LEWISTON – Educator and author Deborah Lipsky will provide a rare, insider’s view of life as an autistic person at this month’s Great Falls Forum. It will be held from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 19, in Callahan Hall at the Lewiston Public Library.

Lipsky earned a master’s degree in education and counseling, worked with the homeless and disabled, secured a license as a wildlife rehabilitator and became a registered Maine guide before she was diagnosed four years ago with autism.

This realization changed her life, and she set out on a career as a public speaker devoted to giving the “normal” world a glimpse at life as seen through the eyes of someone with autism and sharing her own unique strategies for coping successfully with the challenges.

At the forum, she will share specific techniques for handling meltdowns, as delineated in a handbook she recently co-authored with colleague Will Richards, a psychologist. It is designed to be a manual for autism “first-responders,” who, she explains, can be anyone from parents and teacher aides to spouses and even grocery clerks.

In addition to her work as a presenter and seminar facilitator, Lipsky also serves as a consultant for agencies and schools. She’s also involved with Civil War re-enactments, collecting WWII memorabilia, kayaking and riding the horses she raises with her husband on their 130-acre farm in the Aroostook County town of Linneus.

A question and answer session will follow the presentation. Admission to the event is free, with attendees invited to bring brown-bag lunches. Bottled water will be available.

Attendees may also take advantage of the forum’s partnership with Guthries cafe and request a sandwich to be delivered to the library in advance of the talk. Orders should be placed by calling Guthries at 376-3344 no later than 7 p.m. on the day before the event. The menu is available at www.myspace.com/guthriesplace.

Partnering with the library as cosponsors of the Great Falls Forum series are the Sun Journal, Bates College and St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center.

The library is at 200 Lisbon St. at the corner of Pine Street. More information on Thursday’s lecture or other events in the Great Falls Forum series is available by contacting the Lewiston Public Library at 513-3135 or www.LPLonline.org.

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