Autism conference is Nov. 16

On Saturday, Nov. 16, Ridgecrest Autism Awareness, in conjunction with H.E.A.R.T.S. Connection, is sponsoring its first Autism Educational Conference at Kerr McGee Center, 100 California Ave. Doors open at 8 a.m., with the program under way from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The conference is open to all community members.

Entitled, “Autism and the Community: Understanding Au-tism and How It Affects Everyone,” this event is focused on families, educators, medical personnel and local small-business owners. The goal is to help educate the community as to what autism is, how it presents on a daily basis and how we can help these children reach their full potential.

“With the national incidence of autism at 1 in 50 American children, this is a significant portion of our future generation. We believe that it is up to each one of us to educate ourselves and our community, to ensure a brighter future for everyone,” said Cherish Rindt, RAA co-founder.

Six autism specialists will speak at the conference: Dr. Ali Sadeghi, BCBA-D and licensed psychologist on “Autism and a Whole Team of ‘Surgeons’”: Leili Zarbakhsh, LMFT, BCBA, on “LEP School: The IEP Process”; Dr. Cynthia Conway, OTD/OTR/L, on “Learning by Imitation”; Oswaldo Ochoa, BCBA, ABA on “Autism Treatment”; Jared Freilich, BCBA, on “Food Rigidity — an Example of Restrictive Behavior”; and Dr. Kesjana Cake, Psy.D., on “Autism: An Organizing Principle for Family Fragmentation or Cohesiveness.”

“Our families are not looking for special treatment or entitlements - all they want is a little understanding and patience. That is why we are working so hard to present this very important educational opportunity. We want to help more people be able to recognize what we already see - just how amazing these kids really are and what potential they hold,” Rindt said.

“We are bringing in doctoral professionals who specialize in Autism Therapies and Treatment. They have made it their life’’s work to help families all over California. Ridgecrest has never seen anything like this before, this conference promises to be a watershed event,” she added.

Ridgecrest Autism Awareness is a group of concerned parents who volunteer their time and resources to bring Autism education and awareness to our valley. They also have provided socialization opportunities for our children and parent-to-parent support groups for our families.

More than 100 families and community members will be attending the conference on Nov. 16.

Deadline for conference registration is Nov. 11. For more information, visit Ridgecrest Autism Awareness on Facebook, or call Rindt at 760-371-9116; or email her at

Story First Published: 2013-11-06