Blue Ribbon Panel

Toddler and Preschool Age | School Age | Transition Age

Toddler and Preschool Age

Myra Beth Bundy, Ph.D.

Myra Beth Bundy is a Professor of Psychology at Eastern Kentucky University and a licensed psychologist. Her graduate and post- graduate training specialized in developmental disabilities. She interned at the University of North Carolina TEACCH program, a pioneering program in autism intervention. Dr. Bundy coordinates the EKU Developmental Disabilities Specialty clinic, which provides opportunities for EKU graduate students to work with children, adolescents, and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities. She collaborates with EKU faculty from Occupational Therapy, Communication Disorders, and Special Education to direct the EKU Autism Spectrum Disorder Certificate Program. She collaborates with EKU students and faculty to conduct outcome research related to a variety of themed therapy groups for adults on the autism spectrum, parent consultation groups, and Lifestyle Performance Groups for children on the autism spectrum. She enjoys spending time with individuals with ASD and their families.

Elizabeth Crais, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Elizabeth Crais is a Professor of Speech and Hearing Sciences and conducts research related to communication and language development and disorders in infants, toddlers and preschoolers, with a special emphasis on autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Dr. Crais is actively involved in research and currently collaborates on research projects related to early identification and intervention with young children at risk for or identified with ASD.

Glen Dunlap, Ph.D.

Glen Dunlap is a professor in the Division of Applied Research and Educational Support at the University of South Florida, where he works on research, training and demonstration projects in the areas of positive behavior support, early intervention and family support. Dr. Dunlap has directed numerous research and training projects, authored more than 195 articles and book chapters, co-edited four books and served on 15 editorial boards. He was a founding editor of the Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions and is the current editor of Topics in Early Childhood Special Education.

Amy Kenzer, Ph.D.

Amy Kenzer is currently the Clinical Services Director at the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC). Dr. Kenzer is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst - Doctoral level and Licensed Behavior Analyst in Arizona. The primary focus of her scientific and clinical work is in the area of early intensive behavioral intervention for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Dr. Kenzer's applied research interests include basic learning processes, staff training, motivation, and large-scale outcome research with children with ASD. Her basic research interests include dishabituation within an operant conditioning paradigm.

Lynn Koegel, Ph.D., CCC-SLP

Lynn Kern Koegel is the Clinical Director of the Koegel Autism Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara. She has been active in the development of programs to improve communication in children with autism, including the development of first words, development of grammatical structures, and pragmatics. In addition to her published books and articles in the area of communication and language development, she has developed and published procedures and field manuals in the area of self-management and functional analysis. She is the recipient of several national awards, including the first annual Children’s Television Workshop Sesame Street Award for "Brightening the Lives of Children" and the first annual Autism Speaks award for "Science and Research."

Georgina Peacock, M.D., M.P.H.

Georgina Peacock is a developmental-behavioral pediatrician with the Division of Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. Dr. Peacock works to promote children’s health and development. She is recognized as a developmental disabilities expert. Dr. Peacock publishes and presents nationally about the "Learn the Signs. Act Early." program and promotes awareness of developmental milestones and autism among parents, teachers, and health care professionals.

Kathleen Quill, Ed.D., BCBA-D

Kathleen Quill is the founder of the Autism Institute and lectures internationally about the need to integrate evidence- based research into educational practices, linking applied behavior analysis (ABA) and developmental intervention models. Prior to founding the Autism Institute, she was a professor at the University of Massachusetts and Lesley University in Boston. Kathleen has conducted trainings in over 20 countries, given the keynote address for 10 international organizations, and presented at over 200 conferences. Kathleen is on the editorial board for Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders and Focus on Autism and other Developmental Disabilities; the Advisory Board for the Autism Spectrum Quarterly and is the Director of the Professional Advisory Board, AutismPro.

Christine Rees, B.S., Parent

Christine Rees is the mother of three children, a 21-year-old son, a five-year old son, who is autistic, and a four-year old daughter. She currently is a stay-at-home mom caring for her two youngest, but worked previously as an Accountant. She also serves as the Treasurer at her church and as a Medicaid provider for her nephew. She attended The Ohio State University where she received a Bachelor's of Science in Business and Franklin University where she received a Bachelor's of Science in Management Information Systems.

Emily Rubin, M.S., CCC-SLP

Emily Rubin is an Educational Outreach Specialist at the Marcus Autism Center, an academic affiliate with Emory University and an NIH Autism Center of Excellence. She is a speech-language pathologist specializing in the neuroscience and social competence of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and related social learning disabilities. She is a former adjunct faculty member at Yale University and Emerson College in Boston, MA. She recently participated as a member of the American Speech-Language- Hearing Association’s Ad Hoc Committee on Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), a committee charged with developing guidelines related to the role of speech-language pathologists in the diagnosis, assessment, and treatment of ASD. Rubin's publications have focused on early identification of autism, contemporary intervention models, and programming guidelines for high functioning ASD. She is also a co-author of the SCERTS Assessment Process. Rubin lectures internationally with a focus of supporting community-based educational systems.

Carol M. Trivette, Ph.D.

Carol M. Trivette is a Research Scientist at the Orelena Hawks Puckett Institute and Associate Professor at East Tennessee State University. She conducts research related to building the capacity of families with young (0-3 years old) children with disabilities to support the learning and development of their children. Recently her work has focused on the promotion of communication and early literacy development. She has collaborated on a number of research synthesizes focused on intervention strategies appropriate for young children with autism spectrum disorder. She focuses on the promotion of effective professional development practices to support quality practices of practitioners and families.

School Age

Diane Adreon, Ed.D.

Diane Adreon has over 33 years of experience in the field of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and has served as the associate director of the University of Miami-Nova Southeastern University Center for Autism & Related Disabilities (UM-NSU CARD) since 1993.. Dr. Adreon presents and consults internationally on high- functioning ASD Dr. Adreon is co-author (with Myles) of Asperger Syndrome and Adolescence: Practical Solutions for School Success (2001), winner of the Autism Society of America Literary Achievement Award. She is also one of the authors of Simple Strategies that Work! Helpful Hints for All Educators of Students with High-Functioning Autism, Asperger Syndrome, and Related Disabilities (Myles, Adreon, & Gitlitz. 2006). In addition, Dr. Adreon serves on the editorial boards of Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disorders and Intervention in School & Clinic.

Theresa L. Earles-Vollrath, Ph.D.

Theresa L. Earles-Vollrath is a Professor of Special Education at the University of Central Missouri. Over the past 25 years, Dr. Vollrath has performed numerous jobs and activities related to educating children and youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). She is a consultant, presents on topics relating to ASD, has co-authored a state grant that funded an autism assessment center and has authored or co-authored numerous articles, books, and book chapters.

Judy Endow, M.S.W., L.C.S.W.

Judy Endow provides consultation for families, school districts and other agencies. Endow, an adult on the spectrum, conducts workshops and presentations on a variety of autism-related issues, is a board member of both the Autism Society, Wisconsin Chapter and the Autism National Committee. Judy publications include: Paper Words, Discovering and Living with My Autism, a 2010 International Book Award Finalist and The Power of Words: How We Talk About People with Autism Spectrum Disorders Matters!, for which she received the 2010 Autism Society Media Excellence Award.

Karen Guldberg, Ph.D.

Karen Guldberg Senior Lecturer in Autism Studies and Director of the Autism Centre for Education and Research (ACER), University of Birmingham, UK. She teaches undergraduate and graduate level programs focusing on meeting the needs of parents and practitioners in the field of autism. She has been involved in producing a number of online training resources, for educators as well as health practitioners. She led the development of the Autism Education Trust partnership school-based and Early Years training program. Her research interests include the training needs of practitioners in the field of autism and good autism practice in education internationally.

Debbie Irish, D.S.W.

Debbie Irish is the Chief Executive Officer of Geneva Centre for Autism in Ontario, Canada, an international leader in the development and delivery of clinical intervention services and training. Debbie came to Geneva Centre for Autism to develop, a community program to support families. This program was awarded a Showcase Ontario Award of Excellence and was replicated in all communities of Ontario. Under her leadership over 12,000 educators and child care professionals received training and support, an e-learning platform was developed that continues to provide ongoing support and education to an international audience and a community staff e-learning platform has been implemented that creates efficiencies, collaboration and enhancement for all partner agencies.

Paul LaCava, Ph.D.

Paul G. LaCava is an associate professor of special education at Rhode Island College in Providence. He teaches courses in elementary/special education, assessment, research, and autism spectrum disorders. LaCava has more than 20 years of experience working with individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), families and educators as an advocate, teacher, inclusion facilitator, researcher, and consultant. Dr. LaCava’s current scholarly interests include autism history, social/emotional interventions, self-determination, early intervention/ early childhood, and evidence-based practices.

Robert Pennington, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Robert Pennington has more than 20 years’ experience serving individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in a variety of capacities, including teacher, therapist, consultant, and researcher. Most recently, he has served as executive director of the Kentucky Autism Training Center (KATC), and a professor in the special education and behavior analyst preparation programs at the University of Louisville. Dr. Pennington has published his work in several refereed journals and book chapters, and presents nationally in the areas of communication, instructional strategies, and writing for students with ID/ASD.

Cathy Pratt, Ph.D., BCBA-D

Cathy Pratt is the Director of the Indiana Resource Center for Autism at the Indiana Institute on Disability and Community. Pratt serves on numerous advisory boards, including MAAP Services, Inc. she also serves on the Panel of Professional Advisors for the Autism Society and is a member of NATTAP (Network of Autism Training and Technical Assistance Programs). Dr. Pratt has received many awards, including the Autism Society Individual Achievement Award and the Princeton Fellowship Award. She has written articles and made presentations on functional behavior assessment/positive behavior supports, instructional approaches, systems change, and policy.

Fred R. Volkmar, M.D.

Fred R. Volkmar is the Irving B. Harris Professor of Child Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and Psychology and Director of the Yale University Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine. He is also the Chief of Child Psychiatry at Yale- New Haven Hospital, New Haven, CT. Volkmar was the primary author of the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-IV autism and pervasive developmental disorders section. He is the author of several hundred scientific papers and chapters as well as a number of books. In addition, Volkmar has served as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and the American Journal of Psychiatry. He currently serves as editor of the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

Transition Age

Marc Ellison, Ed.D.

Marc Ellison is the Executive Director of the West Virginia Autism Training Center at Marshall University, and an adjunct instructor at the university. Dr. Ellison holds an Ed.D. in Education Leadership and a MA in Counseling. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) who has worked nearly 30 years to provide person-centered support, services, and advocacy to individuals who live with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), their families and those who support them. He has supported individuals with ASD throughout their lifespan as they moved to the community from state- supported institutions, searched for and obtained employment, entered into relationships, and transitioned into college.

David Hamrick, M.S.

Dave Hamrick graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science degree in meteorology (magna cum laude) from North Carolina State University in 2003 with departmental honors. He continued into graduate school and completed his master’s of science degree in meteorology in 2008. He currently works as a meteorologist at the National Weather Service. At the age of three, he was diagnosed with high-functioning autism. He has been an active board member of The Autism Program of Virginia, served as an officer of a Virginia autism society chapter in Newport News, VA, and is a recent graduate of the Virginia Partners in Policymaking program in 2006. Since 1999, he has been a frequent presenter at autism conferences throughout Virginia and neighboring states about how autism has personally influenced him.

Peter Gerhardt, Ed.D.

Peter Gerhardt has over 30 years experience utilizing the principles of applied behavior analysis in support of adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in educational, employment, residential and community-based settings. He is the author or coauthor of articles and book chapters on ASD and he has presented nationally and internationally on this topic. In addition, Dr. Gerhardt serves as chairman of the Scientific Council for the Organization for Autism Research, on the editorial board of Behavior Analysis in Practice, and on numerous professional advisory boards, including the Autism Society of America.

Selena J. Layden, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LBA

Selena Layden is an Assistant Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University in the Department of Special Education and Disability Policy. She also serves as the Assistant Director for Training in the VCU Autism Center for Excellence. In her roles, she leads multiple state-wide initiatives including coordinating coursework in Applied Behavior Analysis, development and implementation of a large scale professional development initiative for paraprofessionals, the development and implementation of a tiered model of support for communication and social skills for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) for school districts, and co-leading an initiative for administrators to support teachers working with students with ASD, among other initiatives. Dr. Layden has presented at regional, state, and national conferences on topics related to ASD and other disabilities.

Mary Morningstar, Ph.D.

Mary E. Morningstar is an associate professor in the Department of Special Education at the University of Kansas and Director of the Transition Coalition, which offers online transition professional development and resources for secondary special educators and practitioners. Her research agenda includes evaluating secondary teacher quality and professional development, culturally diverse family involvement in transition planning, and interagency collaboration. She is also examining the impact of inclusive secondary experiences for students with significant disabilities on post-school outcomes. Dr. Morningstar has been involved in training, professional development and research regarding transition from school to adult life for over 25 years.

Carol Schall, Ph.D.

Carol Schall is an assistant professor at Virginia Commonwealth University and is the Director of Technical Assistance for the VCU Autism Center for Excellence, the Director of the Virginia Autism Resource Center, the Researcher for the School 2 Work research project. She is co-editor and author of a book on Autism and the Transition to Adulthood: Success Beyond the Classroom from Paul H. Brookes Publishing. Her research interests include autism and transition services, positive behavior supports, and training for parents and professionals.

Lee Stickle, Ms.Ed.

Lee Stickle is the Director of the TASN Autism and Tertiary Behavior Support Project in Kansas. Lee has worked in the field of autism for 25 years, and has been in education for more than 30 years. During that time she has been fortunate to learn a great deal from the student’s she has worked with and the parents that support those children. Lee has been awarded the Autism Society’s 2010 Professional of the Year Award, the Kansas CEC’s 2010 Special Educator of the Year Award, and the OCALI "Linking Research to Real Life Award in 2013.

Mike Wehmeyer, Ph.D.

Mike Wehmeyer is a professor of special education at Kansas University, Director of the Kansas University Center on Developmental Disabilities and co-director of the Beach Center on Disability, also at Kansas University. He is an internationally recognized expert on self-determination, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and access to general education curriculum for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities. He has published more than 300 journal articles and book chapters and is the co-editor or co- author of 32 books on these and other subjects. Dr. Wehmeyer is a past-president and Fellow of the American Association on Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, a past president of CEC’s Division on Career Development and Transition, and a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, Division 33 (Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities). He is currently the co-editor of the AAIDD journal Inclusion.