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Building a new generation of housing and community options for people with autism and other neurodiversities is good for everyone.

Join us for the ninth First Place Global Leadership Institute Symposium Webinar. Hear from pioneering developers, researchers and healthcare leaders. Inform your big visions and foundational plans, community outreach and engagement, and more…

Learn about the nonlinear path to real estate and community development that can help you save time and money—and stay the course! 

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, First Place is offering these webinars at a reduced cost.

Inform your plans through this comprehensive report with co-authors Denise Resnik and Desiree Kameeka Galloway.

Be inspired by a new autism documentary and co-producers Caren Zucker and John Donvan.

Focus on health and life course outcomes with researcher Jessica Rast, MPH, A.J. Drexel Autism Research Institute.

Learn from pioneering leaders blazing new trails and expanding the marketplace of options.

Agenda

Wednesday, April 7

Driving the Future in Good Health

9:00 a.m. (PDT)

1. Fueling A New Marketplace of Residential & Community Options

Denise D. Resnik

First Place Founder and CEO; Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC) Co-Founder; and Matt’s Mom

Discover how pioneering leaders are raising the bar on a new marketplace of options and ensuring that a diagnosis of autism or other neurodiversities does not stand in the way of friends, jobs, supportive communities—and homes. Through a broader and more robust marketplace, individuals will better match their needs and interests with homes they choose, combined with natural supports and long-term support services. Together, we can and will inform outcomes demonstrating what works, what needs to work better and how supportive policies can better align all sectors.

9:30 a.m. (PDT)

2. Empowering Our Future by Understanding Our Past

Caren Zucker and John Donvan

Pulitzer Prize Finalists for In a Different Key: The Story of Autism and Award-Winning Journalists

Mayor Kate Gallego

Phoenix, Arizona

See firsthand how the new documentary, In a Different Key: The Story of Autism, is positioned to change culture in the same ways such consciousness-raising, transformative movies as Roots, Philadelphia and Rainman resulted in greater awareness and acceptance. Be inspired by the courageous battles waged through the decades that continue today—and how they can empower you and your team for where we need to go next.

10:00 a.m. (PDT)

3. Advancing Your Plans: A Place in the World Study & Tools You Can Use

Desiree Kameka Galloway

Autism Housing Network Director and Coalition for Community Choice National Coordinator

Denise D. Resnik

First Place Founder and CEO; Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC) Co-Founder; and Matt’s Mom

Get a firsthand look at the groundbreaking report, A Place in the World: Fueling Housing and Community Options for Adults with Autism and Other Neurodiversities, providing essential terminology for housing and service delivery models that further define market segments, establish best practices and guiding principles, and help drive crucial partnerships that address pressing needs resulting from the current housing crisis.

10:30 a.m. (PDT)

4. Moving the Needle on Outcomes: What Matters Gets Measured

Jessica Rast

Drexel University A. J. Drexel Autism Research Institute Researcher, National Autism Indicators Report on Health

With all the investment in early identification, intervention and education it is unconscionable that people with autism and I/DD slide backward after high school. Most people on the autism spectrum have some difficulty in the areas of physical and mental health. Because autism has been considered a childhood disorder for decades, the number of healthcare professionals currently trained to treat adults on the autism spectrum is limited. Rast shares more about the voids in our healthcare system and what must be done so that together we can move the needle on better life course outcomes for all. Rast’s work also addresses access to health and mental health services throughout the lifespan and the effect access—and lack of access—has on quality of life.

Denise Juliano-Bult, MSW

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) Chief of the Systems Research Program and Division of Services and Intervention Research

Learn about the NIMH research portfolio of studies on the delivery of mental health and related services across a spectrum of settings, as well as the development and testing of autism services across the lifespan. Benefit from information on ways to approach and advance research enabling us to demonstrate better results.

11:30 a.m. (PDT)

5. Health Starts at Home: Advancing New Health & Wellness Initiatives

Denise D. Resnik

First Place Founder and CEO; Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC) Co-Founder; and Matt’s Mom

Our vision is to build a healthcare equity model where no one goes untreated or is medically misunderstood because of autism and other related disorders in Arizona…and beyond. You’ll be introduced to the First Place Virginia G. Piper Health Spot operated by Dignity Health, Creighton Medical School’s new elective and the 360 Health & Wellness curriculum. This powerful triumvirate is designed to improve the continuity of care for adolescents and adults to positively impact life course outcomes for this underserved, underrepresented and far too often underestimated cohort of patients.

11:45 a.m. (PDT)

6. Panel Discussion: Pioneering Leaders Share What They Wish They Had Known

Debra Caudy, M.D.

Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board, 29 Acres

Jillian Copeland

Founder, Main Street; Founder, Diener School

Heather M. Tarczan

Executive Director, Urban Autism Solutions

Right turns, left turns and U-turns are all part of the visioning and development process. Hear firsthand from pioneering leaders what they wish they had known when they started the process. Don’t miss it!

Thursday, April 8

The Power of Our Examples

9:00 a.m. (PDT)

1. The Power of Our Examples: Tri-Sector Leadership

Denise D. Resnik

First Place Founder and CEO; Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC) Co-Founder; and Matt’s Mom

Lead from wherever you are! Find out how First Place and the Global Leadership Institute are leading and helping others do the same through curriculum, toolkits, research, collaborations and counsel. First Place–Phoenix is also featured and exemplifies the impact of working together with public, private and nonprofit sector leaders.

9:20 a.m. (PDT)

2. Leading Affordable Housing 2.0: National & Local Initiatives

Dave Brown

Home Matters® Co-Founder; Home Matters to Arizona Advisory Board Member; Valley Leadership CEO

Denise D. Resnik

Home Matters to Arizona Advisory Board Member; First Place Founder and CEO

Home Matters® is uniting America around the true concept of home by building awareness and raising funds for more affordable homes and better communities across the nation. Empowered by a coalition of more than 350 partner organizations—corporations, government agencies and nonprofits—working together on ambitious but necessary goals over the next decade to make the new American Dream a reality for all. Dave and Denise share details about the first statewide Home Matters initiative in the nation focused on a new generation of affordable housing, connected communities, and healthier individuals, families and economies—for individual success, education, health, public safety and a strong economy—and how special populations can be part of a community’s diverse housing portfolio.

10:00 a.m. (PDT)

3. Successes, Pain Points: Lessons Learned & Navigation Tips

Debra Caudy, M.D.

Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board, 29 Acres

Jillian Copeland

Founder, Main Street; Founder, Diener School

Heather M. Tarczan

Executive Director, Urban Autism Solutions

Marlene Sotelo, BCBA-D, MT-BC

Chief Operating Officer, Els for Autism Foundation

This panel of pioneers shares their experiences with various models, as well as approaches to recognizing there is no one-size-fits-all approach. 

10:45 a.m. (PDT)

4. Speaking the Same Language: Applying the New Narrative/Nomenclature

Desiree Kameka Galloway

Autism Housing Network Director and Coalition for Community Choice National Coordinator

A Place in the World is designed as a user-friendly resource to enable you to better express your needs and interests using terms others representing the private, public, nonprofit and philanthropic sectors will understand. Tools are featured to help you formalize and refine your plans, ensuring that the home you want or want to develop is the best fit for the people who will live there. As marketplace leaders, we’re eager to understand better what’s working and what needs to work better.

11:00 a.m. (PDT)

5. Exploring Your Next Steps: Case Study on Transition Programming

Brad Herron-Valenzuela

First Place Transition Program Managing Director

Paige Raetz, PhD, BCBA-D

SARRC Director of Teen and Adult Services

At the residential First Place Transition Academy, we utilize a structured curriculum and targeted support for real-time learning—a combination critical for student success. The 32-course Learn4Independence® curriculum provides the structure for learning, while daily application led by our sister nonprofit, the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC), helps students build crucial independent living and career-readiness skills. Outcomes include 81% employment at graduation and 84% living in their community of choice, with roommates or on their own. Join Brad and Paige to learn more about Transition Academy operations and the comprehensive Learn4Independence curriculum, including licensing and an implementation toolkit.

11:30 a.m. (PDT)

6. Building Healthy Communities: Asset Mining in Your Own Backyard & Community

Denise D. Resnik

First Place Founder and CEO; Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC) Co-Founder; and Matt’s Mom

Denise reflects from the trenches on what it took to build “the most autism-friendly city in the world” with collaborating partners from the public, private, philanthropic and nonprofit sectors. Benefit from tips and strategies for creating authentic, inclusive communities:

  • Ingredients for a sustainable model
  • Mapping your community assets
  • Strategies to advance your plans
  • Housing, community and job development
  • Creating a powerful pitch

Gain hands-on tools you can use for your vision, from early exploration through property development and operations.

  1. Fueling A New Marketplace of Residential & Community Options

  2. Empowering Our Future by Understanding Our Past

  3. Advancing Your Plans: A Place in the World Study & Tools You Can Use

  4. Moving the Needle on Outcomes: What Matters Gets Measured 

  5. Health Starts at Home: How Do We Define Home?

  6. Pioneering Leaders Share What They Wish They Had Known

  1. The Power of Our Examples: Tri-Sector Leadership

  2. Leading Affordable Housing 2.0: National & Local Initiatives

  3. Successes, Pain Points: Lessons Learned & Navigation Tips

  4. Speaking the Same Language: Applying the New Narrative/Nomenclature

  5. Exploring Your Next Steps: Case Study on Transition Programming

  6. Building Healthy Communities: Asset Mining in Your Own Backyard & Community

  7. Tools You Can Use: From Early Exploration Through Development & Operations

9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m. (PST)

Transitions and Real-Time Learning

At the residential First Place Transition Academy, we utilize a structured curriculum and targeted support for real-time learning, a combination critical for student success. The Learn4Independence® curriculum’s 32 courses provide the structure for learning, while the daily application led by our sister nonprofit, the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC), helps students build crucial independent living and career-readiness skills. Outcomes include 94% employment at graduation and 88% living in their community of choice, including with roommates or on their own.

Join Marci Muhlestein, First Place Director of the Global Leadership Institute Center for Education, Training & Employment and Managing Director of the First Place Transition Academy, and Paige Raetz, Director of Teen and Adult Services for SARRC, to learn more about Transition Academy operations and the comprehensive Learn4Independence curriculum, including licensing and implementation.

10:00 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. (PST)

Firsthand Lessons Learned: Implementing the Vision for First Place–Phoenix

Denise D. Resnik shares a wealth of knowledge and experience on the following topics:

  • Beyond the Real Estate  Building community within the property and beyond
  • Celebrating Diversity  Creating a culture and an operational plan that support individual needs
  • Becoming Lifelong Learners What we’re learning alongside our residents

10:30 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. (PST)

Virtual Breakout Sessions

Choose one of the following discussions:

  • Transitions and Real-Time Learning
  • Lessons Learned
Light Rail Transition Academy First Place–Phoenix
Wellness Wednesday - First Place–Phoenix
Night to Shine Prom 2020

Featured Industry Leaders

Click to view bios.

Denise D. Resnik

Founder & President/CEO
First Place AZ

Desiree Kameka-Galloway

Director
Autism Housing Network

John Donvan &
Caren Zucker

Pulitzer Prize Finalists & Journalists
In A Different Key–The Story of Autism

Jessica Rast, MPH

Research Associate
A.J. Drexel Autism Institute

Denise Juliano-Bult, MSW

Chief of Systems Research
National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)

David C. Brown

Co-founder, Home Matters;
CEO, Valley Leadership

Featured Properties

Debra Caudy, M.D.

Co-Founder and Chairman of the Board, 29 Acres

Jillian Copeland

Founder, Main Street; Founder, Deiner School

Marlene Sotelo, BCBA-D, MT-BC

Chief Operating Officer, Els for Autism Foundation

Heather M. Tarczan

Executive Director, Urban Autism Solutions