2016 International Meeting for Autism Research (IMFAR) Speakers

SELF-ADVOCACY PANEL

Lisa Crabtree, Ph.D., O.T.R./L
Clinical Assistant Professor, Occupational Therapy and Occupational Science
Towson University, Towson, MD

As director of the Center for Adults with Autism, Dr. Crabtree is focused on educating the Towson University community and others about the issues confronting young adults on the autism spectrum. She has been appointed by the governor as a higher education representative on the newly formed Commission on Autism. Dr. Crabtree's research interests are focused on addressing the social participation and mental health of individuals on the autism spectrum.


AUTISM POLICIES & LEGISLATIVE UPDATES

Paul Shattuck, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
A.J. Drexel Autism Institute

There is ever-growing recognition and interest in the importance of life course outcomes and challenges in ASD. We believe a keynote speaker focused on adult outcomes will be of broad interest across the membership of INSAR. Dr. Paul Shattuck is the Leader of the Drexel Institute's Research Program Area on Life Course Outcomes. His research is aimed at understanding services and related outcomes among youth with autism as they leave high school and transition to young adulthood. His research has appeared in high-impact scientific journals including Pediatrics, Psychiatric Services, the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, the American Journal of Public Health and the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He also has written op-ed pieces that have appeared in leading national newspapers including the New York Times. In 2009, Dr. Shattuck’s study on the age of diagnosis among children with autism was recognized as one of the most important autism studies of the year by both Autism Speaks and the Federal Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee. Dr. Shattuck's 2011 study on the use of services by adults with autism was recognized as one of the 20 most impactful scientific studies in the field of autism by the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee. His 2012 study on postsecondary job and education outcomes was recognized by Autism Speaks as one of the Top 10 research advances of the year.


MEDICAL RESEARCH & PRACTICE

Susan L. Hyman, M.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics
Chief, Neurodevelopmental & Behavioral Pediatrics
Golisano Children's Hospital
University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY

Susan L. Hyman MD is a Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrician at the Golisano Children's Hospital at the University of Rochester Medical Center. She provides developmental assessments and care to children and youth with developmental disabilities with a special interest in autism. Her research relates to medical care of people with autism, feeding behaviors and nutrition in people with autism, and she is the co-Principle Investigator of the Rochester site of the Autism Treatment Network. She is the current chairperson of the American Academy of Pediatrics Autism Subcommittee of the Committee on Children with Disabilities.

Dr. Hyman completed her undergraduate degree in biology and her medical school training at Brown University in Providence, RI. Her pediatric residency was completed at North Carolina Memorial Hospital at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her Fellowship in Developmental Disabilities at the Kennedy Krieger Institute of the Johns Hopkins Hospital. She is board-certified in pediatrics, developmental disabilities, and developmental and behavioral pediatrics. She has been a member of the faculty of the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry since 1995.


BEHAVIOR TECHNIQUES

Dan Mruzek, Ph.D.

Associate Professor - Department of Pediatrics, Neurodevelopmental & Behavioral Pediatrics (SMD)
University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, NY

Dr. Mruzek's primary research interest is Autism Spectrum Disorders.


TECHNOLOGY & APPLICATION

Peter C. Mundy, Ph.D. Director of Educational Research
Lisa Capp Endowed Chair in Neurodevelopment and Education
Professor, School of Education and Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences
University of California Davis MIND Institute

Peter Mundy, Ph.D., is a developmental and clinical psychologist who has been working on defining the nature of autism and developmental disabilities for the past 30 years. His work began in 1981 at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute. At that time little was known about the characteristics of the social deficits of autism. His studies with collaborators Marian Sigman and Connie Kasari contributed to the understanding that impairments in the early development of infants’ ability to coordinate their visual attention with other people (i.e. joint attention) is a fundamental feature of the early onset autism. This observation was first published in 1986 and it has contributed to significant improvements in the early identification, diagnosis and treatment of children with autism. In the years since he has studied the behavioral and neurocognitive processes involved in a model of joint attention, and their role in learning, social cognition and developmental disorders. Along with colleagues at the MIND Institute (Sullivan & Mastergeorge) he has been advancing a new neurodevelopmental model of joint attention, social cognition and autism in 2009 (see paper cited below). One new avenue of application of this model is to attempt to advance research on school readiness among preschool children. He has published over 100 journal articles and chapters on early social development, autism and social cognition. He has received federal funding for his research continuously since 1982 across 16 different projects.

Dr. Mundy is currently working with collaborators at the MIND Institute on a four volume series, to be entitled Autism for Educators, with Wiley/Jossey Bass Publications. The first volume of this series was published in 2011 (see citation below). In 2009 NIMH granted Dr. Mundy funding to develop a collaborative, multidisciplinary Social Attention Virtual Reality Laboratory (SAV-Lab, http://edscholars.ucdavis.edu/vrlab/home) for research on social attention, learning and academic development in school-age children with Autism Spectrum Disorders. This beginning of this laboratory was a joint venture of the faculties of the UC Davis MIND Institute and the Center for Mind and Brain, as well as researchers at Stanford University and the University of Southern California. In 2012, the Institute for Education Science provided four years of funding to allow the SAV-Lab research group the opportunity to conduct a longitudinal study of the factors that impair or facilitate school based learning in elementary and secondary students with ASD. Immediately prior to his arrival at UC Davis, Dr. Mundy was a professor of psychology at the University of Miami for 17 years. There he was the founding director of the University of Miami Center for Autism and Related Disabilities, which partners with public schools in South Florida to improve the education and outcomes for over 4,000 children and families.


DELIVERING AUTISM SERVICES

Amy M. Wetherby, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Professor, Department of Clinical Sciences
Laurel Schendel Professor, Department of Communication Disorders
Director, Autism Institute in the College of Medicine
Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL

Amy M. Wetherby has thirty years of clinical experience and is a Fellow of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. Dr. Wetherby has published extensively and presents regularly at national conventions on early detection of children with autism spectrum disorders and intervention for children with autism spectrum disorders using the SCERTS® model. She is the Project Director of a Doctoral Leadership Training Grant specializing in autism funded by the U.S. Department of Education. She served on the National Academy of Sciences Committee for Educational Interventions for Children with Autism and is the Executive Director of the Florida State University Center for Autism and Related Disabilities. Dr. Wetherby is the project director of the FIRST WORDS Project, a longitudinal research investigation on early detection of autism spectrum and other communication disorders, funded by the U.S. Department of Education, National Institutes of Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She is also the principal investigator of an early treatment study teaching parents of toddlers with autism spectrum disorders how to support social communication and play in everyday activities funded by Autism Speaks and the National Institutes of Mental Health.


MEDICAL RESEARCH & PRACTICE

Roma Vasa, M.D.
Director, Education and Training
Kennedy Krieger Institute, Baltimore, MD

Dr. Vasa is a child and adolescent psychiatrist and the director of education and training at the Kennedy Krieger Institute and is an assistant professor of psychiatry at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

In her clinic, she sees children and adolescents with a variety of psychiatric disorders with specific focus on anxiety. Dr. Vasa is board-certified, and an active member of the Maryland Regional Council of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Dr. Vasa has conducted extensive research on psychiatric outcomes after pediatric traumatic brain injury. More recently, her research focuses on brain-behavior relationships in pediatric anxiety disorders. She is the primary investigator of an fMRI study investigating the neural correlates of three common childhood anxiety disorders: separation anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and social phobia.


BEHAVIOR TECHNIQUES

Laura Klinger, Ph.D.
Director, Treatment and Education of Autistic and Communication related Handicapped Children (TEACCH)
Associate Professor, Department of Psychiatry
University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, NC

Dr. Laura Klinger will be responsible for overseeing TEACCH’s regional centers across North Carolina, a Supported Employment Program, and the Carolina Living and Learning Center, an integrated vocational and residential program for adults located in Pittsboro.

Dr. Klinger has served as director of the Autism Spectrum Disorders Research Clinic at the University of Alabama, in Tuscaloosa, AL. In 2007, she also started the University of Alabama Autism Spectrum Disorder College Transition and Support program for college students with autism. In addition, she serves as an associate professor of psychology and a clinical assistant professor of psychiatry and neurology.

She has been a member on the editorial board of the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology and the Journal of Psychopathology and Behavioral Assessment. She also serves on the board of directors of the International Society for Autism Research.

Dr. Klinger earned her Ph.D. in child clinical psychology at the University of Washington. She completed her predoctoral internship program at the TEACCH program at UNC and received the Martin S. Wallach Award of Outstanding Psychology Interns.

Her research program is a collaboration with her husband/colleague, Mark Klinger, Ph.D. Their research focuses on learning and memory in individuals with autism and the development of treatment programs based on these learning difficulties. Dr. Klinger attributes many of her research ideas to her earlier training at TEACCH.


TECHNOLOGY & APPLICATION

Tony Gentry, Ph.D., O.T.R./L
Assistant Professor
Director, Assistive Technology for Cognition Laboratory
Department of Occupational Therapy
Virginia Commonwealth University

Professional Interests:

  • Neurological Rehabilitation
  • Cognitive Rehabilitation
  • Assistive Technology
  • Context-Aware and Sensor-Based Behavioral Telehealth
  • Community-based Treatment

Certifications and Licensure:

  • Virginia occupational therapy license
  • NBCOT Certification

Selected Publications:

  • Gentry, T., & Loveland, J. (2013). The occupation of sleep: Occupational therapy’s role in sleep management, OT Practice (January 21).
  • Gentry, T., Lau, S., Molinell, A., Fallen, A., & Kriner, R. (2012). The Apple iPod Touch as a vocational support aid for adults with autism: Three case studies, Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 37, 75-85. (Download at http://worksupport.com.)
  • Armstrong, A. Gentry, T. and Wehman, P. (2012). Assistive Technology from School to Adulthood, in Wehman, P. (ed.). Life Beyond the Classroom, 5th ed. Baltimore: Brookes.
  • Gentry, T. (2012). Smart Home Technologies for People with Cognitive Impairment: An Affordable, Rehabilitative Approach, in Riechert, R. (ed.). Ambient Assisted Living Handbook. Amsterdam: IOS Press.
  • Gentry, T. (2011). Special issue editor: Assistive technology for people with neurological disability, NeuroRehabilitation (28).

DELIVERING AUTISM SERVICES

Kristie Patten Koenig, PhD, OTR/L, FAOTA
Chairperson, Department of Occupational Therapy
Associate Professor of Occupational Therapy
New York University

Dr. Koenig is an occupational therapist who examines the efficacy of interventions utilized in public schools for children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders. Her research focuses on utilizing a relationship based paradigm and the individual with ASD's perspective to understand the impact of these issues on quality of life and adaptive behavior in order to guide person centered interventions utilizing strengths in inclusive settings. Dr. Koenig is the Principal Investigator of the NYU Steinhardt's ASD Nest Program, an inclusive program for children and adolescents with autism in the New York City Department of Education. She is also PI of the GIFTED project, a three-year grant project aimed at developing women leaders in public schools in Ghana. Dr. Koenig teaches professional and post professional courses in the area of pediatric intervention, school based practice and sensory processing and regulation. Dr. Koenig has published and presented nationally and internationally on topics related to examining the efficacy of sensory and motor interventions that impact one's ability to regulate behavior in home and community environments.


CLOSING KEYNOTE

Peter Gerhardt, Ed.D.
Director of Education-- Upper School
McCarton School
New York City, NY

Dr. Gerhardt has over 30 years experience utilizing the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis in support of adolescents and adults with ASD in educational, employment, residential and community-based settings. He is the author or coauthor of articles and book chapters on the needs of adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorder 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. Dr. Gerhardt received his doctorate from the Rutgers State University of New Jersey Graduate School of Education. Dr. Gerhardt’s research interests include issues related to intensity of behavior analytic instruction with adolescents and adults, community integration and employment, development of adaptive behavior competencies, positive behavior supports with complex individuals and the use of technology to support community safety and independence.

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