Department of Psychiatry
Penn Behavioral Health

Penn Autism Network

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2009 PAN Conference: Presenters


4th Annual Penn Autism Network Conference
- March 20, 2009



Alan Arici, M.Ed., is the Director of Vocational Programming for Melmark, Inc. He came to Melmark seven years ago as a special education teacher in The Melmark School. It was there that he saw the need for a life after the age of 21 for his students. This realization compelled him to initiate the vocational program at Melmark, which is now two years old. Mr. Arici holds a B.A. from La Salle University, and a Masters in Education from the University of Massachusetts.

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Herman Axelrod, Ph.D., is the executive director of the Green Tree School, an approved private school in Philadelphia, PA. The school serves students who are seriously emotionally disturbed and children with ASD. The school also provides an early intervention program for children aged three to five with developmental delays, and a partnership program that reaches out to provide training, consultation, and program development around the region. Green Tree has its own wraparound program. Dr. Axelrod previously worked for the School District of Philadelphia as a teacher and administrator, and was an Assistant Professor of Special Education at Penn State University.

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Lorie Brew, M.S., is a Counselor with The Coffeehouse Center of Bucks County. She has been involved in the field of Developmental Disabilities for 15 years. Her experience has come from working with individuals of all abilities, family members, educators and other professionals as well as her own personal experience with a son with autism. Ms. Brew has worked as a case manager, mental health therapist and behavioral specialist consultant in the field of behavioral health and developmental disabilities.

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Alexandra Bricklin, M.A., is a  consultant, public speaker and advocate on behalf of people with challenging behaviors, their families, friends and supporters. She is  the mother of Rebecca (24), a young adult with autism, and has established an incorporated Self Directed Support Corporation for her. That corporation is in the process of enrolling as an OBRA waiver provider. Ms. Bricklin is currently enrolled in St. Joseph University's post-masters certification program in Behavior Analysis.

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Domenico Cavaiuolo, Ph.D., is a Professor at East Stroudsburg University in East Stroudsburg, PA, currently teaching with a combined experience in educational and rehabilitation consultation and staff development training to school districts and adult rehabilitation service providers. He has been involved in the field of rehabilitation and special education for over 30 years at various levels. Dr. Cavaiuolo has been involved in a program/systems change using consumer driven/person centered planning as a method for service delivery and has published articles on supported employment, conducted training seminars on conversion of sheltered workshops to community integrated employment options, natural supports in the work place, behavioral supports in the work place, cooperative learning as an inclusionary method in schools, and transition from school to adult life.

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Bruce Corson is employed as Operations Manager of Derek’s Dream, Inc., a Self Directed Support Corporation. This SDSC provides residential services as a “6400” licensed home to one adolescent with autism under the Consolidated waiver.

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Mary Riggs Cohen, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist with 30 years of experience providing treatment for children, adolescents, adults and families. She has worked in the field of autism for the last 12 years and currently provides consulting services to schools, colleges, treatment programs and other organizations with students or clients on the autism spectrum. Dr. Cohen is a frequent presenter at conferences on the topic of social skills training for ASD. She created the “Transitioning to Adulthood Curriculum”  for the social skills seminar which is designed to teach social skills to young adults with ASD or social anxiety. The curriculum is being published by Brookes Publishing in the spring of 2009. Dr. Cohen taught the Social Skills Seminar at Penn for five years and is currently in practice at the Center for Neuropsychology and Counseling in Warrington, PA.

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Katherine K. Dahlsgaard, Ph.D., is the Associate Director for the Institute for Social and Emotional Development at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. She is a licensed clinical psychologist with expertise in cognitive-behavioral therapy for children, adolescents, and young adults. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. She completed her internship training in the Department of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry at the University of Minnesota School of Medicine and a postdoctoral fellowship at the Institute for Anxiety and Mood Disorders at the NYU Child Study Center. A recipient of a National Science Foundation Fellowship award, Dr. Dahlsgaard is a frequent lecturer and guest speaker and has published widely in scientific journals and books. Dr. Dahlsgaard is also Assistant Professor of Psychology at Chestnut Hill College.

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Jamie Douglas, M.A., serves as the Managing Director of Adult Services for Eden Services in Princeton, NJ. Eden' Adult Services division currently provides employment and residential services to 94 adults with autism. Ms. Douglas' 27 years of experience includes supervision of residential, respite and home program services, coordination of parent training and consultative services. She also served as the Director of Employment Services, Assistant Director of Support Services and the Senior Clinical Specialist to Eden's Behavior Management Committee. Ms. Douglas received her bachelor's degree in Psychology from Trenton State College and her Master's Degree in Supervision and Administration from Rider University.

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Grace A. Egun, Bsc., MHSA, is a paralegal working for the Pennsylvania Health Law Project. She provides trainings and presentations for families and professionals across the state. Her work focuses on advocating on behalf of families of children and adults with disabilities who need help to access services, appeal service denials, and establish functional microboards, also referred to as Self Directed Support Corporations (SDSC). Ms. Egun is the mother of a man with developmental disabilities receiving services under the Consolidated waiver for whom she has established Raphegun, Inc., a SDSC. That corporation is in the process of negotiating a contract with the County MH/MR to become her son’s home and community based habilitation provider.

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Ira M. Fingles, Esq., is a partner in Hinkle Fingles & Prior, Attorneys at Law. He has devoted his entire legal career to the representation of individuals with disabilities and their families. Mr. Fingles has provided legal representation to individuals with disabilities and their families in a variety of areas, including educational rights for children with disabilities, benefits and services for adults with disabilities, guardianship, and estate planning for families of individuals with disabilities. He has written extensively on a variety of topics relating to disability law and has presented to disability-related groups across the nation. Ira is Immediate Past President and Current Vice President of the Autism Society of America, Greater Philadelphia Chapter and serves as a director and advisor to several other autism and/or disability advocacy groups in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

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Nina Finkler, M.Ed., LDT/C, B.C.B.A., is the Director of Outreach and Support Services, Eden Family of Services. She has worked in the field of autism for over 15 years, including coordinating and supervising the Eden Institute's Pre-Vocational Program, as well as extensive practical application of applied behavioral analysis, curriculum development, parent training, and consultation and assessment. Ms. Finkler holds her Master's degree in Special Education from Rutgers University and is a New Jersey licensed Learning Disabilities Teacher/Consultant. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst.

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Madeline Fonzone is the mother of a man with autism. She serves as Program Specialist of Nick’s Home, Inc, a Self Directed Support Corporation providing residential services as a “6400” licensed home to her son under the Consolidated waiver.

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David Gates, Esq., is the Policy Director and Senior Attorney for PA Health Law Project. He has provided legal representation to children and adults with ASD for nearly 20 years. Mr. Gates served on the PA Dept. of Public Welfare's Autism Task Force and the Bureau of Autism Service's (BAS) Autism Waiver External Advisory Committee. He is currently a member of BAS’s Housing Options Committee and its Advisory Board. Additional panelists presenting with Mr. Gates' include Grace Egun, Paralegal, PA Health Law Project; Bruce Corson, Operations Manager, Derek's Dream, Inc.; Alexandra Bricklin and Madeline Fonzone, parents who have established SDSCs.

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Avram Glickman graduated from West Chester University in 2002 with a bachelor's degree in Psychology and a minor in Criminal Justice. After graduating, he spent four years working as Therapeutic Staff Support with students' ages 7-16 who were diagnosed with a variety of emotional, behavioral, and cognitive impairments. Avi has spent the last two years working with individuals with ASD as the Community Education Director of Preparing Adolescents for Adult Live (PAAL). He is responsible for developing and implementation successful job sampling opportunities for students. He is currently enrolled at Immaculata University where he is completing his masters degree in Educational Leadership with dual certification in regular and special education.

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Michael Greisler, LCSW, is a psychology intern at the Psychological Services Department at the Watson Institute. Mr. Greisler performed group therapy, individual therapy, behavioral consultation, and Mobile Therapy for five years with the Watson Institute. He has presented on cognitive-behavioral intervention methods with children and adolescents with ASDs. He helped design and implement the Summer Therapeutic Activities for Teens (STAT), a community-based program using cognitive-behavioral and didactic strategies to improve social interaction, emotional-regulation and functioning within the community. In summer 2008, Watson began a college preparation/desensitization program; ACCLAIM (The Autism College and Community Life Acclimation and Intervention Model) at the University of Pittsburgh. Mr. Greisler is currently a PhD student at Duquesne University’s School Psychology Program.

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Joyce B. Harding, R.N., is the Program Director for The Coffeehouse Center of Bucks County. She has been working with people with neurological impairments for over 30 years. For the last 15 years, Ms. Harding has focused on working with children and adults with ASD. She is the co-founder of Sharing and Caring of Bucks County, a group begun in 1992 that provides support and advocacy for parents and caregivers of individuals with ASD and other neurological impairments. Currently, Ms. Harding is identifying, defining and meeting the transitional needs of young adults with Asperger Syndrome and PDD-NOS. She is the parent of one adult child and one teenage child, both diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome.

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Anne Holmes is the Chief Clinical Officer for the Eden Family of Services, located in Princeton, NJ. She received her Master's degree in Speech Pathology from Douglass College and holds a Certificate of Clinical Competence as well as New Jersey licensure, and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. Ms. Holmes is also an adjunct faculty member of the College of NewJersey. She has worked in the field of autism for over 30 years and is responsible for oversight for monitoring standards of care including staff development and student/participant outcomes, as well as supervision of outreach diagnostic, evaluative, and consultative services. Ms. Holmes serves on the Autism Society of America's Panel of Professional Advisors.

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Felicia Hurewitz, Ph.D., is a leading researcher from Drexel University (formerly from University of Delaware) in technological interventions for ASD. A parent of a child on the spectrum herself, she is highly involved in advocacy as well. Her work with the online Grammar Trainer software with Dr. Katie Beals and Autism Speaks, and her development of assistive technology components has sparked wide interest in the community. At Drexel, she is developing transitional supports for college students on the spectrum.

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Joseph R. McAllister, Jr., Ph.D., is the Director of Psychological Services for The Watson Institute in Sewickley, PA. He oversees diagnostic evaluation services, home-based therapy services, outpatient therapeutic services, the Watson Inclusive Summer Program (WISP), the Summer Therapeutic Activities for Teens (STAT), and the Autism College and Community Life Acclimation and Intervention Model (ACCLAIM). He was previously the Director of the Autism Center at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and was a co-founder of the ABOARD (Advisory Board On Autism And Related Disorders) organization. He developed the first inclusive, systematic summer program for children with autism in the country. Dr. McAllister was the winner of the 2005 Grandin Award for services to children with autism and their families. He has been working with children who have autism for more than 25 years.

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Eric R. Mitchell, Ph.D.
, is the Clinical Director for the Green Tree School has his own private practice. He has been working therapeutically with ASD and related disorders in children and families since he was a teenager. After graduating from the University of Vermont, he moved on to Rutgers University for his master's degree, and then to the University of Pennsylvania for his doctoral studies. Continuing to gain experience in the ASD community, he accepted a post-doctoral fellowship specializing in ASD and related disorders with emphasis on cutting edge ABA interventions with eclectic service delivery. With several years of experience as a psychologist, educator, evaluator, school psychologist, consultant, and administrator, Dr. Mitchell is very active as a consulting psychologist around the Philadelphia area, both as a professional and an advocate.

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Robert Naseef, Ph.D., is a psychologist, author, and parent of an adult child with autism who specializes in the psychology of families of individuals with developmental disabilities. He has presented at numerous national and local conferences and served as a consultant to schools and agencies. He has also served on several boards and advisory committees regarding autism. Dr, Naseef has recorded a DVD with Stephen Shore and Dan Gottlieb which will be released in the near future. With Cindy Ariel, he practices at Alternative Choices in Philadelphia.

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Patricia Neary, M.S., is a Curriculum Coordinator for Melmark, Inc. Along with Ms. Welteroth, a co-presenter, she develops individualized curriculum for students in The Melmark School, which is a program designed to serve children, ages 5-21, with challenging behaviors. She was instrumental in setting Melmark’s vocational program.

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Ari Ne'eman
is the Vice Chair of the NJ Adults With Autism Task Force and the President of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network. He also serves as the Policy Workgroup Leader for the Youth Advisory Council to the National Council on Disability, as the Public Policy Chair for the NJ Coalition for Inclusive Education, and as a member of the Steering Committee of the NJ Olmstead Implementation and Planning Advisory Council. Mr. Ne'emani has given numerous presentations on autism and other disabilities nationwide. His co-authored scholarly article, "Autistic Acceptance, the College Campus, and Technology," was recently published in the academic journal Disability Studies Quarterly. Another of his co-authored articles, "Autism as Metaphor: Narrative and Counter-narrative" was recently published in The International Journal of Inclusive Education.

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Stacey A. Petersen, M.S., is a doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology program at Chestnut Hill College, where she also completed her Master's degree in clinical psychology. She is the program volunteer at the Institute for Social and Emotional Development, located at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia.

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Scott Michael Robertson is a Ph.D. candidate at Penn State University where his research focuses on disability studies and assistive technologies for neurologically diverse disability populations (particularly autism). His co-authored scholarly article, "Autistic Acceptance, the College Campus, and Technology," was recently published in the academic journal Disability Studies Quarterly. Mr. Robertson has given nearly 70 presentations on autism and other disabilities to schools, conferences, and organizations nationwide, including several keynotes at the National Autism Conference at Penn State. Among other roles, he serves as the vice president of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network, as a member of the Advisory Board of the PA Bureau of Autism Services, as a co-investigator of the Academic Autistic Spectrum Partnership in Research and Education, as a member of the Scientific and Educational Advisory Board of the Autism Higher Education Foundation, and on the Board of Directors of the Society for Disability Studies.

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Mark Salzer, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania and an investigator in the VISN 4 Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center at the Philadelphia VA Medical Center. He is the principal investigator and director of the UPENN Collaborative on Community Integration of individuals with psychiatric disabilities, a rehabilitation research and training center funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). Dr. Salzer has been the principal investigator on numerous federally-funded studies and has published more than 55 articles and book chapters. He is a recognized expert in the delivery of effective community mental health and rehabilitation services to individuals with serious mental illnesses, with a particular focus on identifying and eliminating barriers to community integration, effective utilization of community resources, and support programs (e.g., peer, employment, education, and natural supports).

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Gloria M. Satriale, BCABA, is the Executive Director of Preparing Adolescents for Adult Life (PAAL), a unique ABA-driven, community-based transition program. Her son, Nicky, 17 is significantly challenged with autism. She is president and founder of Mission for Educating Children with Autism and a longtime champion for the rights of people with autism. Gloria has served as a consultant to the PA's Dept. of Education, the Chester County IU, and to many advocacy and educational programs. She has chaired the Chester Advisory Board to the Chester County Department of Mental Health/Mental Retardation and is a member of the Board of Directors of Autism Living and Working (ALAW) and the Organization for Autism Research (OAR).

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Stephen Shore, EdD, is an author, self-advocate and Assistant Professor at Adelphi University. Diagnosed with "strong autistic tendencies" and "too sick" for outpatient treatment, Dr. Shore was recommended for institutionalization as a young child. With much support from his parents, teachers, wife, and others, his research focuses on matching best practices to the needs of people with autism. In addition to presenting and consulting internationally on issues related to children and adults with autism, Dr. Shore serves on many autism-related boards and committees, including IACC and ASA. He is also the critically acclaimed author or editor of several books, including Beyond the Wall: Personal Experiences with Autism & Asperger Syndrome.

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Annie Steinberg, M.D., is a board-certified adult, forensic, and child and adolescent psychiatrist and pediatrician and clinical associate professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. She has worked with children, adolescents and adults with autism since 1975, and consults to individuals and families, schools, and agencies to help address the needs of this underserved community. Dr. Steinberg practices at The Bridge, a multidisciplinary practice in Narberth, PA, near Philadelphia. The Bridge integrates traditional psychiatric practice with expressive arts therapies, sensory integration, and developmentally based play, resulting in a holistic treatment approach that encourages the emergence of the strengths of the individual and facilitates developmental maturation in creative, socially engaged ways.

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Stephanie Ulrich is the Director of the COMPASS Program at Fairleigh Dickinson University in Hackensack, New Jersey. The COMPASS Program is the first college support program in New Jersey to be designed specifically for autistic college students. The program is in its first year of existence and currently has six students enrolled who receive specialized support in such areas as executive functioning, mental health, and social skills.

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Shannon Welteroth, M.S., a Curriculum Coordinator for Melmark, Inc. Along with Ms. Neary, a co-presenter, she develops individualized curriculum for students in The Melmark School, which is a program designed to serve children, ages 5-21, with challenging behaviors. She was instrumental in setting Melmark's vocational program.

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Deirdre C. Wright
Special Projects Manager
Social Learning Disorders Program
Phone:  215-746-1967