Top 5 Reasons Why Consumers of Regional Centers (and their families) Need to Attend this Conference:
#5 - If you want more control over your lives and more choices of who can help you reach your goals, things are changing.
#4 - If you live in a place you didn't choose, with roommates you   didn't pick, where you don't have the freedom to eat and come and  go when you want, things are changing.
#3 - If you work in a group setting where you make less than the minimum wage or in a separate site with no access to the community, things are changing.
#2 - If you use group transportation services to attend group programs provided only for individuals with disabilities, things are changing.
And the #1 Reason to attend this conference...
Because big changes are coming. 
Changes  that are about us.  
Changes that are supposed to help us get jobs, 
live in the community, and reach our dreams.  


And a bonus... this conference is vendored.  
Ask your regional center for support for the conference fee.


Thursday and Friday,
February 18 &19, 2016

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel - Los Angeles Westside
(near LAX Airport)
6161 West Centinela Ave
Culver City, CA 90230

This statewide conference is de signed for self-advocates, 
family members, service providers, 
Regional Center staff,  and other professionals - 
across ALL developmental disabilities.


Over 350 people have already registered for the conference!

Reach your community. Register to be an exhibitor today.

As with our last conference on Self-Determination, this event will  sell out .  Please register NOW to ensure your space.  

Decent rates still available but the hotel will likely completely sell out of rooms, so make your reservations today!



NOTE: Speakers  and schedule subject to change

DAY 1 - Thursday, February 18, 2016

 Morning sessions begin at 8:30am and end at 5:00pm

K eynote: 
Rules for a New Day:  Federal Funding to Require Full Inclusion
Serena Lowe
Administration for Community Living, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
A federal official will explain the rules going into effect in 2019 that require services paid for with federal funds (including most regional center funded services) be provided in settings that ensure full access to the greater community and guarantee choice, privacy, and respect.
Self Advocacy Snapshot:
Sue Rubin Author & lecturer with autism who types to communicate.  Subject of  Oscar-nominated documentary "Autism Is a World"
Managing the Transition in California
J im Knight -  Department of Developmental Disabilities
T he DDS official will present how the State of California is planning to implement the new federal rules and how they will inform the community about the changes.
Leading Fuller Lives: 
Ensuring Californians Benefit from the Integration Rules
This panel will respond to the presentations by the federal and state officials.  They will talk about the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead as we advance toward a system that ensures inclusion.
Ernie Cruz - San Gabriel/Pomona Regional Center
Mari-Anne Kehler - Parent, Autism Society of LA Board
Will Leiner - Disability Rights California
Olivia Raynor - UCLA Tarjan Center, UCEDD
Will Sanford - Futures Explored
Moderated by Connie Lapin, Autism Society of LA

Self-Advocacy Snapshot:
Willie West, P articipant of Self-Determination Pilot Project, Redwood Coast Regional Center

ASLA Members Lunch

Innovation and Individualization: 
How to Get Great Outcomes with Community Integration
Three breakout sessions that will provide examples of and brainstorming about services and supports t
hat comply with the new federal rules.  The sessions will also explores ways to transition current 
programs and create new ones.

Sherry Beamer - Association for People Supporting Employment First
Harvey Lapin - Parent, Advocate
Brittanie Sanders - Self-Advocate
Will Sanford - Futures Explored

Living Arrangements
Dr. Michael Held - ETTA
Doug Pascover - Imagine
Willie West - Pilot Project Participant

Social & Recreational Opportunities
Elaine Hall - The Miracle Project
Marcia James - Facilitator, Westside Regional Center
Howard McBroom - Consumer

The Realization of Self-Determination and Inclusion:  Taking Advantage of Opportunities and Overcoming Barriers

Empowering and Organizing Self-Advocates and Families
Fernando Gomez - Parent, Westside Regional Center Board 
Ari Ne'eman - Autistic Self-Advocacy Network
Marty Omoto- California Disability Community Action Network

Ensuring Awareness and Participation by Underserved, Low-Income and Minority Communities
Ana da Silva - Parent, President, South Central Regional Center Board
Pastor LaVelle Gates - Parent, Board Member, Harbor Regional Center
Diana Ugalde-Lara - Self-Advocate
Dr. Barbara Wheeler - USC University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities

How to Make Self-Determination and Inclusion Work under Current Budget Realities
Nancy Bargmann - San Gabriel/Pomona Regional Center
Ben Davidson - Premier Healthcare
Dohn Hoyle - Arc of Michigan
Vicki Smith - State Council on Developmental Disabilities

Getting Community and Political Support for Employment, Affordable Housing, and Acceptance
Cynthia Austin - Centinela Valley School District
Zoey Giesberg - Self-Advocate and FACT
Rebecca Leinhard - Tierra del Sol Foundation
Christine Sheppard - Community Interface Services

Self-Advocacy Snapshot:
Esther Kelsey, Chair, Consumer Advisory Committee, Westside Regional Center
Leaders for a New Day: The Power of Self Advocacy
Ari Ne'eman -  President, Autistic Self-Advocacy Network 
This keynote, delivered by a leader in the national disability rights movement, will cover the history of self-advocacy and how public policy today is being driven by individuals with disabilities.  

Reception for Regional Center Self-Determination Local Advisory Committee Members
in cooperation with the State Council on Developmental Disabilities

DAY 2 - Friday, February 19, 2016

Morning sessions begin at 9 am with a special pre-session at 8am

Optional Pre-Session:
Self-Determination 101
Quick foundation for individuals who need the basics on the Self-Determination Program

Disability Rights Are Human Rights: How Freedom, Inclusion, and Self-Determination Can Change a Life... and the World
Dohn Hoyle , Former Executive Director, The Arc of Michigan
A respected leader and innovator in the disability movement will explore how individuals with developmental disabilities are systemically stigmatized and treated as 2nd class citizens with little choice or control over their lives.  The keynote will cover how community, self-determination, and supported decision-making as an alternative to conservatorship can advance both individuals and society as a whole.

Self-Advocacy Snapshot:
Elena Ashmore and Sean McElwee, Cast of A&E reality show "Born this Way"

Making It Work: Putting California's Self-Determination Program into Practice
This panel of experts on the Self-Determination Law will focus on the current status of the program and the next steps in implementation at every regional center.  Topics will include the selection process for the phase-in, training of consumers, families, providers and staff, and the need for qualified Fiscal Management Services and Independent Facilitators.

Catherine Blakemore - Disability Rights California
Elizabeth Harrell - East Los Angeles Regional Center
Jim Knight - Department of Developmental Services
Victor Lira - Premier Healthcare Services
Rick Wood - Parent of Pilot Participant, Kern Regional Center
Moderated by April Lopez, Board Chair, State Council on Developmental Disabilities

Person-Centered Planning: How It Empowers Individuals and Helps Them Reach Their Goals
Dr. Sally Burton-Hoyle - Eastern Michigan University
Person-Centered Planning is a process, directed by the individual with a disability, that allows them to determine their future.  It is required for all participants in the Self-Determination Program and eventually for all consumers receiving federally supported regional center services by 2019.  Dr. Burton-Hoyle, a national expert, will explore the principles and elements of person-centered planning.           

Special Lunch Sessions:
Financial Management Services
Ben Davidson and Victor Lira, Premier Healthcare Services and Christine Sheppard and Chris Lubinski, Community Interface Services

Independent Facilitators
Doug Pascover, Imagine
Person-Centered Plan for Diana Ugalde-Lara,
Consumer at South Central Regional Center
Conducted by Dr. Sally Burton-Hoyle
Dr. Burton-Hoyle will conduct a shortened person-centered plan in front of the audience for an individual with cerebral palsy who has big goals for her life.  She will be surrounded by members of her circle of support.  While not a complete planning meeting, the audience will get a sense of the qualities of a good planning process.

Self-Advocacy Snapshot: 
Students for Disability Awareness
Organization for young people with and without disabilities
Final Panel -
The Change Is Coming: The Evolution of the Disability Community 
The final panel will react to the conference sessions and explore the possibilities and obstacles that we face.  They will look to the future and envision how people's lives and the entire developmental disabilities system will be altered by the new policies and trends.

Jim Burton - Regional Center of the East Bay
Fernando Gomez - Parent, Westside Regional Center Board
Stephen Hinkle - Self-Advocate, National Speaker
Marty Omoto - California Disability Community Action Network
Valerie Vanaman - Newman Aaronson Vanaman


It's a New Day...
The developmental disabilities systems at the state and national levels are experiencing a huge paradigm shift - a shift away from institutions and segregated settings and a move towards individuals living, working, and socializing in the general community.  
It's a New Life... 

The times are changing as individuals with developmental   disabilities are determining their own futures through person-centered plans and self-determination and taking leadership roles in the disability community.
Over the next three years, federal and state government agencies will require significant and dramatic changes
to the system that supports individuals with developmental disabilities. These changes offer the opportunity for individuals, with their families, to gain control over their futures and live full lives in their communities.  

At this conference, you will learn about:
  • New federal rules, in effect by 2019, that require regional centers to fund only services in settings that provide real inclusion in the general community and do not segregate consumers.
  • California's new Self-Determination Program set to begin in 2016.
  • The rising power of self-advocates who are helping to set the agenda.
  • The increasing use of supported decision-making as an alternative to conservatorship.
NOTE : This conference is for ALL Developmental Disabilities, not just Autism.


   Consumers of Regional Center Services
  • must use supports that truly integrate you into your communities. 
  • may no longer be allowed to use regional center funding to take part in programs or housing that serve only individuals with disabilities. 
  • may participate in the Self-Determination Program that allows you to choose and control all of your services.    
   Family Members
  • will need to be involved at the earliest stages of transition to ensure that you support your loved ones through any major changes in their daily lives. 
  • can choose unique services for your younger children or be part of a circle of support for your adult children who participate in the Self-Determination Program.
   Service Providers
  • may need to change the way you provide services if they do not meet the new federal requirements.
  • will be required to prove that the individuals you serve have choices, are not in segregated settings,and have complete access to the community. 
  • will be able to innovate while supporting participants in unique ways through the Self-Determination Program.
   Regional Centers
  • must educate your consumers, families, staff, and providers on the Self-Determination Program and the new federal settings rule. 
  • will be required to monitor services and providers to ensure that they meet the new federal requirements.
  • must implement the Self-Determination Program.
  • should monitor implementation of the Self-Determination Program and ensure that consumers from underserved communities are informed about it.
  • must scrutinize how the state and regional centers follow the new federal rules to ensure inclusion and guarantee that federal funding continues to flow into California.

Registration fee includes two full days of sessions
and breakfast, lunch, and snack both days.


  (who are not also paid professionals in the field) 

  Family Member/Caregiver   
  (who are not also paid professionals in the field) 


(Sorry, early bird rates expired on 1/15.)

This conference is vendored by various regional centers:
  • Vendor Number PH0898
  • Consumers and parents should contact your Regional Center service coordinator for conference funding. If you are requesting your regional center for funding, click on "Pay by Check" on registration.
  • If you are unable to get regional center funding, contact ASLA for needs-based scholarship information at 
Sponsorship and Expo expressions of interest may be sent to


We are excited to OPEN our 2016 Exhibitor r egistration. 

Register HERE  and send your organizational logo file (.eps or next best quality) to
Space is limited and registration will close January 29, 2016.

An Exhibitor Booth costs $300 and includes a table for both days of the conference. 

We anticipate over 400 attendees so it is an excellent opportunity to showcase your services.

It does NOT include admission to the conference sessions or meals.  Separate admission needs to be purchased for each conference participant.

Please contact with any Sponsor or Exhibitor questions.


As with our last conference on Self-Determination, this event will  sell out .  Please register now ensure your space.  



The Autism Society of Los Angeles (ASLA)  works to improve the lives of all affected by autism and other developmental disabilities by empowering in dividuals, their families, and professionals through advocacy, education, support, and community collaboration. 


Since 1981,
has provided assistance to children with disabilities and families with members who are disabled.  It was the first law firm in Southern California providing representation for children with disabilities in their struggle to receive appropriate educational programs and other benefits to which they are entitled.
Newman Aaronson Vanaman remains committed to providing services for families and children needing specialized legal services.  Our attorneys, paralegals, and support staff are actively involved in a variety of forums as they seek to improve the services children and adults with disabilities receive.

Premier Healthcare Services is dedicated to serving the families and consumers of regional centers throughout California.

Hotel Location

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel - Los Angeles Westside
(near LAX Airport)
6161 West Centinela Ave
Culver City, CA 90230

Tel : 310-649-1776 Fax: 310-649-4411

The conference will be held at the beautiful DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Los Angeles - Westside.  Close to the Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), the DoubleTree was renovated in 2014 and offers spacious guest rooms, an excellent restaurant, free WiFi, and a pool and fitness center (and, of course, free chocolate chip cookies!).

Hotel Rate -

Decent rates still available but the hotel will likely sell out of ALL rooms.  Make your reservations TODAY.

Phone Reservations
  • Call (310) 649-1776
Online Reservations

As with our last conference on Self-Determination, this event will  sell out .  Please register early to ensure your space.  


Autism Society of Los Angeles | |
21250 Hawthorne Blvd Suite 500, Torrance, CA 90503

Like us on Facebook