Sullivan family for a special presentation followed by a performance by Jarell!  Join all of them at lunchtime for a special Q&A  session!  

2020 Breakouts

( Choose 1 Breakout for Each Session When You Register)

Breakout Session 1

Click each title for more information.

◊ #1  What’s Love Got to Do with It? Well…Everything  ◊ Morénike Giwa Onaiwu 

◊ #2  Person Centered Planning for All ~ Everyone Engaged! ◊ Gail Godwin

◊ #3  Employment Accommodations: Small Accommodations with a Large Impact ◊ Jillian Nelson

◊ #4 Intersecting Spectrums of Identity: Supporting Kids who are Neuro-Diverse and Gender-Diverse ◊ Stephanie Safran & Zosia Zaks, M.Ed., C.R.C.

◊ #5  Story Keepers:  Brothers and Sisters Share Their Insight ◊ Facilitated by Eve Band, PhD

◊ #6  Language Fun in the “LAB” ◊ Cathy Overtoom, MS, CCC-SLP & Jennifer Langenberg, MS, CCC-SLP

◊ #7  Ink & Ideas: Using Visual Notetaking to Strengthen Comprehension, Focus, & Retention ◊ Tanny McGregor

◊ #8  Functioning Like an Executive: Creating Responsive Classrooms through Executive Function Supports ◊ Lisa Carey, M.A.

◊ #9  Where Do I Begin? Things to Think about After the Diagnosis ◊ Neil Lichter

Breakout Session 2

#10  Born This Way: My Life as an Autistic Parent ◊ Morénike Giwa Onaiwu 

◊ #11  Is it Sensory or Behavior? ◊ Joy F. Johnson, M.Ed, M.S. & Tara Wagner, MS, BCBA, LBA

◊ #12  What Autistic People Wish You Knew: The Experience Behind the Facts ◊ Jillian Nelson

◊ #13 Food for Thought: Identifying and Addressing Feeding Problems Among Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Hailey Ormand, Ph.D., BCBA-D

◊ #14  Preparing Autistic Individuals to Survive and Thrive in Adulthood! ◊ Wolf F. Dunaway

◊ #15  Finding your Community: Connections for and Insight from Caregivers of Children who Need Significant Supports ◊ Facilitated by Katherine Holman, Ph, D., CCC-SLP & Erica Solliday, M.Ed.

◊ #16  Tiptoeing into Your Own Business ◊ Ami Stappler Taubenfeld & Katie Vester

◊ #17  Comprehension Connections: Using Realia, Art, and Music to Help Kids Make Inferences ◊ Tanny McGregor

◊ #18  (Repeat see Above) Functioning Like an Executive: Creating Responsive Classrooms through Executive Function Supports ◊ Lisa Carey

◊ #19  (Repeat See Above) Where Do I Begin? Things to Think about After the Diagnosis ◊ Neil Lichter 

◊ AGENDA – click here

◊ CEUs click here for updates



We have scholarship money available. If you need financial assistance please contact Heather Thoms Chesley at

    REGISTRATION    Eventbrite - Honestly Autism Day 2020



Thank you to our 2020 sponsors!


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This project was supported, in part by grant number CFDA 93.630, from the U.S. Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C. 20201. Grantees undertaking projects with government sponsorship are encouraged to express freely their findings and conclusions. Points of view or opinions do not, therefore, necessarily represent official ACL policy


LaVonnya Gardner

The 2020 LaVonnya Gardner Award for Autism Acceptance & Advocacy

This award honors the legacy of LaVonnya Gardner, an autistic woman who dedicated her life to educating the public about the joys and challenges of being autistic; wanting and working wholeheartedly to change the perception of disability.  Do you know an autistic self-advocate who is working hard in their community or school to spread Autism acceptance and awareness?  Submit a nomination and if chosen, they will be recognized at Honestly Autism Day!  Nominees of all ages are welcome!

Now accepting nominations!  Click HERE for the online nomination form!  The deadline to submit a nomination is 2/28/20.  The award is given at Honestly Autism Day, one of LaVonnya’s favorite events!