News & Events

National Autism in Deaf Education Conference


Transforming the Educational Experience for the Deaf Autistic Youth

American School for the Deaf, in partnership with Deaf Autism America, is hosting the National Conference on Autism in Deaf Education. This conference will bring the deaf education community together to connect, learn, and empower them to better serve deaf students on the autism spectrum. The goal is to provide a space for educators to engage in dialogue, expand knowledge and understanding, and provide strategies, tools, and resources. Together, we can elevate the deaf education experience for students on the autism spectrum.

Where: The American School for the Deaf

When: October 17th - 19th

Calling for Presenters:
The conference planning committee is seeking engaging presentations related to teaching, assessing, and providing excellent services and support for deaf students with Autism. We welcome presentations that include practical hands-on strategies, as well as evidence-based presentations. Accepted presenters will have their conference registration fee waived. Apply Here!

History of Deaf Autism America

Rosangela Jaech and Stephanie Ellis-Gonzales, both deaf mothers of deaf autistic children, were co-chairs of the very first Autreat for families of deaf children with autism that was held at Camp Lakodia in South Dakota April 7-9, 2006.  

The Autreat was such a tremendous success in that it was truly a rewarding experience for all. There were 22 parents, 16 children, and 8 speakers that were part of this groundbreaking event.  A great deal of information, ideas, encouragement, and much more were shared during those few days that had not been possible before.

After 10 years of the Autreat being put on hold due to several reasons, it was reinstated in the summer of 2016 when Jeff Bravin, executive director of the American School for the Deaf (ASD). hosted the Autreat at Camp Isola Bella, in Connecticut.  The 2016 Autreat was attended by 16 parents (all mothers) and the summer 2017 Autreat also saw an attendance of 16 parents (a mix of mothers and fathers).

In the fall of 2016, after several years of struggles with the school system, Rosangela and her oldest son, Caleb moved to West Hartford, Connecticut where Caleb attended the American School for the Deaf (ASD) for a year. Subsequently, they moved back to Austin, Texas.  Rosangela continued working with Jeff Bravin, on issues impacting the education of deaf individuals with autism, which led to the creation of Deaf Autism America (DAA).  

With Jeff’s unwavering support of and commitment to deaf students with autism, Rosangela, along with other two deaf mothers, Bonita Ewan and Beth Kunze (mothers of deaf autistic sons, Rainer, 19, and Brady, 12) asked Jeff if ASD could host DAA’s first national conference focusing on Transforming the Educational Experience for the Deaf Autistic Youth. Without any hesitation, Jeff gave his full support, and we are grateful to Jeff and ASD.

The DAA logo, as seen above, was designed by a deaf parent of a deaf autistic child that participated in the Autreat.  The sign depicted in the logo is the ASL sign for autism.  The hand that is going inside symbolizes the autistic person’s inclination to be engaged within their own self and the cupped hand represents their world, or a protective layer, where the autistic person retreats.  The sign also represents inclusion of those with Autism and serves as a reminder of how vital it is to give and receive love and attention, which are essential to humanity.
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For more information, please contact:

Holly Miller, Psy.D., NCSP
Voice: 860-570-2848