Autism Summit 2021

Welcome to the 2021 Virtual (Un)Conference

Things will look a little bit different at this year's Idaho Autism Summit.

We are taking the event online, hosting a virtual (Un)Conference over two sessions on April 10 and April 24. We are also dedicating each session to your stories. Our aim is to provide a platform for you, our friends, families and community, to share your experiences, knowledge and ideas about creating and promoting acceptance of people with ASD.

Speaker Bios

Get to know more about this year's speakers:

Profile picture of Adrienne Seamans

Adrienne Seamans

Adrienne Seamans is currently working on a Ph.D. program at the University of Idaho, studying Special Education with an Emphasis Autism Spectrum Disorder & Related Disabilities. She has a Master’s Degree in Special Education with an emphasis in Applied Behavioral Analysis from Arizona State University and a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas. She is also currently working towards a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) certification.

Adrienne is married with three children, two of whom are on the autism spectrum. After her eldest child’s experiences, she decided to change her career from being a child therapist to a behavioral analyst. With this change in careers, she has been able to help provide and advocate for better services and education for those with developmental disabilities.

In 2019 she was appointed by Governor Brad Little service as a parent member to the Idaho Council on Developmental Disabilities. She is also an Intervention Professional and currently works as a behavioral consultant for a public charter school.

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Janessa Thomas

Janessa Thomas has a Bachelor of Science in Political Science, History minor from Lewis-Clark State College.

She began her career in education in 2018 as the Secondary Special Education teacher. Her previous experience focused on working with students with disabilities before she transitioned into teaching. She works to provide real life work experiences for her students through community engagement and partnerships, and creates life skills-based classes to prepare students for life after high school.

When Janessa is not working on opportunities for her students, she helps raise “her herd”. Together with her husband and three kids, they spend all their free time raising cattle and running a ranch. She enjoys coaching her daughter’s basketball teams and showing her kids all of Idaho’s wonderful adventurous places.

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Bailey Butterfield

Bailey Butterfield is originally from Sandpoint, Idaho but currently lives in Coeur d’Alene with her husband Gavin. They have a one and a half year old girl, Eloise June.

She studied at the University of Idaho, graduating in 2017 with a degree in psychology with an emphasis in special needs. During her senior year, she worked at the Idaho CDHD as a student trainee.

Bailey is currently in her third year working as a lead Behavior Intervention Specialist at Collaborative Behavior Solutions, and she is excited to share her story about her experieces as a big sister to a brother with special needs.

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Ian Bott

Ian Bott is a self-advocate on the Autism Spectrum. Ian prefers using the pronouns they, them, and their.

Ian is a college graduate and has been advocating for individuals with developmental disabilities for over twenty years. They have lived in group homes, supportive living, and now lives alone on the My Voice, My Choice Medicaid self-directed program. They have served on several boards and are currently serving on the Idaho Council on Developmental Disabilities. They have received an award for their efforts on inclusion.

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Dr Abhilash Desai

Dr. Desai is a board-certified psychiatrist and adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington School of Medicine. He works with Crisis Prevention team, Division of Family and Child Services, Department of Health and Welfare, and the State of of Idaho to help children and adults with Autism Spectrum disorders.

Dr. Desai believes in and practices holistic approaches to brain wellness that harnesses the power of neuroplasticity to achieve and maintain optimal cognitive and emotional wellbeing across the life span.

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Ron Oberleitner

Ron Oberleitner, MBA is cofounder and CEO of Behavior Imaging. Since 2005, he has been advocating for technology-based solutions for behavior and mental health, including new telehealth solutions for autism, PTSD, and dementia.

He has successfully commercialized numerous award-winning innovations for the autism community, including Behavior Imaging™, TalkAutism™, and AutismCares™.

He is a widely published expert on the use of health informatics, telemedicine, and health assessments for special needs, and prior to that has more than 20 years of executive-level management experience leading product development in large medical device companies (including Stryker and Howmedica). 

He is a former Chair of the Idaho Assistive Technology Project, and a current board member on Idaho's State Rehabilitation Council. Ron has a 26-year-old son with autism.

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Vallerie Illguth

Valerie earned a Bachelor's Degree in Economics from Utah State University in 2007.

She is currently the Office Administrator for Aspen Grove Family Therapy in Twin Falls, Idaho. She loves doing the behind the scenes work so the clinicians can focus on their clients. In January 2020 she began facilitating the Magic Valley Autism Support Group for parents who have children on the autism spectrum.

Valerie has four children in elementary school. Her nine-year-old son was diagnosed with Autism when he was three-and-a-half-years-old. She will be sharing some of the positive things that have come about because of his diagnosis.

Profile picture of Katie Hodges

Katie Hodges

Katelyn Hodges was diagnosed with autism as a toddler.

She has a full life and celebrates her uniqueness. Katie has a huge heart and attributes her autism for that special trait. She says, “I wouldn’t trade it for the world”.