Raise the Roof for Autism was initially established as a program and campaign to raise awareness for the lack of vocational opportunities for adults on the autism spectrum.
The initial program was developed by Brad McGarry, and Gene Taylor, President of the Walking Connection. Through more than a decade of successes, we are offering a complete platform for businesses, universities, and educational organizations to utilize them in a way to enhance and grow their neurodiversity-based programming.
Raise The Roof For Autism was initially developed to meet the unique needs of the growing population of college students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Our curriculum is modeled after previous successes of Brad's that have been featured in the Chronicle of Higher Education, Autism Asperger Digest, Forbes Magazine, NBC’s Today.com, CSPAN, TEDXErie, and was recently ranked as one of the top programs in the country for Impressive Special College Programs for Students with Autism.
“Autism's Pinnacle Peak” is the high point of success. A goal achieved. But our vision of it is often distant and blurry. The targets are elusive and at times, seemingly insurmountable. It’s almost as if “success” comes with a secret code.
Raise The Roof For Autism is “breaking the code” through the knowledge and experiences of some of the top minds in the field. Autism’s Pinnacle Peak is a presentation featuring NY Times bestselling author, innovator and scientist, Dr. Temple Grandin; Author and Adelphi University Professor, Dr. Stephen Shore; and Bradley McGarry, Innovator, Director of the Autism Initiative At Mercyhurst University and Co-founder of Raise The Roof For Autism.
Autism's Pinnacle Peak serves as the official introduction of the Raise The Roof For Autism organization. It is a gathering of professionals from business, education, and the community who are leaders and key stakeholders within the Autism universe. In an intimate setting, selected experts, leaders, students, and supporters can connect and share; learn, and understand how Raise The Roof For Autism is "breaking the code" and enhancing the vocational opportunities for neurodiverse individuals through "real-life adventures."
Brad McGarry is a native of Erie, Pennsylvania and received his Masters in 1999 in Community Counseling and completed a Masters Certificate in Special Education with a concentration in Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) in 2012. Brad has worked as an outpatient therapist, psychology faculty, executive director, program developer and has provided direct services for over 20 years. Brad has presented professionally at national and international conferences and also shares his experiences as a keynote speaker and is an advocate for his oldest son, Connor, who is living with a disorder called Angelman Syndrome.
As the past Director for the Autism Initiative at Mercyhurst University and has received numerous awards and accolades for his work and advocacy including being nominated for the Temple Grandin Award through the Autism Connection of Pennsylvania “in recognition of contributions to maximizing the potential and possibilities of children, adolescents, and adults with Autism in Pennsylvania.” Although he was not the final recipient it was an honor to be nominated.
Brad was the leader of the media initiatives that led to AIM receiving national attention and have been featured in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Forbes Magazine, TEDxErie, NBC’s TODAY.com, C-SPAN, Autism Asperger Digest, and many regional and national newspapers and magazines.
Brad is happily married and a parent of five wonderful boys, Connor, Braydan, Nico, Nate and Mason.
Co-founded The Walking Connection in 1989, iConquer Adventurers in 2001 & Raise The Roof For Autism, 2021.
The Walking Connection began in 1989 as a Wellness Company serving corporations and municipalities with exercise fitness education and programming. Soon after, it began to incorporate adventure travel as part of its list of services. Beginning in the US, it has expanded to operating in more than 30 countries around the world. In 2001 in the wake of 9/11, he founded iConquer Aventures which was created specifically to provide non-profit organizations with a platform that offered a new and innovative fundraising and awareness creating a program. Using adventure travel, walking, and hiking as its foundation, more than 6000 people have participated from across North America and around the world. From large multi-million non-profit organizations conducting national campaigns to smaller regional and local organizations, iConquer programming has helped raise more than $26,000,000 in donations for their non-profit clients.
They have been a leader in fighting everything from arthritis to cancer, diabetes to genetic disorders such as muscular dystrophy, Duchenne, and Angelman's Syndrome. From spinal cord injuries to homelessness, his company has created custom content and programming, organize and operate educational and experiential adventures domestically in the US and internationally from Africa to Asia and Europe.
Raise The Roof For Autism is a collaboration with Brad McGarry that began with their summit hike led by Gene to the roof of Africa, Mt. Kilimanjaro. That led to a second expedition up Mt. Kilimanjaro with a team of A.I.M. students in 2017.
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