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Building a Safer Tomorrow for Sullivan’s Au-some Friends


This Partnership idea started with something that didn’t make the newspapers or the local news. One morning early last school year, a very “stressed out” mother came into the classroom in tears. She told the story of the crazy adventure that her family had during the night. They were awaken at 3:00 a.m. by a law enforcement officer knocking on the door. It seemed that during the night, her 4th grade nonverbal ASD child stripped off his clothes and left home while everyone was asleep… and no one noticed that he was gone.

Through the use of community engagement, social stories, and explicitly taught social skills, Mrs. Sullivan and her class are learning how to communicate more effectively and be safe in their community. The goal is to target students at risk for elopement and develop a safety plan that allows her school, student families, and the community to become familiar with best practices in the area of autism spectrum disorder.

Buckle up for a personal journey that describes how everything has come together for better service to low-functioning, nonverbal ASD students in the home, school, and community settings.

As a result of this acivity, participants will be able to understand:

About the Presenter

Yvonne Sullivan

Yvonne Sullivan

Yvonne Sullivan was born and raised in North Florida. She is a 1988 high school graduate of Lafayette High School in Mayo, Florida and received her bachelor’s degree from Florida A&M University. Since then, Yvonne has added varying exceptionalities to her education as well as an autism endorsement this past summer. A highlight of her career was having the privilege of meeting Temple Grandin last year at a conference in Orlando. Yvonne has worked with special needs students for 20+ years in elementary, high school, and prison settings. She feels that working with special needs students is exactly what she has been called to do.