MARCH 7-8, 2019 • Greenville, SC


You’re invited to attend the 3rd annual Converge Autism Conference.

Springbrook Autism Behavioral Health invites professionals from across the nation to converge for two days of presentations and breakout discussions covering a wide range of topics related to Autism—from diagnosis, behavioral health, and treatment and therapy results.

Our A-list of speakers will represent a variety of fields including Occupational Therapy, Behavioral Analysis, Special Education, Speech and Language Pathology, and Youth Psychiatry. In addition we are proud to announce that Dr. Temple Grandin will be a keynote speaker at the autism conference!  It would be our honor to host you at Converge 2019.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram to receive updates about the conference! You can also submit your e-mail via the contact form below to be added to our mailing list for Converge Autism Conference updates.

Space is limited! Early Bird Registration is OPEN. Follow us on social media to stay up to date!


What are people saying about Converge?

“I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your hard work and dedication organizing this event. My attendance to your event was life changing. It was at that point I made a decision to change my career and work in a field that most people shy away from. I am currently a Physical Health Assistant assigned to a Intellectually Disabled 5th and 6th grade classroom and will be attending classes to become a occupational therapist in the fall…..Once again I thank you and my son thanks you! Keep up your great work!”

Chris Perry

Converge Autism Conference Schedule

Download PDF

Day 1 Tentative

7:00-8:00 – Registration/Refreshments
7:45-8:00 – Announcements
8:00-9:00 – Day One Keynote I

2018-2019 Trends in Autism with Dr. William Killion, Ph.D., BCBA

9:00-9:30 – Break/ Networking/ Visit Vendors
9:30-10:45 – Day One Keynote II

Genetics and Environmental Aspects of Autism Spectrum Disorder: New Models and New Theories with Dr. Luigi Boccuto, MD

10:45-12:00 – Day One Keynote III

Spectrum Teens and the Issues They Face with Stephanie Holmes, MA BCCC

12:00-1:30 – Lunch/ Ask the Experts Panel/ Vendors (No NBCC hours for Panel)

Panel Members
Dr. William Killion, PhD
Dr. Luigi Bocutto, MD Clinical Geneticist
Dr. W. Matthew Fisher, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist
Stephanie Holmes, MA BCCC
Lisa Raiford, Autism Special Educator

1:30-2:45 – Breakout Session I

  • Professional Track: Helping the Autistic Client: Interventions for Every Therapist  with Jill Jones, LISW-CP
  • Parent and Education Track: Autism: Is There an App for That? with Amy Perry, Autism Resource Specialist

2:45-3:15 – Break
3:15-4:30 – Breakout Session II

  • Professional, Parent, and Education Track: Practical Ideas from a Psychiatrist’s Perspective with Dr. W. Matthew Fisher, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist

Day 2 Tentative

7:00-8:00 – Registration/Refreshments
7:45-8:00 – Announcements
8:00-9:30 – Day Two Keynote I

Does This Make My Asperger’s Look Big? with Michael McCreary, AspieComic

9:30-10:00 – Break/ Networking/ Visit Vendors
10:00-11:30 – Day Two Keynote II

Different Kinds of Minds Contribute to Society: Discovery Across the Autism Spectrum with Dr. Temple Grandin, Author, Speaker, and Professor of Animal Science

11:30-11:45 – Break/ Vendors/ Networking
11:45-1:15 – Lunch/ Vendors (No NBCC hours for Panel)

11:45-12:15 – Meet Temple Grandin
12:15-1:15 Book purchase and signing with Temple Grandin

1:15-2:30 – Breakout Session

  • Professional Track: Beyond Reinforcement: Using Trained Dogs in ABA with Lisa Lane, Co-founder of Project Hope Foundation, Julie Nye, Co-founder of Vested Partners, and Katy Snipes, LMSW
  • Education Track: Putting Together the Puzzle: Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder through Evidence-Based Practice with Lisa Raiford, Autism Special Educator
  • Parent Track: Your Legacy of Care with Donald Bailey, Author and Financial Advisor

Continuing Education 

Professionals are eligible for up to a total of 8 CE hours from both days of the conference.  The following are agencies we have applied for CEUs from and are pending approval.  This list will be updated for the 2019 Summit as approvals are received:

  • APPROVED: National Board of Certified Counselors
  • APPROVED: SC Occupational Therapy Association
  • APPROVED: S.C. Board of Examiners for Counselors,
    Therapists, & Psycho-Educational Specialists
  • *Greenville County School District (*Teachers attending can submit for credit through the
    county’s normal process)
  • SC Board of Nursing
  • SC Board of Social Workers
  • APPROVED: SC Board of Examiners in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology
    (May submit for national credit to the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association)
  • APPROVED: National Council for Therapeutic Recreation Certification (NCTRC)

We look forward to seeing you there!

Temple Grandin

Dr. Temple Grandin

Leading Autism Advocate, Author, Speaker

Dr. Temple Grandin obtained her B.A. at Franklin Pierce College in 1970. In 1975 she earned her M.S. in Animal Science at Arizona State University for her work on the behavior of cattle in different squeeze chutes. Dr. Grandin was awarded her Ph.D in Animal Science from the University of Illinois in 1989 and is currently a Professor at Colorado State University. Temple’s achievements are remarkable because she was an autistic child. At age two she had no speech and all the signs of severe autism. Through intensive speech therapy and with mentoring by her high school science teacher and her aunt, Temple persevered and was motivated to study and pursue a career as a scientist and livestock equipment designer.

Dr. Grandin is a past member of the board of directors of the Autism Society of America. She lectures to parents and teachers throughout the U.S. on her experiences with autism. Articles and interviews have appeared in the New York Times, People, Time, National Public Radio, 20/20, The View, and the BBC. She was also honored in Time Magazines 2010 “The 100 Most Influential People in the World.”

Different Kinds of Minds Contribute to Society: Discovery Across the Autism Spectrum

Dr. Grandin acknowledges that “recent studies on the brain, and especially the brains of people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), are shedding light on the physiological underpinnings of our thoughts and emotions. We are gaining a better understanding of how neuro-pathways are formed and the extent to which biology influences behavior. All minds of the autism spectrum are detail oriented, but how they specialize varies. Since autism is so variable, there may be mixtures of the different types. The importance of  understanding these ways of thinking comes into when services clients on the autism spectrum. Strategies that build on areas of strength and appeal to individual thinking patterns will be most effective.” Dr. Grandin’s inspiring story and wealth of research and experiential knowledge offers insights and hope to practitioners, clients, and all those impacted by autism.

Learning Objectives:

  • • Participants will gain a better understanding of the different ways an autistic individual may think and understand information.
  • • Participants will gain a better understanding of the link between biology, the formation of neuro-pathways, and behaviors in autism.
  • • Participants will understand the importance of building on an individual with autism's areas of strength and interest in order to provide effective services.
  • • Participants will better understand the reasons for behaviors and how to effectively address them.
William Killion

Dr. William Killion, PHD

Board Certified Behavioral Analyst

Dr. Killion possesses 40 plus years of direct experience with individuals with developmental disabilities including autism. He possesses a B.S. in Speech Pathology with a minor in Psychology, a M.Ed. in Special Education and a PhD in Developmental Psychology. He is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). He is the author of the Functional Independence Skills Handbook or F.I.S.H. Developmental Program.

2018-2019 Trends in Autism

This presentation will review the current research that relates to autism. Specifically, suspected organized realities for people with autism and known treatment efforts that appear clinically effective. Historical trends and methods will be discussed along with correlative information that appears to “go with” people who have the disorder. Specific techniques that should be kept in mind when developing a program will also be presented.

Learning Objectives:

  • • Recall at least one recent research project/outcome related to the study of autism
  • • Describe at least two ABA techniques that will help in teaching people with autism
  • • Describe some of the organic issues related to people with autism.
  • • Describe at least two psychological intervention techniques related to teaching/interacting with a person with autism
Dr. Matthew Fisher

Dr. Matthew Fisher, MD

Child & Adolescent Psychiatry

Dr. Fisher completed his General Psychiatry residency at the University of Texas-Galveston and a Child/Adolescent Psychiatry Fellowship at University of South Carolina. He serves as Medical leader of SpringBrook Autism’s Residential and Outpatient Treatment Program (specializing in treating Autism Spectrum Disorders) and is an authority in minimal medical management of ASD and ASD with comorbidities. Dr. Fisher speaks at Autism Conferences on Medical Overview of Autism Spectrum Disorders, Medication Management for Autism Spectrum Disorders, Myths and Misconceptions in Autism, Autism and Co-Morbid Conditions, and Helping Siblings and Other Children Understand Autism.

Practical Ideas from a Psychiatrist’s Perspective

Through years of private practice and being the medical director of a renowned residential treatment facility for extreme behaviors in autism, Dr. Fisher, a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist who specializes in autism, has had many tough cases. His experiences have provided an insider’s guide to help families, teachers, and professionals with tips on how to advocate for treatment, partner with physicians, provide help in the classrooms and help the child or adolescent with autism live the best life possible.

A sample of the topics addressed are shortages of providers, the survival guide for dealing with physicians, when and how to seek diagnoses, education on what drugs work and don’t work because of the physiological differences of ASD, when to adjust medications, and other factor that effect how medications work. There will also be practical tips for the home and the classroom on managing sensory overload and the creative process that assists in finding reasons for behaviors and practical solutions for addressing them.

Learning Objectives:

  • • To provide information that will assist those who advocate for a child with autism to manage the process of diagnosis, obtaining treatment, seeking help from physicians, managing medications, and critical record keeping.
  • • To provide practical tips from the perspective of a child and adolescent psychiatrist and expert on ASD, for the home and the classroom creating an he insider’s guide to help attendees help their child, student, or client
  • • To provide many real life examples and case studies to help illustrate these objective in practice to assist attendees with understanding and retention of information.
Dr. Luigi Bocutto

Dr. Luigi Boccuto, MD

Clinical Geneticist

Luigi Boccuto is a clinical geneticist who trained for several years under Professor Giovanni Neri in Rome with a focus in hereditary cancer, overgrowth syndromes and intellectual disability (ID) syndromes. Currently, he is working as Research Scientist and faculty member at the Greenwood Genetic Center, focusing on autism spectrum disorder (ASD), intellectual disability (ID), metabolic arrays, and overgrowth conditions.

Dr. Boccuto has been investigating the metabolic profiles associated with ASD, ID or overgrowth, with the intention of better characterizing the molecular mechanisms underlying these conditions, identifying new biomarkers for quick and reliable screening test and follow-up protocols, and developing new treatment approaches. During these studies, Dr. Boccuto began a close collaboration with Drs. Kevin Champaigne and Delphine Dean, from the Department of Bioengineering of Clemson University. Such collaboration eventually led to Self Regional Healthcare Collaborative Research Grant, “Investigation of aberrant tryptophan metabolism as a biochemical basis for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs)”, funded for 3 years (2014-16). The preliminary data generated in the first 2 years of the grant were presented in one national and two international meetings, and will soon be included in a scientific publication.

Genetics and Environmental Aspects of Autism Spectrum Disorder: New Models and New Theories

As a highly recognized researcher and publisher of numerous works on autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and genetic conditions, Dr. Boccuto will overview the research on the environmental aspects of autism and new theories on genetic and metabolic profiles associated with ASD. This overview will provide insight in how research is obtaining a better understanding to the underlying molecular mechanisms, which can lead to identifying new bio-markers for quick and reliable screening tests and development of new treatment approaches. ASD affects 1 out of every 59 US children and has a substantial impact on both families and society.
He will highlight studies that found that individuals with ASD showed significantly decreased metabolism of the amino acid, L-tryptophan, L-tryptophan is one of 21 acids used by cells to make protein. It is one of eight amino acids that cannot be manufactured by the body and must be obtained from diet and absorbed by bacterial strains in intestines. L-tryptophan plays an important role in brain development and is needed for neurochemicals such as serotonin and melatonin which have already been linked to behavioral and neurodevelopmental problems.
Dr. Boccuto will address the tremendous potential of these findings that connect ASD with the body’s processes involving L-tryptophan in leading to the future development of a reliable screening test for ASD. Currently there are no laboratory tests that can accurately diagnose ASD: the diagnosis depends upon a developmental evaluation and parent interviews and often cannot be made prior to 2-3 years of age. Early screening would be of significant value to families, because early diagnosis is the key to delivering early therapies. In addition, once there is a clear vision of what has gone awry with tryptophan metabolism, therapies can be developed to target and correct problems on a biochemical level.

Learning Objectives:

  • • To provide a deeper understanding of how genetics may unlock autism’s mechanisms.
  • • To provide an overview of the current research in genetic and environmental causes of autism spectrum disorders from a scientist/geneticist perspective.
  • • To highlight the current work involving the study of tryptophan metabolism, that can potentially hold the key to early laboratory diagnosis and providing effective and molecular-based therapies.
Michael McCreary

Michael McCreary

AspieComic, Comedian

Twenty-two year old Michael McCreary was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at the age of five. In an act of self-preservation, combined with the desire for constant attention and the inability to stop talking, he began stand-up comedy. He trained under David Granirer in the Standup for Mental Health program and at the Second City Training Centre. In the past 5 years he has performed standup shows, keynote addresses and panel presentations in every province in Canada and across the United States.

Michael has also:
• hosted videos explaining autism;
• delivered a TEDx Talk;
• contributed a chapter to the recently published book “Autism: The Gift That Needs To Be Opened”;
• done a cross Canada tour hitting every province performing shows and interviewing families to find the positive ways people are dealing with life on the spectrum.
• consulted on the TV show “Ransom” to insure the authenticity of a character with autism.

You may have seen him on The National; you may have heard him on CBC Radio’s “Laugh Out Loud”.

Michael McCreary gives you permission to laugh at the lighter side of Autism Spectrum Disorder with his act.

Does This Make My Asperger’s Look Big?

with Doug McCreary

In this comedic act and presentation, Michael touches on many topics as they are experienced by someone on the spectrum: being socially awkward; relationships and dating; relationships with family; living independently; high school; autism parents; getting a job; getting your driver’s license; and remarks on the history of autism.

Learning Objectives:

  • • Doug McCreary will provide insight on what is it like to raise a child with autism and how to encourage them to a path of success.
  • • Michael will provide an comedic insight into what it is like to have Asperger’s and how people with Asperger’s are different.
  • • To present the characteristics of autism in a memorable way.
  • • To provide insightful recommends on how to interaction with an individual on the spectrum
  • • To provide insight into a parent’s journey and insights in raising multiple children on the spectrum
Stephanie Holmes

Stephanie Holmes,

Board Certified Therapist and Autism Specialist

Stephanie C. Holmes, M.A., is a Certified Autism Specialist and Credentialed Christian Counselor with the Board of Examiners for Georgia Christian Counselors and Therapists and was formerly an LPC in North Carolina. Stephanie’s career path changed when her oldest daughter was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in 2005. She began to change her focus to the world of IEPs and 504 educational plans and understand how to help special needs students in the classroom. In addition, she also helps families deal with their frustrations and challenges having a special needs child. Stephanie founded Autism Spectrum Resources for Marriage & Family and practices counseling at her home church, Church of Chapelhill- Dunwoody Campus. She specializes in Aspie- NT marriage therapy and has clients across the country through Skype consultation. She is a doctoral candidate at Abilene Christian University pursuing her doctorate in Education and is the author of Confessions of a Christian Counselor: How Infertility and Autism Grew my Faith.

Spectrum Teens and the Issues They Face

Since 1994 when Asperger’s was introduced as a diagnosis to 2013 when the term was removed from American diagnostics, the term has changed from Asperger’s or high functioning autism or autism spectrum disorder, what remains true is the rate of diagnosis on the spectrum continues to rise. The children diagnosed in the 1990s-2000s are now adolescents and young adults struggling with the challenges of AS/ASD in a Neuro-Typical (NT) social world. Many received a later diagnosis, and some as adults have not yet received the diagnosis but with the mental health challenges that can accompany AS/ASD (usually due to how NTs have treated them) and their navigation of socially engaged world, the need to understand and provide appropriate, compassionate, and adequate autism-aware mental health counseling has risen as well. This seminar will help you understand the nuances and issues Spectrum Teens face.

Learning Objectives:

  • • Understanding how developmental delays affect Spectrum Teens and understand the impact of rejection, isolation, and bullying and depression attacks during the teen years.
  • • Learn the signs that a special or restrictive interest has crossed unhealthy boundaries.
  • • Helping the Spectrum Teen understand their strengths and differences and develop positive self-identity.
Jill Jones

Jill Jones,


Adolescent Therapy

Jill Jones, MSW, LISW-CP was an educator, writer, and editor for 14 years before earning her Master of Social Work degree from the University of South Carolina in 2002. Since then, Jill has provided compassionate care to individuals of all ages, couples, families, and groups in a variety of settings, including community health education, hospice, residential treatment for children and adolescents, college counseling, and private practice. Jill has provided leadership in various organizations, helping to start, re-vision, supervise, and consult on new programs in hospice care and autism treatment. She enjoys providing training and education to community groups, parents, and professionals and is a board-approved Clinical Social Work Supervisor. Jill is also she is a member of the South Carolina Society for Clinical Social Work.

Helping the Autistic Client: Interventions for Every Therapist

Most mental health therapies rely on talking, building a therapeutic relationship, and doing cognitive work. Since autistic clients are challenged in the areas of communication, social/relational function, and cognitive adaptation, many mental health therapists shy away from working with autistic clients. However, with the rapidly growing number of autistic people in the nation, including those presenting with mental health issues, there are not enough specialty therapists to serve this population.
In truth, equipped with some basic knowledge and strategies, any mental health provider can adapt the interventions they already use to help autistic clients. This session is designed to increase the knowledge and comfort of general practice therapists in the treatment of clients living with autism and comorbid mental health issues. We will review the main areas of need for this client population as well as specific treatment adaptations and interventions for a variety of ages and abilities.

Learning Objectives:

  • • Participants will gain a basic understanding of the environmental and relational needs of the autistic client in a general therapeutic setting.
  • • Participants will learn strategies for connecting with autistic clients.
  • • Participants will learn strategies for adapting communication, psychoeducation, and interventions for autistic clients and their families.
Amy Perry

Amy Perry

Autism Resource Specialist

Amy Perry is an Autism Resource Specialist for the Autism Society of North Carolina covering the Fayetteville / Fort Bragg community and 8 surrounding counties. Her 21-year-old daughter was diagnosed with autism before the age of two, and she has two nephews with ASD. Because of her own experiences, she is passionate about empowering families to help their children and family members succeed with autism. She connects parents and individuals with autism to community and school resources. Amy regularly attends conferences to stay educated on best practices and emerging research for autism. She is the Co-Founder of The Autism Parent Retreat, the purpose of which is to strengthen families living with autism by caring for the caregivers and empowering them to support their children in new and creative ways. Her special interests include assistive technologies like the iPad that can educate and enhance the lives of individuals with autism.

Autism : Is There an App for That?

iPads and mobile technology have become increasingly popular for individuals on the autism spectrum. Are these devices truly helpful for people with autism, and if so, why.  This workshop reviews the four core areas of autism: communication, social skills, behavior/sensory, and thinking and learning, and demonstrates a variety of apps that help to build skills in these areas. Parental management and supervision of electronic devices is also discussed along with a list of websites and ways to search for suitable apps for your child.

Learning Objectives:

  • • To understand why iPads can be helpful for individuals with autism
    • To understand the difference between iPads and other types of devices and the pros/cons
    • To discuss the four core areas that autism affects and demonstrate apps that address those areas
    • To discuss parental limitations on the iPad to keep it as an effective tool
    • To discover websites and other ways to search for apps to meet your child’s needs
Lisa Raiford

Lisa Raiford

Autism Special Educator

Lisa O. Raiford, Ed.D. began teaching as a special education teacher, certified in Emotional Disabilities. Her experience in working with individuals with Emotional Disabilities and Autism Spectrum Disorder lead her to earn her National Board Certification as an Exceptional Needs Specialist. Serving as a District Teacher of the Year, and a South Carolina State Finalist Teacher of the Year, Dr. Raiford has worked to restructure an alternative school and serve as a Consultant in the area of Emotional Disabilities and Behavior for a large school district. Currently serving as the South Carolina Department of Education Consultant for Autism Spectrum Disorders, she has worked to provide education, awareness, and programming for individuals with Autism and their educators, including the development of a statewide Task Force on Autism Spectrum Disorder, and the ASD Virtual Library, a collection of resources for educators, parents, and students. Dr. Raiford also provides educational workshops for youth programs in the community that embrace the inclusion of youth with disabilities in their programming.

Putting Together the Puzzle: Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorder through Evidence-Based Practice

This session is designed to provide educators with an in-depth understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), the characteristic behaviors associated with ASD, and evidence-based strategies relevant to improving behavioral, social, and communication outcomes for individuals with ASD in the school setting. Discussion on legal premises, sensory needs, advocacy, post-secondary considerations, and parent support are also included. A workbook is provided for each participant as they experience the session with hands-on activities, practice opportunities, and relevant take-aways.

Learning Objectives:

  • • Understand the characteristics and behaviors behind Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)
  • • Learn about positive traits of individuals with ASD
  • • Learn how to implement specific ASD Evidence-Based Practices in the school setting
  • • Understand sensory needs of individuals with ASD
  • • Consider the needs of parents, advocacy and post-secondary transition
Donald Bailey

Donald Bailey

Financial Advisor, Parent, Author

A lifelong South Carolinian, Donald began his career in the insurance industry with a focus on financial planning. After working as a financial planner for E. F. Hutton, he founded Donald Bailey & Associates in order to offer independent advice and holistic planning to his clients.

Donald is committed to community involvement, having served on the Board of Trustees at the University of South Carolina (USC) and most recently founding The College Transition Connection, Inc., a non-profit organization whose mission is to help South Carolina colleges create post-secondary programs for young adults who may have an intellectual disability. Donald’s son is on the autism spectrum.

Donald holds a degree in Marketing from USC. He and his wife Caroline have two children and three grandchildren and reside in Mt. Pleasant, SC.

Your Legacy of Care

This presentation will discuss the importance of preparing your family for life when mom and dad are gone. 

Donald discusses the challenges and rewards of raising a young person with disabilities as well as preparing him or her for a life of independence. From education options, to transportation, housing, wellness, social lives and employment, Donald will discuss the importance of getting your young person ready to be as independent as possible, and the importance of having your investment advisers,
lawyers, accountants and insurance professional working together to create a lifelong plan for you and your dependent son or daughter. 

Creating proper wills and trust, having the correct type and amount of insurance as well as directives to the person or persons who will be the successor custodian or guardian will be covered.  Making sure your investments and savings will accomplish what you wish during your life time and your dependent`s lifetime will be  discussed.  Participants will also look at proper allocations and how they can affect the overall returns in your portfolio. And finally, Donald provides a guide to help you and your successor plan for your dependent`s daily needs and responsibilities.

Learning Objectives:

  • •Creating your team of experts
  • •Identifying the financial amount needed for your dependent to live after mom and dad are gone
  • •Leaving instructions via The Letter Of Care for surviving care giver.
Lisa Lane

Lisa Lane

Co-Founder and Executive Director of Project Hope

After graduating as valedictorian and class president from Dillon High School, Lisa attended the University of South Carolina, receiving her B.A. in Philosophy, summa cum laude, her M.A. in English, with honors, and her J.D. from the School of Law, with honors. She joined the law firm of Kennedy Covington Lobdell and Hickman, becoming a partner in 1992.

When her younger son was diagnosed with autism in 1996, she helped establish Project HOPE Foundation as a nonprofit to serve those struggling with autism. She has gained expertise in the field of autism, participating in thousands of hours of Applied Behavior Analysis sessions, and becoming a Board Certified Associate Behavior Analyst. She has met with hundreds of families of children with autism. Along with her co-director, Susan Sachs, Lisa has been instrumental in developing each of Project HOPE’s programs. The two women also direct the day-to-day operations of Hope Academy. Additionally, Lisa enjoys the privilege of serving as the music teacher at Hope Academy. Lisa is a frequent speaker to civic clubs, educational groups, and community organizations.

Beyond Reinforcement: Using Trained Dogs in ABA

with Vested Partners and Katy Snipes, LMSW

This workshop provides an overview of ways that dogs can be incorporated into programs and services for individuals on the autism spectrum using real-life examples.

Learning Objectives:

Participants in this session will gain an understanding of the following:

  • • • The factors that distinguish dogs as service, therapy, or emotional support and the related ramifications for insurance and accommodation
  • • Ways to use dogs effectively as reinforcement, including the need for understanding pairing, preference assessments, and timing
  • • The basic process towards desensitization for individuals who fear dogs
  • • Using dogs to disrupt problem behaviors
  • • using dogs as tools for building skills (manding, tacting, imitation, etc.)
Doug McCreary

Doug McCreary

Co-Presenter; Speaker; Parent of a Child with Autism

Doug and his wife Susan are the parents of three boys: two on the autism spectrum and one who is currently studying to be a counselor to help young people with all manner of differences and challenges.
They have been knee-deep in the autism community since November 2000 when their youngest son Matthew was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. He is non-verbal and profoundly challenged. Two and a half years later their middle son Michael was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. Over the past 18 years they have dealt with the extra parenting challenges that go with having boys at opposite ends of the autism spectrum: challenges with schools, with the health care system, with program supports, with life.
Together, Doug and Susan have been tireless advocates for everyone in the autism community. They have served as volunteers on committees creating policy to support individuals on the spectrum; they have raised funds (over half a million dollars) and put on awareness events and they have done it all with a sense of humour.
Doug has spoken over 100 times at schools, universities and conferences detailing the ways that their family has navigated life all over the autism spectrum.

Does This Make My Asperger’s Look Big?

with Michael McCreary

In this comedic act and presentation, Michael touches on many topics as they are experienced by someone on the spectrum: being socially awkward; relationships and dating; relationships with family; living independently; high school; autism parents; getting a job; getting your driver’s license; and remarks on the history of autism.

Learning Objectives:

  • • Doug McCreary will provide insight on what is it like to raise a child with autism and how to encourage them to a path of success.
  • • Michael will provide an comedic insight into what it is like to have Asperger’s and how people with Asperger’s are different.
  • • To present the characteristics of autism in a memorable way.
  • • To provide insightful recommends on how to interaction with an individual on the spectrum
  • • To provide insight into a parent’s journey and insights in raising multiple children on the spectrum
Vested Partners

Vested Partners


Vested Partners has served the southeastern USA in varied roles since 1991. Our current goals are to support our graduate teams, advance the work of trained dogs in clinical therapy, and promote “autism-smart” skills among Search and Rescue dogs.

Beyond Reinforcement: Using Trained Dogs in ABA

with Lisa Lane, Founder of Project Hope, and Katy Snipes, LMSW

This workshop provides an overview of ways that dogs can be incorporated into programs and services for individuals on the autism spectrum using real-life examples.

Learning Objectives:

Participants in this session will gain an understanding of the following:

  • • The factors that distinguish dogs as service, therapy, or emotional support and the related ramifications for insurance and accommodation
  • • Ways to use dogs effectively as reinforcement, including the need for understanding pairing, preference assessments, and timing
  • • The basic process towards desensitization for individuals who fear dogs
  • • Using dogs to disrupt problem behaviors
  • • Using dogs as tools for building skills (manding, tacting, imitation, etc.)

Ask the Experts Panel

Dr. William Killion

PhD Developmental Disabilities Board Certified Behavioral Analyst

Dr/ Luigi Bocutto, MD

Clinical Genticist

Dr. W. Matthew Fisher

Child and Adolescent Psychologist, Medical Director of the Springbrook Autism Program

Stephanie Holmes

MA BCCC, Board Certified Therapist and Autism Specialist

Lisa Raiford

Autism Special Educator

Make Your Plans To Join Us at this year’s Converge National Autism Conference.

Converge 2019 is geared towards professionals in all fields relating to Autism.
However, we invite parents and students to attend as well. Attendees may include Licensed Social Workers, Licensed Independent Therapists, Certified Counselors, Teachers, Mental Health Workers, Occupational Therapists, Board Certified Behavioral Therapists, and Speech and Language Pathologists, and Nurses. Attendance is limited to 400. Register early to take advantage of early bird rates.

Tickets are on sale now!$299 for Professionals and $149 for Parents/Students while slots are available!

Follow us on social media @SpringbrookBHS (Twitter. Instagram, and Facebook)


Financial Aid

Parents and Families in need of financial aid to attend the conference are encouraged to contact the Autism Family Education Fund and apply for a scholarship.

Mecklenburg County, NC Residents may submit an application for financial assistance to First in Families:
Mecklengburg First in Families Application

There are First in Families assistance centers in each NC County, so please contact your individual center for assistance in NC outside of Mecklenburg County.

[email protected]
(704) 536-6661

Converge Autism Location


The Greenville Convention Center (formerly the TD Convention Center) will be hosting the 2019 Converge National Autism Summit. They are located near downtown Greenville at 1 Exposition Dr., Greenville, SC 29601.


Converge Autism Accommodations


Looking for accomodations near the convention center? We have partnered with the Hampton Inn to provide you with a discounted rate! Click below to book your room with our group discount!

Book Your Room

2019 SponsorsHIPS and Vendors

Interested in vending for Converge 2019? Would you or your company like to be a sponsor for our summit? Contact us via the form below. If you are interested in vending or being a sponsor for the summit, please download the vendor/sponsorship packet below.

Vendor/Sponsor Packet

Gold Sponsors

Springbrook Autism Behavioral

Silver Sponsor

Bronze Sponsor

Bronze Sponsor

Bronze Sponsor

Bronze Sponsor


Bearhugs by Olga

C19 Vendor, Converge Autism Summit, Greenville, SC

We are proud to have Mental Health News Radio Network back at the conference again this year. They will be doing live podcasts of the event and interviews with some of our speakers!

About Springbrook Behavioral Health


Springbrook Autism Behavioral Health is an autism-focused behavioral health center with a well-developed program for the treatment of autism in children ages 5-21. Our autism therapy program is staffed by some of the top professionals in the industry with a wide range—from Behavioral Analysts, Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Psychiatric Nurses, Psychologists, Child and Family Therapists, Speech and Occupational Therapists, Special Education Teachers, and Registered Behavioral Technicians all who have expertise and a passion for treating children and adolescents with autism.

Our program is tailored to the child with autism and goal-oriented, rather than for long-term care, and works with children across the Southeast. We accept all developmental levels on the autism spectrum.

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If you have any questions or would like more details about the 2019 Autism Conference, please feel free to send us a message below.

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Contact Details

Springbrook Behavioral Health
One Havenwood Lane
Travelers Rest, SC 29690