Special Encore Presentation: Sibling Stories: Reflections on Life with a Brother or Sister on the Autism Spectrum

January 7, 2014
Hosted by Rob Haupt

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Guest Information

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Episode Description

This week on Autism Spectrum Radio we explore a very important relationship for many children, their siblings. Sibling relationships involving a brother or sister with an autism spectrum disorder can present enormous emotional challenges as well as special moments. Host Rob Haupt is excited to welcome back Dr. Mary Jane Weiss to the show to discuss her book on this special relationship. Dr. Weiss is a prolific author and speaker in the field of ABA. Be sure to catch this episode of Autism Spectrum Radio, Tuesday, November 19 at 11 AM

Autism Spectrum Radio

Archives Available on VoiceAmerica Health and Wellness Channel

Our show offers a great weekly conversation to inspire, inform and support families and individuals living with autism. We offer practical information for parents of children of all ages. The show explores treatment topics and recent research. We have a variety of guests to share their expertise, experience and resources. Advocates and parent guests share their insights and discuss the paths they have taken to find effective treatments. Authors, Physicians and researchers will keep us updated on the latest news. Topics include treatment options, early childhood issues, planning for adulthood, school and community opportunities, and general issues with understanding the diagnosis and the professional community.

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Rob Haupt

Rob Haupt is a passionate professional in the field of autism. His knowledge of autism services, treatment options and insurance coverage has made him a popular guest speaker to advocate groups. He also shares tips for parents through his weekly video blog.

Rob is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with over 12 years of experience treating individuals with Development Disabilities. He currently serves as Vice President of Business Development at Autism Spectrum Therapies (AST), an agency that provides Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), Occupational Therapy and Speech to individuals with Autism. In his role with AST, Rob has collaborated with parents, teachers, and schools to support better understanding of autism health insurance mandates and how to effectively use insurance coverage. Watch Rob’s weekly video series on www.autismtherapies.com.

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Episode Directory

January 2014

  • 1/7/2014: Special Encore Presentation: Sibling Stories: Reflections on Life with a Brother or Sister on the Autism Spectrum Listen Now

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Valerie Adams

Valerie Adams joined the Autism Spectrum Therapies team in April 2011. She has over 29 years of experience as an occupational therapist, primarily working with children. Her knowledge of children and adolescents with disabilities is extensive. She is a contributing author of the book Guidelines for Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy in California Public Schools. In 2003 she was the recipient of the Occupational Therapy Practice Award from the Occupational Therapy Association of California. In addition to being an alumnus from the University of Southern California, she has also been a clinical faculty member of the Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at USC. Valerie has lived in Southern California her entire life and enjoys traveling to other places. She and her husband of 25 years have raised two sons, now 20 and 19 years old, multiple dogs, and other critters, and now have 2 chickens running around their yard. View Guest page

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Melissa Martinez and Andrew Areffi

Melissa Martinez-Areffi and Andrew Areffi, authors of the new book “Navigating Autism: The Essential How To By Parents For Parents,” have been married for 16 years and live in Toluca Lake, California, with their three children, Kennedy (10), Alex (9) and Bella (7). Kennedy was diagnosed with autism in 2005 and the Arrefis were still struggling to get the assistance she needed when Alex was diagnosed in 2006 and Bella in 2008. Melissa and Andrew decided to write their own "how-to" book to make it easier and quicker for other parents to find their way through the medical and educational systems. The Areffi’s are both professionals in the entertainment industry: Melissa as a location manager and scout; and Andrew in project development for both film and television. Melissa and Andrew continue to work tirelessly to help and inspire parents of children with autism to create happy homes with children who are integrated into the world around them. www.NavAutism.com View Guest page

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Jo Ashline

Jo Ashline is first and foremost mom to her two sons: Andrew, who is ten and has autism, epilepsy, and cystic fibrosis, and who possesses a deep passion for big rigs and shiny soup cans, and Ian, who is eight, loves striped socks and sweatbands, and happens to be the greatest little “older brother” in the world. Jo is passionate about writing, especially about her experiences raising her special needs son and is dedicated to promoting compassion and community with her special needs column, This Modified Life with OC Moms for The Orange County Register. She’s also the lead blogger on The Mom Blog with OC Moms for The Orange County Register. Jo also shares her perspective on her personal blog, A Sweet Dose of Truth. She advocates for children with special needs, pokes fun of family members and candidly explores a variety of other topics. Jo covets the rare occasion she can finish a cup of coffee before it gets cold, and loves her life in a way that makes other people roll their eyes in annoyance. Joashline.com, ocmoms.com/jo, Themomblog.ocregister.com, Facebook.com/joashline, Twitter.com/joashline, View Guest page

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Matthew Asner

Matthew Asner is the Executive Director for Autism Speaks Southern California. Many know Mathew as the son of The Mary Tyler Moore Show actor Ed Asner. Inspired by his 23 year old brother and 9 year old son who have, Matthew is known as a passionate advocate for education and active member of Autism Speaks. During the May 15th show, Mr. Asner will be speaking about the various services Autism Speaks provides as well as sharing his experience as a parent of a child with autism. View Guest page

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Dr. Jim Ball

Dr. Jim Ball, A Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA-D), has been working in the private sector field of autism for 25+ years. In a variety of settings, he has provided educational, employment, and residential services to children and adults affected with autism. Dr. Ball has lectured nationally and internationally, provided expert testimony, and published in the areas of early intervention, behavior, consultation services, social skills, technology, and trauma. He is a featured author and is on the advisory board for the Autism Asperger's Digest magazine. His 2008 triple Award Winning book, "Early Intervention & Autism: Real-Life Questions, Real-Life Answers" was released in February of 2008. Dr. Ball, a former Board of Trustee member for the New Jersey Center for Outreach and Services for the Autism Community (COSAC), now Autism New Jersey is also a member of the COSAC/Autism NJ Professional Advisory Board. jbautismconsulting.com View Guest page

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Crystal Bell

Crystal Bell is a Parent Advocate and Insurance Specialist with Autism Spectrum Therapies who specializes in obtaining coverage through insurance for ABA services. After nearly five years with United Health Care, Crystal was recruited by Calco where she became well versed in other lines of commercial insurance such as workers compensation, liability, property and casualty as well as personal lines insurance plans. She then worked as a Risk Manager/Employee Benefits Specialist for a large non-profit organization that specialized in vocational services for the developmentally disabled. Crystal takes great pride in making the insurance process easy for parents so their children can get the services they need. View Guest page

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Jennifer Byde Myers

Jennifer Byde Myers is an editor and co-founder of TPGA. She writes at www.jennyalice.com, chronicling her family’s journey from diagnosis to daily living with her son’s special needs. View Guest page

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Kyle Bywater

Kyle Bywater is the Recreational Program Specialist for the Seattle’s Parks and Recreation. Kyle is responsible for planning, developing, coordinating and evaluating specialized/adaptive city-wide recreational services, activities and programs for youth with disabilities and supervising staff. He works to support specific recreational events including classes, trips, summer camps, and physical fitness activities (I.E. Special Olympics). Kyle works to raise awareness of program offerings and to plan for special events to engage the community. Consulting with families and education professionals, Kyle works to match new participants with programs that best meet their needs. http://www.seattle.gov/parks/SpecialPops/index.htm View Guest page

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Dr. Gina T. Chang

Dr. Gina T. Chang received her Ph.D in Applied Developmental Psychology from Claremont Graduate University with a concentration in developmental disabilities. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Doctoral level with over 12 years of experience working with persons with autism and other developmental disabilities. Her expertise includes early intervention, parent education and support, clinical supervision, adolescents with autism, school consultation, and staff development. Dr. Chang’s research interests include approaches to increasing generalization of skills, alternative and augmentative forms of communication, video modeling, and the implementation of empirically-validated treatment techniques. She has presented her research at numerous national conferences and been published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Special Education Technology. Additionally, Dr. Chang has co-authored a chapter in Ameral, Dawson, Geschwind’s Autism Spectrum Disorders (2011). View Guest page

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Jennifer Cook O’Toole

Jennifer Cook O’Toole is the winner of the 2012 Temple Grandin Award, a recipient of GRASP’s 2012 Distinguished Spectrumite Medal, and a nominee of the 2012 Autism Society Book Award and Godiva’s Woman of the Year. O’Toole was diagnosed as an Aspie in adulthood, is the mother of three Asperkids, the wife of an Aspie, an award-winning Special Educator and two-time author of brand-new books for and about Asperkids. O’Toole graduated with honors from Brown University and has since studied at the Graduate School of Social Work at Columbia University and Graduate School of Education at Queens University. Uniquely prepared in social work, education and by her own Asperger’s, she was encouraged to document her unique teaching strategies, parenting perspectives and Aspie insight in her upcoming books, and has since won some of the world’s most coveted prizes for the outstanding contributions she has made to the lives and families of “Asperkids” the world over. View Guest page

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Dr. Pegeen Cronin

Dr. Pegeen Cronin Dr. Cronin is a licensed clinical psychologist who has worked in the UCLA Autism Evaluation Clinic since its inception in 1997 and became the Clinical Director in 2004. Dr. Cronin also earned the title of Assistant Clinical Professor. In this role, she has provided services and training and contributed to the variety of research projects related to ASD. Dr. Cronin has extensive experience assessing and working with children with autism and their families. She has supported individuals and their families affected by autism in a variety of venues: School District Individual Education Program (IEP) meetings as well as Hearings/Due Process. Dr. Cronin has provided training to local Regional Centers who have recognized the need for their staff to receive training with the state of the art diagnostic tools that assist in the assessment and evaluation process. This improves the quality of diagnosis in the community and increases access to resources. View Guest page

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Dr. Ann Densmore

Dr. Ann Densmore, Ed.D. CCC SLP/A, certified speech pathologist and audiologist and author of Helping Children with Autism Become More Social: 76 Ways to Use Narrative Play and author of Your Successful Preschooler: Ten Skills Children Need to Become Confident and Socially Engaged (Harvard Medical School and Jossey-Bass, 2011). Director of Child Talk in Lexington, MA. Ann Densmore has been a speech and language consultant at public and private schools or more than 30 years. In addition to running a private practice in Lexington, Massachusetts she also consults internationally and has taught seminars for professionals and students at Harvard Medical School. Ann holds an Ed.M. in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard Graduate School of Education and an Ed.D. in Education with a specialization in child discourse from Clark University. She is board-certified in speech and language pathology and audiology. Ann swims Walden Pond every morning (when it’s not iced over) and enjoys long bike rides with her friends. She also loves photography, swimming with Cambridge New England Masters at Harvard University, and taking walks with her Portuguese Water Dog, Map. http://www.child-talk.com/ Twitter: @AnnDensmore View Guest page

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Shannon Des Roches Rosa

Shannon Des Roches Rosa writes about autism, parenting, evidence-based approaches, iPads, vaccines, and geekery at www.Squidalicious.com, as BlogHer.com's contributing editor for parenting kids with special needs, and as a co-founder and editor of TPGA. View Guest page

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Danielle DiGiacomo

Danielle DiGiacomo Producer, Best Kept Secret graduated from Wesleyan University, and worked as Head of Documentary Acquisitions for IndiePix Films, spearheading successful multi-platform releases, and currently, as the Manager of Video Distribution at The Orchard. JFK High School, located in the midst of a run-down area in Newark, New Jersey, is a public school for all types of students with special education needs, ranging from those on the autism spectrum to those with multiple disabilities. Janet Mino has taught her class of young men with autism for four years. When they all graduate in the spring of 2012, they will leave the security of the public school system forever. Best Kept Secret follows Ms. Mino and her students over the year and a half before graduation. The clock is ticking to find them a place in the adult world – a job or rare placement in a recreational center – so they do not end up where their predecessors have, sitting at home, institutionalized, or on the streets. http://bestkeptsecretfilm.com/ View Guest page

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V. Mark Durand

V. Mark Durand is known worldwide as an authority in the area of autism spectrum disorder (ASD). He is a professor of psychology at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. Dr. Durand is currently a member of the Professional Advisory Board for the ASA. He is the co-editor of the Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions and has written 11 books including abnormal psychology textbooks that are used at more than 1,000 universities world-wide. In addition he has more than 100 research publications and major themes in Durand's research include the assessment and treatment of severe behavior problems for children and adults with ASD, parent training and treatments for child sleep problems. Most recently he developed an innovative approach to help families work with their challenging children (optimistic parenting) and published a multiple award winning book for parents - Optimistic Parenting: Hope and Help for You and Your Challenging Child. View Guest page

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Karen Fessel

Karen Fessel is the proud parent of an 18 year old son with Asperger's and 14 year old daughter. She has a Doctorate in Public Health from UC Berkeley. Dr Fessel is the executive director and founder of the Autism Health Insurance Project, a non-profit organization which helps families and providers secure insurance coverage for autism interventions. Karen founded the Autism Health Insurance Project after struggling to secure services for her son, and seeing how much an organization to support families in their journey through the insurance maze was needed to get children medically necessary services. She also co-moderates the ASDinsurancehelp, and ASDMedi-Cal yahoo users groups. Prior work experience includes; developing technology assessments and treatment guidelines for the Permanente Medical Group, and conducting research projects at the Department of Public Health and UCSF. Autism Health Insurance Facebook: Autism Health Insurance Project View Guest page

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Florida Frenz

Florida Frenz is the pen name of a girl who kept a journal as a tool to figure out her emotions and how to read those of others. Diagnosed as retarded and autistic when she was two, Florida worked intensively for years with a team of autism and educational specialists. She’s succeeded so well that in her high school, she isn't identified as autistic or special needs and is taking Advanced Placement classes. With powerful words and pictures Florida chronicles her journey figuring out how to read facial expressions, make friends, and juggle the social cues of school. Diagnosed with autism as a two-year-old, Florida is now an articulate 15-year-old whose explorations into how kids make friends, what popularity means, how to handle peer pressure will resonate with any pre-teen. For those wondering what it's like inside an autistic child's head, Florida's book provides amazing insight and understanding. Reading how she learns how to be human makes us all feel a little less alien. View Guest page

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Matt Fuller

Matt Fuller(Director) began his career in the film business at Sony assisting on feature films and later transitioned to story development at MBST Entertainment, as a Creative Executive. While there, Fuller quickly became the Director of Film and Television Development, supervising the development and production of Warner Bros.’s ARTHUR (Russell Brand) and Relativities’ LIMITLESS (Bradley Cooper). Fuller then returned to his roots, seeking compelling narrative and documentary films that challenge him professionally while supporting the betterment of his community. View Guest page

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Peter Gerhardt

Dr. Gerhardt has more than 30 years’ experience utilizing the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis in support of adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorders in educational, employment, residential and community-based settings. He has authored and co-authored articles and book chapters on the needs of adolescents and adults with ASD and has presented nationally and internationally on this topic. He serves as Chairman of the Scientific Council for the Organization for Autism Research, is on the Editorial Board of Behavior Analysis in Practice and on numerous professional advisory boards, including the Autism Society of America. Dr. Gerhardt received his doctorate from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey’s Graduate School of Education. View Guest page

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Dr. Peter Girolami

Dr. Peter Girolami is is the clinical director and a case manager for the Pediatric Feeding Disorders Program at Kennedy Krieger Institute. He is a licensed psychologist in the state of Maryland and a board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA). He is a member of the Association for Behavior Analysis and Maryland Association for Behavior Analysis. Dr. Girolami's training, research and experience have focused on the application of behavior analytic principles to the assessment and treatment of severe feeding problems and related concerns in individuals with or without developmental disabilities. View Guest page

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Dr. Cynthia Golden

Dr. Cynthia Golden is an author, editor, speaker, and the Assistant Director, principal and a psychologist of a program serving students with severe emotional and behavioral needs. She has supervised the Autism and EBD programs in a metro Atlanta school system. During her 31 years in special education, she was twice elected Teacher of the Year and has worked as a psychologist in a system and center that served students with severe emotional and behavioral disabilities, intellectual disabilities, and autism. Dr. Golden has a degree in Special Ed; Masters and Specialist degrees in School Psych ; a certificate in Ed Leadership, and a Specialist degree and doctorate in Inclusive Ed. Cindy is the author of The Special Educator’s Toolkit and a contributor to Understanding Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. Dr. Golden is the editor of the Special Needs Resource Magazine and the creator of Educator Essentials. She is a popular speaker at conferences and provides training to educators. Special Needs Resource Magazine www.snrmag.com Cindy Golden www.cindygolden.org Educator Essentials www.educatoressentials.com View Guest page

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Temple Grandin

Born on August 29, 1947, in Boston, Massachusetts, Temple Grandin was diagnosed with autism as a child and went on to pursue work in psychology and animal science. She has become a leading advocate for autistic communities and has also written books and provided consultation on the humane treatment of animals. Grandin has been recognized by the academic community and the general public for her work. In 2009, she was named a fellow of the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers. She is the recipient of several honorary degrees, and has been featured on a range of television and radio programs. In 2010, HBO released an Emmy Award winning film on Grandin’s life which continues to strike a chord with audiences. Temple’s willingness to honestly share her challenges as well as share her passionate perspective with depth and resonance has made her a very popular (and busy) speaker and presenter. View Guest page

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Carol Greenburg

Carol Greenburg, executive director of Brooklyn Special Needs Consulting, is a special education consultant and lay advocate in private practice. Her unique perspective as an adult with Aspergers Syndrome and as the mother of a severely language-delayed autistic child, informs all of her work. • http://www.thinkingautism.com • twitter @thinkingautism • Facebook www.facebook.com/thinkingpersonsguidetoautism View Guest page

Episode Listing:

Carolina Groppa

A Native of São Paulo, Brazil, Carolina Groppa(Producer) has produced several award-winning short films including DONOR directed by Mark Gantt, recent recipient of Indie Cinema Series’ BEST OF THE BEST award, as well as the sci-fi thriller THE TASTE OF COPPER (Scott Haze). Carolina continues to use her worldly perspective and keen dramatic sensibilities to support unique voices that tell imaginative, captivating stories. View Guest page

Episode Listing:

Elaine Hall

Elaine Hall “Coach E!, was a top Hollywood children’s acting coach whose life changed dramatically after her son Neal was diagnosed with autism. When traditional behavioral therapies didn’t work, she sought the esteemed Dr. Stanley Greenspan who encouraged her to rally creative people to join Neal’s world and he slowly emerged out of his isolation. Elaine then developed these methods to train staff and volunteers and created The Miracle Project, a theatre and film social skills program, profiled in the Emmy winning HBO documentary, AUTISM: The Musical.   She is an international keynote speaker, a workshop leader and blogs for the Huffington Post. Her memoir, Now I See the Moon, was chosen for World Autism Awareness Day at The United Nations where she has spoken several times. Elaine Hall has received numerous honors for her work and was recently nominated by Los Angeles Magazine as one of Los Angeles’ 50 most inspiring women. View Guest page

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Mark Jonathan Harris

Mark Jonathan Harris is a two time Oscar-winning documentarian. The Long Way Home documents what happened to the survivors of the concentration camps in the period immediately following their liberation. Into the Arms of Strangers: Stories of the Kindertransport chronicles Britain’s rescue mission of 10,000 children in the nine months prior to World War II. In recent years Harris has produced the award-winning Darfur Now and executive produced two other high profile documentary features, Spirit of the Marathon and Living in Emergency: Stories of Doctors Without Borders. Since 1983 he has taught filmmaking at the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, where he is a Distinguished Professor. From 1990-96 he was the Chair of Film and TV Production. http://interactingwithautism.com http://www.markjonathanharris.com/biography.html View Guest page

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Karla Helbert

Karla Helbert is a licensed professional counselor (LPC) and has been working as a therapist since 2000. She operates a private psychotherapy practice with a focus on loss, grief and bereavement and specializes in therapy for people with autism spectrum disorders. Prior to opening her private practice, Karla worked for 13 years for a private non-profit organisation serving children, adolescents and adults with autism. She also facilitates bereavement support groups for local hospices and for the MISS Foundation, an international non-profit helping families grieving the death of a child. As a bereaved mother and a trained therapist, she has a deep personal, as well as clinical, understanding of the difficult issues facing those grieving the deaths of loved ones. View Guest page

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Lauren S. Henry

Lauren S. Henry is a Sensory Designer, Color Consultant, Author and Speaker as well as the President/Founder of With a Brush of Love, a company that “transforms lives of children diagnosed with autism and special needs through their surroundings.” This is accomplished by focusing on sensory elements such as color, lighting, spatial organization, texture, sound and scent, elements that surround us every day. She has been a guest designer on HGTV’s “kidspace” and ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” Clients also include Children’s National Medical Center and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. She was awarded the Customer Service “Rave Reviews Award” as one of The Top Ten Best Service Oriented Companies from the Washington Business Journal. Ms. Henry works world-wide, for clients such as the U.S. Military’s Exceptional Family Member Program in Okinawa and Hands On Tokyo in Japan. www.brushoflove.com lauren@brushoflove.com www.facebook.com/withabrushoflove View Guest page

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Robert H. Horner

Robert H. Horner is Alumni-Knight Professor of Special Education at the University of Oregon. Dr. Horner directs the Educational and Community Supports research unit at the University of Oregon and directs or co-directs multiple federal research, technical assistance and personnel preparation grants. He is a past editor of the Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, and the Journal of the Association for the Severely Handicapped. He also has served as associate editor for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. Dr. Horner has written or edited 10 texts and over 200 peer reviewed journal articles. Dr. Horner’s research interests focus on positive behavior support, applied behavior analysis, stimulus control, instructional technology, severe disabilities, and sustainable systems change. www.pbis.org www.uoecs.org View Guest page

Episode Listing:

Ahmad Islam

Ahmad, a native of Springfield, Ohio, earned a Bachelors degree in Business Psychology from Miami (OH) University and a Masters of Science degree in Sports Management from West Virginia University. He balances his zeal for his craft with a deep commitment to his family, wife Debra and children, Gabriel (9) and Selena (7). Ahmad and his family invest a great deal of time and energy advocating and fundraising for Autism awareness. The Islam family recently established Gabriel’s Horn, a foundation dedicated to advocacy and awareness for minority families impacted by Autism. Ahmad is also on the board of the Chicagoland chapter of Autism Speaks and the Make A Wish Foundation of Illinois. View Guest page

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Kristin Jacobson

Kristin Jacobson is the Co- Founder and President, Autism Deserves Equal Coverage; As part of a more than 20 year career the healthcare industry, Kristin has advocated for autism related causes for over 6 years, leading the statewide effort to pass autism insurance reform in California. In 2009, Kristin co-founded Autism Deserves Equal Coverage to help families access to health care treatment through private insurance. Kristin has testified numerous times before the California Blue Ribbon Commission on Autism, Senate Select Committee on Autism and at California legislative panels. Kristin began her career as a Business Analyst at McKinsey & Company, a global management consulting firm, earned her MBA from Stanford University where she was an Arjay Miller Scholar, and has spent her career advocating for autism insurance rights through a variety of committees including the Alliance of California Autism Organizations, Autism Speaks California and as a member of the California Autism Task Force. Autismdeservesequalcoverage.com View Guest page

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Michael Jewell

Michael Jewell is an Orange County attorney who represents parents of children with disabilities. As a Bringham Young University Law School graduate who has been practicing law for over 14 years, Mr. Jewell has been very successful in helping parents with children of autism obtain and focus on long term success and planning. We are excited to welcome Michael to the show. His extensive experience and wealth of knowledge in the area of special education for individuals with autism will be a valuable resource for our listeners. View Guest page

Episode Listing:

Ido Kedar

Ido Kedar is a 16 year old boy with severe autism. He communicates by typing without tactile support on an iPad or letterboard. He is a general education student in the 10th grade taking a full, unmodified class load. He is the recent author of Ido in Autismland: Climbing Out of Autism’s Silent Prison, which is available on Amazon. He blogs on autism at www.idoinautismland.com and can be followed on twitter and facebook. Ido presents frequently on autism at conferences and classes. My goal is to help people to better understand non-verbal autism in terms of symptoms, treatment, education, communication and research. I try to explain autism from the inside out . In my book, blog and speeches I strive to help people see that the potential to communicate exists in so many other people with non-verbal autism. It is my hope that they too can be liberated from their silence and isolation and get a true education. View Guest page

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Dr. Paula Kluth

Dr. Paula Kluth is a consultant, author, advocate, and independent scholar who works with teachers and families to provide inclusive opportunities for students with disabilities and to create more responsive and engaging schooling experiences for all learners. She is the author or co-author of ten books including: "Don't We Already Do Inclusion?": 100 Ways to Improve Inclusive Schools, “You’re Going to Love This Kid”: Teaching Students with Autism in Inclusive Classrooms; A Land We Can Share: Teaching Literacy to Students with Autism; The Autism Checklist; Joyful Learning: Active and Collaborative Learning in the Inclusive Classroom; and From Tutor Scripts to Talking Sticks: 100 Ways to Differentiate Instruction in K-12 Inclusive Classrooms. www.paulakluth.com www.differentiationdaily.com View Guest page

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Lynn Koegel

Lynn Koegel and her husband Robert Koegel have both been very active in the autism community. Both are very well known for their commitment and devotion to the University of California Santa Barbara. Lynn Koegel is currently the Clinical Director of Autism Services at the Koegel Autism Center at UC Santa Barbara. Her expertise within these programs helps improve communication skills in children with autism. Development of first words, grammatical structures and pragmatics are the primary focus. Dr. Lynn Koegel has published over 100 scientific articles, books, and manuals on the treatment of autism. This also includes being co-author and co-editor of the best seller, “Overcoming Autism: Finding Answers, Strategies, and Hope That Can Transform a Child’s Life”. Her pieces have been used in school districts through out the United States along with being translated in most languages for international distribution. The Koegel Center continues to conduct research with a primary focus on developing a model that can be translated nationally. View Guest page

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Dr. Dorothea Lerman

Dr. Dorothea Lerman is currently a Professor of Psychology at the University of Houston - Clear Lake, where she serves as Director of the UHCL Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities. She received her doctoral degree in Psychology from the University of Florida in 1995, specializing in the experimental analysis of behavior. Her areas of expertise include autism, developmental disabilities, functional analysis, teacher and parent training, and treatment of severe behavior disorders. Dr. Lerman has published more than 60 research articles and chapters, served as Associate Editor for The Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and Research in Developmental Disabilities, was the founding Editor of Behavior Analysis in Practice, and is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. She was the recipient of the 2007 Distinguished Contribution to Applied Behavioral Research Award and the 2001 B.F. Skinner Award for New Researchers. View Guest page

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Dr. Eric Levey

Dr. Eric Levey is a researcher and pediatrician specializing in the medical care of children with severe developmental disabilities. Currently, he serves as the medical director for the Pediatric Feeding Disorders Program at Kennedy Krieger Institute. Since completing the fellowship in 1999, he has been working at the Kennedy Krieger Institute in its spina bifida and cerebral palsy programs. He is the former director of the Philip A. Keelty Center for Spina Bifida & Related Conditions. Dr. Levey is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Academic Pediatric Association, Society for Research in Hydrocephalus and Spina Bifida, and the American Academy for Cerebral Palsy and Developmental Medicine. www.kennedykrieger.org www.facebook.com/KennedyKrieger www.twitter.com/KennedyKrieger www.youtube.com/kennedykrieger View Guest page

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Al Loren

Al Loren has been teaching Martial Arts full time for 22 years in the SF Bay Area. He has taught thousands of private sessions and classes to special needs students and is tremendously passionate about incorporating fitness into his training sessions. Al is a graduate of American University in Washington D.C. witha B.A in the College of Public Affairs and the School Of International Service. He does speaking engagements about his work with individuals with autism as well as offering support and coaching to parents. allorenmartialarts.com View Guest page

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Paul Louden

Paul Louden was born in 1983. He was diagnosed with Asperger’s, which may now be considered a subset of autism spectrum disorder, at the age of 23. He has been speaking about his views and life experiences as co-host of the Understanding Autism radio show and at autism conferences since late 2010. His young life was spent visiting and living in many different countries, and this has given him the opportunity to see a variety of cultures and helps him to think about and speak about his condition from a unique perspective. He currently resides in Houston, TX. View Guest page

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Judy Mark

Judy Mark has been an active member in the non-profit community for the past 30 years. Her expertise in communications, development and management has enabled her to provide significant aid to organizations in need. Throughout the past few years Judy has worked with the Leaps n’ Boundz Foundation in addition to serving as Vice-Chair of Kris Camp. These organizations both provide services to children with autism and their families. She currently serves as Government Relations Chair of the Autism Society of Los Angeles. Before moving to Los Angeles in 2000, Judy spent over 15 years working in the non-profit community of Washington, D.C. in numerous capacities including as the director of communications for the National Immigration Forum. Judy currently resides in Los Angeles, California with her family which includes her husband, Allen, 12 year old daughter and 15 year old son who has autism. She continues to give back to the community daily and share her past experiences and knowledge to improve the lives of individuals living with autism. View Guest page

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Mary Beth Marsden

Mary Beth Marsden co-author of Chicken Soup for the Soul: Raising Kids on the Spectrum. For more than 20 years, Mary Beth was a local television news anchor/reporter at WMAR-TV in Baltimore. The mother of 3 children, one of whom has ASD, she is now producing stories in very much the same way as any broadcast news organization…Except these stories are all about wonderful kids who have Autism. Her website, Real Look Autism is, first and foremost, a visual resource and is also a place to share insights, information and strategies about supporting kids on the spectrum. View Guest page

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Areva Martin

Areva Martin is a nationally recognized children and women’s rights advocate and autism spokesperson. She is the founder and President of Special Needs Network, Inc., a Los Angeles based non-profit organization created specifically to raise awareness of issues that impact individuals with autism and related disabilities living in underserved and marginalized communities. SNN has provided services to over 30,000 families in communities across California and was instrumental in leading the charge for the passage of the state’s first autism mandate bill-SB 946-- which requires private health insurance companies to fund autism therapies. Areva shares her story as a mother of an autistic child and her legal expertise in her second book, The Everyday Advocate: Standing Up for Your Child with Autism and Other Special Needs. View Guest page

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Nina Martin

Nina Martin is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been working directly with children and families in a variety of settings for over 20 years. When her first born son was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome in 2005 at the age of 4, she began focusing on learning more about the multitude of treatment modalities for people on the autistic spectrum. Despite her education and experience, having to quickly learn and integrate new approaches to parenting her own child was quite challenging. Nina found support with a parent group which she later she co-facilitated for three years. Talking Autism is her next step in reaching out to a broader community. Her hope is to utilize this amazing technological resource, providing succinct answers to the many questions faced by families. Together, she hopes, they will all receive critical information in order to best navigate the challenging and joyous waters of helping their loved ones grow up well. For more information contact zinka@mygoodster.com www.mygoodster.com "Talking Autism" is the new digital series, produced by Goodster, that introduces viewers to wonderful people, programs, services, resources and activities that support children and adults on the autism spectrum. The show delves into topics including Water Safety, Occupational Therapy, Working with Your Pediatrician, and Adulthood & Jobs. Goodster is a media production company and online channel that operates around a single simple powerful premise: to create web programming to make the world a better place. Goodster's web series are about sharing knowledge, introducing inspiring stories and people, and connecting with one another. Goodster's co-founders are Fran Rzeznik producer, director and an award-winning visual storyteller and Zinka Benton, a producer, writer, and attorney. View Guest page

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Kim McClain

Kim McClain Ms. McClain found herself on the front lines of the battle against Autism Spectrum Disorders when her daughter was diagnosed with Autism before the age of 2. She has taken the knowledge and expertise that she has applied on her daughter’s behalf and benefit to focus her effort and energy on helping and support other families who are faced with similar struggles that are presented when caring for a child with developmental challenges. Ms McClain provides a unique level of support to her client families being a mother of a child with special needs. She is sincere and passionate in helping children with developmental challenges secure crucial social, emotional, behavioral and educational services for development and progress . She provides proven and effective support, guidance and a map pathway for families looking to navigate the demanding and often confusing world of special needs. McClain Special Education Advocates help families as they navigate IEPs processes, secure assessments; write measurable and appropriate goals, learn behavior management strategies, appeal to denials, support mediation efforts and much more. http://www.specialeducationadvocates.com/ https://www.facebook.com/pages/McClain-Special-Needs-Advocacy/209798819087791 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJ0LnsphDEY View Guest page

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Dr. Robin McWilliam

Dr. McWilliam is one of the nation’s leaders in recommended practices in early intervention and early childhood special education. He has traveled to 48 states to help improve policies and services for young children with disabilities and their families. He has also consulted and taught overseas, particularly, since the 1990s, in Portugal. Components of his model for home- and community-based services, Routines-Based Early Intervention, have been adopted by numerous states and local programs, and his Engagement Classroom Model, based on research conducted with Amy Casey, is an evidence-based model for effective classroom practices. Dr. McWilliam has published six books and many scholarly articles. He runs the Routines-Based Interview Certification Institute every year. At Siskin Children’s Institute, a nonprofit organization in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Dr. McWilliam is the Director of the Center for Child and Family Research and the Siskin Endowed Chair of Research in Early Childhood Education, Intervention, and Development. Most important, Dr. McWilliam is a husband, father, and grandfather View Guest page

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Steve Miller

Steve Miller has been working on behalf of people with developmental disabilities since 1977. He led some of California's earliest initiatives in Supported Living and helped develop employment support programs helping people with intellectual disabilities succeed in community employment. This work led to the adoption of the term "Supported Employment” and to the creation of publicly funded services we know as "Job Coaching". In the 1980's Steve served as the Executive Director of Area Board 9, the State and Federally funded advocacy organization responsible for planning and coordination of all publicly funded services that touch the lives of people with developmental disabilities of all ages. Since 1990 Steve has led Tierra del Sol, an organization widely recognized for their innovative approaches to helping people lead full and meaningful lives. People served by Tierra are attending colleges, serving as interns, working and expressing themselves creatively, and living good lives. tierradelsol.org View Guest page

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Ronit M. Molko

Dr. Ronit M. Molko is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and licensed clinical psychologist specializing in the treatment of children with autism. She has a Master’s degree in Applied Developmental Psychology and a Doctorate degree in Human Development and Family Life. Dr. Molko completed a post-Doctoral fellowship at UCLA, focusing on behavioral assessment and intervention, treatment planning, individual and group therapy for individuals with autism and genetic disorders. In early 2000, she co-founded Autism Spectrum Therapies (AST) with Dr. William Frea, BCBA-D. In 2011, she received the Smart Leader award, recognizing her innovative contributions to the business community and autism services. Her current work within AST focuses on the development of innovative programs and new service offerings for children and adults with autism and other developmental needs as well as infants at risk for developmental delays. View Guest page

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Daniel Openden

Daniel Openden, is Vice President and Clinical Services Director for the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC). He received his doctorate in Special Education, Disability, and Risk Studies under the mentorship of Drs. Robert and Lynn Koegel at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Dr. Openden has worked extensively with families who have children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs); provided consulting and training for school districts across the country; and has presented research at regional, state, national and international conventions. At SARRC, Dr. Openden directs the center’s clinical programs and services. He is currently an associate editor for the Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, and in 2011 was honored as one of the Phoenix Business Journal’s “Forty Under 40” up-and-coming community leaders. Dr. Openden’s research interests include parent training, early intervention, inclusion, technology, and transfer of research-to-practice. www.autismcenter.org View Guest page

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Christy Oslund

Christy Oslund Holding a BS and MFA from Northern Michigan University; an MA from Michigan State and a PhD from Michigan Technological University, Christy was working on her PhD when she discovered that the reason for her struggles with reading and writing were related to a language processing disorder. Having learned from personal experience the difference that patient teachers/mentors could make versus those who judged her potential based on her struggles, she decided to be the kind of teacher she learned best from – someone who provides hands on opportunities and practice for learners. After 13 years teaching at universities, an opportunity to work in a more focused way with disabled students opened and she became the first Coordinator of Student Disability Services at Michigan Tech University, a highly competitive STEM university where approximately 12% of the students live with predominately invisible disabilities. A high percentage of these students are an the Autism Spectrum while also living with other invisible disabilities like ADD, dyslexia, obsessive compulsive disorder, and affective disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder. My blog is at http://stemcollege.wordpress.com/ And a site for more info about the book http://collegedisability.com/ View Guest page

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Ann Palmer

Author Ann Palmer is the parent of a 30 year old son with autism. She is currently a Faculty member at the Carolina Institute on Developmental Disabilities (CIDD) located at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. She is the former Director of Advocacy and Chapter Support for the Autism Society of North Carolina where she coordinated over 50 Chapters and support groups across the state of North Carolina. She was the Parent Support Coordinator for Division TEACCH for 14 years, developing and coordinating a parent mentor program that served more than 800 families in North Carolina. She has presented internationally in Japan and Denmark and has done numerous conferences in the US including the Autism Society of America National Conference, the Kate Welling Disability Lecture Series and the Association of Higher Education and Disabilities Annual Conference. Ann’s latest book is A Friend’s and Relative’s Guide to Supporting the Family with Autism: How Can I Help?. www.annpalmerautism.com View Guest page

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Rodney Peete

NFL veteran quarterback Rodney Peete, best known for his leadership and a winning attitude. Born in Mesa, Arizona, Peete excelled in all sports and activities. At Sahuaro High in Tucson, Arizona, Peete led his teams to state championships in basketball and baseball and he was named Arizona High School Athlete of the Year as well as an Academic All-American. Peete holds a B.A. in Communications from University of Southern California where he was a First Team All-American, Winner of the 1988 “Johnny Unitas Award” for Best Senior Quarterback, and the 1988 Pac-10 Player of the Year. He spent 16 successful years in the NFL. During those 16 seasons, Peete was named to various All-Rookie teams, led two different franchises to the playoffs and had a winning record as a starting QB. Peete went right from the gridiron to co-hosting “the Best Damn Sports Show Period” on Fox. Peete can also be seen hosting a variety of NFL and College preview and recap shows for Fox, Fox.com and currently ABC’s Sports Zone on Saturday nights. Rodney also Hosted a daily radio show with his wife Holly, called “Meet The Peetes” on “Oprah and Friends, XM 156” He is co-founder of the HollyRod Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) organization established to generate funds to fight Parkinson’s disease, children suffering from Autism, and improve the quality of life for those in need. In March 2010, Peete Authored his first book titled “Not My Boy” A Father, a son and a Families Journey with Autism. Peete is a member of the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame, The USC Hall of Fame and he serves on the Board of Governors at his alma mater. Peete made a smart acquisition of his own on June 10, 1995, when he married the lovely television star Holly Robinson (21 Jump Street, Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper, For Your Love.). The Peetes are proud parents of four beautiful children, twins Ryan Elizabeth and Rodney Jackson, Robinson James and the youngest, Roman Matthew. The family resides in Los Angeles. View Guest page

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Whitney Pinion

Whitney Pinion joined the Autism Society of Boulder in 2009. She was elected to the ASBC Executive Board in May 2011. In her life before autism, Whitney edited a radio programming magazine in Washington, D.C., worked for a public relations firm in San Francisco, and wrote a collection of short stories for her Master’s Thesis in creative writing at San Francisco State University. She and her husband Derek moved to Boulder in 2003, where their son was born. After he was diagnosed with developmental disabilities at 16 months, and then with autism at the age of four, Whitney found herself using those writing and marketing skills to fill out bottomless piles of paperwork for her son, to coordinate care for her son and, most importantly, to advocate on his behalf. The mission that her new life has bestowed upon her is a passion for educating others about autism and for creating a safe, compassionate community and a rich life for her own son and for other individuals with autism. View Guest page

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Molly Ola Pinney

Molly Ola Pinney is a certified ABA therapist and the Founder of the Global Autism Project. In September of 2003, Molly moved to Ghana to provide ABA therapy services for a child she worked with in Seattle. Though she felt alone & isolated for her first few months in Ghana, stories of underserved children with autism came to Molly from everywhere. It was from these stories that the Global Autism Project was born! Nearly nine years later, the Global Autism Project has responded to calls for help on a local level, building in three other countries. In 2009, SOREM in Chandigarh, India became a partner, and a year later Kenya joined. The Global Autism Project most recently welcomed Peru as a service site and looks forward to being able to partner with others. The Global Autism Project has defined itself as an organization committed to providing services to local autism centers in under-resourced areas worldwide, and working to affect change throughout the countries in which they work. www.globalautismproject.org; www.facebook.com/globalautismproject; twitter@globalautism View Guest page

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Mike Ramirez

Mike Ramirez is the Owner and Head Trainer of Special-Fit. Special-Fit is focused on promoting health and fitness to children and teens with autism and related disorders. Our vision was to create a place where children with special needs can get trained by fitness experts, who have an understanding of developmental disorders. The philosophy of this workout program is based on three principles: Neurological/Physical/Individual Based (NPI). The program is created to enhance physical performance and address the unique challenges that kids with autism face. Our mission is to make this program accessible to all children with special needs through fitness training and educational tools in order to promote a healthier, happier lifestyle. www.special-fit.com View Guest page

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Ilene Schwartz

Dr. Ilene Schwartz is a professor and the chair of the Area of Special Education at the University of Washington and the Director of the Norris and Dorothy Haring Center for Research and Training in Education at UW. She earned her Ph.D. in child and developmental psychology from the University of Kansas and is a board certified behavior analyst (BCBA). Dr. Schwartz has an active research and professional training agenda with primary interests in the area of autism, inclusion, and the sustainability of educational interventions. She has had consistent research funding from the U.S. Department of Education since 1990 and serves on a number of editorial review boards including the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and the Journal of Early Intervention. Dr. Schwartz is the director of Project DATA, a model preschool program for children with autism that has been in operation since 1997; and is currently involved in a research project examining the efficacy of the Project DATA model with toddlers with Autism. View Guest page

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Barbara Sher, MA, OTR

Barbara Sher, MA, OTR has over 40 years’ experience as a pediatric occupational therapist. She is the author of ten books on games that have been published in nine languages such as Hebrew, Arabic, Danish, Estonian, Spanish and Chinese. Her books feature games to specifically elevate attention span, increase self-esteem, promote academics and enhance motor and social skills. They all provide fun learning moments for all kids. Her most recent books are Early Intervention Games and The Whole Spectrum of Social, Motor and Sensory Games. Some of her other book titles are: Self-Esteem Games, Attention Games, Smart Play, Extraordinary Play With Ordinary Things and Spirit Games which help kids from 3-12 and their parents deal with emotions She has also given workshops on making inclusive games and learning toys out of easy-to-find materials in many countries including Cambodia, Vietnam, Hong Kong, New Zealand, England, Norway, Nicaragua, Roratonga, Honduras and the islands of Micronesia. View Guest page

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Chantal Sicile-Kira

Chantal Sicile-Kira’s passion for empowering others, her love of writing, and her personal interest in autism has led her to become an award-winning author of five books, speaker, and leader in the field of adolescence and transition to adulthood. Chantal recently founded AutismCollege.com, which provides practical information and training on-line. Chantal’s first experience with autism was teaching self-help and community living skills to severely developmentally disabled adolescents in preparation for their de-institutionalization. Chantal served on the California Senate Select Committee on Autism & Related Disorders, and as Co-Chair, South Counties Autism Regional Taskforce. Her latest book is A Full Life with Autism. Chantal blogs on HuffingtonPost.com, PsychologyToday.com. Chantal's numerous awards include Autism Society of America Literary Work of the Year Award; San Diego Book Awards; the 2012 Baron Inspiration Award; and 2013 Top Ten Autism Blogger. o Websites: http://www.chantalsicile-kira.com/ ; http://autismcollege.com/ o Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/chantalsicilekira (author page) o Twitter: @sicilekira o http://www.huffingtonpost.com/chantal-sicile-kira o http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-autism-advocate View Guest page

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Chloe Silverman

Chloe Silverman, Associate Professor of History and Politics and a member of the Science, Technology, and Society Program at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA. Author of Understanding Autism: Parents, Doctors, and the History of a Disorder. http://press.princeton.edu/titles/9611.html https://www.facebook.com/PrincetonUniversityPress View Guest page

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Phil Strain

Phil Strain, Ph.D. is Professor of Educational Psychology and Psychiatry at the University of Colorado Denver and Director of the Positive Early Learning Experiences Center. He is the author of over 300 professional papers in the early intervention field, has served on the editorial boards of over 20 professional journals, has been the Principal Investigator of grants totaling more than 50 million dollars and has been recognized with distinguished career awards on three separate occasions. He authored the original grant that funded the development of the LEAP model for young children with autism in 1980, conducted the largest randomized, controlled trial of an autism intervention (LEAP) to date (Strain & Bovey, 2011) and recently received Federal funding to conduct a long-term follow-up on participants from the randomized trial. • www.PELECenter.org • Facebook page for the LEAP Preschool Model: https://www.facebook.com/pages/LEAP-Preschool-Model/165618113521075 View Guest page

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The Six Degree Project

The Six Degree Project was developed by passionate students at Northern Secondary School in Toronto, a grassroots initiative dedicated to creating social change in their Northern community and beyond. The project is spearheaded collaboratively by autistic Northern student and autism advocate Carly Fleischmann, and students Emily Albert and Mia Kibel. The endeavor is affiliated with Autism Speaks Canada. The campaign is a student driven mission committed to improving the lives of children and youth with autism around the world, by generating meaningful awareness and knowledge. It works off the basis that we are all connected to each other through 6° of separation. The goal of the project is to get people blogging, tweeting and using social media to talk about Autism, with the end result of connecting with 12+ celebrities who will do the same. By having community members and their networks connect to these celebrities, it will allow them to make a greater impact around the world. Website- www.thesixdegreeproject.com Six Degree Project on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TheSixDegreeProject Six Degree Project on Twitter: https://twitter.com/6Degree_Project Campaign Video- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0gOX2EexY4 Instagram: @6degreeproject View Guest page

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Travis Thompson

Dr. Travis Thompson is a Graduate Faculty Member in the Special Education Program at the University of Minnesota where he is affiliated with the autism certificate program. He is a Fellow in the Association for Behavior Analysis and was past president of the Behavioral Pharmacology Society the Division of Psychopharmacology and Substance Abuse. Thompson has published 235 journal articles and chapters as well as 30 books dealing with autism, psychopharmacology and related topics. Thompson has spoken in over 47 states in the US and 15 countries on topics related to autism and other developmental disabilities. Thompson and his wife Anneke have four adult children and seven grandchildren, one of whom, Michael, has an autism spectrum disorder. When he is not pursuing his professional interests, he enjoys creating watercolor paintings, reading poetry and essays. He is currently writing a book about his wife Anneke and her family. http://www.travisithompson.net/ View Guest page

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Dr. Erlanger Turner

Dr. Erlanger Turner is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist at the Virginia Treatment Center for Children where he provides outpatient services to children and families. He is also an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Virginia Commonwealth University Dr. Turner received his doctoral degree in Clinical Psychology from Texas A& M University and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in the Behavior Management Clinic at the Kennedy Krieger Institute and the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. His areas of expertise include behavioral parent training, disruptive behaviors, developmental disabilities, assessment and treatment of childhood disorders, and access to mental health services. Dr. Turner has published his research in scholarly journals and presented at national professional conferences. He is a member of the American Psychological Association and a blogger for Psychology Today at the Race to Good Health. View Guest page

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Michele D. Wallace

Michele D. Wallace graduated from the University of Florida with her doctorate in the Experimental Analysis of Behavior. She is currently an Associate Professor at California State University, Los Angeles & Program Coordinator. She has an active research laboratory, and is the Program Director of the Center for Severe Behavior Problems. She was a professor at University of Nevada, Reno and the Clinical Director of the Nevada Center for Severe Behavior Problems and the Nevada Pediatric Feeding Disorder Clinic. Dr. Wallace is on the Board of Editors for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, has served on the California Association for Behavior Analysis Board in several capacities. Her current research interest are related to the refinement of assessment and treatment methodologies with respect to behavior problems, parent, teacher and staff training, the acquisition of verbal behavior, medical vs. behavioral approaches to mental health issues, and pediatric feeding disorders. View Guest page

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Dana Weber

Dana Weber is a passionate autism advocate and zookeeper’s wife who lives in San Diego with her two beautiful kids, one of whom has regressive autism. Dana has become a trusted source of great information and research for families with a new autism diagnosis. Dana’s commitment to helping people access quality information and integrate that knowledge in a way that helps their lives was what inspired her to go to library school and got her MLIS. She sees herself as an information bridge between science and parents. View Guest page

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Dr. Mary Jane Weiss

Dr. Mary Jane Weiss is Executive Director of Research at Melmark New England. She is also a Professor at Endicott College, where she directs the Master's Program in ABA and Autism. Dr. Weiss has worked in the field of ABA and Autism for over 25 years. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Rutgers University in 1990 and she became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in 2000. She previously served as Director of Research and Training and as Clinical Director of the Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center at Rutgers University for 16 years. Her clinical and research interests center on defining best practice ABA techniques, on evaluating the impact of ABA in learners with autism, in training staff to be optimally effective at instruction, and in maximizing family members' expertise and adaptation. View Guest page

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Mary Jane Weiss, Ph.D.

Mary Jane Weiss, Ph.D., BCBA-D is a Professor at Endicott College, where she directs the Master’s Program in ABA and Autism. She also does research at Melmark. Dr. Weiss has worked in the field of ABA and Autism for over 25 years. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Rutgers University in 1990 and she became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in 2000. She previously worked for 16 years at the Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center at Rutgers University, where she served as Director of Research and Training and as Clinical Director. Her clinical and research interests center on defining best practice ABA techniques, evaluating the impact of ABA in learners with autism, teaching social skills to learners with autism, training staff to be optimally effective at instruction, and maximizing family members’ expertise and adaptation. View Guest page

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Dr. Christina Whalen

Dr. Whalen is a licensed psychologist and board certified behavior analyst specializing in autism and related disorders. She is currently the VP, Director of the Vocational and Life Skills Academy at Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC). Dr. Whalen has developed and supervised home programs, educated and trained parents and teachers, consulted with school districts, taught college and graduate courses in psychology and education, has presented at numerous professional conferences, participates in fund-raising activities for various autism organizations, and has published in several professional scientific journals. She is the Editor and author of the book Real Life, Real Progress and was a Founder and the Chief Science Officer of TeachTown, a company that produces educational materials for individuals with Autism and other special needs. View Guest page

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Steven E. Yates

Steven E. Yates received a BS in Chemical Engineering from the University of Connecticut in 1983. He worked as a chemical process design engineer, project engineer, process simulationist and environmental engineer specializing in air compliance for almost thirty years. He received the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection’s prestigious Green Circle Award in 2004. Steven retired from engineering in 2011 and began writing. He is a happy husband and proud father of two grown children and lives on the Connecticut shoreline. Gettingmyfirsthug.com Twitter: @StevenEYates View Guest page

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Shauna Zeilig

Shauna Zeilig is the creator of Yoga for Exceptional Children, a unique yoga program which incorporates her training in Yoga for the Special Child as well as her work as an Occupational Therapist. She graduated from New York University with a Master of Arts in Occupational Therapy for Developmental Disabilities in 2001 and from McGill University in Montreal, Quebec with a Bachelor’s of Science in Occupational Therapy in 1997. She received a certification in Yoga for the Special Child (the Sonia Sumar method) in 2009. Shauna Zeilig brings a wealth of knowledge through direct observation and experience, which continues to bear great fruit through her deep dedication to the personal growth of each child. She works with a large variety of children and is extremely dedicated to the personal growth of each child. She is currently working at the Help Group and Goda Yoga in Culver City. With a calm and steady approach she brings lighthearted enthusiasm to her classes. Yogaforexceptionalchildren.com Specialyoga.com Godayoga.com View Guest page

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