Letter From the Director

Dr. Rebecca Landa headshot.

I am sure by this time you have heard the exciting news that we have a new name—the Center for Autism Services, Science and Innovation, or CASSI™ for short. This new name better reflects the multi-faceted work being done at the center, conveys our neurodivergent-affirming approach, and highlights our primary priority—providing crucial services for our patients, our students and their families. This name change represents a major milestone for our center. While this is a big change, I want to assure you that our dedicated, compassionate and expert staff, our values and services, and our leading-edge research all remain as stellar as before.

You will begin seeing the name more and more over the next few months as we make this transition. Thank you for your patience as we work to fully integrate our new name.

In other news, we are gearing up for our annual activities in April in honor of World Autism Month. You will find more information on our weekly FREE webinars in this newsletter. I encourage you to look over the offerings and register for any or all that interest you. 

While April has traditionally been known as Autism Acceptance Month (originally it was Autism Awareness Month), our staff has been increasingly moving towards the use of “advocacy” when we refer to April activities. We are dedicated to helping the world move beyond awareness and acceptance to advocacy. Through education and collaboration, community members can succeed in paving the way for autistic individuals to reach their potential. CASSI is committed to supporting advocacy efforts, and accordingly, you will see that we refer to April as both Autism Acceptance Month as well as Autism Advocacy Month. We invite you to do so as well!

My best,
Rebecca Landa, PhD, CCC-SLP
Executive Director, Center for Autism Services, Science and Innovation
Vice President
Kennedy Krieger Institute

Free Miniseries Programs

Each April, CASSI is pleased to offer a series of FREE weekly educational and informative sessions of interest to the autism community. Our 2024 webinars are held each Thursday in April from 12 noon to 1 p.m. (EDT).

April 4 – 12:00 pm
The State of Education for Autistic Students: A Community Conversation

This session will broadly examine the current status of educational programming and schooling for autistic students. We will explore experiences and insight related to public and non-public educational settings, homeschooling and post-secondary education. Our guest speakers will provide a range of perspectives related to the current landscape in education, successes they have experienced, barriers and challenges, and necessary advocacy for the future. 

Moderator: Ebony Holliday, PhD, NCSP


  • Cristina Easton, MEd
  • Doug DeHaan, MEd
  • Erica Quander, MEd, NBCT 
  • Rico Winston, Parent
  • Towson University Student (TBD)

April 11 at 12:00 pm
Experiences with Adult-Life Planning for Autistic Individuals

Join us as we explore the experience of autistic individuals in preparing for adult life. The panelists will discuss successes, strategies and lessons learned in navigating the transition process from adolescence into adulthood. We will hear perspectives and reflections from professionals, parents and self-advocates.


  • Valeria Swartz-Diaz, M.S., CCC-SLP
  • Elgiz Sener, PhD, ABPP-CN

April 18 at 12:00 pm
Making Sense of Sensory Processing

This presentation aims to give attendees a better understanding of sensory processing. Presenters will review each sensory system and characteristics of sensory processing differences. They will also provide information on how sensory processing impacts motor development and the motor challenges children may experience. Attendees will learn various strategies that can be implemented at home and in the community.


  • Megan Halscheid, MS, OTR/L
  • Joanne Alvarado, MS, OTR/L

April 25 at 12:00 pm
Understanding and Supporting Behavioral and Emotional Regulation

This presentation will discuss behavioral and emotional regulation in autistic children.  Strategies to support behavioral and emotional regulation will be discussed.

  • Elizabeth “Betsy” Cross, PhD
  • Kate McCalla, PhD

Click here to register for any or all of these sessions. There is no cost to register. If you are unable to attend but would still like to listen, the sessions will be posted on the CASSI website at KennedyKrieger.org/CASSI after the completion of the series.

Swing Into Excitement! Save the Date for our Center for Autism Golf Outing

A man and woman high five on the green of a golf course. They are standing behind the hole, which is marked by a red flag with a shield that shows the pattern of Maryland's flag.

Spring might be here, but we are setting our sights on summer! Mark your calendars now for our third annual Center for Autism Golf Outing on Monday, August 5th, at the Country Club of Maryland. Funds raised from this event go toward supporting innovative research at CASSI.

The event will feature:

  • 18 holes of golf
  • On-course drinks and snacks
  • Lunch & dinner
  • Player giveaways
  • New events for non-golfers, including golfing instruction and a wine-tasting educational session. 

Contact Leslie Marsiglia at Marsiglia@KennedyKrieger.org to learn more or to sign up as a sponsor or golfer. We look forward to seeing you on the links!

Research Studies

Scientific discoveries that help autistic individuals and their families are only possible through the participation of families in research studies. CASSI is recruiting for a number of autism research studies. Are you interested in furthering autism research? Click here to learn more about our open studies. 

Support Our Work

Please consider becoming our partner in supporting the ASD community with a monthly donation to CASSI™. Your donation of any size is welcome, appreciated and necessary, and helps expand our services to assist more families, fund more research and provide more resources for our community and beyond. Please consider making a difference today! Learn more by clicking here