WHO WE ARE

US Autism & Asperger Association (USAAA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization for Autism and Asperger education, support, and solutions. Since 1995, USAAA began improving the quality of life of individuals affected by autism, Asperger Syndrome and other related disorders. In the summer of 2005, Special Abilities evolved into US Autism & Asperger Association, Inc. with a mission to Provide the Opportunity for everyone living with autism, Asperger Syndrome and other related disorders to achieve their fullest potential, by enriching the autism and Asperger communities with education, training, accessible resources, and partnerships with local and national projects.
Federal Tax i.d. # 20-3372933

To learn more about how you can help with our current and future projects, contact us.


BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Chairman, CEO
Lawrence P. Kaplan, PhD

Lawrence (Larry) P. Kaplan, PhD is a parent of three boys, one who is afflicted with autism and co-occurring disorders including Apraxia of Speech (CAS) and Lyme disease. Dr. Kaplan’s work in autism evolved in 1995 when his son was originally diagnosed with PDD-NOS, then autism. He founded Special Abilities, a non-profit charitable organization. It was one of the first organizations to offer assistance to special education schools and provide educational programs for parents who have children with ASD. Drawing on his decade long tenure in professional and collegiate sports, he created a "team approach" to develop a parent-physician partnership that has been presented at national and international autism conferences. This innovative concept led to authoring the book, "Diagnosis Autism: Now What? 10 Steps to Improve Treatment Outcomes; A Parent-Physician Team Approach". The book is listed in the top ten of titles most in demand by libraries and bookstores from Quality Books nationwide for six months prior to the week ending April 8, 2006 (source: Library Journal Archive - Small Press Bestsellers).

Dr. Kaplan was the chief investigator for the first study on early diagnosis of ASD. Dr. Kaplan is editor of the USAAA WeeklyNews e-newsletter and has created multiple Conference Proceedings Manuals. Dr. Kaplan has spent many years collaborating with the non-profit community. Prior to working with the autism community, he worked on many projects, over a ten year period, with the March of Dimes, the American Cancer Society, the National Stoke Association, and the American Heart Association.

In the summer of 2005, Special Abilities evolved into US Autism & Asperger Association, Inc. with a mission to Provide the Opportunity for everyone with autism, Asperger Syndrome and other related disorders to achieve their fullest potential, by enriching the autism and Asperger communities with education, training, accessible resources, and partnerships with local and national projects. Dr. Kaplan’s vision was to create an annual conference that concentrated on family, health, sibling issues, adolescence, diet and nutrition, autism and Asperger concerns, as well as other related disorders and the latest autism research and treatment. That vision became a reality in the summer of 2006. Thousands of people have attended USAAA World conferences since 2006. The 5th annual conference (2010) became the most-viewed autism and Asperger conference in the world with over 34,000 viewers. This was the first autism and Asperger event that was streamed live in its entirety. For more information on USAAA conferences, click on the following link: USAAA conferences.

Secretary/Treasurer
Richard Dunie, MPh, MBA, CPA

Richard Dunie, MPh, MBA, CPA is an Assistant Professor in the Management Department at the David Eccles School of Business, University of Utah. In addition to teaching accounting to undergraduate and graduate students, he teaches an introductory course in which students have the opportunity to read a collection of classic readings on various topics related to business, commerce, and economics.

Before coming to the University of Utah, he spent fifteen years working in the oil industry in a variety of accounting and financial analysis positions. He completed several years of graduate study at the University of Utah and recently received a Masters in Philosophy. He was also Treasurer and a member of the Board of Directors of the Heritage Academy in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Mr. Dunie is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. His son was diagnosed with nonspecific developmental delay at the age of four, also known as PDD-NOS.

Phillip C. DeMio, MD, Chief Medical Officer
Phillip C. DeMio, MD is board-certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He received his M.D. from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine with honors in Neurosurgery, Endocrinology/Metabolism, Advanced OB/GYN, and Advanced Internal Medicine. Dr. DeMio has been a faculty member at several teaching hospitals including Case Western University School of Medicine and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. He is accredited by the Teaching System of U.S. Armed Forces Medical Core and his career includes an emphasis on toxicology.

Dr. DeMio is the Medical Director for the Whole Health and Wellness Centers located in Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. His practice focuses on the diagnosis and treatment for individuals with Autism, Asperger Syndrome and related disorders. In addition to his practice, Dr. DeMio is an ER Physician at Case Western Reserve University Hospitals. Dr. DeMio is board-certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. Dr. DeMio is a father of a child with autism. Dr. DeMio is the Chief Medical Officer for the US Autism & Asperger Association and was appointed to this position in 2008.Dr. DeMio is the Executive Director for the American Medical Autism Board. More...

Jay D. Burstein, MD, F.A.C.S.
Jay D. Burstein, MD, F.A.C.S. is a board-certified urologist specializing in incontinence, interstitial cystitis, and prostate disorders. Dr. Burstein Clinical Adjunct Professor at University of Wisconsin, School of Medicine and Public Health. He is certified by the American Board of Urology and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (F.A.C.S.). He spent more than a decade teaching medicine in Chicago-area hospitals and is now in private practice at the KishHealth System Physician Group in DeKalb, Illinois. He completed his undergraduate work at Drake University, graduating magna cum laude, and is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa society. Dr. Burstein graduated from the University of Illinois College of Medicine in 1979.

Dr. Burstein's publications include several articles on embryology and anatomy published in urology textbooks. He has been involved with bladder suspension modifications since the introduction of that procedure in the Midwest in 1984. Dr. Burstein is a past president of the local American Cancer Society Chapter.

As a parent of a child with disabilities, his interest in the area of ASD grew, and he teamed up with Dr. Kaplan as editor of Diagnosis Autism: Now What? 10 Steps to Improve Treatment Outcomes. Dr. Burstein is now finding new ways to help parents of children with disabilities find urological solutions.

Daniel E. Kaplan, BA
Daniel E. Kaplan is the Outreach Manager for the award-winning PBS/Impact/Tribeca comedy documentary MEET THE PATELS. Daniel graduated in 2014 from the University of Southern California, where he studied Biological Sciences, Cinematic Arts, and Theatre. Previously, he worked as a film development intern at Red Wagon Entertainment.

While in school, Daniel wrote and contributed plays to a student-run theater company, Brand New Theatre, as well as a USC/NASA joint event, ClimatePalooza. He is passionate about writing, directing, and providing research and support for independent cinema, and values the role that the arts play to educate and bring about change by entertaining and documenting the personal side of complex issues. Also, while attending USC, Daniel volunteered hundreds of hours at Saint Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, California.

When Daniel is not working on documentaries, Daniel serves full time as an AmeriCorps member, where he works to improve the children’s literacy landscape of Los Angeles. Daniel is a twin to Nathan who is afflicted with autism and related disorders.


SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY BOARD
Phillip C. DeMio, MD, Chief Medical Officer
Medical Director at the Whole Health & Wellness Centers (Cleveland and Columbus offices); ER Physician at Case Western University Hospitals

Theodore Henderson, MD, PhD
Founder of Child, Adolescent, and General Psychiatry in Centennial, Colorado.

Valerie Hu, PhD
Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, George Washington University

Julie Matthews, CNC
Certified Nutritional Consultant, Co-founder of Nourishing Hope

Susan Schulman, MA, CCRA
Certified Clinical Research Associate

J. Michael Uszler, MD
Medical Director of the Nuclear Medicine Department at Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California; Assistant Clinical Professor UCLA, Molecular and Medical Pharmacology


COMMUNITY ADVISORY BOARD

Valerie Herskowitz, MA-CCC-SLP
President-elect: Florida Association of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists

James W. Partington, PhD, BCBA
Licensed psychologist, board-certified behavior analyst, doctoral level (BCBA-D), Director of Partington Behavior Analysts

Marlo Payne Thurman, MS
Adjunct faculty member at the University of Northern Colorado and will be completing her PhD in Special Education in 2015; School Psychologist and National Education Consultant

Theresa K. Wrangham
Co-founder of the Autism Society of Boulder County (Colorado), Executive Director of NVIC.org


SELF-ADVOCACY ADVISORY BOARD

Christopher M. Gauthier, MFA
Former Assistant Professor of Art, Photography, Utah State University

Raun K. Kaufman
Director of Global Education, Autism Treatment Center of America

Michael P. McManmon, EdD
Founder, College Internship Program

Tim Page, DFA
Professor at both the Thornton School of Music and the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, University of Southern California

Stephen M. Shore, EdD
Assistant Professor of Special Education, Adelphi University