Conference held to educate on autism

Mountain Laurel Montessori School in Front Royal plans to address autism concerns at a conference from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday.

The registration cost is $50, and guests can sign up at the school’s website, online at, or at the school at 155 Biggs Drive.

The program, “Gaining Perspective along the Spectrum: A Conversation about Autism,” will include topics on challenges faced by caregivers and teachers who work with children on the autism spectrum, as well as effective strategies in teaching them.

Roxana Hartmann of Montgomery County, a parent advocate and autism consultant with 25 years of experience on autism, will speak on raising a son with autism. The author of the book “A Live Controversy,” about autism and inclusive education, she speaks internationally and lectures at universities.

Her daughter Laura Hartmann will speak as a sibling advocate, said Misty Brown, advancement coordinator for the school.

“I think [autism is] at the forefront of education at this point,” Brown said.

Mountain Laurel, which has a second location in Flint Hill for older students, offers an inclusive education that Brown said includes students with autism in regular classroom settings.

The school hosts a spring conference each year, and parent organizer Margaret DeMato said she chose to address autism this year as a way of educating on the subject.

A lot of times when parents hear the word “autism,” she said they’re not sure how to feel about it. A parent with young children, DeMato said she was interested in learning more about how children with autism will change the dynamics of a classroom atmosphere.

For more information, call 540-636-4257 or email

Contact staff writer Josette Keelor at 540-465-5137 ext. 176, or

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