AIR-B Network's Conference on Inclusion for Students with ASD

May 24, 2022

The academic and community partners of the Autism Intervention Research Network on Behavioral Health (AIR-B Network; PI: Kasari) gathered virtually in March and April for their 8th annual community conference on autism. Titled Optimizing School & Community Inclusion for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (자폐 학생들과 함께 어우러지는 학교와 지역 사회를 향해; Mejorando la Inclusión de Estudiantes con el Trastorno del Espectro Autista en las Escuelas y la Comunidad), the event was held in English (3/25/22), Korean (4/1/22), and Spanish (4/8/22).


Since the outbreak of COVID-19, the annual event has switched from an in-person gathering at a church in South Los Angeles to online, which has greatly increased attendance from regions outside Los Angeles. This year, the AIR-B Network’s conference had over 700 registrants from various states and countries, such as South Korea, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Ecuador, Spain, Canada, Hong Kong, Japan, Australia and Poland. About half (48%) of registrants enrolled in the English conference, 30% Korean, and 22% Spanish. In each language conference, over 60% of attendees were parents of children/individuals with ASD – meeting the AIR-B Network’s goal of reaching diverse families.


The conference consisted of presentations by both academic and community experts: research findings about inclusion, bullying and school ethnic/racial diversity; inclusion goals of the Los Angeles Unified School District; classroom strategies by current teachers; self-advocates’ experience of navigating college and employment; and community resource fair with regional centers, support groups, counseling centers and nonprofits serving the community. Partnering with Korean- and Spanish-speaking experts allowed organic dialogues among conference participants, which can be a challenge when relying on interpreters for communication.


Despite some technical difficulties, overall, the conference was positively evaluated. One English conference attendee commented, “There was a plethora of information and resources and different perspectives. This conference just gets better each year!” A Korean-speaking attendee described their impression of the conference: “한인 커뮤니티의 다양한 단체들을 한 자리에 다 모으셔서 정보교류를 할 수 있게 해주신 점 정말 좋았습니다. Arrange 하시느라 수고 많으셨겠습니다. Keynote에서 발표해주신 연구도 유익했고, 자폐인 패널들이 함께 자리해서 직접 이야기를 들을 수 있게 한 점도 좋았습니다. 여러모로 종합 선물세트 같은 컨퍼런스였어요 [It was really nice that you gathered various groups in the Korean community together and have them share information. It must have taken a lot of work to arrange all of this. The research presented in Keynote was useful, and it was nice to hear the stories of self‐advocates. The conference was like a complete gift set in many ways.].” A Spanish-speaking participant noted, “Muchas gracias por si tiempo, me gustaria hubiera mas seminarios asi [Thank you very much for your time, I wish there were more seminars like this.]”


The community conference is an integral part of the community-partnered participatory research (CPPR) process for the AIR-B Network. In monthly workgroups, researchers and community stakeholders decide together on the conference theme, topics, speakers and format every year. Through collaboration, the AIR-B Network continues to aim for effective dissemination of evidence-based autism information in diverse communities. 

Watch conference recordings:








For more information, contact:

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 925-786-5412