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.

Chairman, CEO
Lawrence P. Kaplan, PhD

Dr. Kaplan is a parent of child with autism. 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/Asperger conference in the world with over 34,000 viewers. This was the first autism/Asperger event that was streamed live in its entirety. For more information on USAAA conferences, click on the following link: USAAA conferences.

Richard Dunie, MPh, MBA, CPA

Mr. Dunie is an Assistant Professor (Lecturer) in the Finance Department (formerly in the Accounting and Information Systems Departments) 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 and the American Accounting Association. His son was diagnosed with nonspecific developmental delay at the age of four.

Jay D. Burstein, MD, F.A.C.S.
Dr. Burstein 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.

Susan Schulman, MA, CCRA
Ms. Schulman is a Certified Clinical Research Associate. She has worked for over thirty years as a medical/technical writer and clinical research coordinator for a variety of academic facilities and private businesses including the University of Utah, University of Washington, Vanderbilt University, University of Chicago and the Huntsman Cancer Institute.

Ms. Schulman investigated research developments in autism and tutored a child affected by autism using the Lovaas method. She has written, reviewed and edited numerous clinical trials, manuscripts, and ethics committee submissions. Her publications include over forty articles on cancer therapy and management published in the New England Journal of Medicine, the British Medical Journal, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute and other noted publications. Ms. Schulman has taught history taking skills and administered examinations to medical and physician assistant students. She has volunteered for a number of non-profit organizations, including the University of Utah. Her greatest joy is being a mom to her two fantastic children, a son and a daughter.

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

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


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


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