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Keynote: “Greatly I Dream…” Keeping Sight of the Dream Even When Daylight Comes


In this sometimes funny, sometimes heartbreaking personal account of a young man’s quest for a full life and a family’s search for acceptance, Chantal shares how her family has managed to create a life worth living for their son, Jeremy, with the help of educators and other professionals who shared their vision. Chantal humorously and lovingly wrestles with the trials and tribulations of her family’s successful attempt to change the prognosis given to her son when he was first diagnosed at age three: life in an institution. 26 years later, Jeremy is living a life close to the dreams and hopes of his teenage self, with needed supports. Along the way, Chantal explores how she developed the grit and resiliency she needed as Jeremy’s mother and strongest advocate. Life-changing gifts are discovered, affirming the family’s belief that being “not like the others” means being different, not less.

About the Presenter(s)

Chantal Sicile-Kira

Chantal Sicile-Kira

Chantal Sicile-Kira’s passion for empowering others has led her to become an award-winning author of six books, speaker, advocate and leader in the field of autism, adolescence, and transition to adulthood. Chantal’s books include A Full Life with Autism (co-authored with Jeremy Sicile-Kira), Autism Spectrum Disorder (Revised 2014), and Autism Life Skills. Her first experience with autism was teaching functional living skills to young adults at a CA state hospital in preparation for deinstitutionalization. This experience proved to be invaluable when her son, Jeremy was diagnosed many years later. Chantal has served on various non-profit and advisory boards, as well as on the California Senate Select Committee on Autism and Related Disorders, and was appointed to serve as Co-Chair, South Counties Autism Regional Taskforce. Chantal’s most recent accomplishments include helping Jeremy move out of the family home and start his own career as an artist. Visit and