Navigating the teen world can be brutal for anyone and for autistic teenagers it can be worse. Help your autistic teenager find a place that accepts him for who he is while embracing his autistic identity. This track, for autistic teens, is a small group designed to grow experiences of belonging, authenticity and self-love.
Teen Track: 12-17yrs old
The teen track is presented by Daniel Wendler and Kyler Shumway. Read more about them below.
The teen track runs parallel to the Love & Autism conference.
* All teens must be accompanied to the conference by an adult.
Daniel Wendler is a social skills expert... with Asperger’s syndrome.
Daniel's commitment to help others find social success was born from his own search for connection. With Daniel's quirky personality and awkward behavior, his childhood was full of rejection, bullying, and loneliness. After he was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, Daniel began teaching himself social skills from the ground up. When he then started reaching out to other “outsiders”, he discovered he was not alone in his search for connection, and that the best way to find a place to belong was to create that place for someone else. Today, as an author, speaker, and clinical psychology doctoral candidate at George Fox University, he works to help others make that same discovery.
You can learn more about Daniel here.
Kyler Shumway is Daniel's best friend.
Kyler Shumway, MA, is a doctoral student in clinical psychology at George Fox University. Kyler is a sought-after speaker and neuroscientist with a mission of translating mental health research into something digestible for kids and families. Kyler’s research is diverse, ranging from social skills and brain development to Dungeons and Dragons and empathy. He has a passion for helping youth succeed and feel connected, with a background as a school counselor and collegiate track coach. In his free time, he enjoys lifting weights with his best bud Daniel Wendler, cooking food with his wife Mary, and playing Overwatch.
You can read more about Kyler here.
Join Daniel and Kyler as they share their story of friendship, anxiety and how never fitting in as a teen has brought them to a place of helping others.
You Belong” is a two-day experience for young people on the autistic spectrum, facilitated by Kyler Shumway M.A and Daniel Wendler M.A. Participants receive the opportunity to experience belonging and connection, form friendships, safely process past experiences of exclusion or rejection, and learn practical social skills that foster life-long social growth. All are welcome, and participants are invited to participate as much as they like but never forced to engage in any activity. Participants should plan to attend both days of the experience if possible to help create the greatest opportunity for group bonding and cohesion.
- Improv theater and imaginative exercises to promote social flexibility and reduce social anxiety
- Group discussion time to share affirmation and to discuss shared experiences
- Entertaining lessons and activities on social skills techniques
- Group games that promote social interaction
Below are images from past "You Belong" tracks at the Love & Autism conference.