Bittersweet Farms in Whitehouse, Ohio provides services for Adults and adolescents with autism.
The LAX Marriott has rooms available at a discounted price of $112 + taxes for FRED 2014. Please reference FRED 2014 when making reservations on 1-310-641-5700.Attendee Registration
Much needed solutions are at the center of FRED Conferences – more housing options, increased employment opportunities and a way to provide community settings for our adults with and without special needs.
… and the problem is growing.
FRED is the premier organization advancing housing and employment options for adults with special needs:
Mari-Anne is an Advisory Board member of Golden Heart Ranch, and on its behalf launched the FRED Conference in 2012 as Director. FRED is the preeminent international conference bringing parents and professionals together to advance opportunities for adults with special needs to find homes and employment and live with purpose…
Rose van Wier Hein is a married mother of two and a community leader on behalf of special needs families. She is founder and executive director of Golden Heart Ranch (GHR), a non-profit organization that addresses the crisis in special-needs housing and lifestyle. Golden Heart Ranch is dedicated to building a community that will provide family-style housing, sports…
Peter Bell was appointed President/CEO of Eden Autism Services in February, 2014. For over a decade, Bell has been one of the country’s most respected autism advocates and nonprofit executives, serving as an effective leader with a compassionate voice on behalf of the autism community. From 2004 to 2007, Bell served as President and CEO of Cure Autism Now…
Laura Shumaker is a nationally recognized writer, autism and disabilities advocate. Her essays have appeared in many places, including the New York Times, CNN, NPR, and in a popular autism and disabilities blog for The San Francisco Chronicle. Her oldest son oldest, Matthew, is the subject of her book…
JaLynn Prince is the president of Madison House Autism Foundation that she co-founded with her husband, Dr. Gregory Prince. She is the founder and president of Times and Seasons, an arts management consulting firm emphasizing the arts, broadcasting, public policies, and public relations…
Jennifer Byde Myers is a writer, editor, and parent of a child with autism. She has been writing since 2003 at www.jennyalice.com, chronicling her family’s journey from diagnosis to daily living with her son’s special needs. She is also a founder and editor of Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism…
Desiree Kameka is the Director of Community Education & Advocacy at the Madison House Autism Foundation, and the project lead for Madison House’s interactive Autism Housing Network. Her passion is empowering local communities to create a future that is exciting and life affirming for those of all abilities…
Chantal Sicile-Kira’s passion for empowering others has led her to become an award-winning author of five books, speaker, and leader in the field of adolescence and transition to adulthood. She has been involved with autism for over 25 years as both a parent and a professional on both sides of the Atlantic…
Kate Movius began training first responders in 2011 as Project Manager for Autism Speaks. She is a frequent spokesperson about special needs issues and has appeared on “Katie” with Katie Couric to discuss the challenges facing parents and their children. Kate taught reproductive health and advocacy classes for over a decade to families in East Los Angeles…
Tim Harris was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1986, the second of four sons born to Keith and Jeannie Harris. Immediately after his birth, Tim was diagnosed with Down Syndrome. From that moment on, Tim’s life has been defined by exceeding expectations and inspiring those around him. Tim attended public schools in Albuquerque…
Christine is the author of the book “Working the Double Shift A Young Woman’s Journey with Autism” , self advocate and a person with autism. She has spoken about her experiences with various groups including the US Autism and Asperger Association, Southwest SELPA , Manhattan Beach Unified School District…
Denise is the founder and president of the marketing and communications firm, DRA Strategic Communications. The agency was founded in 1986 and has been serving clients in a variety of fields including real estate, economic development, health care, education, hospitality and entertainment. The mother of a 22-year-old son with autism…
Mark is the only parent of an 18yo daughter with autism. He founded LTO Ventures and its Autism Entrepreneurs Center in 2010 to serve adults with ASD after a successful 25-year marketing and business development career in New York and Silicon Valley with F500 leaders and venture-funded startups. LTO Ventures is a 501(c)(3) non-profit company…
Judy Mark has a 17-year-old son with autism and serves as an active volunteer in the disability rights community. She is currently the Government Relations Co-Chair of the Autism Society of L.A. where she helped lead the successful effort to enact Self-Determination legislation, recently signed into law by Governor Brown…
Areva Martin is a Harvard-trained multi-award winning attorney, author, and media personality. She provides expert commentary for the Dr. Phil Show, Dr. Drew on Call, Anderson Cooper 360, Al-Jazeera America amongst other national television and radio shows on a range of legal and social issues including civil and criminal trials…
Sharon Brent is a national expert on multiple Federal policy issues related to the employment and self-determination that improves economic status of youth in transition and adult individuals with disabilities. She is Founder and President of NDI Consulting, Inc. a women owned For Profit Small Business, and Director of Training…
I’m an 19-year-old individual with autism, and have a love of animation, illustration, and creating fun entertainment for children of all ages. I founded my company Power Light Animation Studios at age 11, and I have been working professionally since age 14, partnering with Joey Travolta, and teaching animation…
Mike Naggar is a Council Member for the City of Temecula. He was first elected to the Temecula City Council in 1999 and is currently serving his fourth term in office. He served as the City’s Mayor in 2003, 2008 and 2013. Mr. Naggar began his public career in 1997 by serving on the City’s Planning Commission. In 2012 he was appointed…
Vicki Obee joined the staff at Bittersweet Farms in 1986, three years after the farm opened its doors. Bittersweet Farms is a working farm that provides a purposeful community to adolescents and adults on the autism spectrum. Located in Ohio, Bittersweet is active in four major areas: residential, community living, vocational services…
Mark is the Managing Partner of Peak Partners, LLC. Among its businesses, the company is dedicated to creating high-quality, comprehensive living solutions for adults with disabilities in small, integrated shared-housing settings. He is also a Founder and the past Board President of Sweetwater Spectrum, a nonprofit which developed an intentional cohousing community in Sonoma, CA…
David Sponder is a Licensed Educational Psychologist who has worked with children, adolescents and adults in the Greater Los Angeles area for 29 years. He is a former Special Education Teacher, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and an RDI Program Certified Consultant. David’s private practice is devoted to children and adolescents…
Van Hatchell is the Managing Director of Extraordinary Ventures, Inc a nonprofit in Chapel Hill, NC with the mission of creating small businesses for the sake of employing adults with developmental disabilities. In his time there he has grown 3 businesses to be sustainable employers, created the team of social entrepreneurs…
Neal, a star of the HBO Emmy Award winning documentary Autism: The Musical, was diagnosed severely autistic and cognitively impaired at age three. Neal has defied all odds and emerged into a bright, adventurous, happy young adult with a career plan, several jobs, an active social life and had a girlfriend. Neal, attends Cogwheels School…
Ed Lynch founded Mychal’s Learning Place in 2001 in honor of his daughter, Mychal. At the age of two it became apparent that she was developmentally and physically disabled. “During that time Mychal never lost her sense of humor or the love in her heart. She taught me so much about life and the importance of today…
Alex Krem has been actively involved with the special needs community since 1957 when his father (Alex A Krem, a pioneer in mainstreaming) began to organize camping and outdoor recreation programs for the developmentally disabled. He was one of the first two counselors when Camping Unlimited for Developmentally Disabled…
Marianne Sullivan, R.N., M.N., Managing Director, Programs and Services, Autism Speaks. Prior to joining Autism Speaks in 2007, Marianne worked for 9 years with the Cure Autism Now (CAN) Foundation in Los Angeles, where she worked as the Family Recruitment Manager, for the Autism Genetic Resource Exchange (AGRE)…
Deirdre Sheerin joined Sweetwater Spectrum as CEO/Executive Director in July 2011. Ms. Sheerin began her career as a special education teacher in private and public schools in Missouri, New York, Massachusetts and California. She has held executive positions at a number of non-profit organizations, including Zonta Services, a pioneering…
Colleen Mock holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Social Work and a Masters of Arts degree in Public Administration. She is the parent of a 35 year daughter with developmental disabilities who works as an assistant preschool teacher and lives independently. Colleen has worked within the California regional center…
Zoe Mailloux, OTD, OTR/L, FAOTA is nationally and internationally recognized for her expertise in child development, sensory integration, autism, test development and occupational therapy. With more than 35 years of experience, Dr. Mailloux has been a champion for increasing understanding of individual differences, with the aim of enhancing participation…
Elaine Hall, “Coach E!” referenced by the New York Times as “the child whisperer”, was a top Hollywood children’s acting coach whose life changed dramatically after her son Neal, adopted from a Russian orphanage, was diagnosed with autism. When traditional behavioral therapies didn’t work, she sought the esteemed Dr. Stanley Greenspan…
In 1984, Judy and Jerry Horton had a baby named Kelly. Kelly was born with Down Syndrome. The new parents immediately began researching the optimal conditions under which children with disabilities prosper. Although there were resources for Kelly as a child, the opportunities for her as she entered adulthood were limited…
Mark Woodsmall is the founder of Woodsmall Law Group, PC a law firm based in the San Gabriel Valley area. The firm practices exclusively in the areas of Special Education, Regional Center Matters, Special Needs Trust Planning and Conservatorship. In 2006 Mr. Woodsmall joined the faculty of the USC Gould School of Law as a Professor Adjunct…
Kevin McGuire is CEO and Founder of McGuire Associates, the nation’s leading consulting firm specializing in compliance with state and federal disability laws. His firm’s clients include the New England Patriots, Live Nation concert venues, the L.A. Live entertainment complex, Dodger Stadium, the Shubert Organization…
Casey Rohrer is an inspiring and creative soon to be twelve year old boy who is in the sixth grade at Hermosa Valley School in Hermosa Beach, California. As the result of a birth injury, Casey has learned to overcome many of the obstacles of his Cerebral Palsy. He continually surprises his family, teachers, fellow students and friends with his remarkable…
Marianne Williamson is an internationally acclaimed spiritual author and lecturer. Six of her ten published books have been New York Times Bestsellers. Four of these have been #1 New York Times Bestsellers. A Return to Love is considered a must-read of The New Spirituality. A paragraph from that book, beginning “Our deepest fear…
Dr. Nora J. Baladerian, a licensed psychologist in California, does both clinical and forensic (expert witness) work. She has worked for and with abuse and crime victims with disabilities since 1972, advocating for equal justice in responding to abuse and public information to reduce the risk of abuse. She is the Executive Director of the Disability and Abuse Project. She has convened…
Jan Cline, M.S., CCC-SLP has served at Bittersweet, Inc. since 1991. Bittersweet Farms, founded in 1983 as the first farmstead of its kind in the U.S., is a non-profit organization that now provides support to over 100 adults and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders in residential, vocational, educational and social programs. With a background…
Patrick McClenahan is President and Chief Executive Officer of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games. He accepted the position after serving as the Chairman of the LA Bid Committee that recently won the international competition to bring the 2015 Special Olympics World Summer Games to Los Angeles. During the past…
Michelle K. Wolf is a non-profit consultant, writer and parent of a teen with CP and other developmental disabilities. She was recently awarded the Professional Leadership Award from ETTA for her special needs work in the Jewish community. She is the Transitions Coordinator for Bet Tzedek Legal Services in Los Angeles…
Kelly was born in Austin Texas September 18, 1984. She has been at the forefront of school and community inclusion since attending a regular Montessori pre-school at the age of three. At that time, she was the first child with a significant intellectual disability accepted by the school. She went on to be mainstreamed until the fourth grade…
Sterling was born in Austin, Texas, on April 13, 1986. He was raised on several acres outside of Elgin, Texas, not far from where Down Home Ranch would be built. Sterling was expected to perform farm work right along with his brothers from the time he was in kindergarten. He helped care for horses, cattle, dogs, cats, and chickens, and raked the yard. Sterling decided…
$200 helps fund: Full 2-Day Scholarship
(Our goal is to provide 10 scholarships in total = $2000)
Any and all donations are greatly appreciated, and are tax-deductible.
Golden Heart Ranch: www.goldenheartranch.org
TRACK ONE: Parent track workshop
Finances 101 and 201
• Sharon Brent, National Disability Institute
TRACK TWO: Professional track workshop
So you want to create a living community: now what?
• Jerry Horton, Down Home Ranch
• Deirdre Sheerin/Mark Jackson, Sweetwater Spectrum
• Rose Hein, Golden Heart Ranch
• JaLynn Prince, Madison House Foundation
Box Lunch/Exhibitor Hall
Tomorrow Started Yesterday: How soon is too soon? (Or, how late is too late?)
• Denise Resnik, Denise Resnik & Associates, First Place AZ
• Peter Bell, Eden Autism Services
• Casey Rohrer, Self Advocate
• Areva Martin, Special Needs Network
• Michelle Krotinger Wolf, Consultant, Writer and Disabilities Advocate
No man is an island: Isolation is not an option
• Vicki Obee, Bittersweet Farms
• Alex Krem, Camping Unlimited
• David Sponder, Sponderworks
• Dr. Zoe Mailloux, OTD, OTR/L, FAOTA
• Desiree Kameka, Madison House Foundation
• Marianne Sullivan, Autism Speaks
• Mark Olson, LTO Ventures
• Rose Hein, Golden Heart Ranch
• Deirdre Sheerin, Sweetwater Spectrum
• Colleen Mock, Harbor Regional Center
• Judy Mark, Autism Society of Los Angeles
Presume Competence: Self-advocates SPEAK!
• Jennifer Byde Myers, The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism
• Christine Motokane, Author, Self Advocate
• Neal Katz, Self Advocate
• Kelly Horton, Self Advocates
• Sterling Hibbs, Self Advocates
Box Lunch/Exhibitor Hall
Employment for All (Workshop)
• Van Hatchell, Extraordinary Ventures
• Mark Woodsmall, Spero Vineyard, Autism Speaks
• Mike Naggar, Council Member, City of Temecula
• Tim Harris, Tim’s Place
• Ed Lynch, Mychal’s Learning Place
• Dani Bowman, Power-light Studios
This award is given to the individual or organization that best embodies innovation and advancement in the field of disability rights.
The FRED nomination committee selected Kevin McGuire in recognition of his pioneering work launching AbleRoad, the most comprehensive website and app designed to connect people with accessible places, and for his lifelong impact in the disabilities field. Kevin McGuire will receive the award in Los Angeles on March 28th when he serves as the FRED Conference keynote speaker.
It is with pride that FRED Conference announces Nancy and Michael Kerson as the 2014 recipients of the FRED Lifetime Achievement Award. This inaugural award acknowledges those that have committed a lifetime of effort and success in the field of disability rights.
The FRED nomination committee selected the Kersons in recognition of over 40 years of service and leadership to create and sustain Vine Village, residential and day programs dedicated to providing people with developmental disabilities the quality of life that should be the birthright of every citizen. Vine Village occupies a beautiful 25-acre ranch in the famed Carneros grape-growing region of southern Napa County, California.
The FRED Lifetime Achievement Award will be presented at FRED’s Friday dinner gala.
During the conference, attendees have the opportunity to visit with representatives of various organizations involved with the special needs community. Below is a brief description of each organization and a link to their websites….
Golden Heart Ranch is dedicated to building a life center residential community where special needs young adults can live, learn, work and play side-by-side in a harmonious and caring environment that is emotionally and physically safe. To accommodate for a wide range of both potential skills and unique challenges, the Ranch is designed to provide a wide variety of potential jobs. Our programs will include:
In short, the Ranch will have incredible flexibility in meeting the needs of its ranch hands and helping them reach their aspirations. Programs will meet the needs and interests of our ranch hands, who will have the ability to pass easily between jobs and enjoy lifelong careers that are tailored to their skills and allow them to take pride in their work.
FRED Conference welcomes The Escher Fund for Autism as a 2014 Platinum Sponsor! They sponsor autism programs in the CA Bay Area in addition to cutting-edge autism causation research. The Fund is best known for its work on gene-environment interaction in the etiology of autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders.
The Escher Fund would like to make this sponsorship donation in honor of The Autism Society SF Bay Area’s pioneering work in the areas of adult housing and services. Visit sfautismsociety.org to learn more about the great work being generated there on behalf of adults with autism.
Platinum level sponsor Murad knows about making the world a better place – supporting our mission to create jobs and homes for adults with disabilities.
Through the generous FRED Golden level sponsorship of Autism Speaks, we’re able to award scholarships this year to 12 parents and educators to attend the event March 28-29th.
Honda Center stands as one of the premier entertainment and sports venues in the country. Opened in 1993, the venue is owned by the City of Anaheim and managed by Anaheim Arena Management, LLC. Home to the 2007 Stanley Cup champion Anaheim Ducks, the arena annually hosts multiple top-name concerts, exciting sporting events and family favorites. Capacity crowds have filled Honda Center for world class acts such acts as Van Halen, One Direction, The Black Keys, Rush, Bruce Springsteen and more. Honda Center was recently ranked one of the World’s Top 10 Arenas of the Decade by Venues Today Magazine, as part of the publication’s 10-year anniversary issues. The venue is also a seven-time finalist for “Venue of the Year” by Pollstar Magazine.
The generosity of AT&T helps support coffee break refreshment tables.
Golden Heart Ranch
Agricultural Communities for Adults with Autism Autism Society Transitions
Autism Society Adulthood
Autism Speaks Transition Tool Kit
Autism Speaks Housing and Residential Supports Tool Kit
Autism Speaks Adult Services
Autism Speaks Autism in the Workplace
Autism Speaks Adult Research Library
Bet Tzedek Justice For All
The Bridge School Transitions
National Disability Institute
National Down Syndrome Society
National Down Syndrome Society Housing Options
National Down Syndrome Society Self-Advocates
Opening Doors?Residential Options For Adults Living With Autism
Person Centered Planning
Southwest Autism Research Resource Center (SARRC)Life Journey Through Autism
Reid’s Gift – Serving teens and adults with special needs in Southern California
Bittersweet Farms in Whitehouse, Ohio provides services for Adults and adolescents with autism.
Down Home Ranch – 20 Years of Thanks…
Three Myths about Farms and Ranches By Mari-Anne Kehler Director, FRED Conference The purpose of FRED is to help advance the ability of special needs adults to live with real purpose regardless of the housing options they choose. The ideal FRED model is a “campus” that includes effective residential, learning, employment and social opportunities, embraced by […]
A Future Full of Purpose for Adults with Autism By Mari-Anne Kehler Director, FRED Conference Over the coming decade, 500,000 individuals with autism will leave school and enter adulthood. This is in addition to the millions of adults with autism who already live throughout the United States. Many of these individuals will need to access […]
A few hundred parents, professionals and self-advocates gathered in Los Angeles to share information, ideas and best practices for FRED 2013. Hundreds of attendees came from all over North America: almost every state in the US, and from Canada. While originally focused on agricultural communities as a solution to the growing challenge for living options, FRED has grown into a movement to advance the ability for special needs adults to live with real purpose regardless of the housing option!
Held at the LAX Marriott, March 1-2, 2013
Held at the Manhattan Beach Marriott, March 3rd, 2012