May 12, 2023

Lighting The Way Autism Conference

The schedule for the two jam packed days will be similar to previous years. We have invited national and local keynote speakers to start each of the days, there will be time to network with others at the conference, and dedicated time to visit with vendors to learn more about available resources.

June 7 & 8, 2023

Memorial Middle School, Sioux Falls

$100 registration fee includes meals and break refreshments

Limited parent scholarships are available / Graduate credit or CEUs available

Registration closes June 1st

Schedule Preview

Day One

Keynote: Dr. Christine Reeve

Supporting Transitions (and transitions) Across the Autism Lifespan

That's Why They Do That, Now What Do I Do? Quick Tips for Behavior Challenges


Breakout Sessions

  • Introduction to Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Preparing for the Future: Understanding Guardianship and Alternatives
  • Moving On Up! Strategies for Successful Navigation of the Transition from Middle School to High School
  • Art Therapy for Caregivers
  • Our Journey to Self-Advocacy Panel
  • My Child is Turning 3! Transitioning from an IFSP to and IEP
  • Planning Your Good Life: A Session for Young Adults/Self-Advocates
  • The Power of Trust During Transitions to Adulthood
  • What am I Missing? Seeing Behaviors Through a Different Lens
  • Viewing of "Unseen" Caregiver Documentary

Day Two

Keynote: Dr. Franne Sippel, Ed.D. and Becky Kuch, NCC, LPC-MH

Transitions and Mental Health


Breakout Sessions

  • Yoga for Caregivers
  • Successful Integration of Augmentative & Adaptive Communication Across Environments
  • Mindful Skills and Strategies
  • Setting the Stage for Middle School: Easing the Transition
  • Modifications and Accommodations: High School and Post Secondary
  • Planning for the Future Doesn’t Start at Age 16
  • Addressing the Needs of the Whole Family: When Transition to Adulthood Stalls
  • Parents & Professionals: Partnering for Successful Transitions
  • Building Independence at School and Home
  • We Have to Transition in Healthcare too?!
  • I See You: Meeting a Child Where They are at Using a Relationship and Sensory-Based Approach

Opportunity to Share Your Experience

The South Dakota Council on Developmental Disabilities, in partnership with the University of South Dakota’s Center for Disabilities, DHS/Division of Developmental Disabilities and the DSS/Division of behavioral health, has asked the University of New Hampshire's Institute on Disability (IOD) to conduct an evaluation of how the current service system in South Dakota supports individuals with an Intellectual or Developmental Disability (IDD) and mental/behavioral health needs. 

This survey is designed to look at the services currently available in your state and where they are working well and where they might need to be strengthened or improved. We are hoping to collect as many responses as possible from individuals working in any aspect of the service system (mental health, ID/DD, education, drug/alcohol treatment, hospitals, justice, child protection, etc.) as well as from family members and service users.

Please take a few minutes to complete this survey by clicking on the link below. The survey takes approximately 15 minutes to complete. Even if you are not familiar with all the services listed, please review the entire survey in order to provide input on any services with which you have knowledge or experience.


Upcoming Opportunities

Here are some educational opportunities offered by South Dakota Parent Connection and by other organization's that can help support South Dakota families. A complete list of events can be found on our website at or Facebook page.

June 7 - 8, 2023 - 15th Annual Lighting The Way Autism Conference: The Augustana University Sharon Lust School of Education will host its 15th annual Lighting the Way Autism Conference at Memorial Middle School on Wednesday, June 7, and Thursday, June 8. The keynote speaker for June 7 will be Dr. Christine Reeve, a nationally recognized clinical psychologist, special education consultant and expert on autism, and on June 8, the keynote speech will be delivered by Franne Sippel, Ed.D., and Becky Kuch, NCC, LPC-MH, the co-creators of Shrink Rap the Podcast. Find more information on our Facebook page.

June 10, 2023 - The Autism Walk: This fun-filled gathering for all, focused on those touched by autism will take place at the Augustana Morrison Commons from 10 a.m. - noon. The walk will provide attendees the opportunity to sign up for scholarships for therapies, special equipment or camps, and will include an array of fun activities.

June 13 - 14, 2023 - Midwest Conference on Deaf Education: Facing the Future-Together!: The Midwest Conference on Deaf Education is scheduled for June 13-14, 2023, at the Sioux Falls Convention Center. A block of rooms has been reserved at the Sheraton Sioux Falls under MWCDE. Rooms are limited, so book early! Keep checking our website for more information:

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This e-publication was developed under grants from the U.S. Department of Education Project Grant H328M2000666 and Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Grant H328M140021, Family to Family Health Information Center, $93,175; and approximately 5% financed with non-governmental resources. The contents should not be construed as the official position or policy of, nor should any endorsements be inferred by US Department of Education, HRSA, HHS or the Federal Government.