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Aaron Lanou is an educational consultant working with teachers, schools, and organizations to implement inclusive, strengths-based instruction and supports for autistic students and all kids with a variety of academic, executive functioning, and social support needs.
Aaron was a special education teacher in inclusive and specialized classes and Director of the ASD Nest Support Project at New York University. In his time at ASD Nest, supporting the nation’s largest inclusion program for students with autism, Aaron coordinated and provided professional development and consultation in ASD Nest schools; oversaw the program’s expansion to more than 50 K–12 schools across New York City; developed the middle and high school model with a team of secondary educators; and led a three-year grant to adapt the ASD Nest model in Aarhus, Denmark. He is currently coordinator of the Path Program, an NYU & NYCDOE inclusion pilot program for students with social-emotional support needs based on the ASD Nest model.
Aaron has been adjunct faculty at CUNY’s Hunter College and NYU, teaching graduate and undergraduate courses on instructional methods for students with learning disabilities and teaching students with complex support needs. He has presented nationally and internationally and published multiple articles, including a co-authored article for Intervention in School and Clinic on using students’ strengths and interests to address social, academic, and behavior issues of students on the autism spectrum.
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Marianna is a Chartered Clinical Psychologist specialising in the field of Autism Spectrum and neurodiversity. For over twenty years, Marianna has dedicated her work to promoting the psychological well-being of people on the Autism Spectrum and improving understanding of ASC as an international trainer in diagnostics of ASC, lecturer, writer and therapist.
Marianna started her career working for the National Autistic Society, supporting young adults with ASD in accessing further education. She then worked at the Institute of Psychiatry and the Maudsley Hospital as a Research Psychologist on the Molecular Genetic Study of Autism as well as on the longitudinal study following up children adopted from Romania, who experienced severe deprivation in early development.
For ten years, Marianna managed psychology provision at the National Centre for High Functioning Autism at the Great Ormond Street Hospital for children. Together with colleagues from the Institute of Child Health, she conducted research into how environmental modifications in schools can lead to improved outcomes for children with ASC. She was part of the team who developed the STEP-ASD (Systemic Transition Programme for ASD), a research-evaluated intervention supporting children with Autism Spectrum in mainstream schools, and co-authored a book on supporting children during the transition into secondary school. She developed programs to support children, young people and their families after receiving a diagnosis (PEGASUS), published in peer-reviewed journals including JCPP and PEGASUS is now used in a range of services across the UK. She also set up and continue to provide training in diagnostic assessment of Autism Spectrum (ADOS2 courses), which attracts professionals from all over the world.
In 2017, Marianna was approached to set up the first ASD/LD module of the CYP IAPT program, where she works to date as a Senior Clinical Tutor. Marianna is the founder and director of Autism Spectrum Direction, a social enterprise that provides training courses internationally and invests proceeds from these to support autistic community through therapeutic and assessment services. The main focus of her career has been inspiring people to continuously strive to create more inclusive environments for everyone on the neuro-spectrum and helping children and young people with neurodiversity to achieve to their potential.
Sara Peters M.Sc.(A), R.SLP, SLP(C) is a Speech Language Pathologist specializing in Autism and Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC). She has over 14 years of clinical experience in treating speech and language disorders in children with Autism and related developmental disabilities. She has worked in hospital, school, home, and clinic settings within Canada, as well as internationally. She has worked with several children in home and school settings in Saudi Arabia, as well as in several clinic settings in Ecuador. Sara is certified with Speech-Language & Audiology Canada (SAC) and a registered member in good standing with the Alberta College of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists (ACSLPA). Sara has training in Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT), The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), Hanen, the SCERTS Model, SETT Framework, PROMPT, Pragmatic Organization Dynamic Display (PODD), LAMP Words for Life, AssistiveWare AAC Training Series (Proloquo2Go), Saltillo Training Series (TouchChat HD with WordPower). Sara volunteers with the Global Autism Project to provide training and education on Autism globally to build understanding and capacity in a sustainable way. She has presented several workshops and trainings related to Autism, social skills and play development, and AAC. Sara offers assessment and treatment for speech and language disorders in person and virtually, as well as workshops in a variety of areas related to Autism and communication development.
Maria graduated with a Bachelors in Psychology from the University of Lethbridge in 1991 and a Masters in Speech Language Pathology from the University of Alberta in 1997. She has full membership in Speech-Language and Audiology Canada and is a registered member of the Alberta College of Speech-Language Pathologists and Audiologists.
Maria has practised in various settings: early intervention, preschool, and school settings; the First Nations, Metis, and Inuit community; healthcare settings; teletherapy; specialized programmes/clinics; and in MENA (Middle East North Africa). She has worked with a varied caseload: children in the deaf community; children with special education needs, children with ASD; children and adults with FASD; and children diagnosed with a variety of medical conditions. She has experience in using a range of intervention approaches including SCERTS, PECS, Hanen, and is also trained in American Sign Language (ASL).
Maria’s professional and volunteer responsibilities have included development and implementation of mentoring programmes, assistant training programmes, para-professional training, and family training programmes.
Maria currently works in the private sector with children with complex needs, and children and adults with FASD. She also volunteers with overseas initiatives that provide speech and language services to children in low and middle incomes countries.
Elbert Blakely received a Ph.D. in 1988 from Western Michigan in Psychology with a specialty in Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). He has worked in the fields of developmental disabilities, mental health, behavior pharmacology, experimental analysis of behavior, organizational behavior management, and database design. Dr. Blakely has co-authored 25 articles and one book. The articles address research questions in the areas of the experimental analysis of behavior, applied behavior analysis, conceptual issues, and behavior pharmacology. Dr. Blakely is an Assistant Professor at Florida Institute of Technology, where he teaches courses in applied behavior analysis, radical behaviorism, and behavior pharmacology. He also provides consultation to organizations and providers who deliver ABA services to children and adults.
Rhea Paul, Ph.D., CCC-SLP is Professor and Founding Chair of Department of Communication Disorders at Sacred Heart University, author of over 100 refereed journal articles, over 50 book chapters, and 10 books. She received the Ritvo-Slifka Award for Innovative Clinical Research from the International Society for Autism Research in 2010 and Honors of the Association for lifetime achievement in 2014 from the American Speech-Language and Hearing Association. She currently serves as Director of ABCs 4 ASD, an interprofessional training program for SLPs and OTs in enhancing literacy for students with ASD, funded by the U. S. Office of Education.