lives in the balance

Lives in the Balance Annual Summit on Collaborative & Proactive Solutions

The theme of this year’s virtual Summit is “Voices of the Neurodivergent Community,” and features keynote speakers Alex Kimmel, Kristy Forbes, Meghan Ashburn, Jules Edward, and Jenny Hunt. There will also be wide array of breakout groups on topics related to neurodiversity and the Collaborative & Proactive Solutions (CPS) model. As always, it’ll be a day filled with ideas, information, and energy. Join us! And if you can’t join in live, your registration gives you access to the recordings for two weeks following the live event.


  • Possibilities! ~ Alex Kimmel
  • Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA): Relational Safety within Family Culture ~ Kristy Forbes
  • The Disconnect Between the Education System and Neurodivergent Students ~ Meghan Ashburn and Jules Edwards
  • Bridging Gaps and Filling Cracks ~ Jenny Hunt

Breakout Groups:

  • Moving From Awareness to Acceptance: Celebrate Neurodiversity ~ Alex Kimmel
  • A Fresh Look at Inclusion for Nonspeaking Autistic Students ~ Meghan Ashburn and Tiffany Joseph
  • Basics of CPS for Parents: If you’re new to the CPS model, this breakout group will provide you with the basics…so you’re ready for more in the second round of breakouts.
  • Advanced CPS for Parents: If you are familiar with the CPS model, you’re ready for the next level…and this breakout group will take you there.
  • Basics of CPS for Educators: If you’re new to the CPS model, this breakout group will provide you with the basics…so you’re ready for more in the second round of breakouts.
  • Advanced CPS for Educators: If you are familiar with the CPS model, you’re ready for the next level…and this breakout group will take you there.
  • And more!


Alex Kimmel is an experienced speaker and presents at the local, state, national, and international levels on such key topics as inclusion, disability acceptance, neurodiversity, culture of gentleness, and self-determination. He has educated and inspired university students, teachers, professionals, congregations, and the community at large since 2006.

Meghan Ashburn is an educational consultant, former elementary school teacher, parent mentor, and co-author of I Will Die On This Hill. She advocates for inclusion and communication rights at the local, state, and national levels of government. Her website, Not An Autism Mom, is loaded with resources to help educators and parents support Autistic children inside and outside the classroom.

Jules Edwards is a neurodivergent Anishinaabe parent, advocate, writer, and speaker. Her professional development includes a Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities fellowship, Association of University Centers on Disability National Training Directors Council trainee, and Wilder Foundation Community Equity Program graduate. Jules serves as a Board Member of the Ombudsman for American Indian Families, a Member of the national Intertribal Disability Advocacy Council, a Board Member of The Arc Minnesota, and a co-founder of MN Autistic Alliance. Her culture shapes her worldview and decision-making, and she is committed to making the community a better place for generations to come.

Kristy Forbes is an Australian autism and neurodiversity support specialist with a rich background in education and family support. Drawing on her extensive experience as an educator, integration aide, and behavioural specialist, Kristy offers support to neurodivergent individuals and their families, as well as professionals seeking to enhance their understanding and skills. Her qualifications span Political & Social Sciences, Education, Literature, Film, and Art, enriching her approach with a broad perspective. What sets Kristy apart is her unique combination of professional expertise and personal insight. Diagnosed as autistic with ADHD and Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA), and as a parent to four neurodivergent children, she brings a deeply empathetic view to her work. Kristy’s personal journey through challenges such as addiction, family violence, and homelessness, alongside her professional achievements, informs her commitment to recognizing and valuing individual neurodivergent experiences.

Jenny Hunt (Autistic Sighentist) is a multidisciplinary published researcher who focuses on medicine, medical law, and ethics and has since shifted their interest to Neurodiversity. Their current objective is advocating for further education to be considered for those looking to support Neurodiverse populations; namely professionals, parents, and other Neurodivergent individuals.


Tiffany Joseph

Hi, I’m TJ, or Tiffany, creator of the social media platform, Nigh Functioning Autism. I am a single mother of three neurodivergent teens. I live and work in and around Maryland and Virginia, primarily in Washington, DC. I am Autistic, diagnosed in my late teens. However, I was diagnosed with other conditions when I was in elementary school, like central auditory processing disorder and ADHD. I also have had epilepsy and OCD since I was a child. I am hard of hearing as well. As such, I use many ways to communicate, like ASL, mouth words, high-tech AAC, and other ways depending on how accessible my speech and memory are to me at the moment. I work in special education or more preferred, ‘accessible education’, as a paraeducator for elementary school and a communication teacher/ partner to mostly teen and young adult Autistic nonspeakers. My passion in the disability space is communication and education rights for people of all disabilities. I specifically love teaching how to implement high-tech speech-generating devices in schools and homes. I always say I would have access to my own speech if I had text-based or high-tech speech-generating strategies earlier in my life.

Event Date:

12/04/2024 6:15 pm