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ProfNet Experts Available on Autism for Autism Awareness Month

Friday, March 22, 2013 11:06 AM


NEW YORK, March 22, 2013, /PRNewswire/ -- In light of April as Autism Awareness Month, here are various experts from the ProfNet network that are available to discuss autism spectrum disorders. If you are interested in interviewing any of the experts, please contact them via the contact information at the end of the listing. If you are interested in interviewing any of the experts, please contact them via the contact information at the end of the listing.

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EXPERT ROUNDUP: Autism Awareness Month

Ellyn Lucas Arwood, Ed.D.
Professor, School of Education
University of Portland
"The biggest issue about those with autism is that they learn with the use of mental shapes that match their visual thinking but they are living in an auditory world, so there is a cultural and linguistic mismatch."
Dr. Arwood has been a speech-language pathologist, educator, and special educator for the past 35 years. She began working with children with autism in 1972. She is the author of five textbooks, as well as numerous articles, chapters, and monographs, and has made hundreds of presentations in the area of learning and language. She has often been referred to as a lady before her time, as she created numerous instructional ways of helping children and adults become productive academically and socially. For example, she began using drawing with nonverbal students in 1971, developing it into drawn pictures, event-based pictures, cartoons and flowcharts. Today, these types of visual materials are frequently used with children and adults with autism spectrum disorders. Dr. Arwood enjoys an international reputation in learning and language, especially as it relates to students with neurogenic disabilities. She teamed with Carole Kaulitz to create their latest AAPC-published book, "Learning with a Visual Brain in an Auditory World: Visual Language Strategies for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders." She is based in Portland, Ore.
Media Contact: Roya Ghorbani-Elizeh, ghorbani@up.edu

Caroline Sandler
Director, Heeling Autism Program
Guiding Eyes for the Blind
"Every day, we understand more about the exponential powers of our autism service dogs and marvel at the impact they have in their new homes. Families are able to go on outings that wouldn't have been possible before, ranging from dinner at the local restaurant to vacations to Disney World. All parents have found that the dog's influence extends far beyond the one child -- eliciting positive responses from siblings, extended family and the wider community."
Through the Heeling Autism program, Sandler and her trainers provide families with professionally trained autism service dogs, completely free of charge and with a 100 percent success rate. With most autism therapies still financially prohibitive, many have turned to Heeling Autism as an alternative -- some after trying a host of other options with little or no success. In addition to keeping children safe from bolting, university-conducted research has also shown significant improvement in sleep, eating, peer interaction, and overall behavior.
Media Contact: Kelly Lee, Kelly@cocommunications.com

Elaine Hall
Founder
The Miracle Project
"They may say it takes a village to raise a child; I like to think it takes a child with special needs to raise the consciousness of a village."
Elaine Hall ("Coach E!") has been referenced by The New York Times as "the child whisperer" and nominated by LA Magazine as one of Los Angeles' "50 most inspiring women." Hall was a top Hollywood children's acting coach whose life changed dramatically after her son Neal, adopted from a Russian orphanage, was diagnosed with autism. When traditional therapies didn't work, she rallied creative people to join Neal's world, which brought Neal out of his isolation. Hall developed these methods  to create The Miracle Project, a groundbreaking theatre-based socialization program, profiled in the Emmy Award-winning HBO film, "Autism: The Musical." Hall has appeared on CNN, CBS, Oprah Radio and NPR, and has been featured in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe and more. The United Nations chose her memoir, "Now I See the Moon," for World Autism Awareness Day 2011, where she has spoken several times. She is an international keynote speaker, a workshop leader and blogs for the Huffington Post. Hall presented her latest book, "Seven Keys to Unlock Autism: Creating Miracles In The Classroom," at an international conference in Jerusalem, and will be speaking at Harvard in March. She has received honors from Autism Speaks, Autism Society of L.A., The Mayor of Los Angeles, Senator Pavley, Areva Martin, Holly Robinson Peete, Etta Israel, and The Shalom Institute, among others. Hall and her team are now launching The Miracle Project nationally. Hall created and directs an arts enrichment and a religious education at Vista Del Mar in West Los Angeles, which is a recent recipient of a Jewish Community Foundation grant to provide training in inclusion throughout Los Angeles Synagogues. She lives in Santa Monica, Calif., with the two loves of her life: her 18-year-old son Neal and her husband Jeff Frymer, a therapist.
Hall is available for interviews to discuss autism, inclusion, non-verbal autistics, and the positive impact of individuals with autism.
Expert Contact: coachelainehall@gmail.com

Steven Pastyrnak, Ph.D.
Division Chief of Pediatric Psychology
Helen DeVos Children's Hospital
"With all that we know about autism, there is so much more to be experienced and learned. Autism spectrum disorders are complex. They can be as individual and unique as the child living with the disorder. For the child and the family that loves them, it is a journey of patience, strength and understanding."
Pastyrnak provides inpatient and outpatient consultation services for physicians within the hospital setting. Consultations primarily involve psychological and neuropsychological assessment of children from the ages of 4 months to young adulthood. He also manages administration, supervision and program development of the Pediatric Psychology Clinic. He holds a doctorate of philosophy degree in clinical psychology from Nova Southeastern University, and serves as a regular lecturer both within and outside of Spectrum Health. He is currently participating in multiple pediatric clinical research projects at Helen DeVos Children's Hospital. He has been featured numerous national media outlets, including Everyday Health, Sirius XM's Doctor Radio and Good Parenting Radio, Reuters, WebMD, Parents, CBSNews.com and FOXnews.com. He is available for interviews and can discuss infant toddler development, ADHD, anxiety disorders, autism spectrum disorders, cognitive behavioral therapy and pediatric research.
Media Contact: Melissa Kamara Liggins, melissa.kamaraliggins@spectrumhealth.org

Dr. Steven Goldberg, DDS
Inventor
DentalVibe
"Dental health is extremely important to maintain despite one's personal development. However, for those with disabilities, ensuring proper care can be a difficult task for both the patient and the dental provider. More importantly, the experience can be unpleasant for patients with special needs. When the experience is negative, less attention is paid to this imperative health concern."
Goldberg graduated from New York University's College of Dentistry and has been in practice for more than two decades. In that time, he built a successful general and cosmetic dental practice in Boca Raton, Fla., and invented the new DentalVibe Injection Comfort System. He teamed up with senior engineers and designers at Bresslergroup in Philadelphia to co-develop DentalVibe using Ronald Melzack and Patrick Wall's "Gate Control Theory of Pain"; that is, redefining the injection process and changing the perception of dentistry worldwide. The theory states that vibrations travel much faster to the brain than the feeling of pain. Once vibrations have reached the brain, the "pain gate" is closed and patients won't be able to feel the prick of the needle nor the injection pressure.
Goldberg is available to discuss: steps to effectively communicate and comfort patients with autism; new innovations and technological advances, such as the DentalVibe, to help make dentistry pain-free for those with special needs; tips to ensure your special needs family member is receiving proper care from their dentist.
Media Contact: Laura Maxey, lmaxey@5wpr.com

Christopher Lopata, PsyD
Co-director, Institute for Autism Research
Canisius College
"High-functioning autism spectrum disorders (HFASDs) need to be treated comprehensively. Treatment programs need to get to the core symptoms -- social, behavioral and emotional. In a second randomized clinical trial, we found a comprehensive treatment program to be highly effective in improving the social performance and clinical symptoms of children with HFASDs. Children demonstrated significantly higher scores on child measures of non-literal language skills and knowledge of appropriate social behaviors, as well as significantly higher parent-ratings for targeted and broader social skills and significantly lower ratings of autism symptoms compared to children in the control group."
Based in Buffalo, N.Y., Dr. Lopata is available to discuss HFASDs, treatment strategies and his research.
Media Contact: Eileen Herbert, herberte@canisius.edu

Marcus L. Thomeer, Ph.D.
Co-director, Institute for Autism Research
Canisius College
"In a second randomized clinical trial, we found a comprehensive treatment program to be highly effective in improving the social performance and clinical symptoms of children with HFASDs. The increase in child understanding, along with the increase in parent ratings of social and social-communication skills, suggests that the children in comprehensive treatment programs acquired new skills and social-cognitive understanding and translated those into effective social performance outside of the treatment setting. This is an important finding, as generalization of skills and behaviors beyond the treatment setting are a major obstacle for children with HFASDs. The significant decrease in autism symptoms following treatment is also noteworthy, as few treatments have been able to reduce these long-term impediments to daily functioning."
Based in Buffalo, N.Y., Dr. Thomeer is available to discuss HFASDs, treatment strategies and his research.
Media Contact: Eileen Herbert, herberte@canisius.edu

Marcel Just
D.O. Hebb Professor of Psychology
Carnegie Mellon University
"The brain's processing of social information is performed by a network of areas, some of which are frontal, and some of which are posterior. This tells us where the problem lies in autism. We can now focus on designing therapies that attempt to either improve the white matter -- something we have already proven is possible through behavioral interventions -- or help the brain develop work-around strategies."
Just provides an explanation for some of autism's mysteries -- from social and communication disorders to restricted interests -- and gives scientists clear targets for developing intervention and treatment therapies. Just uses brain imaging and computer modeling to show how the brain's white matter tracts (the cabling that connects separated brain areas) are altered in autism, and how these alterations can affect brain function and behavior. The deficiencies affect the tracts' bandwidth (the speed and rate at which information can travel along the pathways). These findings build on Just's 2004 influential "Frontal-Posterior Underconnectivity Theory of Autism," which first discovered and explained that the synchronization of the activation between frontal and posterior brain areas is lower in autism.
News Contact: Shilo Rea, shilo@cmu.edu

Marci Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D.
Founder and Chair of Advisory Board
Camp Altitude
"As children with autism hit puberty, their parents must deal with a new range of issues. We created a camp to specifically help these teens discover their 'best selves.' Summer camp can be a transformational experience for all kids, but especially for these teens, who are dealing with significant new concerns -- ranging from changing personal hygiene habits to relationships with the opposite sex to high school/college preparation."
Schwartz is a specialist in teens and tweens with social development issues, with a focus on Asperger's, high-functioning autism and other social cognitive challenges. She received her MSW and Ph.D. from New York University, and has been providing counseling services for parents of children with developmental disabilities for over 20 years. She has offices in Mountain View and Los Gatos, Calif., and her private practice focuses primarily on parents of children with developmental delays, including autistic spectrum disorders, nonverbal learning disorders and attention deficit disorders. The emphasis of her work is focused on helping parents better understand their children's unique way of learning and interacting with their environment. She helps parents implement concrete strategies for their families that incorporate the specific learning styles of all the members of the family. She also focuses on helping parents address their emotional needs, such as issues around frustration, anger, sadness and worry regarding their children.
Website: http://www.camp-altitude.com
Media Contact: Nancy A. Shenker, nancys@theonswitch.com

Dr. Annette Cartaxo
Chief of Pediatrics, Newton Medical Center
Integrative Medicine Pediatrician, Atlantic Integrative Medicine
"Proper nutrition goes hand-in-hand with feeling better. When you eat well, you feel and act well, too. Getting proper nutrition can be more challenging for children with autism and other difficulties chewing and swallowing certain foods. Learning about different kinds of foods and new ways to prepare meals can alleviate much of the frustration parents can feel when cooking for their children."
Dr. Cartaxo, a board-certified pediatrician, is chief of pediatrics at Newton Medical Center in Newton, N.J., and an integrative medicine pediatrician for Atlantic Integrative Medicine in Morristown, N.J. Dr. Cartaxo has been in the health and nutritional field for over 25 years and has treated a number of pediatric conditions including ADHD, Autism, Developmental disorders, Neurological Disorders, Feeding Issues, Food allergies, GI disorders, Infant colic, Holistic Well Baby Consultation and Insomnia. She is a development/behavioral pediatrician who for many years incorporated nutritional medicine in her practice, especially those children with special needs. She is a strong supporter and member of The American College of Nutrition and frequently lectures on the positive impact wholesome nutrition plays on those individuals diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit disorder. Dr. Cartaxo has written numerous articles appearing in natural health journals and newsletters as well as other publications. She also co-authored two chapters (Autism and Seizures) in a nutritional textbook titled, "Foods and Nutrients in Disease Management." She is co-author of "Healing Autism in the Kitchen," which examines the healing aspects of a healthy diet, with specific emphasis on oral motor difficulties in children with autism spectrum and developmental disorders. This book also provides the necessary tools and guidelines for parents and introduces them to the fundamentals of cooking.
Website: http://healingautisminthekitchen.com
Media Contact: Rob Seman, Robert.Seman@atlantichealth.org

Paul A. Law, M.D., M.P.H.
Director, Interactive Autism Network
Kennedy Krieger Institute
"Recent research indicates that children receiving special education services are at risk of being victimized at higher rates than regular education students. Our findings show that not only are these children being bullied more, but they are also experiencing significant short-term, and likely long-term, effects of being bullied."
Dr. Law joined Kennedy Krieger in 2005 to lead a project to develop the Interactive Autism Network, which connects individuals on the autism spectrum and their families with researchers nationwide to accelerate the pace of autism research and aid advocacy efforts for improved services and resources. He is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Medical Informatics Association and Delta Omega, the Honorary Society in Public Health. Dr. Law earned his medical degree from Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in 1997 and received a master's of public health degree from the JHU School of Public Health in the year prior. He completed his pediatric residency in 2000 and a health informatics fellowship in 2005 -- both at Johns Hopkins. He has extensive experience in the design and implementation of health research studies in autism and international health. He created and currently is the director of the Interactive Autism Network, an innovative online database with 43,000 participants who contribute information to create the largest pool of autism data in the world. In addition to supporting scientific investigation, it provides individuals and families affected by autism with unprecedented information about the experiences of others, and serves as an open resource for educators and policy makers.
Dr. Law is available to speak about the impact of the Interactive Autism Network on autism research, including studies on elopement/wandering and bullying. He recently authored a study in the Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics that found bullying causes significant short-term emotional and physical consequences for children with autism.
Website: http://www.ianproject.org
Media Contact: Megan Thorpe, mthorpe@spectrumscience.com

Rebecca Landa, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Director, Center for Autism and Related Disorders
Kennedy Krieger Institute
"Don't adopt a 'wait and see' perspective on autism. We want to identify delays early in development so that intervention can begin when children's brains are more malleable and still developing their circuitry."
Dr. Landa is a speech-language pathologist. She has practiced in the public schools, university clinics and hospital settings, and has consulted with schools and families on an international level to establish state-of-the-science educational programming for children with autism spectrum disorders. Dr. Landa obtained her master's degree at the Pennsylvania State University and her doctorate at the University of Washington. She completed post-doctoral training in psychiatric genetics at Johns Hopkins. She is the recipient of the NIMH Shannon Award for excellent and innovative research, as well as the Rita Rudel Prize for Developmental Neuropsychology.
Dr. Landa has been on the forefront of research surrounding the early detection and intervention of autism for more than 10 years. She can provide details on a range of topics, such as advancements in the development of new early intervention protocol for 1-year-olds, signs and symptoms that parents and pediatricians can look for in their child's early stage development, and details and updates on her groundbreaking research that led to the identification of the earliest signs of autism. In 2001, Dr. Landa was the first researcher to receive funding from the National Institutes of Health to launch an innovative study of baby siblings of autism. Still ongoing today, the research was ground-breaking in its identification of the earliest signs of autism, and subsequently sparked Dr. Landa's development and research of an early intervention model which was shown to stimulate significant improvements in toddlers with autism.
Dr. Landa's work also led to the development of the Baby Siblings Research Consortium, supported by Autism Speaks, which studies infant siblings of children with autism. As part of the consortium's executive committee, Dr. Landa oversees this international network of researchers who are pooling data to facilitate research with infants at high risk of developing autism. Her team provides training and support to professionals and has worked directly with select schools in the Baltimore area to create model classrooms that utilize the core principles of autism early intervention established through the team's research. As a result of this training, more children have access to the latest research-based strategies at lower costs, with the goal of improving outcomes for children with autism across the state of Maryland.
Media Contact: Megan Thorpe, mthorpe@spectrumscience.com

Ericka A. Wodka, Ph.D.
Pediatric Neuropsychologist, Center for Autism and Related Disorders
Kennedy Krieger Institute
"Our recent study about ASD and language delays found that nonverbal intelligence was the strongest predictor of phrase speech, while social interest and engagement were as robust, if not greater, when predicting the age that children attained phrase speech and fluent speech. Children with typical nonverbal intelligence attained language almost six months ahead of those with scores below the average."
Dr. Wodka graduated from the University of Maryland, College Park, in 2001 with a bachelor's of science in neurobiology and physiology. She then continued her education at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, earning a master's of science in 2003 and a doctoral degree in 2006, both in clinical psychology with a concentration in clinical neuropsychology. She completed her clinical internship at the Mailman Center for Child Development and University of Miami Miller School of Medicine in Miami, and then completed her post-doctoral residency in pediatric neuropsychology at the Kennedy Krieger Institute and Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She joined Kennedy Krieger as a pediatric neuropsychologist and licensed psychologist in 2008. She is active in the mentoring programs at the Kennedy Krieger Institute and participates in the neuropsychological training of externs, pre-doctoral interns and post-doctoral residents. Dr. Wodka's expertise includes understanding the cognitive and behavioral aspects of neurodevelopmental disorders (including ADHD and autism), specifically related to brain behavior relationships involving attention. Dr. Wodka recently published a study that revealed 70 percent of children with ASD, who have a history of severe language delay, achieved phrase or fluent speech by age eight. This suggests that more children presenting with ASD and severe language delay at age four can be expected to make notable language gains than was previously thought.
Media Contact: Megan Thorpe, mthorpe@spectrumscience.com

Roma Vasa, M.D.
Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Center for Autism & Related Disorders
Kennedy Krieger Institute
"The finding of higher rates of emergency room visits among children with autism demonstrates that many children with autism aren't receiving sufficient outpatient mental health care to prevent and manage the type of crises that are driving these families to seek urgent help. These findings should highlight the urgent need for better comprehensive outpatient mental health care and insurance coverage for children with autism, along with greater education and training for emergency medical staff."
Dr. Vasa sees children and adolescents with autism and a variety of psychiatric disorders, with a specific focus on anxiety. She is board-certified and an active member of the Maryland Regional Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. She completed her undergraduate training at Colby College and received her medical degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in 1991. She completed an internal medicine fellowship at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and her adult and child psychiatry training at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. Dr. Vasa can speak to the need for greater mental health care and insurance coverage for children with autism. Dr. Vasa recently published the first study to compare mental health-related emergency department (ED) visits between children with and without autism spectrum disorders (ASD). The findings were that ED visits are nine times more likely to be for psychiatric reasons if a child has an ASD diagnosis.
Media Contact: Megan Thorpe, mthorpe@spectrumscience.com

Jeffrey R. Robinson, Ph.D.
Founder and Director
Behavioral Concepts, Inc.
"When the school year begins, many parents utilize the programs available through the school but are unaware that home support and services are available through their private health insurance."
Dr. Robinson is founder and director of Behavioral Concepts, Inc., a company of behavioral clinicians specializing in the care of children with autism in Central Massachusetts. The company provides public schools, students, and their families with highly specialized consultative and direct services to meet their unique developmental, neurological, and behavioral needs. Dr. Robinson works directly with the faculty, children, and their families to promote meaningful inclusion within local public schools and increased structure at home. Although his clinical expertise is applied behavior analysis, Dr. Robinson's approach is to incorporate other clinically appropriate strategies within a coordinated system of interventions and therapies. He uses developmental, educational, behavioral, communicative, and sensory-based services with children to promote their unique learning style. Despite a specialization in Pervasive Developmental Disability (PDD)-Autism Spectrum Disorder, Dr. Robinson has extensive experience working with children and young adults that present with most disorders of behavior and cognition. His work has been published and he has presented at more than 20 local, state, regional, and national conferences.
Media Contact: Steve Dubin, sdubin@prworkzone.com

Alison Singer
Co-founder and President
Autism Science Foundation
Singer is co-founder and president of the Autism Science Foundation, a not for profit organization that funds autism research and serves to increase awareness of autism spectrum disorders and the needs of individuals and families affected by autism. From 2005-2009, Singer served as executive vice president and a member of the board of directors of Autism Speaks. As the mother of a child with autism and legal guardian of her adult brother with autism, she is a natural advocate. Since 2007, she has served on the national Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), which is charged with writing a strategic plan to guide federal spending for autism research. Within the IACC, she serves as co-chair of the safety subcommittee and on the subcommittee for strategic plan review. Singer also currently serves on the executive boards of the Yale Child Study Center and the Marcus Autism Center at Emory University, on the external advisory board of the CDC's Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, as a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics' Immunization Coalition, on the editorial review boards of several scientific journals, and as a member of the program committee for the International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR). She graduated magna cum laude from Yale University with a B.A. in economics and has an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Expert Contact: asinger@autismsciencefoundation.org

Lisa Shulman, M.D.
Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics and Director of the Rehabilitation, Evaluation and Learning for Autistic Infants and Toddlers
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Dr. Shulman is a developmental pediatrician with special expertise in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and learning disabilities. Her research interests include early identification of autism, healthcare disparity in autism diagnosis and management, and complementary and alternative medicine usage in autism. Dr. Shulman directs Einstein's Infant and Toddler Services at the Children's Evaluation and Rehabilitation Center (CERC), which provides family-based diagnostic assessment of young children who have or are suspected of having developmental delays. She also directs CERC's Rehabilitation, Evaluation and Learning for Autistic Infants and Toddlers at Einstein (RELATE), a special unit for diagnosing and managing children with autism. Here's a video of Dr. Shulman explaining key development milestones: http://www.einstein.yu.edu/video/default.asp
Blog: http://blogs.einstein.yu.edu/?author=8
Media Contact: Kim Newman, kimberly.newman@einstein.yu.edu

Dr. Howard Shane
Boston Children's Hospital
The use of tablet apps and related technology in the field of treating autism is growing rapidly. Dr. Howard Shane's research focus is on children with complex communication impairment related to autism and other developmental disorders. Currently, he is studying the use of technology, specifically with tablet apps, and visual supports to improve communication and learning in persons with autism. He is keenly interested in the development of a visual language system to both improve and augment the spoken language system for persons with autism who have difficulty processing spoken language.
Media Contact: Michael Clark, Michael.clark@morris-king.com

David M. Katz, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Neurosciences
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine
The Katz laboratory seeks to understand mechanisms of neural circuit dysfunction in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and to develop new therapeutic approaches. A noted autism researcher, Katz and his team use behavioral, electrophysiological, biochemical, imaging and morphometric techniques in genetic mouse models of ASDs to define how deviations in signals between nerve cells alter normal behavior. Part of their research is dedicated to preclinical evaluation of novel therapies for Rett syndrome and other ASDs. He is based in Cleveland.
Media Contact: Bill Lubinger, william.lubinger@case.edu

Dr. Roger Kurlan
Medical Director, Atlantic Neuroscience Institute - Movement Disorders Program
Overlook Medical Center
A board-certified neurologist, Dr. Kurlan is the lead investigator of a study looking at gene expression in autistic and non-autistic males aged 14-21. This study looks at the genetic makeup of persons with autism and those without, to try to determine what genes might contribute to the development of autism. Dr. Kurlan is also a nationally known specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of Tourette's Syndrome, and has noted some similarities in the two disorders. Prior to joining Overlook Medical Center in 2009, Dr. Kurlan was chief of the Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology Unit, Department of Neurology, and professor, Center for Aging and Developmental Biology, both at the University of Rochester School of Medicine. He is fellow, American Academy of Neurology; member, NIH Clinical Neuroscience and Disease (CND) Study Section; and member, Movement Disorders Society CME Committee. He is a supplement editor for the journal Neurology and a reviewer for more than 20 journals and publications, including Archives of Neurology, Biological Psychiatry, Journal of Child Psychology, Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, Perceptual and Motor Skills, and Journal of Neuroimmunology.
Media Contact: Janina Hecht, janina.hecht@atlantichealth.org

Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D.
Chief Science Officer
Autism Speaks
Dawson serves as the scientific leader of Autism Speaks, working with the scientific community, stakeholders, and science staff to shape, expand, and communicate the foundation's scientific vision and strategy. She is also professor of psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dawson's scientific achievements include discovering that autism symptoms could be recognized during infancy, defining the earliest manifestations of autism, pioneering the use of event-related brain potentials to study early brain dysfunction in autism, development of behavioral and electrophysiological endophenotypes in genetic studies of autism, and development and evaluation of the Early Start Denver Model, an intervention for infants and toddlers with autism. Dawson has published over 180 scientific articles and chapters and co-edited or authored a number of books about autism spectrum disorder and brain development, including "Autism Spectrum Disorders," "Human Behavior, Learning, and the Developing Brain," "A Parent's Guide to Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism." She has received over 50 grants supporting her research, including 17 research grants from NIH. From 2000-2007, Dawson founded and directed University of Washington Autism Center's multi-disciplinary clinical services program, the largest of its kind in the northwestern United States. A strong advocate for families, Dawson has testified before the U.S. Senate on behalf of individuals with autism and played a key role on the Washington State Autism Task Force.
Media Contact: Dana Marnane, dmarnane@autismspeaks.org

Peter Bell
EVP, Programs and Services
Autism Speaks
Bell has been involved in numerous accomplishments that have had major benefit to the autism community, including: advancing autism insurance reform in state legislatures across the nation, as well as federal health care reform; securing legislative support and appropriations for autism research through the Combating Autism Act of 2006 (CAA), the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) and recent renewal of the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act of 2011 (CARA); developing highly regarded resources for families, such as the Autism Speaks' 100 Day Kit, School Community Tool Kit, and Transition Tool Kit; and establishing a funding mechanism to award over $2.0 million in grants to service provider organizations who are working with individuals with autism around the country.
Media Contact: Dana Marnane, dmarnane@autismspeaks.org

Jonathan Izak
Special Needs Technology Developer
SpecialNeedsWare
Izak is a leader in the rapidly growing field of autism-related tablet apps. He got into the business through the inspiration of his brother, Oriel, rendered nearly mute by autism. As a result of his personal experiences with his brother, Izak created an iPad app that incorporates personalized images, video, audio and other information to familiarize those with autism to their surroundings to assist with routine activities and requests and develop each user's behavioral skills. Izak is in the process of creating various software items for autism, along with his already released "AutisMate," and has worked with some of the biggest names in the field of autism to develop his products based on research and personal experiences. He is based in New York.
Media Contact: Michael Clark, Michael.clark@morris-king.com

Dr. Peter Gerhardt, Ed.D.
The McCarton School
Dr. Gerhardt is the director of education, upper school for the McCarton School, and the founding chair of the Scientific Council for the Organization for Autism Research (OAR). He has more than 30 years of experience utilizing the principles of applied behavior analysis in support of adolescents and adults with ASD in educational, employment, residential, and community-based settings. He, along with Dr. Daniel Crimmins, is the editor of the book, "Social Skills and Adaptive Behavior in ASD" (Brooks Publishing), and is the author or co-author of a variety of articles and book chapters on the needs of adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorder. Dr. Gerhardt serves on the editorial board of Behavior Analysis in Practice and on numerous professional advisory boards. He received his doctorate from the Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey Graduate School of Education. He is based in New York.
Media Contact: Michael Clark, Michael.clark@morris-king.com

Dr. Robert Melillo
Founder
Brain Balance Achievement Centers
Dr. Melillo is founder of Brain Balance Achievement Centers, a supplementary learning center that helps children between the ages of 4 and 17 reach their academic, social and behavioral potential through a nonmedical, brain-based program. He has over 20 years of experience studying the brain, and is one of the most respected specialists in childhood neurological disorders. His areas of expertise include autism spectrum disorders, PDD/NOS, ADD/ADHD, OCD, dyslexia, Asperger's, Tourette's, bipolar disorder, and other attention, behavioral and learning disorders. He recently published "Autism Explained, What the Science Reveals About the Autism Epidemic -- How We Got Here, and What Parents Can Do Now." He has conducted dozens of television interviews, and has made appearances on the CBS show "The Doctors," Fox News and NBC as an expert commentator. He has also done hundreds of radio interviews, nationally and internationally.
Website: http://drrobertmelillo.com
Media Contact: Stefanie Zimmerman, szimmerman@fishmanpr.com

Candace McDonald
Executive Director
Generation Rescue
McDonald is executive director of Generation Rescue, the leading national organization that provides hope, information and immediate treatment assistance to families affected by autism spectrum disorders. Prior to that, she guided the American Red Cross San Gabriel Pomona Valley through an organizational restructuring as director of development and communications, where she also implemented several new and successful fundraising programs. She also served as associate director of development for the International Myeloma Foundation, and continues to actively participate with the American Cancer Society, National Philanthropy Day, NextAid and UNICEF.
Media Contact: Anitra Schulte, anitra@hensonconsulting.com

Dr. Jeffrey Braverman
Founder and Medical Director
Braverman Reproductive Immunology
An internationally known and respected physician, Dr. Braverman specializes in the treatment of recurrent miscarriages and reproductive immunology. He was honored as the youngest graduate at New York University, where he was accepted at the age of 14. After completing his residency, he established a private medical practice in Long Island, N.Y., where he has been treating patients for more than 20 years, becoming one of the world's leading authorities in the field of reproductive immunology. He has written on the topic of pregnancy and autism on his blog (see http://tinyurl.com/amoxfma) and is available for interviews on autism and its relationship to pregnancy.
Media Contact: Moon Vitiello, moon@kmrpr.com

Elizabeth Reeve, M.D.
Child Psychiatrist
HealthPartners in Minnesota
Dr. Reeve's clinical work focuses primarily on children and adults with developmental disabilities. In addition to her research and patient care, Dr. Reeve is involved in teaching, speaks in the community to educate others in the field of developmental disabilities, and helps young adults with autism spectrum disorders transition into college and the workforce. She is the mother of an autistic son, and coauthor, with Elizabeth Verdick, of "The Survival Guide for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders (And Their Parents)." She was named 2012 Psychiatrist of the Year by the Minnesota Psychiatric Society for her dedication to sharing her expertise as a teacher and a mentor. She lives in Minneapolis.
Expert Contact: elizabeth.a.reeve@healthpartners.com
Media Contact: Elena M. Meredith, meredith@freespirit.com

Dr. Stephen Sheinkopf
Women & Infants Hospital of Rhode Island
The Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University
Dr. Sheinkopf led a research team that examined ways in which infants at risk for autism produced cries as compared to the cries of low-risk infants.  Recordings of babies' cries were excerpted from vocal and video recordings of 6-month-old infants at risk for autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and those with low risk.  Infants were considered to be at risk if they had an older sibling with a confirmed ASD diagnosis.  This research was published in Autism Research.
Media Contact: Amy Blustein, ABlustein@Wihri.org

Dan Cross
Owner
A Step Ahead Pediatric Therapy
A recognized leader in pediatric rehabilitation, Cross is the president and managing therapist of a pediatric therapy center to help children with autism and developmental disabilities. He has experience in working with autistic children in both his personal and professional life. His oldest son has Asperger's syndrome (an autism spectrum disorder). Cross has spent the last 16 years working in the pediatric therapy field in a variety of settings, including early intervention, office-based and school setting. His career includes leadership roles at HealthSouth, Inc., Therapists Unlimited, TriHealth Inc., and Cardinal Hill of Northern Kentucky. He holds a bachelor of science in physical therapy from the University of Vermont and maintains an active membership in the Down Syndrome Group of Greater Cincinnati, Kentucky Amateur Baseball Association (for which he coaches his son's team) and Families with Autism.
Media Contact: Corryn Muench, Corryn@theeisenagency.com

Kelle Wood Rich, M.Ed., BCBA
Founder and Director
Central Texas Autism Center
Rich has 20 years of experience working with children and adults with autism and other developmental disabilities, as a special education teacher, autism specialist and a board-certified behavior analyst. She was an associate of Dr. Vince Carbone for 10 years and conducted workshops for him around the world on teaching children with autism. Rich lectures and consults with schools districts, regional service centers, professional organizations and parent organizations. She also directly supervises her staff of highly trained behavior therapists. She is a certified special education teacher, serves on the advisory board of NAACT, and is an active member of the International Association of Behavior Analysis and Council for Exceptional Children.
Media Contact: Kristin Morgan, kristin@anthonybarnum.com

Debra Satterfield
Interim Chair, Department of Graphic Design
Iowa State University
Satterfield can speak on autism from a unique perspective. She is a researcher, an advocate for children with cognitive disabilities, and the mother of a child with both epilepsy and an autism spectrum disorder. Satterfield is a professor in graphic design and human computer interaction at Iowa State University. Her research focuses on the design of educational experiences for children with autism and cognitive disabilities. One project is focused on using design to improve the social and emotional experiences of children with autism. Another strives to develop and evaluate socially mediating play experiences that will create collaborative learning environments to allow children with autism to play with neurologically typical peers. Satterfield has taught courses in the design of games and educational experiences for social inclusion. She has presented her autism research both nationally and internationally. In May, she will present two papers at the International Annual Meeting for Autism Research in Spain.
Media Contact: Teddi Barron, tbarron@iastate.edu

Diane Millar
Associate Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders
Radford University
Millar, associate professor of communication sciences and disorders at Radford University, is also director of the Radford University Autism Center and the university's summer RiteCare Autism Clinic. The mission of the Radford University Autism Center is to serve as a resource for individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD); families; teachers; speech-language pathologists and other professionals working with children and adults with autism; researchers studying autism spectrum disorders; and undergraduate and graduate students interested in a future career working with individuals with ASD. The main goal is to provide families, professionals and students with access to state-of-the-art clinical services and evidence-based resources to improve the quality of the lives of children and adults with ASD. The center has three key priorities: research, clinical service provision, and community outreach.
Websites: Autism Center: http://tinyurl.com/cgjdhsu  RiteCare Autism Clinic: http://tinyurl.com/ctvvcum
Media Contact: Bonnie Q. Erickson, broberts@radford.edu

Erik Carter, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Special Education
Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development
Vanderbilt University
Carter directs the Center on Secondary Education for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders, which is working on identifying and developing ways to promote positive relationships and social connection for youth with autism. Vanderbilt has a campus broadcast facility with a dedicated fiber optic line for live TV interviews and a radio ISDN line.
Media Contact: Craig Boerner, craig.boerner@vanderbilt.edu

Carissa Cascio, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development
Vanderbilt University
Cascio focuses on the neural basis of sensory processing differences in children and adults with autism and investigates what role sensory disruption plays in the core features of autism, such as decreased socialization, restricted interests and repetitive behaviors. Vanderbilt has a campus broadcast facility with a dedicated fiber optic line for live TV interviews and a radio ISDN line.
Media Contact: Craig Boerner, craig.boerner@vanderbilt.edu

Blythe Corbett, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development
Vanderbilt University
Corbett examines factors that enhance or diminish the response to social and nonsocial stress. She founded SENSE Theatre, a theatrical intervention program designed to improve the social and emotional abilities of children with autism. Vanderbilt has a campus broadcast facility with a dedicated fiber optic line for live TV interviews and a radio ISDN line.
Media Contact: Craig Boerner, craig.boerner@vanderbilt.edu

Ann Kaiser, Ph.D.
Professor of Special Education, Susan Gray Chair in Education and Human Development
Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development
Vanderbilt University
Kaiser can discuss communication strategies and interventions that parents of children with autism can use with their children. Vanderbilt has a campus broadcast facility with a dedicated fiber optic line for live TV interviews and a radio ISDN line.
Media Contact: Craig Boerner, craig.boerner@vanderbilt.edu

Beth Malow, M.D.
Burry Chair in Cognitive Childhood Development
Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development
Vanderbilt University
Sleep is a common struggle for many children with autism. Malow is an expert on the interface of sleep and neurological disorders and directs the Vanderbilt Sleep Division. She recently created a resource with Autism Speaks to help improve sleep for children affected by autism spectrum disorders. Vanderbilt has a campus broadcast facility with a dedicated fiber optic line for live TV interviews and a radio ISDN line.
Media Contact: Craig Boerner, craig.boerner@vanderbilt.edu

Nilanjan Sarkar, Ph.D.
Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Computer Engineering
Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development
Vanderbilt University
Sarkar is developing emotion-sensing robotic technology and developing virtual reality technology as possible interventions for promoting social skills in individuals with autism. Vanderbilt has a campus broadcast facility with a dedicated fiber optic line for live TV interviews and a radio ISDN line.
Media Contact: Craig Boerner, craig.boerner@vanderbilt.edu

Julie Lounds Taylor, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics; Assistant Professor of Special Education
Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development
Vanderbilt University
Taylor studies how individual, family and societal characteristics interact to promote healthy development and can discuss how families experience the transition to adulthood for young adults with autism. Vanderbilt has a campus broadcast facility with a dedicated fiber optic line for live TV interviews and a radio ISDN line.
Media Contact: Craig Boerner, craig.boerner@vanderbilt.edu

Jeremy Veenstra-VanderWeele, M.D.
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry, Pediatrics and Pharmacology
Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development
Vanderbilt University
Veenstra-VanderWeele directs Vanderbilt's Fragile X Treatment Research Program. Current research involves development of mouse models of autism. He, along with colleagues Randy Blakely and James Sutcliffe, published a study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences that found early disruptions in serotonin signaling in the brain may contribute to autism. Vanderbilt has a campus broadcast facility with a dedicated fiber optic line for live TV interviews and a radio ISDN line.
Media Contact: Craig Boerner, craig.boerner@vanderbilt.edu

Mark Wallace, Ph.D.
Professor of Hearing and Speech Sciences, Psychiatry, and Psychology; Director of Vanderbilt Brain Institute
Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development
Vanderbilt University
Wallace conducts research on how the brain integrates information from multiple sensory systems. He is conducting a study to evaluate sensory integration treatment in autism. Vanderbilt has a campus broadcast facility with a dedicated fiber optic line for live TV interviews and a radio ISDN line.
Media Contact: Craig Boerner, craig.boerner@vanderbilt.edu

Zachary Warren, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Psychiatry; Director of TRIAD
Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development
Vanderbilt University
The Vanderbilt Kennedy Center's Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (TRIAD) examines the causes and treatment of autism spectrum disorders with current research programs including the diagnosis of autism, identification of genetic and core behavioral features of autism and early intervention with children at risk for autism. As director of TRIAD, Warren leads the autism evaluation and diagnostic clinics within Vanderbilt's Department of Pediatrics and Division of Developmental Medicine. Vanderbilt has a campus broadcast facility with a dedicated fiber optic line for live TV interviews and a radio ISDN line.
Media Contact: Craig Boerner, craig.boerner@vanderbilt.edu

Paul Yoder, Ph.D.
Professor of Special Education
Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development
Vanderbilt University
Yoder studies communication and language development in children with autism and other disorders. He can discuss parental and community influences on communication and language development with toddlers and preschoolers with developmental disorders. Vanderbilt has a campus broadcast facility with a dedicated fiber optic line for live TV interviews and a radio ISDN line.
Media Contact: Craig Boerner, craig.boerner@vanderbilt.edu

Dr. Robert G. Voigt
Physician, Department of Pediatric Medicine
Texas Children's Hospital
Dr. Voigt, also a professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, specializes in developmental pediatrics. He has been actively involved in clinical practice, education and research in the field of developmental pediatrics for more than 20 years, and is board certified in pediatrics, neurodevelopmental disabilities and developmental-behavioral pediatrics. He was elected to serve on the Executive Committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics from 2002 to 2008, and also served as editor-in-chief of the AAP's recently published textbook, "Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics." In 2009, Dr. Voigt was selected to serve on the Sub-Board for Developmental-Behavioral Pediatrics by the American Board of Pediatrics, and in 2010 was named to the editorial board of the journal Pediatrics. In 2010, Voigt relocated back to Baylor College of Medicine to serve as the director of the Leopold L. Meyer Center for Developmental Pediatrics, where he continues his clinical, educational and research activities aimed at advancing the care of children with developmental disabilities and the science of developmental-behavioral pediatrics.
Media Contact: Megan Meece, megan@gwpr.com; or Christy Brunton, Clbrunto@texaschildrens.org

Dr. Lane Strathearn
Assistant Professor of Pediatrics
Baylor College of Medicine
Dr. Strathearn is a pediatrician with a focus on neurobiology of mother-infant attachment, neurodevelopmental disabilities (such as autism), and long-term effects of child maltreatment on cognitive and emotional development. He completed his medical education in Australia and serves as assistant professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine.
Media Contact: Megan Meece, megan@gwpr.com; or Christy Brunton, Clbrunto@texaschildrens.org

Jill Brown Fryar, M.Ed., M.S.W.
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Autism Center at Texas Children's Hospital
Fryar, also an instructor in the department of pediatrics, section of psychology at Baylor College of Medicine, focuses on preschool-age children with anxiety disorders. She also conducts diagnostic intakes for autism and ADHD. Her special interests include selective autism, social phobia, PTSD and preschool-age siblings of chronically ill children. In addition to her work with patients, Fryar is a member of the National Association of Social Workers and the Anxiety Disorders Association of America.
Media Contact: Megan Meece, megan@gwpr.com; or Christy Brunton, Clbrunto@texaschildrens.org

Diane Murrell, LCSW
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Texas Children's Hospital
Murrell works in the Blue Bird Circle Clinic for Neurology. She serves on the advisory board for the Annual Transition Conference and participates on several task groups within the Social Work department. Murrell has a special interest in autism pertaining to the psycho-social life of both parent and child, and was awarded a grant to produce the first Spanish-language conference on autism in the state of Texas. Her other research interests include developing empathy, inclusion and bullying. She developed the first power soccer team in Texas for children in electric wheelchairs to play soccer. Murrell received her B.A from Wolverhampton University in England and her MSW degree from the University of Houston. She is a published author and illustrator of several children's books, working with two autism publishing houses.
Media Contact: Megan Meece, megan@gwpr.com; or Christy Brunton, Clbrunto@texaschildrens.org

Dr. Dave Richman
Chair, Burkhart Center for Autism Education and Research
Texas Tech University
Richman's areas of research include: a) assessment and treatment of problem behavior; b) phenotypic expression of genetic disorders correlated with intellectual disabilities and severe behavior problems; c) family resiliency, parenting stress, and familial quality of life; and d) cortical reorganization post-behavior therapy. He completed a research postdoctoral fellowship at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the Kennedy Krieger Institute, and has previously been on faculty at the University of Kansas School of Medicine, University of Maryland Baltimore County, and the University of Illinois. His vision for the Burkhart Center is to develop an internationally recognized research center while simultaneously aligning the research agenda with community needs for families with children with autism. Texas Tech is constructing a new building to house a full-inclusion laboratory preschool, an outpatient clinic to provide assessment and treatment for learning and behavior problems, and investigators conducting basic and applied research related to Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Media Contact: Leslie Cranford, leslie.cranford@ttu.edu

Dr. Wesley H. Dotson
Assistant Professor, Burkhart Center for Autism Education and Research
Texas Tech University
Dotson is an assistant professor in the Burkhart Center for Autism Education and Research and the Special Education Program in the Department of Educational Psychology and Leadership; and the director of outpatient services for the Burkhart Center. He is a board-certified behavior analyst and a certified special education teacher with more than 10 years of experience in the field of special education and a focus on working with children, adolescents and young adults with autism spectrum disorders. His professional interests include: improving long-term outcomes for children, adolescents, and young adults with ASD, including: fitness levels and overall health, social skills and relationship development, participation in post-secondary education, and meaningful employment; preparation of teachers and therapists to work successfully with students with ASD; and translational research integrating findings from basic research with clinical interventions to further knowledge about both the mechanisms underlying clinical phenomenon and the effects of interventions on those mechanisms in areas including neuroimaging, fears and phobias, and transition problems in people with ASD.
Media Contact: Leslie Cranford, leslie.cranford@ttu.edu

Stanley Lapidus
President and CEO
SynapDx Corporation
Lapidus is the founder, president and CEO of SynapDx Corporation, a private company developing laboratory diagnostic services for autism, with the initial goal of enabling earlier detection of autism spectrum disorders (ASDs). He is an experienced life-science entrepreneur. Previously, he was co-founder and chairman of Helicos BioSciences. In 1995 he founded EXACT Sciences Corporation, an applied genomics company that develops and markets non-invasive, DNA-based methods for early detection of colorectal and other common cancers. He served as the CEO from 1995 to 2001 and chairman of EXACT Sciences' board of directors from 2000 until the end of 2005. Prior to EXACT, Lapidus founded Cytyc Corporation and was president and CEO from 1987 through 1994. In addition to his entrepreneurial activities, Lapidus holds academic appointments in the pathology department at Tufts University Medical School and MIT's Sloan School of Management. He earned a BSEE from Cooper Union. He has served as a trustee of Cooper Union since 2002. Lapidus holds 31 issued patents.
Media Contact: Siobhan Nguyen, Siobhan_nguyen@lpp.com

Dr. Barry Birnbaum
Special Education Specialization Coordinator, Ph.D. in Education Program
Richard W. Riley College of Education and Leadership
Walden University
Dr. Birnbaum specializes in special education, assistive and adaptive technology for persons with special needs, and child advocacy. He is an expert on methods of identifying and teaching exceptional children and focuses on training special education teachers to build and work in inclusive environments. A devoted educator, Dr. Birnbaum has held teaching and leadership positions in schools as a classroom aide, teacher, assistant principal, and principal, and at universities as an assistant professor, associate professor, and full-time professor. He can speak to a number of autism topics, including signs and symptoms, early interventions, the movement towards inclusion, parent advocacy, the gains in awareness, and the role of parents and schools/educators among other topics.
Media Contact: Tamara Chumley, tamara.chumley@waldenu.edu

Rosemarie Manfredi, Psy.D.
Assistant Professor and Academic Coordinator of ASD Programs
Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia
Manfredi can speak on a variety of topics, including neuropsychology of autism spectrum disorders (the relationship between the brain and behavior), neuropsychological and functional assessments for individuals with autism spectrum disorders, appropriate treatments for children and young adults with autism spectrum disorders, evidence-based practices in autism spectrum disorders, and collaborative treatment approaches for autism spectrum disorders.
News Contact: Lisa Mixon, mixonl@chc.edu

Rosemary E. Mullaly, Esquire, JD
Program Coordinator of Chestnut Hill Autism Initiative Network
Chestnut Hill College in Philadelphia
Mullaly is the coordinator of the Chestnut Hill Autism Initiative Network (CHAIN) and a special education mediator for the Pennsylvania Office for Dispute Resolution. From 2007-2010, she served as special education legal counsel to the Pennsylvania Department of Education. In 2003-2007 and 2010-2011, she was a Commonwealth of Pennsylvania special-education hearing officer assigned to 100+ due process matters. She works as an educational consultant and presents legal seminars to public school professionals, parents and attorneys throughout Pennsylvania. From 1991-2000, Mullaly represented districts throughout Pennsylvania in special-education matters developing extensive knowledge of claims under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. She is also an experienced advisor on special-education funding, IEP development and transition to adult life planning for individuals with autism spectrum disorders. She received her B.A. magna cum laude from St. Joseph's University, and her law degree cum laude from Boston College Law School.
News Contact: Lisa Mixon, mixonl@chc.edu

Christina M. Vorndran, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Senior Clinical Director, Pediatric Services
Bancroft
In 2012, Dr. Vorndran was appointed senior clinical director over all Bancroft programs serving children. Prior to this appointment, she was senior clinical director for Bancroft's Pediatric Residential Continuum, ensuring the delivery of quality clinical services and training in applied behavior analysis (ABA) for all pediatric residential staff. She leads several organizational performance improvement committees and is chair of the Institutional Review Board. Dr. Vorndran earned her doctorate of philosophy from Louisiana State University's school psychology program, with a concentration in applied behavior analysis. She earned a master's degree in psychology from Louisiana State University and a bachelor's degree in psychology from St. Joseph's University. She completed a pre-doctoral internship at The May Institute. A member of several professional organizations, Dr. Vorndran has worked with people with disabilities since 1994. She is a board-certified behavior analyst and a New Jersey certified school psychologist. She has presented her research and clinical work at numerous regional and international conferences, and has published nearly 20 research and discussion articles in peer-reviewed behavior journals. In addition, she has served as a reviewer for both the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and Research in Developmental Disabilities, and is an adjunct professor at Rowan University. She is based in Haddonfield, N.J.
Media Contact: Margot MacKay, mmackay@brownsteingroup.com

Tracy L. Kettering, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Behavior Analyst, Lindens Behavioral Stabilization Program
Bancroft
A board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA), Dr. Kettering is also an adjunct professor and research advisor at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She has given more than 40 presentations at regional and national conferences in applied behavior analysis, and has published research in The Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and Behavioral Interventions. She has also been a guest reviewer for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis since 2003. Dr. Kettering has a master's degree in education psychology and behavior analysis from Georgia State University, and a doctoral degree in special education and behavior analysis from The Ohio State University. She completed a post-doctoral research fellowship with Providence Services in Portland, Maine. Dr. Kettering's research interests include translational research in behavioral variability and motivating operations, function-based interventions for problem behavior, and verbal behavior. She is based in Haddonfield, N.J.
Media Contact: Margot MacKay, mmackay@brownsteingroup.com

Matthew Sharp, M.Ed.
Principal, Early Education Program and Preschool Program
Bancroft
Sharp has worked in the special education field in both public and private schools for over 17 years. He has initiated educational programs with great success in both types of settings. He has served as principal of the Bancroft Early Education Program and Preschool since 2005. He also provides administrative oversight of Bancroft's Daycare Program, Little Butterflies. Sharp earned a bachelor's degree and dual certification in elementary and special education from The College of New Jersey, and a master of education degree in administration/curriculum and supervision from Wilmington University. He is completing his doctoral studies at Rowan University. He has conducted research in early childhood education, parent training and collaboration, among others. He has also been an adjunct professor in the psychology department at Camden County College since 2002. He is based in Haddonfield, N.J.
Media Contact: Margot MacKay, mmackay@brownsteingroup.com

Lauren F. Troy, M.A., BCBA
Behavior Analyst, Pediatric and Adolescent Campus Residential Program
Bancroft
Troy has been a board-certified behavior analyst since 2003; she received her master's degree in applied behavior analysis from Penn State Harrisburg. She has been working with children with autism and other developmental disabilities since 2000 in school, home and community residential settings. She has served in a variety of leadership and clinical roles in her professional career. She has experience training parents and educators across the country on the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS). Troy's research interests include staff training, functional communication skills and working with multidisciplinary teams to promote successful outcomes. She has presented her research at numerous regional and national conferences. She is based in Haddonfield, N.J.
Media Contact: Margot MacKay, mmackay@brownsteingroup.com

Kristin Vespe, M.S.Ed., BCBA
Behavior Analyst, Pediatric and Adolescent Campus Residential Program
Bancroft
Vespe has worked in the field of developmental disabilities since 1995. She has worked with both children and adults with developmental disabilities and challenging behaviors in residential, school and home settings, and has also provided consultation and training to public schools and families. Vespe earned her bachelor's degree in psychology from Villanova University and her master's degree from Temple University. She has been a board-certified behavior analyst since 2001. Her research interests include functional analysis methodology and the reduction of severe problem behavior. She has presented her research at numerous local and national conferences.
Media Contact: Margot MacKay, mmackay@brownsteingroup.com

Cheryl A. Fogarty, Ed.D., M.Ed.
Chief School Administrator
The Day School at The Children's Institute of Pittsburgh
Even children with severe autism can learn successfully -- sometimes to unexpected levels. Dr. Fogarty, an expert on the teaching and learning of children with moderate to severe autism, has more than 30 years of experience in programs for children with autism in both public and private school settings. The Day School's program is highly respected for its innovative approaches and its ability to help kids with significant autism succeed educationally, and Dr. Fogarty works daily with both professionals and parents to optimize the ways in which kids on the spectrum learn. She has been a school district superintendent, a principal, a teacher, and a college professor.
Website: http://tinyurl.com/cnm7w7w
Media Contact: Helene Conway-Long, hcl@the-institute.org

Dona M. Alvino, M.Ed., B.C.B.A.
Director of Programs for Students with Autism
The Day School at The Children's Institute of Pittsburgh
The behaviors of children on the spectrum can pose challenges to life at home, in school, and in the community -- and helping children with moderate to severe autism learn to control their behaviors is Alvino's expertise. She supervises 10 classrooms for students with autism at The Day School, whose renowned educational program she designed using the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis and the Verbal Behavior Approach to teaching students with developmental delays. Alvino works daily with teachers, parents, and professionals on practical ways to help their kids improve behaviors, and she has trained many teachers and therapists. She is a licensed board-certified behavior analyst, and an adjunct professor at Carlow University.
Website: http://www.amazingkids.org
Media Contact: Helene Conway-Long, hcl@the-institute.org

Marybeth Trapani-Hanasewych, MS, CCC-SLP
Director of Speech-Language Therapy
The Children's Institute of Pittsburgh
Many children on the spectrum have issues around food -- for example, selectivity (many kids with autism will eat only "crunchy white foods" like crackers and french fries) and texture. Those limited diets pose challenges to nutrition, socialization, and even health -- but the diets can be expanded successfully. Trapani-Hanasewych leads a multi-disciplinary program that produces remarkable results with a phased approach to food selectivity and texture issues in kids with autism. Through the program and through workshops and other public presentations, she helps both professionals and parents learn practical ways to help kids expand their diets in healthful directions.
Website: http://tinyurl.com/c7ykx6p
Media Contact: Helene Conway-Long, hcl@the-institute.org

Christine Miller Obringer, MOT, OTR/L
Occupational Therapist
The Children's Institute of Pittsburgh
Most children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder have difficulties that affect their senses of smell, sight, hearing, touch, or taste, or their perception of  where their bodies are in relationship to people and objects around them. One example would be a child who is hyper-responsive to touch, and hates to feel the seams in socks or tags in clothing. Another example: children who are hypo-responsive to touch might not be aware that there is food on their face. As a result, normal daily activities can become difficult for both the child and the family. Obringer is highly experienced in the area of treating sensory processing disorders, both through sensory integration therapy and adaptations to the child's environment. She also trains professionals, and teaches parents practical ways to deal with their children's sensory processing disorders. One tip: To help calm a hypersensitive child, scents such as crayons, vanilla, apple pie, and lavender can be useful.
Website: http://www.amazingkids.org
Media Contact: Helene Conway-Long, hcl@the-institute.org

Mary Denison, Ph.D., N.C.S.P.
School Psychologist
The Day School at The Children's institute of Pittsburgh
Denison is an expert in the psychology of children with autism.
Website: http://www.amazingkids.org
Media Contact: Helene Conway-Long, hcl@the-institute.org

Jolin Jackson, M.S., B.C.B.A.
Behavior Analyst
The Day School at The Children's institute of Pittsburgh
Jackson is an expert in the psychology of children with autism.
Website: http://www.amazingkids.org
Media Contact: Helene Conway-Long, hcl@the-institute.org

Dr. Julie Ivey-Hatz
Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology
Founder and Director, Baylor Autism Resource Center
Baylor University
The Baylor Autism Resource Center opened in 2008 and provides services to Baylor students and the Central Texas community. BARC services include autism assessment, parent workshops, special education and advocacy services, a  support group for those with Asperger's syndrome, a resource library of more than 200 items that are free to check out, one-on-one Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy services for children aimed at improving behavior, and the Autism Summer Day Camp.
Media Contact: Tonya B. Lewis, tonya_lewis@baylor.edu

Tonya N. Davis, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Educational Psychology
Supervisor, Applied Behavior Analysis Program, Baylor Autism Resource Center
Baylor University
"While I understand a parent's desire to try anything and everything that may help their child, as a researcher, it is difficult to watch a family spend time, money, and resources on interventions that research has found to be ineffective, or worse, potentially dangerous."
Dr. Davis recently published a research study on chelation, a controversial treatment for autism spectrum disorder. She hopes her research findings can help parents make decisions about the course of treatment to undertake for their children. To view the study and video of Dr. Davis, visit http://tinyurl.com/d38naqk
Media Contact: Tonya B. Lewis, tonya_lewis@baylor.edu

Dr. Diane Roberts Stoler, Ed.D.
Neuropsychologist
Dr. Stoler's doctoral dissertation was on the topic of autism: "A Description of the Changes of Verbal and Nonverbal, Communicative and Noncommunicative Behavior in a Group of Autistic Children." She was the first in the world to introduce the use of sign language to help autistic children communicate, and has presented her research at the 2nd International Conference on Autism. Since that time, Dr. Stoler has expanded her interest into other areas of trauma and brain injury. She has been published and featured in numerous magazines, including Good Housekeeping and WebMD. She and members of her extensive integrative team are available for interviews and article contributions.
Website: http://www.drdiane.com
Expert Contact: diane@drdiane.com

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