US AUTISM ASSOCIATION ANNUAL WORLD CONFERENCE

OVER 30 of the world's most respected researchers, practitioners, and education specialists in the Autism community will share valuable resources for your child, family member, patient, friend, student, or yourself at the US Autism Association 2018 World Conference and Expo

THE FOLLOWING ARE PRESENTERS. PANELISTS ARE LISTED BELOW THE PRESENTERS.


**TEMPLE GRANDIN, PhD- KEYNOTE SPEAKER

Temple Grandin, PhD, is one of the most accomplished and well-known adults with autism in the world. In February of 2017, Dr. Grandin was named to the National Women's Hall of Fame. She was selected by Time magazine as one of the "100 Most Influential People in the World" (2010). Dr. Grandin’s fascinating life was brought to the screen in 2010 in the HBO production full-length film, "Temple Grandin", which claimed seven Emmy Awards, including outstanding made for TV movie. She has been featured on NPR (National Public Radio), major television programs, such as the BBC special "The Woman Who Thinks Like a Cow", ABC's Primetime Live, The Today Show, Larry King Live, 48 Hours and 20/20, and has been written about in many national publications, such as Time magazine, People magazine, Forbes, U.S. News and World Report, and New York Times. This will be Temple's 9th US Autism Association appearance. Dr. Grandin received the US Autism Association Chairman's award in 2015. There will be a book signing after her presentation. Dr. Grandin has also authored The Autistic Brain, Different...Not Less, The Way I See It: A Personal Look at Autism and Asperger's, Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships, Animals Make us Human, Animals in Translation, Thinking in Pictures, Emergence: Labeled Autistic, and produced several DVDs. All books and DVD's are available through Future Horizons, the official US Autism Association Conference on-site bookstore. More...

RONALD AUNG-DIN, MD- Speaker and Panelist

Dr. Aung-Din has practiced General Neurology & Neuro-Psychiatry in Sarasota, FL for over 25 years. He is board-certified by American Board of Psychiatry & Neurology and member of American Academy of Neurology. He attended Medical School at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas, TX. Residencies in Neurology and Neurosurgery followed at University of Florida, Gainesville, FL. Additional studies included a Medical Student Fellowship in Cardiology at Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford and Clinical Neurology Postgraduate Fellowship at National Hospital for Nervous Disease, Queen Square, London, UK. More...

*JOYCE S. BENJAMIN, PA, RN - Speaker and Panelist

Joyce Benjamin, PA, RN, is a mother of two adult sons on the autism spectrum. Her career as an RN and later PA, was focused between Pediatrics, Emergency Medicine, and Plastic Surgery. As a mother of two young children, she chose to homeschool her sons through the ages of 10 and 12 to insure they were being taught utilizing their strengths. After that time, she enrolled them into a private school for children with special education needs. The family participated in a MTV Tru Life Series documentary. In August of 2014, Joyce co-founded Autism FYI Org establishing the first national registry for safety of those on the autism spectrum. Her passion is to help those on the autism spectrum, keeping them safe, providing them with employment opportunities, and establishing a supportive community for them to live independently as adults. More...

*BRITTYN COLEMAN - MS, RDN/LD - Speaker and Panelist

howardBrittyn Coleman, MS, RDN/LD is a dietitian specializing in autism spectrum disorders and is also a sibling of an individual on the autism spectrum. Through her life and her studies, she realized how much overlap there is between nutrition and autism. During graduate school at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, she specialized in autism spectrum disorders and led her thesis research in food aversions and nutrient intake in children with ASD. There are very few dietitians specializing in ASD across the country, which makes accessibility extremely low. Because of this, she offers video and phone consults to parents and individuals all over the nation to increase the reach of nutrition therapy and nutrition education for families and individuals affected by ASD. She is extremely knowledgeable about autism in relations to diet, biomedical interventions, food selectivity, and even nutrigenetics. More...

*PHILLIP C. DEMIO, MD - Host, Speaker and Panelist

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, Lyme disease 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 received the US Autism Association Chairman's award in 2012. Dr. DeMio is Chief Medical Officer and a Board Member for the US Autism Association and the Executive Director for the American Medical Autism Board. More...

CARRIE EINCK, MS, OTR/L - Speaker

Carrie Einck, MS, OTR/L is a sensory processing disorder (SPD) specialist who co-spearheaded STAR Institute's renowned adult and adolescent treatment program. Carrie has extensive training and knowledge in evaluation and treatment of SPD throughout the lifespan. She helped developed the Adult SENSE webinar series that covers five essential topics for adults with SPD and works regularly with individuals and their families. Carrie has also founded JumpOnIt! For Kids!, an inclusive group class for children with developmental disabilities and their siblings. This community-based social skills group is designed for children of all ages and abilities and promotes social skill building and motor development through a fun and motivating class taught on mini trampolines. Carrie graduated with her Master's Degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of Wisconsin- La Crosse. More...

*KRISTIN SELBY GONZALEZ - Speaker

Kristin Selby Gonzalez is a leading international spokesperson, educator, radio show host, writer within the autism community, and the mother of a boy with autism. Kristin graduated from UCLA and is a former elementary school teacher. Kristin has been working with her son for over ten years and has seen him progress from very withdrawn with no language, to a playful and interactive boy who now can speak, rides a bike, takes karate and gymnastic lessons. She possesses an extraordinary body of knowledge and experience with both educational and biomedical interventions for autism. Kristin is the President and Chairman of the Autism Hope Alliance. Autism Hope Alliance is the first Autism non-profit to emerge from the Natural Foods Industry. More...

THEODORE HENDERSON, MD, PhD - Speaker and Panelist

Dr. Henderson established his private practice, Child, Adolescent, and General Psychiatry in Centennial Colorado in July of 2000. Dr. Henderson brings a unique blend of expertise in psychopharmacology, neurobiology, and an understanding of human nature to the practice of psychiatry. He trained in Psychiatry at the prestigious Barnes/Jewish Hospitals at Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Henderson approaches psychiatry from a brain-based biological perspective and recognizes the limitations of the categorical philosophy of the DSM system. More...

*TERRI HIRNING - Speaker and Panelist

hirningTerri Hirning integrates many modalities in her work with her clients. Her background of having worked for The Great Plains Laboratory gives her a strong basis and understanding of their testing. She also currently works for New Beginnings Nutritionals and is highly trained in the implementation of supplement programs, in conjunction with a healthy diet, to support optimal health. As an autism mom, she truly has 'been there, done that' in terms of getting healthy foods into a picky eater. She presents a holistic nutrition program that works with laboratory testing, supplements, lifestyle, budget and any specific needs each client may have. More...

KERI HUDDLESTON, MA, CCC-SLP - Speaker

Keri Huddleston, MA, CCC-SLP is a speech language pathologist and assistive technology specialist in Reno, NV. Keri has over 25 years of experience in the field working with students with a range of disabilities, including complex communication needs, and providing consultative services to teams who support them. She has presented extensively at local, state, and national conferences in the areas of autism, Asperger Syndrome, augmentative communication, assistive technology, behavior, consultative service, and executive functioning. She has also published articles in the Closing the Gap magazine on assistive technology, augmentative communication, and autism.

*L. P. KAPLAN, PhD - Host

Dr. Kaplan is the founder of US Autism Association, Inc. He is a parent of three boys, one who is afflicted with autism and co-occurring disorders including Apraxia of Speech (CAS), Traumatic Brain Disorder (TBI), and Lyme disease. His 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". He was the chief investigator for the first study on early diagnosis of ASD. He has authored multiple Conference Proceedings Manuals. His focus is on programs for adults nationwide, and his new book on resilience and mentorship.

**RAUN K. KAUFMAN - Speaker and Panelist

Raun K. Kaufman is an international speaker, writer and teacher for The Son-Rise Program at the Autism Treatment Center of America. Raun's recent book is Autism Breakthrough: The Groundbreaking Method That Has Helped Families All Over the World. In his work with families, children, and professionals from around the world, Raun brings a distinctive qualification to the realm of Autism treatment - his own personal history. At 18 months, Raun was diagnosed as severely and incurably autistic. Raun's story was recounted by his father, Barry Neil Kaufman, in the best-selling book, Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues, and was also the subject of an award-winning NBC television movie, Son-Rise: A Miracle of Love. More...

*CARA KOSCINSKI, MOT, OTR/L -Speaker and Panelist

Cara Koscinski, MOT, OTR/L, author of The Pocket Occupational Therapist Book Series, is a pediatric occupational therapist with over 20 years' experience. She specializes in Sensory Processing Disorder, trauma-informed care, behavior, advocacy, and autism. As a speaker, Cara brings her expertise as a pediatric occupational therapist and mother of two children with autism to parents, caregivers, families, and educators in an easy-to-follow format. She has published six books which are sold globally. Cara obtained her Master of Occupational Therapy degree in 1997 from Duquesne University. She is currently attending university to obtain her doctorate degree in occupational therapy. Cara is also a children's YOGA instructor and Certified Irlen screener. More...

** MICHAEL MCMANMON, EdD - Speaker and Panelist

Dr. McManmon grew up the youngest son in a family of nine children. He is the father of six children and sixteen grandchildren. He is the Founder of the College Internship Program (CIP) in 1984 with six campuses across the US. He obtained his Doctorate in Special Education from the University of Nevada. Dr. McManmon is a licensed psychologist by the State of Massachusetts and has worked for 44 years on curriculum development, staff training, program evaluation, and administering community based programming. He is the driving force behind the founding of the Good Purpose Art Gallery and the Spectrum Playhouse in Lee, Massachusetts. He is the author of Made for Good Purpose: What Every Parent Needs to Know to Help Their Adolescent with Asperger's, High Functioning Autism or a Learning Difference Become an Independent Adult. More...

SARAH NORRIS, MS, OTR/L - Speaker

Sarah Norris, MS, OTR/L is a sensory processing disorder (SPD) specialist who co-spearheaded STAR Institute's renowned adult and adolescent treatment programs. Sarah has extensive training and knowledge in evaluation and treatment of SPD throughout the lifespan. She co-developed the Adult SENSE webinar series that covers five essential topics for adults with SPD and works regularly with individuals and their families. Prior to her work at STAR, Sarah worked with a wide variety of clients in inpatient and outpatient pediatric hospital, school-based, early intervention, summer camp, and private practice settings. Sarah is trained in DIR/Floortime, Integrated Listening Systems (iLs), Interactive Metronome, Handwriting Without Tears, Therapeutic Listening, Brain Gym, NeuroNet, ALERT program and SOS feeding interventions, among others. She graduated with a Master's degree in Occupational Therapy from the University of South Alabama. More...

*HAROLD "HACKIE" REITMAN, MD - Speaker and Panelist

Harold "Hackie" Reitman, MD is the founder of the neurodiversity community site www.DifferentBrains.com, which features a variety of videos, blogs, and podcasts, including the interview show "Exploring Different Brains", hosted by Dr. Reitman. He is also the author of Aspertools: The Practical Guide to Understanding and Embracing Asperger's Syndrome, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and Neurodiversity, the producer of The Square Root of 2 movie, an orthopaedic surgeon, a former professional heavyweight boxer, a documentarian, and board member of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Broward County. More..

*IVAN M. ROSENBERG, PhD- Speaker

Dr. Ivan Rosenberg is the Founder and President of The Uniquely Abled Project.  He is the father of two adult children, both with autism.  He was also a Board Member of Exceptional Minds Studio, a vocational school that teaches digital media post-production to young adults with high functioning autism. He is a management consultant focusing on aerospace & defense organizations and has extensive experience in the business and manufacturing worlds, where many UAP consumers have been and will be placed. He has graduate degrees from Cornell University and the University of Rochester. He has been a university professor, founder of a software company that is now over 35 years old, vice-president of an international franchiser, and a member of the Morro Bay City Council. More...

JARED SKOWRON, ND - Speaker and Panelist

Dr. Jared Skowron is the Amazon best-selling author of 100 Natural Remedies For Your Child, and owner of Spectrum Awakening, Autism/ADHD supplement company. His main focus is as a biomedical Autism/ADHD physician, helping kids in his private practice for 15 years. He is an international lecturer and enjoys educating families on non-pharmaceutical interventions to improve Autism/ADHD. Dr. Skowron has lectured at other autism conferences throughout the United States. He is on the medical advisory boards of Autism Hope Alliance, NeuroNeeds, Chemo & Crayons, and Natural Practitioner Magazine. He enjoys spending time with his family and 5 year-old daughter. More...

MARLO PAYNE THURMAN, PhD - Speaker

Dr. Thurman is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Northern Colorado and completed her PhD in Special Education in the summer of 2016. She started her work with special needs children in 1986. Marlo developed a special interest in the unique needs of those individuals who were both highly intelligent and asynchronously developed. Through her private practice she carried out this interest, specializing in assessment, advocacy, cognitive training, sensory and behavior support, and socio-emotional coaching. In 1999 Marlo founded the Brideun Learning Communities and built the Brideun School for Exceptional Children. More...

GIL TIPPY PsyD - Speaker

Dr. Tippy is one of the founders of the Rebecca School in Manhattan. He has been responsible for evaluating over 400 children, and has been central in creating both the academic and clinical programs. Dr. Tippy, Author of Respecting Autism with Stanley Greenspan, MD, offers Evaluations, Direct Services, and Consulting to private individuals and organizations. He is the Clinical Director Emeritus of  Shrub Oak International School, in Westchester County, NY. He is a Clinical Psychologist, licensed in the State of New York, with his Psychology license in California in process. He is the Chief Clinical Advisor of the Envision Center in Verona, NJ and is an Expert DIR/Floortime Provider and Teacher. He lives and has a private practice, Respectrum Developmental Services, as well as a not-for-profit, Dirty Hands Developmental Alliance, in Sonoma County, California. He brings 35 years experience as a teacher and a Psychologist where he supervises, does the evaluations, and works directly with the kids. More...

J. MICHAEL USZLER, MD, MS - Panelist

tyler weaverDr. Uszler is a member of our Scientific Advisory Board, an Assistant Clinical Professor of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology at UCLA, and the Medical Director of drspectscan.org. As a board certified Nuclear Medicine physician he has 4 decades of academic and clinical experience in hospital-based care and in private practice in California and Florida. For the last 20 years his special clinical focus has been SPECT brain function imaging of Autism Spectrum Disorders. He is available for consultations with parents nationally about obtaining SPECT brain scans in their children. He recently completed as the Medical Director of the Nuclear Medicine Department at Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California. He is nationally recognized for his expertise of SPECT brain function imaging of disorders such as ASD, Cerebral Palsy, ADD/ADHD, near-drowning, closed head trauma (TBI), toxic encephalopathy, stroke and dement

ia.

**TYLER WEAVER, JR. - Speaker and Panelist

tyler weaverTyler Weaver, Jr. is an Extreme Martial Arts Specialist, Coach, Young Adult Speaker and Role-Model Worldwide. Tyler was diagnosed with ASD at the age of twenty-two. Tyler started martial arts at the age of two. He is known as one of the world's top recognized leading adult martial artists in the industry and currently holds forty-four Multi-Circuit World Titles in NASKA, ISKA, NBL and ATA circuits. Tyler appeared on The Megan Mullally Show and The Oprah Winfrey Show. He has received parts in the movies Champions of the Deep, The Underdogs, and Star Raiders Adventures of the Saber Rain. He is currently working on a new web series call Shadow War. Tyler scored the first ever perfect ten from all seven judges at the WAKO World Championships in Ireland. Tyler is an ambassador for Lifetime Fitness and is sponsored by Team Paul Mitchell Systems, Century and Hyper Martial Arts. More

*CAROL S. WEINMAN, ESQ, CAS - Speaker and Panelist

tyler weaverCarol Weinman is an attorney, autism expert, legal consultant, on-air legal analyst, behavioral consultant, parent, author and international speaker who specializes in special education law and criminal law. She represents criminal offenders on the autism spectrum and provides autism consulting and training to attorneys, educators and psychologists. As an education legal advocate, she has successfully avoided special education litigation by utilizing her personal experience and conflict resolution skills, and by working collaboratively with teachers and school districts. Contact: Weinman Law Office and Autism Advisors & Advocates LLC

*THERESA K. WRANGHAM - Host and Moderator

Theresa K. Wrangham became a parent advocate as a result of her daughter Deanna's life-threatening asthma, as well as her daughter Rachel's diagnosis of PDD-NOS. In 2001 she co-founded the Autism Society of Boulder County (ASBC) in Colorado and served five terms as its president and, served on the Board of Directors for the Autism Society of Colorado. Theresa collaborated with Google to create Project Spectrum. She has been featured in local and national television and print news reports and recently was featured in Parade Magazine. Theresa is the Executive Director for NVIC.org. More...


*LAUREN ABERCROMBIE- Panelist

Lauren Abercrombie is the Co-Founder and President of Project Inclusion, a non-profit organization that provides free special events in Southern Nevada for individuals with special needs since 2015. It all started in 2014 as Lauren founded Promapalooza with the help of her mom, Lisa Abercrombie. Both women were inspired to make a prom for teens with special needs due to their involvement in the autism community since Mason, Lauren's younger brother and Lisa's son, was diagnosed with autism at the age of two. Both women put their love and passion towards Mason and the rest of the autism community, making sure that these children and young adults would have the same opportunities to participate in typical social events. Lauren wanted her younger brother to be able to experience a prom night, just like any typical teenager, in a judgment-free, comfortable environment, where he was able to be himself. Unfortunately, in March of 2015, Lisa passed away. After her passing, Lauren continued to pursue their small dream of Promapalooza to finally make it into a reality. Friends, family, and community members worked together to help create Promapalooza. Now four years later, the annual prom lives in the honor of Lisa Abercrombie. More...

*OFFICER MICHAEL COLEMAN - Panelist

Officer Michael Coleman has been a sworn Police Officer with the City of Henderson since 2003. Officer Coleman currently instructs all of the Departments ADA related courses and specializes in courses relating to the Autism Spectrum Disorder. He has been awarded his Departments Medal of Valor Award and Life Saving Award and has been has been involved with the local Autism Community since 2004. Officer Coleman most recently obtained his Americans with Disabilities Act Coordinators Certificate and Co-Authored the book "Wheelchair, Officers Field Guide". Officer Coleman has instructed topics relating to the Americans with Disabilities Act that include Deaf individual contacts, Wheelchair contacts and Autism Safety across the United States. Officer Coleman was additionally added to the Autism Coalition of Nevada's (ACON) Advisory Committee in 2016. Officer Coleman is the proud Father of his Son Lincoln, who was diagnosed Autism at the age of 2.

OLIVIA GOODREAU - Panelist

Olivia Goodreau is the founder of LivLyme Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization supporting the work of researchers and scientists who are dedicated to finding the effective treatment for Lyme disease and ultimately finding the cure. Olivia has Lyme disease. She started the LivLyme Foundation to raise money for children that cannot afford their Lyme medication and to raise money to find a cure for everyone suffering from Lyme disease. Olivia's parents took her to over 50 doctors before she was diagnosed. Olivia is also the founder of the TickTracker. In July of 2017, 13-year-old Olivia was on vacation in Missouri with her family. While outside Olivia noticed a tick on her dog, Mo (short for Missouri). Olivia & her mom watched the tick start to burrow into Mo’s leg. They quickly found needle nose tweezers to properly remove the tick from Mo. As Olivia was removing the tick she asked her mom, “Is there an app that can show what ticks are around us?” That night Olivia looked online and found that currently there was no app to help track, report, and educate people about ticks. This gave Olivia the idea to create the TickTracker app to help keep everyone safe. Olivia is a self-advocate for Lyme disease that also affects 25-30% or more of persons with ASD. More...

**SPENCER KELLY - Self-Advocate Panelist

Spencer Kelly is a 17-year-old entrepreneur from Michigan that has Asperger Syndrome. Despite his journey, Spencer has attained a level of independence and goal achievement that is quite impressive, considering all the developmental challenges he has faced growing up with Asperger's syndrome. In September 2016, when beginning 10th grade & just 15 years-old, Spencer launched ExpeditionSoaps.com, an online business that has grown to be quite successful. Along with his success, Spencer is grateful for his families love and support. Spencer has also achieved some personal goals that his parents once were told not likely possible. Spencer recently has attained his driver's license. He is a 12th grade homeschool student that is dual enrolled at the local University. He likes being independent and is looking for a girlfriend. Spencer also led his local High School Quiz Bowl team in victory for 2 years. Spencer is here to share his inspiring story of how he became a young entrepreneur while having the challenges of Asperger syndrome. Be sure to visit Spencer's booth to meet him. You can check out his company online at ExpeditionSoaps.com. More...

*TRACIE KELLY - Panelist

tracie kellyTracie Kelly is a homeschool mother of two boys, ages 14 & 17, in which the older son, Spencer, has Asperger Syndrome. Upon recognizing Spencer's development wasn't typical, she began on the long road of doctor visits, evaluations, speech, OT, & social therapists, chiropractic, and craniosacral therapy trying to find the support Spencer needed. Soon after, this led to seeking a biomedical approach to treating autism. Next, treatment included homeopathy and whole food nutrition, including Juice Plus. All these therapies combined, over time, have helped Spencer achieve goals and independence. Tracie is attending the conference with her son Spencer, and both Tracie and Spencer will share their inspiring stories on different panels during the conference. Stop by The Expedition Soaps Company exhibit booth to meet Tracie and Spencer. More...

**FALYNNE LEWING - Panelist

LewingFalynne Lewing is a 17-year-old self-taught professional entertainer! As a small child, Falynne had to overcome a speech delay and a stuttering disability, developmental delays with walking, and an issue with the pituitary portion of her brain. Early on, she was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome, but that did not hinder her from being a delightful, hard-working performer. Falynne became an avid Michael Jackson fan at 5 years old. She has been a fierce advocate of Michael Jackson since his passing, sharing his message of "heal the world" by creating art, dancing, and singing as a tribute to the late King of Pop! She has performed at countless charity events to raise funds for the American Cancer Society, the Children's Miracle Network, the Downs Syndrome Network, Disability Resources, Journey of Hope, and so many more. Today, Falynne Lewing and her wonderful team from Red Hot Productions are excited about her upcoming "Michael Jackson: A THRILLING Tribute!" show at the Grand Sierra Resort in Reno on Tuesday, October 30, 2018! This is a benefit show for the Autism Coalition of Nevada.

*MOLLY LIMBAUGH - Panelist

Molly Limbaugh is a Junior at Pinecrest Academy-Cadence and a Freshman at CSN. She has been an active part in the autism community since a very young age. Molly has a brother, Aaron who is 19. He was diagnosed two days before his third birthday. She has not known life without autism. Through the years, Molly has seen the lack of programs and activities for teens/young adults with autism. For Molly's Girl Scout silver award she created the "I love you to pieces dance", a Valentine's Day dance for teens with autism. The dance was started in 2015 and has become a yearly event at Sport Social. Molly created the dance because she wanted everyone to be able to attend a school dance and not be judged. For her Girl Scout Gold Award, she created "Molly's Say yes to the dress," A prom closet for teens with autism. Teens with autism are able to come to shop for their perfect prom or homecoming dress. Molly started a "Best Buddies" Chapter at Pinecrest. Being active in the autism community comes second nature to her. She has seen first-handed teens with autism get excluded from events/activities and it saddens her. She wants everyone with any disability to be able to have friends and to be accepted. Her brother inspires her and motivates her to be a better person.

**BENJAMIN NELSON - Panelist

Benjamin Nelson started drawing at two and at three was diagnosed with autism. Although autism stole his speech, his mind was full of images and ideas. With intense one on one therapy using ABA and other methods and years of hard work, Ben gained the ability to speak fluently and lost many of the symptoms that make autism difficult. He could make eye contact, have conversations, and began to build life skills. Today he chooses to live with his parents in Henderson, Nevada. He has a group of close friends that he socializes with independently, going to movies and having parties. He also volunteers at the public library and gardens with his grandfather. In 2013, he published his first children's book, Little Red Flying Hood, which he created with help from a grant he was awarded through the Idea Design Ignites Change Program. It is available on Amazon.com. His skill as an artist continues to grow and he has followed his children's book with artwork for private patrons. He plans to complete his second book in 2019. His website is www.cartoonben.com. Ben believes autism is the reason he has this amazing artistic ability and sees autism as a gift that shaped who he is. His latest work, a self-portrait is below. More...

ANDRE SAM - Panelist

Andre Sam is a Comprehensive  Disability & Special Needs Planner with SilverTree Special Needs Planning. Upon earning a Bachelors Degree in Economics from the University of Arizona, Andre began a career in comprehensive Disability & Special Needs Planning. Andre has been in the industry since 2012 and now working with individuals and families with special needs and disabilities. Andre is also a volunteer speaker with a non-profit organization called the Special Needs Education & Advocacy Project. Through this non-profit organization, Andre gives back to the community by donating his time during evenings and on the weekends sharing his knowledge by providing complimentary educational presentations to organizations, conferences, and groups who have loved ones that are part of the special needs and disability community.

*MICHELLE SCOTT-LEWING- Panelist

Michelle Scott-Lewing is President of the Autism Coalition of Nevada (ACON), Founder of the Autism Council of America, and is a fierce advocate for people with neurodevelopmental disabilities and the underprivileged. Michelle has 26 years of experience as Executive Vice President for MEDICAL ENERGY, INC., a medical laser device manufacturing company based in the United States. She is a clinical expert in the specialties of Pediatric and Adult Neurosurgery, Urology, Gynecology, and ENT/Head and Neck Surgery. Michelle's current platform for advocacy is related to Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) in Autism. She has created the CTE-SASI Initiative. Her son Chayce, who is eighteen years old, has autism. He has his own platform called "CarChayce". Michelle's daughter, Falynne, is seventeen years old and is a professional entertainer. Falynne has her own live entertainment show called "Michael Jackson: A THRILLING Tribute" which is presented as a fundraiser for various charities throughout Nevada, and across the USA Michelle is a breast cancer survivor. She has chosen to allow her experience in this area to motivate her to help others. More...

*RADHIKA SHAH- Sibling Panelist

Radhika Shah is an upcoming junior who attends Green Valley High School in Henderson, Nevada. She has always had a passion for helping children with special needs, as her younger brother Amar has Autism. Radhika and Amar are only 18 months apart, so they have always had an extremely close relationship. Radhika has seen the potential and talents within her brother's skills, yet she has witnessed several gaps within his abilities, too. From working with Best Buddies, Special Olympics, and other organizations within her community, it is evident that Radhika has taken interest in helping those with disabilities. This passion prompted her to start her own non-profit organization RAD, or making a Real Autism Difference. Spreading the message of Autism Awareness is something that she looks forward to continuing. Aside from this, Radhika is a dedicated student who values academic excellence within her school life. She enjoys partaking in Speech and Debate, Model United Nations, and Varsity Tennis. In the future, Radhika looks forward to pursuing a career in medicine, specifically with a neuropediatric focus. More...

*JENNIFER STROBEL - Panelist

strobelJennifer Strobel is an avid supporter of families affected by autism in southern Nevada. Jennifer was a FEAT board member for over five years and is currently the Executive Director for FEAT. Jennifer resides with her husband Mike and has three children Taylor 15, Peyton 13 and the newest addition to the Strobel family is Brenden weighing in at 2lbs 12oz - He is now almost two years old and doing fantastic! Jennifer's daughter Peyton was diagnosed with autism at age four and began intensive ABA therapy shortly thereafter. Peyton is also actively involved in Girl Scouts, Swimming, Dance, Horse back riding and Art. It is Jennifer's goal to help educate the Las Vegas Valley on autism and also be a resource for families that need support, encouragement and hope. More...

*RYKER WEAVER - Panelist

tyler weaverRyker Weaver is a Martial Arts Specialist and college student. He has always been by his older brother's side. They have been traveling together performing martial arts shows and competitions for over fifteen years. At age five, Ryker participated in an international show in Mexico City with his brother Tyler. As a duo, the brothers were able to take the World Championship Sync Title in 2015. Ryker is attending college and working side by side with Tyler seeking more awareness of Autism for both his brothers. Ryker is the on the board for his brother's nonprofit, KarateforKidz Worldwide. He is an ambassador for Lifetime Fitness and is sponsored by Macho.