Archived | ReThink Autism: Scientific Advisory Board 2010 – 2013 | #NotAnAutisticAlly #AutisticHistory

[Note: Shared for #AutisticHistory archive purposes. This is NOT An Autistic Ally.]

ReThink Autism: Scientific Advisory Board 2010

Bridget A. Taylor, Psy.D., BCBA

Dr. Taylor currently serves as Senior Clinical Advisor and Board Chair of rethink autism’s Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. Taylor has specialized in the education and treatment of children with autism for the past twenty-four years. She is the Executive Director of the Alpine Learning Group, a highly regarded education and treatment center for children with autism in New Jersey, which she co-founded in 1988.

Dr. Taylor has served on the editorial board of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and currently serves on the editorial boards of the journals Behavioral Interventions and Behavior Analysis in Practice. She is also a member of the Autism Advisory Group for the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies, a member of the Expert Panel of the National Autism Center’s National Standards Project, and a board member of the Association for Science in Autism Treatment. Dr. Taylor is a national and international speaker and has authored numerous research articles and book chapters related to autism.

Dr. Taylor is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and a Licensed Psychologist. She holds a Doctorate of Psychology from Rutgers University, and received her Master’s degree in Early Childhood Special Education from Columbia University.

Fred R. Volkmar, M.D.

Dr. Volkmar is the Irving B. Harris Professor of Child Psychiatry, Pediatrics, and Psychology and Director of the Yale University Child Study Center, Yale University School of Medicine. He is also the Chief of Child Psychiatry at Yale-New Haven Hospital, New Haven, CT.

Dr. Volkmar was the primary author of the American Psychiatric Association’s DSM-IV autism and pervasive developmental disorders section.

He is the author of several hundred scientific papers and chapters as well as a number of books including Asperger’s Syndrome (Guilford Press), Health Care for Children on the Autism Spectrum (Woodbine Publishing), and the Handbook of Autism (Wiley Publishing) with three books forthcoming.

He has served as an Associate Editor of the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities, the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and the American Journal of Psychiatry and now serves as Editor of the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities. He has served as Co-Chairperson of the autism/intellectual disabilities committee of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

In addition to having directed the internationally known autism clinic, he also served as director of autism research at Yale before becoming Chairperson of the Department.

Dr. Volkmar has been the principal investigator of three program project grants including a CPEA (Collaborative Program of Excellent in Autism) grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and a STAART (Studies to Advance Autism Research and Treatment) Autism Center Grant from the National Institute of Mental Health.

Dr. Volkmar received his MD and master’s degree in Psychology from Stanford University. He has an undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Illinois.

Peter F. Gerhardt, Ed.D.

Dr. Gerhardt is President and Chair of the Scientific Council for the Organization for Autism Research, a nonprofit organization dedicated to funding applied research and disseminating the relevant findings in support of learners with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and their families.

Dr. Gerhardt has over 25 years experience utilizing the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis in support of adolescents and adults with an ASD in educational, employment, and community based settings.

As director of the Division of Transition and Adult Services at the Douglas Developmental Disabilities Center, he co-founded the Douglas Group, a social and support service for adults with Asperger’s Disorder.

He is the author or co-author of articles and book chapters on the needs of adults with autism spectrum disorders, the school-to-work-transition process, assessment of social competence, and analysis and intervention of problematic behavior. He has presented nationally and internationally on these topics. Dr. Gerhardt currently serves on numerous professional advisory boards, including the Autism Society of America, MAAP Services, Autism NJ and ASPEN.

Dr. Gerhardt received his doctorate from the Rutgers University Graduate School of Education. In 2007 Dr. Gerhardt was awarded the John W. Jacobson Award for Significant Contributions to Effective Behavior Intervention by the New York State Association for Behavior Analysis.

Catherine E. Lord, Ph.D.

BeDr. Lord currently serves as Director of the University of Michigan Autism and Communication Disorders Center, Professor of Psychology, Psychiatry, and Pediatrics in the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and Senior Research Scientist at The Center for Human Growth and Development. She is also the interim Director of the Asperger Institute at the NYU Child Study Center.

Dr. Lord is a clinical child psychologist who is world renowned for her longitudinal studies of children with autism and for taking the lead in developing the autism diagnostic instruments used in both practice and in research worldwide. The Autism Diagnostic Interview – Revised and the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule have been critically important in providing standardized methods for research on the genetics and neurobiology of autism because they provide psychometrically valid and reliable tools for identifying and quantifying the behaviors that define autism. Dr. Lord collaborates with colleagues around the world on the molecular genetics, pathophysiology, and phenomenology of Autistic Spectrum Disorders. 

Dr. Lord is a member of the Scientific Advisory and Scientific Review Boards of the Simons Foundation Autism Research Initiative and also the Chair of the Early Intervention in Autism Committee at the National Academy of Science.

She received the Irving B. Harris Early Childhood Lecture Award in 2004 and was a Finalist for the New York University Child Study Center Scientific Achievement Award in 2005. Dr. Lord has published over a hundred articles in peer-reviewed journals in addition to numerous books and chapters. 

Dr. Lord received her Ph.D. in psychology and social relations from Harvard University. She has worked at the University of North Carolina, University of Minnesota, University of Alberta, the London Medical Research Council Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Unit, Harvard University (Children’s Hospital) and University of Chicago.

Louis A. Vismara, M.D.

Dr. Vismara is the co-founder of the M.I.N.D. Institute at the University of California, Davis.

This multidisciplinary organization now serves as one of the foremost academic centers for the evaluation, research, and treatment of autism and other neurodevelopmental/learning disorders.

Lou is a physician (interventional cardiologist) and a parent of four children. Since his son, Mark, was diagnosed with autism he has dedicated himself to issues of child development, learning differences, diversity, and appropriate access to health care for under-served populations.

In the year 2000, Dr. Vismara changed careers, retiring from interventional cardiology, to work as a health-related policy consultant for Senator John L. Burton, President pro Tempore, California State Senate. From 2004 until 2008, Lou served as a senior policy advisor to Sen. Don Perata during his term as the President of the California Senate.

During that time, Lou worked extensively on the formation and the implementation of the California Legislative Blue Ribbon Commission on Autism and the Autism Legislative Package of 2007-2008.

Currently, Lou continues to work as a senior policy consultant for special projects with the current Pro Tem, Senator Darrell Steinberg.

Lou, who was born in Italy and immigrated with his family to San Diego as a child, has served as a founding State Commissioner of the First 5CA/Prop 10 Initiative; the UCD School of Education Advisory Board; the Child Abuse Prevention Council; and other groups related to early education, healthcare and diversity. 

Dr. Vismara received his MD from Baylor College of Medicine and his BA from Stanford University. He is the recipient of a Cardiology Fellow from UCD Healthcare System and is Board Certified in Internal Medicine & Cardiovascular Diseases. 

James Carr, Ph.D.

Dr. Carr is currently Associate Professor of Psychology at the Auburn University.

His current research and clinical interests include the behavioral treatment of developmental disabilities (including autism spectrum disorders and mental retardation), verbal behavior, and Tourette Syndrome.

Dr. Carr has published over 100 articles, books, and chapters and is currently an associate editor of Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis. He was the 2002 recipient of the B.F. Skinner New Researcher Award by Division 25 (Behavior Analysis) of the American Psychological Association. Dr. Carr previously served on the psychology faculties at University of Nevada-Reno (1996-1999) and Western Michigan University (1999-2008).

Carr received his doctorate in Cognitive and Behavioral Sciences from Florida State University. He has an MS in Cognitive and Behavioral Sciences also from Florida State University and a BA in Psychology from the University of North Florida.

Michael Alessandri, Ph.D.

Dr. Alessandri is currently Clinical Professor of Psychology at the University of Miami where he also serves as Executive Director of the Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD).

He has worked with individuals with autism and their families for over 25 years. Dr. Alessandri has presented, consulted and published internationally on developing appropriate and effective educational programs for students with autism spectrum disorders. Under his direction, CARD was named the National Autism Program of the Year in 1999 by the Autism Society of America, and in 2003 Dr. Alessandri was the recipient of the Wendy F. Miller ASA National Recognition Award for Autism Professional of the Year.

Dr. Alessandri proudly serves on the Scientific/Professional Advisory Boards of several community and professional organizations, including the Organization for Autism Research.

Previously, he served as a member of the Board of Trustees and Chair of the Scientific Affairs Committee of the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR), and actively supports Autism Speaks, which merged with NAAR in 2006.

Dr. Alessandri is also a proud Founding Member of the Autism Society of Miami-Dade County, and he is also the former Co-Director of the Marino Autism Research Institute at UM.

Dr. Alessandri received his doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Rutgers University. He completed his clinical internship at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. Prior to relocating to Florida in 1996, Dr. Alessandri was an Assistant Professor of Psychology at San Jose State University (SJSU) and Associate Director of the Stanford University Pervasive Developmental Disorders Clinic. 

William R. Jenson, Ph.D.

Dr. Jenson is a full professor and past Chair of the Department of Educational Psychology at the University of Utah.

He is the founder of the Pingree Center for Children with Autism which he directed for nine years before going to the University of Utah. He is affiliated with the Utah Autism Project in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Utah and serves on several advisory boards.

He has been an Associate Editor for the School Psychology Review, and served on the editorial boards of School Psychology QuarterlyJournal of Emotional and Behavior DisordersSchool Psychology International, and reviews for several other journals.

He has written and published over one hundred research articles, chapters, and books. Dr. Jenson has been Project Director on several funded projects i ncluding Personnel Preparation in Autism and low incidence disabilities and Leadership from the US Office of Education.

His research includes early intensive intervention, meta-analytic reviews of evidence based practice interventions, social skills training, and the management of severe problematic behaviors for children with autism.

His research workgroup has recently published a twenty year longitudinal study of individuals with high-functioning autism. He has been a researcher for the collaborative UCLA-University of Utah epidemiological survey of autism.

Dr. Jenson is a national and international speaker for children with disabilities, particularly on research and interventions based on his Tough Kid Book series.

Dr. Jenson received his Ph.D. in applied behavior analysis and school psychology from Utah State University. He received an MS in experimental psychology and a BS in psychology from the University of Utah.

Dr. Jenson is a Fellow of Division 16 (School Psychology) of the American Psychological Association and a member of the Society for the Study of School Psychology.

He has several awards for service from the Utah Autism Society, Lifetime Achievement Award from the Utah Association of School Psychologists, and the Extraordinary Service Award from the Utah Behavior Initiative.

Jamie Pagliaro

Mr. Pagliaro currently serves as Executive Vice President, Business Development of Rethink Autism, Inc. and member of rethink autism’s Scientific Advisory Board.

Prior to joining the company, Mr. Pagliaro was Executive Director of the New York Center for Autism Charter School, the first charter school for children with autism spectrum disorders in New York.

The program has received national recognition from the media and a number of professional publications as a model for children with autism in the public school system.

Mr. Pagliaro was also Program Director at Melmark, a private residential school program for individuals with developmental disabilities.

Mr. Pagliaro has an MBA from Villanova University and a BA with honors in Psychology from Wesleyan University. He is a member of the Association of Behavior Analysis International, Board Chair of Music for Autism and an avid squash player. 

2011 Addition To The Board

Patricia Wright, Ph.D. MPH

Dr. Wright is currently the National Director of Autism Services for Easter Seals, a social service organization dedicated to ensuring that people with disabilities receive the services need to live, learn, work and play in their communities.

Dr. Wright has a passion for education and advocacy and has dedicated her career to ensuring that individuals with autism are fully-included in society. Her personal mission is to offer the support that makes it possible for people with autism disabilities to lead meaningful, happy and productive lives.

Dr. Wright began her career as a special educator and has provided consultative services to schools and non-profit service agencies throughout the United States. Wright’s expertise as an educator and Board Certified Behavior Analyst inform her individualized approach to creating effective intervention plans. She knows that early diagnosis and intervention offer the best outcomes, but also is a proponent of appropriate treatment for anyone with autism at any age.

Everyone has the ability to learn. Dr. Wright frequently presents at national and international conferences, and is been invited to deliver workshops and presentations nationally and internationally.

She is a member of the Organization for Autism Research’s Scientific Council and is currently a serving on the Executive Committee for the Friends of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities. 

Dr. Wright received her doctorate in Education and her Master of Public Health from the University of Hawaii in 2006. She received her Master of Arts in Special Education degree from San Francisco State University in 1997.

2012 Addition To The Board

Maurice Feldman, Ph.D., C.Psych., BCBA-D

Dr. Feldman is a Professor and Director of the Centre for Applied Disability Studies, Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada.

He has made significant contributions to research and the dissemination of evidence-based assessment and intervention in several key areas in developmental disabilities including autism, dual diagnosis, behavioral interventions, early intervention, child maltreatment, parent training and human rights.

He has held major federal, provincial and foundation research grants; he has over 100 peer-reviewed publications and has given over 300 invited and keynote addresses, and conference and workshop presentations. His latest book is Comprehensive, competence-based parenting capacity assessment of parents with learning difficulties, published by NADD Press. 

He holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, He is a Registered Psychologist in Ontario and a Fellow of the Canadian Psychological Association. He held a Chancellor’s Chair in Research Excellence and Distinguished Researcher Award from Brock University, and a Career Investigator Award from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. 

He was awarded the United States National Distinguished Disability Researcher Award and he was a special advisor to the President’s Committee on Intellectual Disabilities. He was a visiting scholar at the University of Sydney (Australia) and the British Psychological Society.

Currently, he is an advisor to several governmental and non-governmental organizations in Canada, U.S. and Europe. He was Editor of the Journal on Developmental Disabilities and was/is on the editorial boards of Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, Journal of Behavioral Education, Journal of Child and Family Studies, Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions, Behavioral Interventions, among others. 

His current research interests cover the lifespan and include early detection and intervention for infants at risk for ASD, treatment of anxiety in child and youth with ASD, human rights training for adults with intellectual disabilities and parenting by persons with learning difficulties.

His research was cited in an Amici Curiae brief to the U.S. Supreme Court on a case adjudicating parenting rights of persons with intellectual disabilities. His work has been highlighted in the U.S. and Canadian media.

2013 Addition To The Board

Nicolette Bainbridge Brigham, Ph.D.

Dr. Brigham is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Pediatrics at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and also serves as the Director of Outreach and Training for the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center’s Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders (TRIAD).

Dr. Brigham has worked with individuals with autism spectrum disorders and their families for over fifteen years. Dr. Brigham’s background is in early childhood special education and she has served as both an educator and director of early intervention programs.

Dr. Brigham has also worked as an autism consultant in the public school system with elementary through secondary students with ASD and has extensive experience training teachers and other school personnel to work with students with ASD.

Dr. Brigham research interests include peer mediated inclusion for secondary students with autism spectrum disorders and training efficacy for school personnel who work with students with ASD. Dr. Brigham is a member of the Tennessee Act Early Summit Team and the Vanderbilt University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities Operating Committee.

Dr. Brigham holds a Doctorate of Philosophy from Vanderbilt University and received her Master of Science in Education from the University of Kansas.


Autistic people have fought the inclusion of ABA in therapy for us since before Autism Speaks, and other non-Autistic-led autism organizations, started lobbying legislation to get it covered by insurances and Medicaid. 

ABA is a myth originally sold to parents that it would keep their Autistic child out of an institution. Today, parents are told that with early intervention therapy their child will either be less Autistic or no longer Autistic by elementary school, and can be mainstreamed in typical education classes. ABA is very expensive to pay out of pocket. Essentially, Autism Speaks has justified the big price tag up front will offset the overall burden on resources for an Autistic’s lifetime. The recommendation for this therapy is 40 hours a week for children and toddlers.

The original study that showed the success rate of ABA to be at 50% has never been replicated. In fact, the study of ABA by United States Department of Defense was denounced as a failure. Not just once, but multiple times. Simply stated: ABA doesn’t workIn study after repeated study: ABA (conversion therapy) doesn’t work. 

What more recent studies do show: Autistics who experienced ABA therapy are at high risk to develop PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions. Historically, the autism organizations promoting ABA as a cure or solution have silenced Autistic advocates’ opposition. ABA is also known as gay conversion therapy.

The ‘cure’ for Autistics not born yet is the prevention of birth. 

The ‘cure’ is a choice to terminate a pregnancy based on ‘autism risk.’ The cure is abortion. This is the same ‘cure’ society has for Down Syndrome. 

This is eugenics 2021. Instead of killing Autistics and disabled children in gas chambers or ‘mercy killings’ like in Aktion T4, it’ll happen at the doctor’s office, quietly, one Autistic baby at a time. Different approaches yes, but still eugenics and the extinction of an entire minority group of people.

Fact: You can’t cure Autistics from being Autistic.

Fact: You can’t recover an Autistic from being Autistic.

Fact: You can groom an Autistic to mask and hide their traits. Somewhat. … however, this comes at the expense of the Autistic child, promotes Autistic Burnout (this should not be confused with typical burnout, Autistic Burnout can kill Autistics), and places the Autistic child at high risk for PTSD and other lifelong trauma-related conditions.

[Note: Autism is NOT a disease, but a neurodevelopmental difference and disability.]

Fact: Vaccines Do Not Cause Autism.

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