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Vocational Rehabilitation Service Models
for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders
webcast 10 Print E-mail

ACN Connections- It's a Match:

Matching the Right People to the Right Job

Presenters: Keri Bennett, Susanna Johnston, Claudia Schulte and Ryan Stamm

Original Air Date: February 28, 2013

Time: 2:00-3:00 p.m. CST

About the Webcast:

ACN Connections is one of three programs identified by VR Autism's National Advisory Panel in 2012 as having effective practices for helping people with ASD find and maintain competitive employment. The Autism Center of Nebraska recently developed its employment department called ACN Connections. In its brief existence, ACN Connections has helped 41 individuals with ASD find competitive work placements. This represented a 76% successful placement rate. Presenters from ACN Connections and their partners at Nebraska Vocational Rehabilitation will describe these replicable practices and the partnership between the two agencies in this webcast.

How to Participate in the Archived Webcast:

The archived webcast is available on Youtube with closed captioning.

About the Presenters:

Keri Bennett is a Program Director for Nebraska Vocational Rehabilitation. Her primary focus is the development of specialized services and supports to address employment barriers for individuals who experience Acquired Brain Injury and Autism Spectrum Disorders. She has over 25 years of experience in vocational rehabilitation and spent 19 years providing direct vocational planning and employment services to a rural caseload in the north central part of the state. She is Project Director for Nebraska's Traumatic Brain Injury Implementation Partnership Grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration and is a Certified Brain Injury Specialist. She became a member of the statewide Autism Spectrum Disorder Network Standing Committee in 2011.

Susanna Johnston works at Autism Center of Nebraska as an employment specialist. She and Claudia Schulte helped organize and develop ACN Connections which was started with the help of federal stimulus money and Vocational Rehabilitation. Previously Susanna worked as an educator and administrator in the Omaha Public Schools Alternate Curriculum Program. She has extensive training and expertise working with people with autism and other related disabilities. She was the team leader of the Omaha Public Schools Autism Consultation Team during her tenure. Susanna also co-coordinates the intake process, required paperwork, and also works individually with clients regarding their social and communication skills. She co-presents workshops and presentations to state organizations and schools concerning transition and employment for individuals with ASD.

Claudia Schulte is an employment specialist at the Autism Center of Nebraska. Along with Susanna Johnston, she helped organize and develop ACN Connections, an employment service for individuals with high functioning autism, Asperger's syndrome and other developmental disabilities. She has more than 30 years of experience working with individuals with special needs. Claudia Schulte was previously employed by Millard Public Schools in Omaha, NE as a teacher, Special Education Administrator and the Coordinator of the Young Adult Program. She also has expertise with transition services and working with people of all ages with autism and other developmental disabilities. Claudia co-coordinates the intake process and required paperwork, works individually with clients and employers, and provides workshops and presentations to state organizations and schools concerning transition and employment for individuals with ASD.

Ryan Stamm has been with Nebraska VR for over 4 years and is currently a Rehabilitation Specialist. He has worked in the area of Transition for over 10 years. He has experience in the areas of Evaluation, Transition, Placement, College Planning and Financial Aid. His current caseload ranges from Transition age youth to adults. He is also very involved with the VR Certificate programs and the partnerships with local businesses and community colleges.

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This webcast is supported through SEDL's Vocational Rehabilitation Service Models for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders (VR Autism) and is funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), part of the U.S. Department of Education. The opinions and views expressed are those of the presenters and no endorsement by the funding agency should be inferred.