Centre News

John Elder Robison and others to speak at Autism Symposium at Centre


March 21, 2013 By Elizabeth Trollinger       
John Elder Robison Author John Elder Robison will give a convocation address as
part of the Autism Symposium on campus on March 26-27.

Centre College will host an Autism Symposium on campus with events on March 26-27, including a lecture by author John Elder Robison and speakers from around Kentucky.

Robison, author of the books “Be Different,” “Look Me in the Eye” and “Raising Cubby,” will speak as the distinguished guest lecturer of the symposium at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 26 in Weisiger Theatre. The lecture will count as a convocation credit for students. Robison, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s at age 40, writes about autism spectrum disorders honestly and sometimes humorously, giving readers a fresh and interesting perspective.

Robison’s memoir “Look Me in the Eye” was a finalist for the Books for a Better Life Award. It was also listed in Publisher’s Weekly as a top-selling book for three consecutive years. In 2012, Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius appointed Robison to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, which helps guide agencies like the National Institute for Health (NIH), among others, through a strategic plan for autism research.

Prior to becoming an adjunct professor at College of Our Lady of the Elms, Robison acted as a sound advisor for the bands Pink Floyd and KISS; designed toys for Milton Bradley; and managed his own J. E. Robison Service Co., a highly successful repair business specializing in customization and restoration of luxury vehicles.

To read more about Robison, click here or visit his website.

Discussion sessions for the Autism Symposium will take place from 4-6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 27 in Young Hall classrooms 101 and 102. Symposium events are free and open to the public.

Education Professor Donna Plummer, who helped organize the event, hopes the symposium will “increase awareness of autism spectrum disorder and its impact on individuals and families, and provide information for interested parties, including parents and other family members, teachers, peers and professors,” she says, adding that the guest speakers should give those who attend the symposium “an appreciation of the gifts those with differences bring to society.”

A session on “Issues in Autism: Professional and Self-Advocate Perspectives” will take place from 4-5 p.m. in Young 101. Featured speakers for this event are Myra Beth Bundy, a licensed psychologist and professor of psychology at Eastern Kentucky University, and Bev Harp, MSW, technical assistance specialist for the Supported Higher Education Project of Kentucky.

At the same time, Lisa Ruble, licensed psychologist and associate professor in the department of educational, school and counseling psychology at the University of Kentucky, will discuss “Collaborative Model for Promoting Competence and Success (COMPASS) for Students with ASD” in Young 102.

A session titled “From a Parent’s Perspective: What’s Up with My Child?” will take place from 5:10-6 p.m. in Young 101. The discussion will be led by Centre Associate Professor of Music Nathan Link; Melissa Caudill, local autism advocate and case manager at A-1 Management; and Lois Short, director of pupil personnel and district assessment coordinator for Burgin Independent Schools.

Also at 5:10, Marty Boman, director of the Kelley Autism Program at Western Kentucky University, will lead a discussion on “Developing Independence, Productivity and Community Involvement for Adolescents and Young Adults Diagnosed Along the Autism Spectrum Disorders Continuum through the Kelly Autism Program at Western Kentucky University” in Young 102.



Have comments, suggestions, or story ideas? E-mail elizabeth.trollinger@centre.edu with your feedback.


Centre College, founded in 1819, is a nationally ranked liberal arts college in Danville, Ky. Centre hosted its second Vice Presidential Debate on 10.11.12, and remains the smallest college in the smallest town ever to host a general election debate. For more, click here.



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