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Edlyn Pena // Changing the Autism Game, Celebrating Life Changing Technology & Empowering Parental Involvement in College

This episode features an award-winning social justice researcher who specializes in students with disabilities – particularly autism. Dr. Edlyn Pena believes technology is changing the lives of people with disabilities and her research is pushing these possibilities even further. This is a very personal topic for her – as she is a fierce advocate and proud mama-bear of her son Diego who has autism. But you’ll hear how even in third grade, Diego is breaking assumptions of what is possible such as his first published book that hit records on Amazon, called Anatomy of Autism. You’ll learn more about what is autism, the tech tools the Pena family uses for communication and the long-term commitment Dr. Pena has in changing the autism game so her son and others with disabilities can have purpose-filled lives.

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Notes from this Episode

Dr. Edlyn Pena – Autism Research Facebook Page

California Lutheran University:  Autism and Communication Center

Damien Pena, Vice President for Student Affairs at Ventura College

Finding Diego

Diego’s First Interview

Ipad App: Proloquo2Go – Symbol-based AAC

Ipad App: TouchChat

Ipad App: Speak for Yourself 

Autism Society of Ventura County 

Diego’s Book : Anatomy of Autism

1 in 68 college students have autism reference:

1 in 50 school-aged children have autism:

CLU Center for Autism and Communication

Conference Autism, Inclusion, and Communication Conference

Subscribe via email

Facebook: @autismandcommunication
Twitter: @autismandcomm

Disability Communication Fund $67,000 grant




Dr. John Hoffman

Edlyn’s Website 

The family that communicates together, one letter at a time.

A post shared by Edlyn Pena (@diegos_mami) on

The Pena Family: Edlyn, Damien, and Diego

More about Edlyn

Dr. Edlyn Peña is an Associate Professor and Director of Doctoral Studies in Higher Education Leadership at Cal Lutheran. She is an award-winning researcher who studies social justice issues for students with disabilities, particularly autism, in the preschool through higher education pipeline.
As the founding Co-Director of the Autism and Communication Center and a member of the federal Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, Dr. Peña is best known for her service to the autism community at the state and national level.

Connect with Edlyn

Facebook: @edlynpena and @autismresearcher
Instagram: @diegos_mami
Twitter: @edlynpena


About Josie and The Podcast

In each episode, Dr. Josie Ahlquist – digital leadership author, researcher, and speaker – connects tech and leadership in education. This podcast will bring you leaders on-campus and online. From Senior Vice Presidents on Snapchat, YouTubers receiving billions of views and new media professionals. All through the lens of social media and leadership.  Josie hopes you will not only learn from these digital leaders but also laugh as we all explore how to be our best selves online and off.

Thanks for listening! Please subscribe to receive the latest episodes, share widely and let me know you’d checked it out! Tweet me @josieahlquist – I would love to hear from you!

Digital hugs, loves, and waves!

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