Brenda Smith Myles, PhD
Brenda Smith Myles was recently acknowledged as the second most productive applied researcher in ASD in the world. She is the recipient of the Autism Society of America’s Outstanding Professional and Princeton Fellowship Awards. She has made over 500 presentations and written over 150 publications. Dr. Myles is a Chief of Programs and Development for the Autism Society and a consultant with the Ziggurat Group and the Ohio Center for Autism & Low Incidence in Columbus, Ohio.
Stephen M. Shore, EdD
Diagnosed with “Atypical Development and strong autistic tendencies” and “too sick” for outpatient treatment Dr. Shore was recommended for institutionalization. Nonverbal until four, and with much support from his parents, teachers, wife, and others, Stephen is now a professor at Adelphi University where his research focuses on matching best practice to the needs of people with autism.
Jennifer Cook O’Toole
Jennifer Cook O’Toole is the creator of The Awesomeness Foundation & Asperkids LLC, and is author of the internationally-bestselling Asperkids book series (2012-15). These books are all Amazon bestsellers, including several #1’s and the ASA’s 2014 Outstanding Literary Work of the Year. Jennifer has been recognized as one of the “World’s Top Aspie Mentors,” is the winner of the Temple Grandin Global Contribution Award, has advised the President’s Council at the White House, addressed Her Royal Highness the Countess of Wessex, in England, and was named one of the 50 Most Influential Women in North Carolina. Jennifer keynotes around the globe and is the mom of three (awesome) Asperkids, and proudly is an Aspie herself.
Michael John Carley
Michael John Carley is the Founder of GRASP, a School Consultant in Wisconsin, and the author of “Asperger’s From the Inside-Out” (Penguin/Perigee, 2008), “The Last Memoir of Asperger Syndrome” (TBD), and numerous articles. He is also at work on “Unemployed on the Autism Spectrum,” and “Why Am I Afraid of Sex?’ Building Sexual Confidence in the Autism Spectrum…and Beyond!” (JKP, 2016). In 2000, he and one of his two sons were diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.
Barbara Bissonnette is a certified coach and the principal of Forward Motion Coaching. Barbara specializes in career development coaching and workplace advocacy for individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome (and similar autism spectrum profiles) and Nonverbal Learning Disorder. She also offers consultation and training for organizations on how to utilize the skills of employees with Asperger’s Syndrome and other social, communication, and executive function challenges. Barbara is the author of “The Complete Guide to Getting a Job for People with Asperger’s Syndrome” and “The Asperger’s Syndrome Workplace Survival Guide: A Neurotypical’s Secrets for Success”.
Valerie Paradiz, PhD
Dr. Paradiz is the developer of Integrated Self Advocacy ISA®, an evidence-based program that gives teachers, therapists, service providers, families and people with disabilities hands-on curricula and tools to foster ability in self-advocacy and self-determination. The Center for Integrated Self Advocacy, headed by Dr. Paradiz, provides online courses and certification in the Integrated Self Advocacy ISA® method and curricula.
Liane Holliday Willey, EdD
Professor Liane Holliday Willey, who holds a doctorate in psycholinguistics, was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome when she was 35 years old. Since her diagnosis Liane has focused her academic research on female’s with Asperger syndrome and communication skills for people on the spectrum. Liane is the author of several books on this topic: “Safety Skills for Asperger Women: How to Save a Perfectly Good Female Life,” “Pretending to be Normal: Living with Aspergers Syndrome,” “Asperger Syndrome in Adolescence: Living with the Ups, the Downs and Things in Between,” and “Asperger Syndrome in the Family: Redefining Normal.” Liane has been featured in USA Today, The Associated Press, The New York Times, The LA Times, The Washington Post, Autism One Radio, Oxygen TV, several NPR stations, and many other media outlets. Though Professor Willey loves helping others understand Asperger syndrome, her professional employment happens at Kirkshire Farm, an equestrian facility she owns and operates.
Debra Muzikar is co-founder of The Art of Autism collaborative, which showcases the gifts of autism. She has compiled two books on art and autism: “The Art of Autism: Shattering Myths” and “The Art of Autism: Shifting Perceptions.” She blogs at The Art of Autism and writes regularly about creativity and the human spirit. Debra posts art of those on the spectrum on The Art of Autism Facebook page.
Joanne Lara, MA
Joanne Lara is a professional dancer turned classroom education specialist turned university professor, and has dedicated her life’s work to improving the lives of individuals with autism through movement and music. Her advocacy has led to founding the non-profit organization Autism Movement Therapy® in Los Angeles, California, the recipient of two Autism Speaks grants. Joanne is currently writing a book “Autism Movement Therapy® Method: Waking up the Brain!”
Jill Hudson, MS
Jill Hudson is a certified Child Life Specialist trained at Johns Hopkins University, and has a graduate degree in Autism/Asperger Syndrome from the University of Kansas. Hudson is a private consultant working with families and children of all ages internationally. She is the author of two books and several articles and is a consultant with the Ohio Center for Autism & Low Incidence in Columbus, Ohio.
J. Richardson (Jay) Collins, MTS, MSW
Jay Collins is a Disability Resource Coordinator for Maine’s Disability Employment Initiative. He also served as a consultant to the Autism Research Institute, serving as Managing Editor of the Adults with ASD eBulletin. Prior to work in the area of research and systems change, his experience was in direct service delivery; first as a public school special educator and then as a case manager in adult social services. He works on a number of projects related to best practices and improving service delivery for adults and youth with disabilities. Particular areas of interest are Person-Centered Planning (PCP) and its application to both post-secondary transition and employment planning as well as Universal Design for Learning (UDL) and the application of accessible technology.
Dr. Michael P. McManmon, Ed.D.
Dr. McManmon is a featured keynote speaker and presenter at ASD/LD conferences worldwide. He is a trained psychologist and holds a Doctorate in Special Education, plus Master’s degree in Counseling. He is the CIP (College Internship Program) founder and author of Autism and Learning Differences: An Active Learning Teaching Toolkit and Made for Good Purpose. Dr. McManmon’s work in the field is innovative and cutting edge with a focus on preparing young adults for life, independence, and work through internships, volunteerism, and community-based projects and service learning.
Francine Britton, M.Ed.
Francine is as a special education teacher and a children’s human rights specialist. She is the author of two teaching toolkits on Active/ Service Learning. Francine trains educators and works with education ministries worldwide on the implementation of active learning and peaceful conflict resolution (awareness, anti-bullying, and peer mediation) strategies for secondary schools. For the past seven years she has been an Education Consultant to CIP, and was the content editor for Autism and Learning Differences: An Active Learning Teaching Toolkit and Made for Good Purpose publications.
Sharona Sommer, CPC
Sharona has worked in the Special Education field for over 20 years and is the founder of Sharona Coaching and Consulting, which provides family coaching to families with children on the Autism Spectrum, and also leads workshops and support groups. Sharona has presented at several national conferences (LDA, National Autism Conference, YAI), and consults with several organizations in the Autism field.