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RE-creating RECREATION Conference – March 23 & 24, 2023


The Autism Innovations and Global Impact Conference: RE-creating RECREATION as a Supplemental Intervention for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder will convene on March 23 & 24, 2023. Conference participants can also register to participate in the Roots & Ruts Off-Road 5K Run/Walk on March 25 at a discounted rate. The location of the conference is – The Els Center of Excellence® campus in Jupiter, Florida.

The conference will focus on demonstrating how RECREATION can be used as a platform for other therapeutic interventions. Leaders in recreation programs and services, dedicated to improving the lives of individuals on the autism spectrum, will be featured. The conference will provide tools and best practices for organizations, providers, and practitioners interested in initiating or expanding recreation services to individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental disorders.

Topics covered will include recreation activities and experiences in the areas of:

Arts | Leisure | Healthy Living | Well-being | Sports | Fitness 

Participation in recreation activities is critically important for people with ASD and other developmental disorders. These various activities and experiences produce emotions of achievement, and enjoyment and promote inclusion, self-confidence, and increased quality of life.

Grand Sponsors | Hazel and Marvin R. Shanken


Early Bird Registration is now open – Click Here to Register

Conference Registration Rates:
Early-bird October 2022-Janaury 17, 2023 $375
Regular Rate January 18-March 14, 2023 $425
Late Registration March 15-March 22, 2023 $475


Conference Schedule and Abstracts 

Speaker Biographies – Keynotes, Presentations, and Panels

Sponsors and In-Kind Donations

Why attend?


Health and well-being – the overall state of one’s physical, mental, and emotional functioning – define one’s ability to engage with daily tasks, to achieve success in those tasks, to build meaningful relationships with others, and to cope with the stressors, challenges, and obstacles that naturally arise in the course of daily living. All of this is especially true for individuals with ASD. The morning of Day One will focus on the dynamic, critical, and interrelated importance of nutrition, mental health, and sleep for people living with ASD.


Self-expression and personal identity are vital for everyone. The afternoon of Day One will illustrate how arts and leisure activities, such as art, dance, music, cooking, gardening, and other clubs/hobbies, are necessary for individuals with ASD as they help improve not only gross and fine motor skills, speech-language, and behavior but also assist in the development of social skills, confidence, and a sense of self.


Beyond the well-known results of improved circulation, a strengthened immune system, and other physical and physiological benefits, sports and physical activities provide a unique opportunity to benefit individuals impacted by ASD in significant ways. The focus of Day Two is to promote sports and physical activities not merely as ends in and of themselves but rather as the means through which and a platform on which other therapeutic interventions such as speech-language, occupational, and behavior therapies, are built.

Conference Details

March 25, 2023
About the Optional – Roots & Ruts Off-Road 5K Run/Walk

On March 25th, 2023, the 4th annual Roots & Ruts Off-Road 5K Run/Walk will feature a course through the North Jupiter Flatwoods Natural Area, a 160-acre natural area preserves comprised of mesic Flatwoods, wet Flatwoods, depression marsh, and dome swamp ecosystems. Since the run will take place in natural woodlands, participants should be cautious and aware at all times during the race. Racers should expect to encounter multiple ground surfaces throughout the race such as pavement, gravel, sand, and grass. Conference attendees are invited to participate in the morning’s Roots & Ruts 5K Run/Walk activities in any capacity of their choosing.

Sensory-Friendly Obstacle Course: Perfect for children, family, and non-competitive runners. The course will feature obstacles that involve jumping, balancing, water, crawling, and more. 

Post-race Expo: Will feature a variety of businesses who support Els for Autism Foundation.


The 2023 RE-creating Recreation Conference will take place at:

The Els Center of Excellence
18370 Limestone Creek Road
Jupiter, Florida 33458

Main telephone: 561-598-6200

Speaker Biographies – Keynotes, Presentations, and Panels

Speakers in alphabetical order:

All Speaker Bios and Speaking Times

Andrew Blitman, Professional Artist, and Published Author

Dani Bowman, Founder, and CEO, DaniMation Entertainment

Eric Chessen, MS, Founder, Autism Fitness

Greg Connors, Recreation Services Coordinator, Els for Autism Foundation

Rachel Costello, C-IAYT, ERYT500, RCYT, RPYT, YACEP, Executive Director, Yo Re Mi, Certified Yoga Therapist

Joshua Deer, Certified Golf Instructor

Dr. Shannon Dieringer, Professor of Applied Behavior Analysis and Department Chair of Special Education, Ball State University

Graziella Gadia, Teacher of Arts, Eyecontact, and Arts & Hearts

Dr. Erin Brooker Lozott, BCBA-D, CCC-SLP, Program Director, Els for Autism Foundation

Erica Lyles, MT-BC, Director, Whole Vibes

Jason Miletsky, B.S. CPT, Founder, and President, Exceptional Fitness Foundation

Maricarmen Saleta, LGIT, WSIT, AAC, BA Psychology, Swimming Instructor

Dr. Jack Scott, Executive Director, Florida Atlantic University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD)

Dr. Stephen Shore, Professor, Adelphi University

Dr. Marlene Sotelo, BCBA-D, MT-BC, Els for Autism Foundation

Tiago Toledo, Applied Behavior Analysis, Neuromotricity, and Psychomotricity Graduate, BPhEd, Adapted PE Teacher

Jen Van Horn, DT, MS HS, Holistic Nutritionist

Dr. Amy Wagenfeld, OTR/L, SCEM, EDAC, FAOTA, Principal of Amy Wagenfeld | Design, Affiliate Associate Professor, University of Washington

Dr. Kimberly Watterson-Riviecco, Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC), Els for Autism Foundation

James A. Williams, Advisory Board Member, Els for Autism Foundation

Active Demonstrations

Conference attendees will have the opportunity to select two of the five Active Demonstrations available on Friday, March 24th.

Active Demonstration I: 10:30-11:45 a.m.
Active Demonstration II: 1:00-2:15 p.m.

Equine Assisted Learning


Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB)

BACB CE’s = 3 hours of general continuing education credits


Who Should Attend?

Therapists Across Disciplines
Families/Clients/Self Advocates


Art Therapists
Art Teachers
Dance Therapists
Educators – Regular and Special Education
Music Therapists


Mental Health LCSD LEC
Yoga Instructors


Occupational Therapists
Personal Trainers
Physical Education Teacher
Physical Therapists
Recreational Therapists
Special Educators in Sports Fields
Sports Experts

Hotels Nearby

Best Western Intracoastal Inn
810 US-1, Jupiter, FL 33477(561) 575-2936

Best Western Plus Palm Beach Gardens Hotel & Suites and Conference Ct
11360 US-1, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33408(561) 844-8448

Comfort Inn and Suites
6752 W Indiantown Rd, Jupiter, FL 33458(561) 745-7997

Courtyard by Marriott Abacoa Next to Roger Dean Stadium
4800 Main St, Jupiter, FL 33458(561) 776-2700

Doubletree by Hilton
4431 PGA Boulevard, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410(561) 622-2260

Embassy Suites by Hilton Palm Beach Gardens 
4350 PGA Boulevard, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410(561) 622-1000

Fairfield Inn and Suites by Marriott
6748 W Indiantown Rd, Jupiter, FL 33458(561) 748-5252

Hampton Inn
13801 US-1, Juno Beach, FL 33408561) 626-9090

Hilton Garden Inn
3505 Kyoto Gardens Drive, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410(561) 694-5833

Homewood Suites by Hilton
4700 Donald Ross Rd, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418(561) 622-7799

Jupiter Beach Resort
5 N Hwy A1A, Jupiter, FL 33477(561) 746-2511

Jupiter Waterfront Inn
18903 SE Federal Hwy, Jupiter, FL 33469(561) 747-9085

LaQuinta Inn Wyndham
34 Fishermans Way, Jupiter, FL 33477(561) 575-7201

Palm Beach Gardens Marriott
4000 RCA Blvd, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410(561) 622-8888

PGA National Resort
400 Ave of the Champions, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33418
(800) 863-2819

Residence Inn by Marriott
4250 Design Center Dr, Palm Beach Gardens, FL 33410(561) 725-4608

Wyndham Grand Jupiter at Harbourside Place
122 Soundings Ave, Jupiter, FL 33477(561) 273-6600

Weather and what to wear

March is typically a nice weather month for Jupiter, Florida. Although rain is always a possibility.

Typical March temperatures are:

High 80 degrees
Low 64 degrees

The conference dress code is business casual.  Conference attendees should think about having a jacket or sweater layer as the auditorium is airconditioned and can feel cold to some people.

Active Demonstrations are outdoors (weather permitting), and comfortable, preferably flat shoes are recommended as conference attendees will be walking through grassy areas. In addition for the outdoor Active Demonstrations, conference attendees may want to be prepared with sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat or cap.

Sponsors and In-Kind Donations

Els for Autism Foundation relies on generous sponsors to make events possible. For more information on sponsorships, contact Paige Thomas at:

or download the Sponsor Brochure


Volunteers are an essential part of the Els for Autism program, and becoming a volunteer is greatly appreciated.  Sign up to become a volunteer.