Julia Bascom
Julia Bascom serves as Executive Director at the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. Previously, she did state-level work in her home state of New Hampshire, where she served on the DD council and co-led an inter-agency team to revitalize self-advocacy within the state. Julia edited Loud Hands: Autistic People, Speaking, an anthology of writings by autistic people, and currently serves on the Centene National Disability Advisory Council, the advisory board of Felicity House, and the board of the Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, and the board of Allies For Independence.

Bibliography:

  • Loud Hands: Autistic People, Speaking (8 December 2012) (editor)
  • And Straight on Till Morning: Essays on Autism Acceptance (28 March 2013) (editor)
  • The Obsessive Joy of Autism (21 May 2015)

Links:

Kieran Rose

Kieran Rose is an Autism Campaigner and International Public Speaker from the UK, with a background in Education and Special Educational Needs. Kieran’s blog has been read by nearly a million people.

He is Managing Director of Infinite Autism; a Social Enterprise supporting Autistic people and their families and is founder and Chair of The Autistic Cooperative, an international network for Autistic-led Advocacy organisations and Autistic Advocates.

Kieran independently train businesses, Local Authority services, Schools, colleges and Universities; and also consults for a number of different North East England and UK national organisations, including the North East Autism Society, Durham Constabulary, Operation Diversity, Addictions UK, FIGS UK and various books, plays and media.

He is also a named consultant on a number of different research papers exploring Autistic Masking, Autistic Burnout, Mate crime, Autistic voice and Social Change; and values research that focuses on the priorities and needs of the Autistic community.

Kieran values the importance of equality-based collaboration between the Autistic Community and non-Autistic Charities, organisations and people who listen, are invested in the Neurodiversity paradigm and social change; and recognise that those with different neurologies need supported in ways that recognise and accept their differences and refrain from normalisation.

He is married to Michelle, who is a Neurodivergent Marketing consultant and Public Speaker. Together they have three children, an Autistic boy, a Neurodivergent boy and an Autistic girl with a range of complex needs.

Kieran was diagnosed Autistic in 2003, at the age of 23. He has a wide range of co-occurring conditions, debilitating sensory issues and is also Selectively Mute.

He’s still just as Autistic now as he was when he was a child.

Links:

Julie Roberts

Julie A. Roberts, M.S., CCC-SLP, Founder and Board President of Therapist Neurodiversity Collective; Owner Bayou City Speech & Language; ASHA Certified Speech-Language Pathologist since 1999:

Therapist Neurodiversity Collective was founded in January 2018 to support Julie’s vision to serve Autistic and other Neurodivergent people and their families by providing free access to a worldwide directory of credentialed and licensed pro-neurodiversity-focused therapists, and to advocate for changes in therapy practices to reflect use of methodologies and models which presume competence, are non-trauma inducing, and respect human rights, dignity, and sensory preferences. Julie’s desire is for the Therapist Neurodiversity Collective to actively partner with disabled people to provide resources and educational opportunities to therapists and to the public. Throughout her career, she has served in various healthcare settings with both pediatric and adult populations and has held key healthcare leadership positions, including National Field Director of Corporate Compliance, and Multi-state Regional Clinical Director for the nation’s largest provider of rehab post-acute care. Julie is a frequent blogger and writes articles on disability rights, empathetic therapy practices, and advocacy efforts. Julie is a passionate and tireless patient/client/student rights advocate and activist. 

Publications:

Discourse Processes, A Multidisciplinary Journal, Volume 30, Number 3 – “Repetition in Narratives of African Americans: The Effects of Aphasia” – Hanna K. Ulatowska, Gloria Streit Olness, CaSaundra L. Hill, Julie A. Roberts, and Molly W. Keebler
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1207/S15326950dp3003_3

The E.C. Barksdale Memorial Essays in History 1993-1994, Volume 13 – First Place: M.M. McKnight Award in Texas Labor History – “Harry Weisbrod and the Founding of the American Federation of Government Employee Lodge 2132, Dallas, Texas, 1962”

Articles:

Why Perspective-Taking and Neurodiversity Acceptance? (Part 2 of “Training” Social Skills is Dehumanizing: The One with the Therapy Goals)
The Problem with PECS®
“Training” Social Skills is Dehumanizing (Part 1)
A Letter from an SLP to a Parent, Immediately After an Autism Diagnosis for a 5-Year-Old
An ASHA Certified SLP’s Personal Perspective on Collaboration, Interprofessional Practice and ABA

Links:
LinkedIn
Therapist Neurodiversity Collective Facebook
Bayou City Speech & Language
Bayou City SLP Facebook

Therapy Advisory Chairpersons

Joleen R. Fernald, PhD, CCC-SLP: Selective Mutism Chair

Dr. Fernald was awarded Board Specialty Recognition in Child Language from the American Speech Language Hearing Association and follows Greenspan and Wieder’s model, DIRFloortime® , when working with children and families. She has a special interest in the social emotional development of young children and its impact on their speech and language skills. As a speech-language pathologist, Dr. Fernald works with children who have a variety of communication disorders. She partnered with Easter Seals NH in 2006 to begin the nation’s first multidisciplinary assessment and treatment clinic specifically for children with selective mutism and has recreated the model in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.  In 2019, Dr. Fernald co-founded a private school for children with special needs that supports individual differences and provides therapeutic intervention within an academic setting.   She enjoys public speaking and is a national and international presenter on the topics of childhood apraxia of speech and selective mutism.  Dr. Fernald enjoys traveling with her husband and two daughters.  She’s a travel agent specializing in all Disney destinations, cruise lines, and all inclusives.  Dr. Fernald enjoys combining her knowledge of special needs with individualized and personalized travel planning. 

Publications:
 
Links:
 
Instagram:  @dr.jo_slp
 

Amanda Merlin, M.A., CCC-SLP, ATP: AAC/AT Chair

Owner Discover Therapy Services NW; Co-Owner Artful Expressions Speech Therapy and Voice Training; ASHA Certified Speech-Language Pathologist since 2011; Assistive Technology Professional:

As an experienced Speech-Language Pathologist, Healthcare Manager, and Business Owner, Amanda has found a way to balance her passions of education and advocacy. She is especially focused and has centered her practice and advanced education around Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) and Assistive Technology (AT). When her father was diagnosed with ALS, Amanda watched as he rapidly lost his ability to verbally communicate. His voice, both figuratively and literally, was central to his personality; and its loss tremendously impacted how people judged, often wrongly, her father’s capabilities. Witnessing his decline, along with the ways he was unfairly robbed of the ability to fully express himself, inspired Amanda to work diligently to ensure that as many people as possible would have easy and unrestricted access to AAC. Her father’s mantra throughout his illness was “I don’t hope, I believe; hope leaves room for doubt.” His words still ring true in Amanda’s ears today, as she passionately and tirelessly advocates for Presuming Competence in all early communicators, as they receive their first communication tools. We believe!

Links:

Jenah Nugent-Fullam, M.A., CCC-SLP: Medical Rehab and Geriatrics Chair

Jenah Nugent-Fullam, M.A., CCC-SLP (She/Her), ASHA Certified Speech Language Pathologist since 2011

Jenah is a certified Speech-Language Pathologist with significant experience in the medical setting, including acute care and acute inpatient rehabilitation. In 2016, she served as the primary Speech-Language Pathologist on a medical team, helping them to successfully launch a neurologically-based outpatient clinic in San Antonio, Texas. Jenah is passionate about caring for our aging population and their families. She holds Specialty Certification in SPEAK OUT!© Voice treatment for Parkinson’s Disease, and treats a wide range of acute to chronic disorders including post-stroke, Parkinson’s disease,  tracheostomy and ventilated patients, dysphagia, voice disorders, and long term care of Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury.

Jenah enjoys mentoring students and new graduates, and previously taught University students at both Texas Women’s University and NOVA Southeastern University as a graduate-level Externship Supervisor.  An unflagging patient advocate – both during and post-treatment, Jenah believes that everyone, regardless of age, or ability has the fundamental right to self-determine their idea of quality of life.

Panel presenter-SA Moves Parkinson’s Symposium (2018)
SPEAK OUT© Certified Provider 

Shawna Pope-Jefferson, M.S., CCC-SLP; Literacy/Dyslexia Chair

Shawna Pope-Jefferson M.S., CCC-SLP since 1998.  Owner: Language and Literacy Solutions. Literacy Specialist. Dyslexia Specialist. Structured Word Inquiry Specialist.

Shawna is a certified Speech-Language Pathologist, literacy specialist, and clinic owner. Past experiences include positions as both a Senior Lecturer and a Clinical Supervisor in the Department of Communication Disorders and Sciences at Southern Illinois University – Carbondale, as well as various placements in healthcare settings serving both pediatric and adult populations. Shawna has been an advocate and activist throughout her career for minority representation in the field of speech-language pathology, best practices for serving autistic students, and best practices in literacy intervention. She also served as Vice President of the non-tenure track Faculty Association at Southern Illinois University – Carbondale.  

Shawna currently devotes herself to life-long learning about the English writing system and the clients she serves. She also provides professional development workshops for teachers and speech-language pathologists.  Shawna offers a valuable combination of clinical knowledge and skills in the areas assessment and intervention for language and literacy disorders in neurodivergent populations.

Links: 

LANGUAGE AND LITERACY SOLUTIONS

Julie Roberts Julie A. Roberts, M.S., CCC-SLP: Pragmatic Language/Social Communication Chair

Founder and Board President of Therapist Neurodiversity Collective; Owner Bayou City Speech & Language; ASHA Certified Speech-Language Pathologist since 1999:
Therapist Neurodiversity Collective was founded in January 2018 to support Julie’s vision to serve Autistic and other Neurodivergent people and their families by providing free access to a worldwide directory of credentialed and licensed pro-neurodiversity-focused therapists, and to advocate for changes in therapy practices to reflect the use of methodologies and models which presume competence, are non-trauma inducing, and respect human rights, dignity, and sensory preferences. Julie’s desire is for the Therapist Neurodiversity Collective to actively partner with disabled people to provide resources and educational opportunities to therapists and to the public. Throughout her career, she has served in various healthcare settings with both pediatric and adult populations and has held key healthcare leadership positions, including National Field Director of Corporate Compliance, and Multi-state Regional Clinical Director for the nation’s largest provider of rehab post-acute care. Julie is a frequent blogger and writes articles on disability rights, empathetic therapy practices, and advocacy efforts. Julie is a passionate and tireless patient/client/student rights advocate and activist. 

Publications:

Discourse Processes, A Multidisciplinary Journal, Volume 30, Number 3 – “Repetition in Narratives of African Americans: The Effects of Aphasia” – Hanna K. Ulatowska, Gloria Streit Olness, CaSaundra L. Hill, Julie A. Roberts, and Molly W. Keebler
https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1207/S15326950dp3003_3

The E.C. Barksdale Memorial Essays in History 1993-1994, Volume 13 – First Place: M.M. McKnight Award in Texas Labor History – “Harry Weisbrod and the Founding of the American Federation of Government Employee Lodge 2132, Dallas, Texas, 1962”

Articles:

Why Perspective-Taking and Neurodiversity Acceptance? (Part 2 of “Training” Social Skills is Dehumanizing: The One with the Therapy Goals)
The Problem with PECS®
“Training” Social Skills is Dehumanizing( Part 1)
A Letter from an SLP to a Parent, Immediately After an Autism Diagnosis for a 5-Year-Old
An ASHA Certified SLP’s Personal Perspective on Collaboration, Interprofessional Practice and ABA

Links:
LinkedIn
Therapist Neurodiversity Collective Facebook
Bayou City Speech & Language
Bayou City SLP Facebook

Greg Santucci, MS, OTR/L: Sensory Processing Disorder Chair

Greg Santucci is a Pediatric Occupational Therapist and the owner of Power Play Pediatric Therapy. He is the Supervisor of Occupational Therapy at Children’s Specialized Hospital and the Clinical Liaison for the New Jersey Autism Center of Excellence (NJACE). Greg is certified in Sensory Integration and presents workshops nationally on topics related to sensory processing, challenging behaviors and improving school-based therapy services. A strong advocate for all children, Greg is a firm believer in the power of PLAY! He uses play as his primary modality to help kids of all abilities learn new skills and become more independent. Greg’s clinical practice is dedicated to helping parents and professionals understand and appreciate a child’s neurodiversity and the different ways they experience the world. Committed to the belief shared by Dr. Ross Greene that “Kids do well if they can”, Greg is passionate about helping caregivers see “behaviors” through new lenses and teaching them how they can support their sensational kids!
 

Advocacy Initiative Chairs

Barry R. Nathan, Ph.D.: Advocacy Initiative Co-Chair
Current Project: BCS-ASD Petition
Dr. Nathan is an industrial-organizational psychologist.  Much of his past work has been as a research or consultant on organizational culture, employee selection, and performance management.  However, over the past five years, he has committed himself to corporate diversity and inclusion, and autism.  He became interested in autism through his wife, Janice Nathan, MS., CCC-SLP, whose private practice specializes in working with autistic individuals,  and whose brother is autistic.  With Janice, he is co-author of Building Reasoning and Problem-solving Skills in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: A Step-by-Step Guide to the Thinking in Speech® Intervention (2018), from Jessica Kingsley Publishers. 

Barry’s autism research includes  “Turning Behavior and Anxiety into Communication for Social Problem-Solving by Thinking in Speech®,”  a study presented at the 12th Annual International Autism Europe Congress, in Nice, France (November 2019); and two current funded research projects, Addressing Autism in African American Families,” with Dr. Valire Carr Copeland of the University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work and  “Neurocognitive Therapy for Children with Autism,” with Dr. Barbara Baumann of the University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychiatry in School of Medicine.  Barry was the facilitator of a panel discussion onAutism and the School-to-Prison Pipeline,” presented at the 2019 University of Pittsburgh School of Education Center for Urban Education Summer Educator Forum (CUESEF), and a co-presenter with Jamie Upshaw, M.S., Executive Director of Autism Urban Connections Inc., at the 2019 Greater Pittsburgh Nonprofit Partnership Summit, “Addressing Autism in the Black Community: Autism Urban Connections, Inc.”  Barry is the author of a blog on the Therapist Neurodiversity Collective website entitled, “Fundamental Research Problems with the ASHA Board Certified Specialist in Autism Spectrum Disorders (BCS-ASD).”

Janice Nathan, M.S., CCC-SLP.: Advocacy Initiative Co-Chair
Current Project: BCS-ASD Petition

Janice Nathan, M.S., CCC-SLP is a certified speech-language pathologist and owner of Nathan Speech Services, LLC. Janice works with autistic children and adults providing therapy focused on inner speech (the silent voice in our heads we use to problem-solve), self-insight, and self-awareness. Her area of expertise is cognitive processing of language and its effect on child development, interpersonal relationships, and learning. Janice’s interest in autism and her unique language intervention approach in this area developed as a result of growing up with an autistic family.

She and her husband are the authors of Building Reasoning and Problem-Solving Skills in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Step by Step Guide to the Thinking In Speech® Intervention, (2018; Jessica Kingsley Publishers: London; 192PP). Her intervention was accepted as part of the National Science Foundation-funded Pitt Ventures First Gear program of the University of Pittsburgh Innovation Institute. Janice is a member of the Professional Advisory Council (PAC) for Autism Connection of PA, which is a nonprofit Autism education and advocacy organization. Janice is a Network Supervisor (Clinical Supervisor) with the University of Pittsburgh’s Communication Sciences and Disorders program. In 2012 Janice was accepted as a member of the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR).

Janice is a workshop presenter for Summit Education. She has presented at numerous conferences, including the Autism Society of America’s annual conference, and the American Speech Hearing Language Association (ASHA) annual conference. In March of 2016, Janice was invited to lead a two-day workshop for the 6th Egyptian Society for Phoniatrics and Logopedics Congress in Cairo, Egypt. Her research study testing the effectiveness of an intervention focused on developing inner speech, was a poster presentation at the 2019 Autism-Europe International Congress, in Nice, France, entitled, “Turning Behavior and Anxiety into Communication for Social Problem-Solving”. She was also part of a panel discussion on “Autism and the School-to-Prison Pipeline,” for the 2019 Center for Urban Education Summer Education Forum of the University of Pittsburgh. Janice is currently working on two research grants further investigating her use of a novel intervention to promote inner speech in autistic and neurodivergent children.