40 Years of Experience: INSPIRE – EDUCATE – EMPOWER

About Amalia

Amalia Specializes in Independence Training for Special Needs Parents

Keynote Speaker, Author, Transition and Independent Living Coach, Creator of Autism Independence Project and mother to a forty-year-old autistic son.

Watch Amalia's video

Are you concerned about your child’s future?  Then you have come to the right place. Amalia Starr has been a pioneer and trailblazer on the autism and special needs path for the past forty years.  Discovering how she led her son, Brandon to independence when the professionals deemed it impossible is priceless information that all parents, caregivers, and professionals need to know.

No one has documented the path that lies ahead of us as Amalia has in her presentations, trainings, and books, Raising Brandon, and I Have Autism…What’ll I Do Without You, Mom?  Her candor, authenticity and uplifting courageous spirit help to empower and inform parents who are planning for their children’s future but do not know how and where to begin or what to do.  She knows the importance of independence training for parents so she devotes most of her time with the parents as they are the ones who hold the key to their children’s future.  Amalia shows them how to walk through their fears to assist their children to reach their full potential and gain maximum independence. One of her specialties is the art of “letting go”.  It is essential for all parents to learn this technique and use it in a timely manner as they encourage and support their children to grow and to one day go and live outside the home.  Independence is an ongoing process and it will take time but will work best if addressed before your children reach their teenage years. If you need additional motivation, just remember your children will live 75% of their lives as adults.

“When most people hear autism they associate it with a child,” says Starr. “But like my son, Brandon, our children grow up, and we want them to live well and learn how to survive in the world.”

Where have our autistic adults gone before? Over the next decade, hundreds of thousands of autistic children will reach adulthood. We need to have the resources in place to help them, and as parents and professionals, we need to know what to do. We must help to free the families who are trapped in the belief that their autistic adult child would not survive out in the “real world”. I too was once trapped by that belief, but I know firsthand that it does not have to be that way.  This is another lesson my son, Brandon has taught me.

Amalia’s Story with Brandon

In 1973, autism was unheard of, and Amalia became a speaker and author because of her son, Brandon who has autism, epilepsy, and severe learning disorders.  When having no one to talk to and nothing to read to help her through the terrible dark times, she felt sad, and all alone. Back then, the few conferences she attended for disabled children were depressing and she left there feeling much worse. She then vowed to write books and to speak at conferences to bring  hope and shine a light on the future for the parents and professionals. Starr knows what it is like to be a mom and an attendee, so her presentations are always uplifting while she shares firsthand experiences and invaluable information, to educate, empower, and inspire. She loves what she does and she is now living her dream.

Most attendees are amazed when they hear Amalia say, “I did not discover Brandon had autism until he was thirty-two years old.” With Amalia’s love and support and Brandon’s hard work and amazing determination it has given him the strength and courage to live on his own for the past 17 years. Amalia’s message is not that all special needs children should live alone, but every child be given the opportunity to reach maximum independence and live the best life possible.

“Brandon and Amalia represent the leading edge of a giant wave, the new generation of men and women confronting the challenge of leaving childhood behind and succeeding on their own as adults.”

-Chris Bury, Journalist and Correspondent for America Tonight

Amalia would love to talk about speaking opportunities or working together. Amalia is based in or out of Los Angeles and travels worldwide.

Contact Amalia


Nothing is more encouraging than listening to an experienced parent like Amalia Starr who is ahead of you on the path, offering practical advice and emotional relief. Starr’s breakthrough presentations are relevant, heartfelt, and informative. Her enthusiastic, upbeat personality is contagious. “I love what I do,” says Starr, and it is obvious.

Experience Amalia up close and personal in one of her keynote presentations as she mesmerizes audiences with her sheer candor, wisdom, uplifting personality, and firsthand experiences through storytelling.  Some of her stories will make you laugh while others may make you squirm but it is her authenticity and honesty that will win your heart.  She is a bright light always sharing HOPE while addressing the future with positive regard.  She has been recognized as a pioneer and trailblazer blazing the trail for others to follow.  Your attendees will be inspired, informed and filled with hope knowing if they learn how to take care of their children’s future now their future can look bright.

Attend one of Starr’s authentic, motivating talks and feel your emotions lift and your fatigue disappear. “I am a parent just like you, and I understand your feelings and emotions,” says Starr. While in this safe, nurturing environment, you’ll be encouraged to relax, let your hair down, ask questions, talk about your specific issues, or just listen and obtain the answers you have been searching for.

Starr walks through these rooms to bring HOPE into the autism arena as she shines a light on the path ahead for parents to help make their journey less fearful and easier to travel. She brings much needed laughter into the room to help heal as the attendees charter new territory together.  Starr calls it is a healing space when we all come together as one.  She helps the attendees to feel more energized and able to move forward with newly found endless possibilities.

Her mission is to help your children crossover to independence: one child at a time.  She accomplishes this goal by offering the parents independence training.  “This is a family effort if we want our children to succeed,”says Starr.

Starr’s breakout sessions are discussion based interactive workshops.  She is an authentic and a dynamic gal and encourages her participants to get involved. Tears fall and light bulb moments occur for many and the camaraderie in the room is supportive and contagious.   Starr establishes a safe environment to allow those to share their innermost feelings.  “Where else can they do this?”   says Starr.  Most participants feel a tremendous relief by having a place to be real with others who are experiencing the same emotions and feelings.  In this safe group setting much can get accomplished in a short amount of time and it often does.

Amalia Starr supports parents who have children with autism and special needs through, keynotes, presentations, workshops, seminars, training sessions, and private consultations. Starr’s talks are perfect for parents, family members, teachers, health professionals, universities, organizations, counseling centers and support groups working with individuals who have limitations and challenges. Your attendees are sure to feel well informed, deeply inspired, and filled with hope.

Amalia’s message is loud and clear that every child be given the opportunity to live the best life possible. That’s every parents dream.

What they’re saying:

Amalia delivers a message of hope and inspires families through sharing her journey. She actively engages participants in an open dialogue about fears and dreams for their children. Her passion is palpable and her enthusiasm is contagious. She served as the keynote speaker for our annual Autism Conference and participants shared “I really enjoyed Amalia”, “Well spoken, great resource for parents”, “Motivating!” and “Amalia Starr was incredible!”. Amalia took time after her sessions to speak one-on-one with parents; she made a large conference a truly personal experience for everyone she interacted with!

Shannon Majoros Vice President and Conference Chair, RISE for Autism, Severna Park, MD

Amalia is clearly in her element when she eloquently and openly speaks about her experiences and the joy of her life - her son, Brandon. As a presenter, Amalia is engaging from the start- motivating and captivating the audience with each thought she shares. As a mother, she inspires families, educators and professionals alike with her passion. We were remarkably impressed - staff, families, and guests for our annual hallmark event - with the story of Amalia and Brandon's ongoing journey, and look forward to the day that she returns to present and share more of herself with our local community. She related so very to our theme - "hope for tomorrow." That, and so much more, is what you will get from Amalia Starr."

Catherine A. Hughes Director, Family Support at Family Behavioral Services / Pittsburgh, PA

Amalia, I just wanted to take a moment to say 'thank you' for speaking at the Caregiver Summit ~ we received a lot of positive feedback from our caregivers!

Here are just a few of their comments:
-Very helpful, she opened my eyes to all possibilities for my child
-It was great, very inspirational
-Beautiful speaker.

Yvette Martinez, Inclusion Services Specialist for the City of Temecula

You really touched my heart - the hope you spoke of with your son gave me so much hope for my son.  Thank you for sharing your life with us at the Autism Camp in Pinedale, Wyoming.  Your emotional journey with Brandon is incredible and I felt so connected to what you shared with us.  

Kristi Fegler Parent

It was a great evening and everyone was inspired by your message. After hearing you speak, I am even more convinced that we chose the best speaker for this event. I have received lots of positive feedback that will hopefully transform into support for ongoing activities in our area.

Jon Hope Associate Director, Client Services at San Gabriel Pomona Regional Center

Words cannot fully express the gratitude we have for the sharing of your knowledge and experience with our families and school staff.  Our families and school employees have reaped such tremendous rewards from you being with us.

Peg Carney Special Services Director, Pinedale, WY

I spoke to you for a while at your table at the FRED Conference.  I thought of you this weekend and want you to know how your presentation helped address and confront fears and expectations, both real and imaginary.  It is so helpful to hear a fellow survivor, who has been in the trenches longer, pass on wisdom and encouragement that our kids are going to make it! And we are going to make it if we will do all we can and then courageously let go and let our kids grow into all they are meant to be.  Thanks Amalia!

Molly Harris Parent in Manhattan Beach, CA

Amalia has truly helped me and my family stay on track for improving life for my thirty-five-year-old autistic brother. Her inspiration and knowledge has lightened a fire within me for improving his conditions and securing a good future for him and provided me with concrete ideas and tips and solutions on how to reach this goal.

Kristoffer Hanson Stockholm, Sweden

Download a PDF printable list with descriptions of Amalia’s most popular speaking topics.

Schedule Amalia to speak at your next event!
Contact Amalia


Raising Brandon

Raising Brandon has become a manual for parents who have children and adults with autism and special needs. The book informs, educates, and offers HOPE to a generation of parents struggling for answers.book-cover-lg

Starr addresses the common pitfalls, such as shame, secrecy, and denial. She describes how damaging these can be personally, as well as on the marriage. Further, she provides proven tools for releasing yourself and breaking free to create a better life for you and your family.

A message close to Starr’s heart is made loud and clear throughout the book. Although her son was diagnosed with epilepsy and learning disorders at the age of nine, it was not until he turned thirty-two that Starr discovered Brandon had autism. She emphasizes how early intervention is key, but Starr knows firsthand and shares, “It is never too late to get help for your children. Brandon is living proof that anything is possible!”
Read and download the Raising Brandon preface.


Just Released!

I Have Autism…What’ll I Do Without You, Mom? How to Prepare for When Your Special Needs Child Outlives You 

In Starr’s latest book, “I Have Autism…What’ll I Do Without You, Mom?” she writes all about this subject matter and includes a separate in depth section on “How to Achieve Independence.”  The more independent our children are, the better it will be for them now and after their parents are gone. Yes, talking about one’s mortality is never an easy or pleasant topic, but with our special needs children it may be the single most important thing a parent can do. Starr discovered that when parents address this issue head on they feel a tremendous relief. No reason to put this off anymore, Starr’s book will take you hand in hand as she shares how she achieved this goal and how you can too.

“Amalia Starr takes her readers by the hand and walks this journey with us with sensitivity and decades of wisdom.  Every special needs parent should read this book, which deals with the reality that our children need to be prepared to outlive us. From tips on how to launch our adult children into the maximum level of independent living to planning for them to thrive after we have left this planet, this book has it all—encouragement, practical advice, and the forms to create a personalized Care Manual.”

–Bobbi Sheahan, author of “What I’d Wish I’d Known About Raising a Child With Autism”


Coming soon: Final Instructional Care Manual

Your Final Instructional Care Manual can be downloaded from my website. You will be able to fill it in and print it out from your computer.  It will also give you extra space to write what you want and need to say.  You will be able to change, add or update anything easily before you create a permanent PDF file.  Make copies and keep them in safe place with your other important documents.

Your child’s history will support those you have selected to assist your child, and help them ensure that the quality and consistency of your child’s life is maintained.   Keep your Final Instructional Care Manual and your audios and videos up to date and all together in one place.   Be sure to tell a few trustworthy people where they can find this information. You will find your working manuals included in my book, I Have Autism…What’ll I Do Without You, Mom?


Call Amalia at 800-939-1046 or use the form below.

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Amalia Starr is a vendor with the San Gabriel Pomona Regional Center SGPRC. www.DDS.ca.gov (916)-654-1690