Attendees at last month’s “Transportation Options for Individuals with Autism” conference came together to talk about the confusing and frightening experiences many adults and children with autism go through when dealing with transportation systems.
The conference, which is in its first year, discussed funding and planning, technologies, services, and perceptions within the field of transportation. Opening remarks were given by New Jersey Assemblyman John Wisniewksi, chair of the state Transportation, Public Works and Independent Authorities Committee, and Assemblywoman Joan Voss, stressing the need for appropriate levels of accommodation in current transportation systems, the importance of access to those with autism, and a hope for better collaboration and improvements within the system.
“[These individuals] want to and can become capable members of society,” said Assemblywoman Voss during her address.
Mary Leary, Ph.D., senior director of the Easter Seals Project ACTION, gave the keynote address, spoke about some of the distressing statistics, including the fact that there is a 40 percent difference in employment between people with and without disabilities.
“Transportation is a necessity… our vision at Easter Seals is: ‘everyone gets a ride when they need one,’” she said.
This conference was sponsored by Rutgers University’s Center for Advanced Infrastructure and Transportation and University Transportation Research Center 2.
Reno Williams, a 13-year-old boy from Florida with Asperger’s syndrome, will speak to STN EXPO attendees on July 26 in of all places Reno, Nev., on the topic “How to Be a Good Friend to Kids with Autism.”