2020 CONFERENCE SPEAKERS
Wesley Dotson, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Wes Dotson is the Director of the Burkhart Center for Autism Education and Research and an Associate Professor in the College of Education at Texas Tech University. He earned his Ph.D. in Behavioral Psychology in 2010 from the University of Kansas. He has been a BCBA since 2008. He has spent over 19 years in special education and clinical practice, working with individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities of all ages across school, clinic, home, community, and residential treatment settings. His primary areas of research and practice are social skills, relationship development, and successful life outcomes for adolescents and young adults with autism, as well as the preparation of
teachers and other professionals to work successfully with individuals on the spectrum.
FEATURED SPEAKER I DR. PATRICK MCGREEVY, PH.D., BCBA-D
Dr. McGreevy received B.S. and M.A. degrees in Psychology and Special Education, respectively, from the University of Iowa. He was a special education teacher for eight years, working with children and young adults with moderate-to-severe developmental disabilities. He
received the Ph.D. degree in Education from Kansas University under the guidance of Ogden R. Lindsley. Dr. McGreevy served on the Special Education faculties of the University of Missouri, Kansas City and Louisiana State University. He also served on the faculty of the Behavior Analysis Program at the Florida Institute of Technology. He is the author of Teaching and Learning in Plain English, an introduction to Precision Teaching, and the founder of the Journal of Precision Teaching and Standard Celeration Charting. He is also the author of ten journal articles and a book chapter on teaching verbal behavior. He is the first author of Essential for Living, a new functional skills curriculum, assessment, and professional practitioner’s handbook for children and adults with moderate-to-severe disabilities. For the past 30 years, Dr. McGreevy has provided consultations for children and adults with developmental disabilities in school districts, residential programs, and hospitals, specializing in the treatment of aggressive and self-injurious behavior in individuals with limited communication or language skills. Under the guidance of Dr. Jack Michael, Dr. McGreevy has also conducted workshops on teaching communication skills and language in the context of severeproblem behavior, which are based on B. F. Skinner’s analysis of verbal behavior. To prepurchase a book go to: https://www.eflapp.com/
FEATURED SPEAKER I AUTHOR JULIE HORNOK
A few years later, as her daughter made good progress, Julie went through her videos and began a video blog (www.LizzieHornok.Blogspot.com) showing Lizzie’s progress to encourage others.
As a result of the video blog, Julie became the go-to mom for helping parents with a new autism diagnosis and was honored to accept a position on the board of the National Autism Association of North Texas. She was also asked to blog for AutismSpot. Blogging regularly enabled her to encourage and help thousands across the globe through humorous, heartfelt stories about Lizzie and videos showing the therapies she was using to help her daughter progress.
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Awards and Honors: 2017 Writer’s Digest Writing Competition Award Winner, Named Autism Warrior in Autism Parenting Magazine (April 2018), Making a Difference Award for providing real help and hope to the Autism Community (Feb 2015) Other Appearances: Newsy, The Chicken Soup for the Soul Podcast, Marriage.com, CW33 Morning Dose, Autism Live, Parenting Special Needs Magazine PodcastContent goes here
FEATURED SPEAKER I Heather Hughes, Ph.D., BCBA-D, LSSP
Dr. Hughes has more than 20 years of experience serving inside schools and within various communities. She has extensive experience working with individuals and families of individuals with autism, developmental delays, and learning differences. Dr. Hughes’ areas of specialization include assessment and social skills intervention. She has served as a presenter at multiple state, national, and international conferences on varying topics such as program evaluation, building effective school teams, behavior intervention, social skills development, and effective instructional strategies. She serves on multiple advisory boards, is a member of a variety of professional organizations, and teaches college courses on topics including special education, assessment, and autism.
Dr. Hughes received her Ph.D. from UNT’s Department of Educational Psychology in 2011. She also earned a master’s degree in Psychology from Texas A&M University-Commerce as well as a master’s and bachelor’s degree in Special Education, also from Texas A&M University-Commerce. She is also a proud veteran of the United States Army.
Dr. Hughes grew up overseas and has lived as well as traveled abroad. In her free time, she enjoys cycling, running, yoga, and traveling with her husband, Todd. They enjoy hiking and fishing with their two Great Pyrenees dogs, Sacha and Sadie. Hughes and her husband have six adult children who live throughout Texas, Chicago, and Hawaii.
Dr. Gordon Bourland, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Gordon Bourland completed his Ph.D. in Psychology at the University of Texas Arlington. Subsequently he was a postdoctoral fellow in behavioral psychology at the John F. Kennedy Institute (now Kennedy-Krieger Institute) of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. For over 40 years he has held a variety of clinical and administrative positions involving services for persons with a variety of special needs in various settings.
Dr. Bourland has served as the Director of Behavioral Services for the Fort Worth State School; as Chief Psychologist for the Dallas County Mental Health/Mental Retardation Center, Director of Psychology for the Colin Anderson Center in St. Mary’s West Virginia, and twice has been president of the Texas Association for Behavior Analysis. Through Trinity Behavioral Associates he currently provides behavior analytic consultation services for persons across the age-span with various needs in a variety of service settings.He currently is President of the TxABA Public Policy Group and also the Presiding Officer of the Behavior Analysis Advisory Board of the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.
Dr. Bourland has worked in classroom settings, provided behavioral consultation, consulted with teachers and administrators, taught graduate courses in education and psychology, and provided training to many teachers and other educational personnel. He has conducted and published research in a number of leading journals, including the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, Journal of Experimental Analysis of Behavior, and Behavior Modification on topics including behavioral assessment and intervention, classroom instruction, intervention procedures for challenging behaviors, and basic learning procedures.
Duy Le, BCBA
Duy Le, BCBA, became the Director of Applied Behavior Analysis and Education in 2014. He is responsible for directing and overseeing the Autism Services Department, Behavior Disorders Clinic, and Jane Justin School.
Previously, Duy served as Director of Applied Behavior Analysis Services where he provided behavior analytic services and designed specialized treatment for children with developmental disabilities. He holds the Rector Family Chair in Applied Behavior Analysis. Prior to joining the Child Study Center, he was a program manager for an interdisciplinary treatment team serving children and adolescents in a psychiatric hospital in Louisville, Kentucky.
Mr. Le received a Master of Science in Behavior Analysis from the University of North Texas and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Texas at Arlington. Duy is certified by Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc. He served as a Council Member for the Texas Association for Behavior Analysis (TxABA) and is a member of the International Association for Behavior Analysis. In addition, he is published in numerous peer-reviewed journals and has served as a guest reviewer for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis.
Dr. Deann O’Lenick, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Deann O’Lenick, PhD, CCC/SLP, MBA is the owner of O’Lenick Consulting, LLC and the founding board member of Hear MY Voice- Language Through AAC, a nonprofit focused on the development of language skills using augmentative or alternative communication (AAC). Deann received her Bachelor of Science degree (Communication Disorders) from NDSU, her Master of Science degree (Speech-Language Pathology) from Texas Tech University, her MBA (Healthcare) from OLLU, and her Doctor of Philosophy from TWU.
Deann is currently active in augmentative and alternative communication providing evaluations, therapy, and consultations, as well as providing education and training through O’Lenick Consulting, LLC. She sees patients herself, and she collaborates with therapists who also see the patient at school, through another agency, and at local university speech/language and hearing clinics. She utilizes face-to-face interaction, review of video recording, and telepractice in order to interact with her patients and their caregivers. She is also utilizing alternative service delivery models like bursts of therapy intervention and bursts of therapy combined with telepractice follow-up in order to reach those who need access to services in remote areas of the state, the country, and the world.
Dr. Regina Crone, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Dr. Regina Crone is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst- Doctorate (BCBA-D), and received her Ph. D. from the University of North Texas, a M.Ed. in Special Education and a certificate in Autism Intervention from the University of North Texas, and a B.A. in Special Education from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.
She is the Founder of Therapy and Beyond, Teach Me Academy and Camden Hill Montessori. She has over a decade of experience providing services to individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities as an ABA provider and classroom special education teacher. She leads a strong team of professionals delivering ABA therapy, Speech and Counseling across Oklahoma, Texas and Colorado.
As an invited speaker at state, national and international conferences, she has presented on topics related to behavior management, self-help skills, social skills, academic strategies for reading and research findings. In addition, she has taught graduate level coursework, continues to be an invited speaker at events and school districts and has published research on effective parent training in the Journal of Education and Treatment of Children. She is also currently active in working with legislators to better understand Autism and Behavior Analysis in her current role on the Council of TxABA & TxABA Public Policy Group.
Dr. Crone is committed to providing quality services. She enjoys working closely with families and educating others.
Tashenna Gillmore, M.Ed, BCBA
Tashenna Gillmore is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and the founder of The Heart of Behavior LLC. located in Denton Texas. She received her Master’s of Education in Special Education with a Graduate Academic Certificate in Autism Intervention from the University of North Texas. Tashenna has gained over twenty years of experience creating and implementing ABA programs for individuals with Autism and other developmental disabilities in home, clinical, and school settings throughout Texas, Oklahoma, and California. She also teaches a variety of enrichment classes to typically developing children and adults, including; dance, creative movement, theater improve, social and emotional skills classes, even professional conduct training to help young adults attain employment. In addition, Tashenna has gained experience as a treatment director for clinical services, parent, and therapist trainer, and has been a requested presenter and trainer for many organizations in the areas of education, autism and applied behavior analysis. Her passion is in providing truly individualized services for individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities; as well as working with their families and communities.
Kimberlee Flatt, PhD, LPC, BCBA-LBA
Dr. Kimberlee Flatt is a Licensed Professional Counselor and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She has 20+ years of experience supporting individuals and families, impacted by autism, in both educational and clinical settings. She specializes in the treatment of behaviors associated with high-functioning autism including social skills and repetitive behaviors. Dr. Flatt coordinates the adult services at KFAC but is passionate about serving individuals of all ages on the autism spectrum.
Dr. Flatt is certified as a Special Education Teacher, General Education Teacher, School Counselor, and Administrator. At the Kristin Farmer Autism Center, she and her team support adolescents and adults toward increased independence and successful transitions to post-secondary life through self-advocacy and by strengthening adaptive social skill behaviors. Additionally, as a mentor and trainer, she is committed to coaching future behavior analysts and counselors as they embark on carriers supporting the autism community.
Emily Flatt is a High School aged Senior that is passionate about supporting the Autism community. As a person with Autism, she can articulate the challenges that she has faced as she is continuing to grow in her understanding of the social world. She can also describe the many ways Autism has been a gift and a blessing in her own life. Her perspectives and compassion provide her a unique ability to offer supports and friendship to others with Neurodiversity who may be facing similar challenges. Her future plans include seeking a degree in Speech and Language Pathology along with obtaining a BCBA so that she can continue to grow in her abilities and help others with Autism find their own voice.
Lisa Deer, BCBA
Lisa Deer is a board-certified and licensed behavior analyst. Her passions include helping youth with autism achieve success in matching their talents and interests to careers and independent life opportunities, providing positive family interventions and facilitating systems change for autism services to improve treatment options and outcomes. Lisa’s frustrating experiences as a parent in finding quality adult services led her to earn a master’s degree in Applied Behavior Analysis and Vocational Rehabilitation at The University of North Texas, where she co-founded three programs to support UNT students with developmental disabilities. She successfully launched the 29 Acres Transition Academy, a private residential program for young adults with high-functioning autism as Program Director. She now runs a private consulting practice providing behaviorally-based transition services for young adults with autism and their families. She is also collaborating with interdisciplinary experts to create an evidence-based standard of care model and more targeted assessments for this population.
Dr. Haylie L. Miller
Dr. Haylie L. Miller graduated from Vanderbilt University in 2006 with a B.A., double-majoring in Psychology and Music. She completed her graduate studies at the University of Texas at Arlington, earning an M.S. in 2008 and a Ph.D. in 2012 in the Experimental Psychology program. She also completed postdoctoral fellowships focused on sensorimotor functioning in Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) at the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities at University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center and the University of North Texas Health Science Center (UNTHSC).
Dr. Miller is an Assistant Professor at UNTHSC in the Department of Physical Therapy. She currently has NIH and NSF grant support for a program of research investigating visuomotor integration in ASD, or the use of visual information to plan, execute, and modify movement.
Judith Ursitti is director of state government affairs for Autism Speaks. A CPA by training, she became immersed in the world of autism advocacy when her son, Jack, was diagnosed at age 2. Since then she has worked on the passage, implementation and enforcement of autism related legislation in more than a dozen states.
She is the recipient of the Margaret Bauman, MD Award for Excellence within the Autism Community, the Advocates for Autism of Massachusetts Commitment to Advocacy Award, the Autism Advocacy in Action Award from the Long Island Behavior Analysis Conference and the Oklahoma Autism Network’s Excellence in Autism Award. She has also run ten marathons, frequently fundraising for various autism-related charities.
A native of Seguin, Texas, Judith now lives in Dover, MA with her husband, Andy, and two children.
Christina Martin, M.S., CCC-SLP, BCBA
Christina is a Speech Language Pathologist licensed in Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado. She has a Certificate of Clinical Competence for Speech-Language Pathologists from the American Speech Language Hearing Association. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst licensed in Texas and Oklahoma. She earned a B.A. in Psychology with a minor in Speech Language Pathology and a M.S. in Communication Disorders from the University of Texas at Dallas. She received a Graduate Academic Certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis from the University of North Texas. Christina has supervised speech-language pathologist assistants in providing speech and language services to individuals with a multitude of diagnoses. She has also supervised behavior technicians and those pursuing certification as a behavior analyst. She has been an invited speaker at national and state conferences, universities, and local organizations presenting on topics related to the integration of speech and language and applied behavior analysis. Christina serves as the Strand Chair for the Cognition and Behavior Across the Lifespan strand for the Texas Speech-Language-Hearing Association (TSHA) Convention Programming Committee. She is also the TSHA CE Coordinator for the Texas Association for Behavior Analysis (TxABA) and Families for Effective Autism Treatment- North Texas (FEAT-NT).
Mika Bradford, CN
Mika Bradford is a Certified Nutritionist and licensed Pharmacy Technician who has worked with leading nutraceutical companies and pharmacies like Kirkman Laboratories and Dougherty’s Pharmacy, identifying and developing treatment plans with healthcare providers for patients, while working directly with sales and technical support. She has worked as Director of Sales and Marketing at Aperture Bio (then Vivione Biosciences) and VP Clinical Operations/Business Development at MeDoc Health Services, combining her expertise as a clinician with her exceptional skills in market and trend analysis. Currently, Mika is the owner and President of MedWell Therapeutic Solutions, LLC, a consulting firm working with businesses within the healthcare, wellness and behavioral health industries from analysis and strategy to implementation. In February of 2018 she was assigned to HHSC’s Texas Council on Consumer Direction where she now resides as Chairwoman. Mika is also a dedicated parent who was thrust into the world of healthcare and effective patient treatment through her son’s diagnosis of autism in 1997. Since then, Mika’s knowledge and experience have allowed her to be involved in groundbreaking research, working with some of healthcare’s leading minds; given her the opportunity to speak and work within the community and organizations to bring about significant change; and has earned her recognition and respect on a national, state and local level.
Stacey Callaway, Ph.D.
Dr. Stacey Callaway has over 20 years of experience working with students with autism. She is currently a Behavior Specialist for Wylie ISD. Within the school system, she’s served as an In-home/Parent trainer, Autism Specialist, and PPCD teacher. Additionally, she has worked as an adjunct professor at Stephen F. Austin State University and Lamar University, teaching classes on educational programming for students with autism and other special education courses. She is a graduate of the University of North Texas with a Ph.D. in Special Education, with an emphasis on teacher preparation and students with autism spectrum disorders. She has presented internationally, nationally, and locally on topics related to teaching and supporting students with autism spectrum disorders.
Michael J. Tucker, M.Ed., Autism Consultant, ESC Region 11
Michael J. Tucker received his Master of Education from University of North Texas in Special Education and Autism Intervention in 2005. Michael has been working with students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) for over 18 years. He began working with children with autism in a private setting and then at the Autism Treatment Center. His teacher career has included working as an elementary life skills teacher, Lead In-Home/Parent Trainer, a Behavior Specialist and now serves as the ESC Region 11 Autism Consultant.
Gail Wayman, M.Ed., BCBA
Gail Wayman has been working with children with autism and other special needs for over 20 years. She is the owner and Executive Director of The Wayman Center in Plano, Texas, which has been providing early intensive behavioral intervention to children with autism and other special needs since 2004. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and a certified Special Education teacher. Gail has worked in public schools as a Special Education Teacher, Behavior Specialist, and In-Home Trainer. She has also provided consultation services for school districts, private and public service providers, and families implementing in-home ABA programs. Gail has presented workshops and training for various organizations such as the North Texas Autism Education Center, Texas Autism Conference, and the FEAT North Texas Autism Conference. She has also presented her research at the annual conference of both The Association for Behavior Analysis International
(ABAI) and the Texas Association for Behavior Analysis (TXABA). Gail resides in Dallas, Texas with her husband, dogs and cat, and enjoys spending free time getting together with family, camping and playing the cello.
Sarah McCroan, M.Ed, BCBA
Sarah is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst who has been working in the field of special education for over 10 years. Thinking she wanted to go on to law school to work in child advocacy, Sarah obtained her B.A. in History (Minor: Political Science) from Texas A&M University, College Station. While working as a substitute teacher in a classroom for students with autism she found a new passion. Upon graduation, Sarah began her career working in Community ISD as a special education teacher and shortly thereafter earned her M.Ed in Special Education at Texas A&M University, Commerce. There she was first exposed to applied behavior analysis and Sarah found her calling. Sarah worked as a self-contained behavior intervention teacher for 5 years while completing her Graduate Academic Certification in applied behavior analysis from University of North Texas, and was awarded her BCBA license in 2013.
After working in a private therapy center for a year, Sarah returned to public education to work as BCBA – Behavior Specialist for International Leadership of Texas and for the past three years has dedicated her time and effort to advancing the principles of ABA to broader and broader ranges of settings and students. Whether in a large group setting through professional development for district and campus level administration and staff, or through one on one relationships with teachers, parents and students, Sarah uses her skills to help general education and special education students who struggle with behavior.
Kecia R. Adams-Wright, M.Ed., BCBA
Kecia Adams-Wright has more than 20 years of experience supporting individuals with autism and their families. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology at the University of Texas at Dallas and Master of Education degree in Special Education and a Graduate Academic Certificate in Autism Intervention from the University of North Texas. As a graduate student at the University of North Texas, Ms. Adams-Wright was
nominated to the Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi. Kecia is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a holds a teaching certification in Special Education for Pre-K through grades 12 and General Education grades 1 through 6. She has sixteen years of experience in autism intervention. Ms. Adams-Wright has worked as an ABA therapist and consultant in home programs and shadowing students in private school settings.
She later joined public education and worked in Texas schools serving as a teacher of students with special needs and autism in particular, a parent trainer, teacher trainer and mentor, and behavior specialist. Kecia’s areas of expertise include functional assessment, reduction of problem behavior and increase of socially significant skills, parent training, Verbal Behavior and the use of Incidental Teaching strategies. She has more than 9 years of experience as a Clinical Supervisor and Director including a certified replication of the only nationally recognized Incidental Teaching and National Association for the Education of Young Children accredited model, the Walden Early Childhood Center at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Ms. Adams-Wright has been an invited presenter at numerous regional workshops and conferences on various topics in behavior analysis and autism.
Lolly Wool M.Ed., LPC, NCC
Lolly Wool received her Master’s degree in counseling from the University of Missouri- St. Louis. Lolly received her Bachelor’s degree in Special Education from the University of Missouri- St. Louis. Prior to becoming a therapist, Lolly worked with kids with Autism, first as a teacher and then as a facilitator working with school teams to help kiddos grow and learn. Lolly currently is the Clinical Director at Fort Behavioral. Lolly brings her passion, servant leadership values and innovation to the Fort Behavioral team. Lolly is trained in EMDR, Schema Therapy, and is currently in her third year of Somatic Experiencing training. Lolly brings an approach that includes Interpersonal Neurobiology, Attachment theory and Somatic Experiencing in order to provide a clinical approach that allows the Fort Behavioral team to make treatment plans that are personalized and treat the whole person. Lolly believes that the approach to the treatment of addiction must incorporate a balance of brain, body and mind and interventions that match each of these areas.
Kate Lundgren, OTR, MBA, SIPT
Kate Lundgren graduated from San Jose State University and has been a registered Occupational Therapist since 1989. She received a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Pepperdine University in 1992. Kate specialized in the treatment for neurological disorders and traumas for the first 10 years of her career and completed her Neuro Developmental Treatment (NDT) certification in 1995. Kate completed her specialization in Sensory Integration and Praxis Testing in 2008.
Since 2004, Kate has had the unique privilege of teaching as an adjunct professor for the School of Occupational Therapy at Texas Women’s University training students in the area of pediatrics. At TWU, she was provided the opportunity of developing the first special interest course for Autism Spectrum Disorders. Kate continues to speak publicly and share her passion for individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Most recently, Kate was invited to speak internationally in southern China regarding training for Sensory Integration treatment in conjunction with ASDs.
Kate is also the mother of two autistic children and the owner and Clinical Director of Cutting Edge Pediatric and Adult Therapy.
Robin Kuntz, M.Ed., R.P.E.D.
Robin has worked in the field of special education for over 36 years. She started her career working in public education and spent 35 years serving as a Special Education Teacher, Educational Diagnostician, Transition Specialist, and Transition Coordinator. In 2017 she retired from public education and began working as a Transition Consultant for local school districts and as an Employment Service Provider for the Texas Workforce Solutions. She is the Owner/Director of her own company which is called Achievable Employment Solutions, LLC.
In addition, Robin has served on the Board of Directors for the Child Study Center in Fort Worth and is currently an active member of the IDD Council of Tarrant County. Robin has also had the pleasure to speak and present on employment topics for people with disabilities and their families at numerous conferences and symposiums throughout North Texas.
Cindi Paschall, Arc Greater Mid Cities
Cindi is a parent passionately involved in advancing the rights of people living with disability labels. She has dedicated the past 21 years to advocacy, applying her personal experience and knowledge in helping others. Over the years she has worked and also volunteered for various organizations set up to assist and empower individuals who have a disability and their families. Currently Cindi serves as the President of Arc Greater Mid Cities and is a frequent speaker at state and local events.
Lauren Rich, M.Ed., SLP-Assistant, BCBA
Lauren Rich is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and Speech Language Pathologist Assistant (SLP-Assistant). Lauren’s passion for the field started early on as she had the privilege to be around children with autism and other developmental disabilities. Through those experiences Lauren’s passion became helping children and families that dealt with behavioral problems, and communication and social deficits. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center where she studied speech and language pathology. Lauren went on to receive her Masters of Education in Special Education with an emphasis on autism intervention. Lauren supervises treatment at nine locations for Therapy and Beyond across Texas, Oklahoma, and Colorado. Therapy and Beyond provides individualized behavior and speech therapy to individuals with autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities through in-home, third party facility, clinic based programs, and Teach Me Academy programs. Lauren has been working with children, adolescents, and adults for 13 years providing ABA and speech services.
Previously, Lauren worked with Therapy and Beyond, LLC in Dallas and Fort Worth as Clinic Director, in Oklahoma and Dallas as a Program Supervisor in which she gained extensive clinical experience conducting individualized training with families, educators, and other ABA treatment providers, and implemented individual behavior therapy and speech therapy as a therapist. Lauren’s areas of expertise include reducing problem behavior, facilitating functional communication (verbal and non-verbal learners). social communication, teaching concepts in a naturalistic environment, and parent training.
Karah Brashier, RN, PMHNP-BC, DNP
Dr. Karah Brashier graduated from Texas Woman’s University with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2007 and is Board Certified by the Texas Nursing Board as a Registered Nurse. In 2012 she completed her Master of Science in Nursing from Gonzaga University and is certified by American Nurses Credentialing Center as a Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. In 2019 she completed her Doctor of Nursing Practice from Gonzaga University with a focus on nutritional interventions for depression. She completed the National Institute of Health Mary Frances Picciano Dietary Supplement Research Practicum in 2018 and earned a certificate in Nutritional Psychology from John F. Kennedy University in 2019.
Dr. Brashier has been directly serving clients with a variety of mental health conditions for 7 years. Her practice has included treating individuals in the Parkland Psychiatric Emergency Room, drug and alcohol residential treatment program, and currently in her outpatient clinic at Texas Behavioral Health Systems.
Lyndsay Wheeler, BCBA
Lyndsay Wheeler is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA). Lyndsay’s passion for the field started at an early age, which originated from childhood and family exposure to children with autism and other developmental disabilities. These experiences motivated Lyndsay to focus on interventions and education that would help support individuals and families from infancy through adulthood. Lyndsay earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Sciences and Disorders at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. As a student at the University of Oklahoma Lyndsay studied speech language pathology. Lyndsay went on to receive her M.Ed. in Special Education with an emphasis on autism intervention. After that she went on to pursue graduate course work through Florida Institute of Technology to obtain her certification in Applied Behavioral Analysis. Lyndsay has over 13 years of experience in autism intervention, she has extensive clinical experience conducting individualized training with families, educators, and other ABA treatment providers. Lyndsay’s areas of expertise include functional assessment, reduction of problem behavior and stereotypical behaviors and increasing socially significant skills, functional communication training, parent training, Verbal Behavior, the use of naturalistic teaching strategies, executive functioning, working memory, and reading readiness.
Mariel C. Fernandez, MS, BCBA, LBA
Mariel is Board Certified Behavior Analyst and Licensed Behavior Analyst in the State of Texas. She has been working in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis since 2001 and has been board certified since 2004. Mariel has experience working with individuals diagnosed with IDD
and ASD across the lifespan and across a variety of settings. Over the past five years, Mariel has focused on behavior change at a systemic level with the Texas Association for Behavior Analysis Public Policy Group. Mariel helped pass legislation requiring licensure of behavior analysts and most recently ensure Medicaid funding of ABA for children with autism. Mariel mentor’s young behavior analysts to ensure they are well versed on Texas and Federal laws that protect the clients they serve. Mariel is passionate about providing learning opportunities and ensuring that families have access to correct and accurate information and that individuals diagnosed with autism have access to medically necessary care.
Dr. Nicholas Fears, Ph.D.
Dr. Nicholas Fears is a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Physical Therapy at the University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, TX. He is a psychologist by training (B.S. 2013, Indiana University; Ph.D. 2019, Tulane University), and his research is focused on how children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder use vision to help with upper body movement and fine motor control. Dr. Fears joined the Autism & Developmental Disorders Research team in the spring of 2019, and is passionate about supporting children’s development of activities of daily living.
Sydney Perricone, MS, CCC-SLP
Sydney Perricone is a certified and licensed speech-language pathologist who has worked in both public schools and outpatient therapy clinics since 2010. Sydney has experience evaluating and working with children, teenagers, and young adults with a variety of communication disorders. In 2008, Sydney received a Bachelor’s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology from the University of North Texas, also minoring in Development and Family Studies. In 2010, Sydney completed her Master’s Degree in Speech-Language Pathology from Texas Christian University. Sydney has held her Certificate of Clinical Competence from the American Speech-Language Hearing Association since 2011. She is also an actively involved member of the Texas Speech-Language-Hearing Association, serving on a committee that helps plan the Association’s annual convention. Sydney has training in the Social Thinking approach to pragmatic language skills. She is certified in the VitalStim Specialty Program, a neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES) modality for resolving dysphagia and oral motor disorders related to feeding and swallowing. She also has training in the Sequential Oral Sensory (SOS) approach to feeding and Talk Tools Oral-Placement Therapy.
Katherine ( Kat) Lee , BA
An RDI program Certified Consultant for 15 years. Kat Lee works in the DFW metroplex and also serves as the RDi area coordinator and is on the national RDI Professional Advisory Board.
She also hosts RDI webinars and podcasts for parents and professionals alike. She began life in the workplace in radio/ tv as on air talent . Her son Daniel. (25). was diagnosed ASD in 1995 when he was 2 years old. Since then, she has continued to be trained in ABA principles for 23 years. In 2003, She began to incorporate RDI. parent guiding principles at home as well and once again, saw tremendous progress. Katherine continued work as an ABA therapist with families but also became certified as an RDI Consultant and turned her practice toward helping parents to guide their children in the home. She currently works with families locally and elsewhere in the US, as well as having worked with families around the world, including Australia, Mexico, Peru, Israel and Belgium. She also conducts online school observations as well as teacher and aid training.
Daniel Durany, BA, Self Advocate
Daniel Durany is a 2006 graduate from Texas Christian University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Communication Studies. Durany is a speaker, author, and advocate for persons with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) and people who deal with it in others. He pioneered an adult support group with FEAT (Families for Effective Autism Treatment). In 2013, Durany was appointed by the Governor to serve on the Texas Council on Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders and became the Keynote Speaker for the Texas State Autism Conference in Corpus Christi.
He brings an enthusiastic perspective about Aspergers during his time in school, job world, and dating/relationships to share with parents, professionals, and others with his condition. Daniel’s presentation discusses his childhood struggles in school, transitioning experience from high school-to-college, and approaches to help others similar with his condition.
Following his presentations, audience members have clearer understanding about breakdowns in communication with people with Asperger’s, transitions from high school-to-college, sensory issues, and psychological difficulties that AS typically causes. With this knowledge educators and parents will be enabled to design solid support systems and strategies for academic, emotional and physical success.
Outside of the autism work, Durany is a year-round sports official in volleyball, basketball, and softball. He has officiated volleyball and softball games at the college level, and basketball games at thevarsity level for high school. In addition, Durany works at a school district helping out with students who have developmental delays. Daniel is married to his lovely wife, Mandy and they have one son named Benjamin.
Tara Quinn, MS
Tara Quinn, Executive Director of Operations for Merakey Education Programs, began her career overseeing therapeutic services as a clinical director in Pennsylvania. With more than 20 years devoted to innovative programs, Tara manages the implementation and business development for more than 15 site-based locations for Merakey. The Merakey Education and Autism continuum of care provide Early Childhood Development, School-Based Services, Individual and Group Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), Diagnostics, Specialized Transitions, and Adult Autism Services.
Tara received her Master of Science in Special Education and Human Service Management from Western Maryland University in 1999 and went on to complete a post-graduate certificate in Applied Behavioral Analysis, ABA, from Penn State University in 2006. Throughout her career, Tara has implemented programs and services for those with exceptional needs utilizing her experience and expertise in the field.
In 2007, Tara founded Autism Awareness – NEPA, a not for profit community organization whose goal is to promote awareness and to support community programs for individuals with Autism in Luzerne County. Her commitment to families and individuals, as well as her dedication to the development of educational programs, is inspiring not only to those who stand to benefit but to those she leads.
Vanessa Goodson, Texas State Comptroller’s Office
Vanessa Goodson started working for the Texas Comptroller’s Office this year and currently serves as the Outreach Specialist for the state’s new Texas ABLE Program. She earned a master’s degree in Business from Grantham University. She has 2 years of service with the State of Texas including serving as Business Specialist for the Office of the Governor. Previously, she managed several large scale Central Texas businesses and served six years in the United States Air Force.
James Turnage, M.A, LPC-S, LPHA
James Turnage, M.A, LPC-S, LPHA ,is Director of Supports with Disability Counseling and Behavioral Health Services. He is also clinical supervisor for supported employment program which serves disability and behavioral health programs. Mr. Turnage directs a trauma based services team for individuals who are victims of crime within the DS division. He provides professional staff developmental trainings in MHMRTC and the community related to understanding mental health issues in individuals with IDD. He worked for 10 years in the behavioral health division of HMRTC serving as a Program Manager for Arlington clinic, Director of Child/Adolescent services, and Clinical Director of Adult Outpatient clinics.
Presented by Parents of Children, Teens, and Adults with Autism
Come share with our panel about their experiences raising and growing with their child with autism. They are available to answer questions about facing challenges, finding joy, persevering, their child’s accomplishments and struggles, where they are, and where they have been. Our chosen moms have new and old stories from different perspectives that will help teachers, parents, therapists, and others with resources, tips, and most importantly hope!
Presented by Leading Professionals in Our Autism Community
Come with your questions for this amazing professional panel. They are here to help give answers and share information about Autism! From in-home programs to early intervention, ABA, Speech, Diagnostic services, therapy clinics, schools, legislation, and communities, this panel has a wide-range of experience. They have been paving the path for other professionals and families for years and have lots to share!
Adults with Aspergers Panel
Presented by Adults from the FEAT-NT Asperger/Autism Group
Come share with our adult group about their experiences growing up facing challenges, their eventual diagnosis and what life is like living on the spectrum. The FEAT Adult group is like a family. The FEAT group has grown substantially over the past 6 years. They are excited to participate again this year at the conference with new members joining in and some familiar faces from previous years. Their insight will provide a wealth of information to teachers, therapists and parents alike on better understanding their students and children.