2019 APM Awards: Let’s Applaud Our Outstanding Autism Community
It’s a new year, and the possibilities are infinite! While we’re energized about the future, we also want to say thank you to everyone who has contributed to our supportive autism community over the past year. Honestly, everyone deserves applause.
As we look back on 2019, we are inspired by the exceptional group that has evolved at Autism Parenting Magazine. We’ve collaborated over the past seven years with nearly 1,500 autism specialists, scientists, educators, advocates, autism parents, and people who are on the spectrum. Their dedication and level of expertise are remarkable.
When the magazine received the respected Gold Award from the Mom’s Choice Awards a few years ago, we made it a tradition to give out special awards to contributors. Since then, our magazine was ranked #5 for Top 20 Parenting Magazines and Ezines to Follow in 2018 from thousands of parenting magazines on the web. This year, we are honored to share our national recognitions with both our writers and our devoted readers, as together, we create a dynamic community.
The following contributors have been selected for this special acknowledgment for 2019:
Top Autism Therapy Writer
Matthew Fisher, MD
Matthew Fisher, MD, serves as medical leader of Springbrook’s psychiatric residential treatment program and outpatient psychiatry practice (specializing in treating autism spectrum disorders). He completed his general psychiatry residency at the University of Texas-Galveston and a child/adolescent psychiatry fellowship at the University of South Carolina. He is recognized as an expert in treating autism spectrum disorders.
Dr. Fisher is a noted authority in minimal medical management of ASD and ASD with comorbidities. He serves as a consultant to various school systems regarding students exhibiting challenging behaviors. He consults with families in his outpatient practice at Springbrook—many of those are children and adolescents with more difficult behaviors.
Top Autism Rights Writer
Carol S. Weinman, Esq., CAS
Carol S. Weinman, Esq., CAS, is an autism legal consultant, autism expert, international speaker, broadcast legal analyst, behaviorist, and parent of a son with autism. She is the only lawyer in the US recognized for her combined expertise in criminal law and autism. Carol recently presented at the US Autism Association’s Annual Conference and presents internationally on autism.
She serves as an autism legal consultant nationwide for lawyers, psychologists, educators, and parents, and as an expert witness in criminal courts. In 2010, Carol founded Autism Advisors & Advocates LLC to educate, train, and consult with parents and professionals. She also is a special education advocate and coach, consults with families and schools, and conducts family mediations and parent workshops. Carol has served on various boards committed to the interests of those with autism.
Top Autism Safety Advisor
Amy Cooper McComas, EdD, BCBA
Amy Cooper McComas, EdD, BCBA, is a nationally recognized behavior analyst with more than 15 years of experience providing ABA treatment. She presents at behavior analysis conferences, has held academic positions at Ball State University and Grace College, and has served in multiple clinical leadership roles before founding Great Heights in the Midwest US. Dr. Cooper McComas is passionate about the proven benefits of ABA and is dedicated to helping families find hope through achievement and results.
Nancy Silberkleit is a longtime elementary school educator and the Co-CEO of Archie Comics. She is an international ambassador for literacy, anti-bullying, and inclusion. To learn more about Nancy and her work, please visit her website.
Top Autism Solutions Writer
Ron Malcolm, EdD
Ron Malcolm, EdD, is an Assistant Director of Special Education for a local public school district. He is also an associate faculty member at the University of Phoenix and a special graduate faculty member at the University of Kansas. He has been serving the educational needs of children with autism for the past 34 years.
Top Autism Health Writer
Connie Persike, MS, CCC/SLP
Connie Persike, MS, CCC/SLP, is a highly experienced speech-language pathologist and educational consultant. As the founder of CP Consulting, Connie brings 20 years of experience to provide insight, guidance, coaching, and support to school districts, agencies, and families across Wisconsin needing expert direction in working with children. Connie has received extensive and in-depth training in several areas and educational models that inform her work with students across all grade levels, allowing her to customize the coaching, scaffolds, and supports she provides to help staff and students succeed.
From positive psychology and Social Thinking methodology to functional communication training (FCT) and instructional coaching, Connie’s mission is to help students increase their success and develop a love of learning. Connie has been invited to present at a state level on a variety of topics such as functional behavioral assessments, positive behavioral supports and interventions, autism, anxiety, and evidence-based interventions.
She is a member of the American Speech Hearing Association, the Association of Supervision and Curriculum Development, and the Autism Society of Wisconsin. Connie has been involved in statewide workgroups to help develop and improve core programming in schools and is a published writer for Autism Parenting Magazine. Connie resides in Waunakee, WI with her husband and daughter. During her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and landscaping.
Top Speech-Language Pathologist
Mallory Griffith, MA, CCC-SLP
Mallory Griffith, MA, CCC-SLP, is a speech-language pathologist living and working in Fort Collins, CO. In her office, she primarily works with people on the spectrum, coaching social communications skills. Mallory has co-authored two books with her colleague and friend, Rachel Bédard, PhD, including Raising a Child on the Autism Spectrum: Insights from Parents to Parents, and, You’ve Got This!: The Journey from Middle School to College, as told by Students on the Autism Spectrum and Their Parents.
Top Social Skills Writer
Marcia Eckerd, PhD
Marcia Eckerd, PhD, has been a licensed psychologist since 1985, providing neuropsychological evaluations, therapy, social skills training, and consultation with parents and schools for ASD L1 (Asperger’s) and those with ASD traits. She serves on the CT ASD Advisory Council, the Clinical Advisory Group of AANE, the professional board of Smart Kids With LD, and the associate medical staff at Norwalk Hospital, Norwalk, CT. Her articles have appeared in Autism Spectrum News, the Journal of Health Service Psychology, Aspergers101, SmartKidsWithLD.org, and her blog, Divergent Thinkers.
Top Autism Solutions Writer
Rachel Bédard, PhD
Rachel Bédard, PhD, is a licensed psychologist practicing in Fort Collins, Colorado. She uses a strengths-based approach, and her clients note that she has the ability to help them laugh about even the most stressful or embarrassing events in life. Dr. Bédard has co-written two books with her favorite Speech Language Pathologist, Mallory Griffith. Their most recent book is You’ve Got This! The Journey from Middle School to College, As Told by Students on the Autism Spectrum and Their Parents.
Top Communication Advisor
Nicole M. Magaldi, PhD
Nicole M. Magaldi, PhD is an associate professor in the Department of Communication Disorders and Sciences at William Paterson University where she teaches coursework and conducts research in the area of child language disorders and autism spectrum disorder. Her research is fueled by her many years as a clinical speech-language pathologist working with children with autism spectrum disorder.
Top Parental Advice Writer
Annette Nuñez, PhD, LMFT
Annette Nuñez, PhD, LMFT, is the founder and director of Breakthrough Interventions, LLC, and Breaking Through Autism. She is a licensed psychotherapist and has worked with children with ASD and other related disorders for over 22 years. As part of her doctorate work at the University of Denver, Dr. Nunez developed the Children’s Social Competence Scale (CSCS). The CSCS is an early intervention evaluation tool that measures social competency in young children. She served as the Program Director for Connect Us, a non-profit organization that helps children cultivate positive relationships through facilitated play.
Her research interests include the mainstreaming and socialization of children with high functioning autism. Dr. Nunez co-wrote and self-published the Friendship Is … book. She conducts many seminars both nationally and internationally and has consulted with many schools in China and South Africa. Dr. Nunez also consults and supervises the therapists at the Breakthrough Interventions site in South Africa. Dr. Nunez has been featured in the Huffington Post, NPR, The Jenny McCarthy Show, and FOX News.
Websites: www.btinterventions.com, www.breakingthroughautism.com
Top Occupational Therapist
Kelly Beins, BA, BHSc, OTR/L
Kelly Beins, BA, BHSc, OTR/L, is a seasoned therapist with more than 23 years of experience in occupational therapy (OT). Kelly received her BA in psychology and her bachelor’s in health sciences in OT from McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. She received her specialty certification in sensory integration in 2005 and has an extensive clinical background combining OT and sensory integration with behavioral health interventions.
Kelly is a newly published children’s author of a book series about a young sheep with sensory processing disorder, and she approaches her work with an intuitive, empathic, and playful style while implementing the most current evidence-based interventions available. Kelly also owns and operates her own group private practice in Frederick, MD, where she lives with her husband and two daughters. You may learn more about her practice, books, and unique approach to therapy by visiting her website.
Top Education Writer
Brett Novick holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from LaSalle University in Philadelphia, PA and a master’s degree in Family Therapy from Friends University in Wichita, KS, as well as post-degree work and certification in School Social Work from Monmouth University in West Long Branch, NJ and in Educational Leadership. Novick is licensed as a Marriage and Family Therapist and State Certified as a School Social Worker, Principal, and Educational Administrator.
Novick has worked as a School Social Worker/Counselor for the last fifteen years and is an adjunct instructor at Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey. He has also authored national and international articles in American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy, National Education Digest, NJEA Review, National Association of Special Education Teachers, NASSP Principal Leadership, Better Mental Health, and ASCD Educational Leadership Magazine. He has been received several awards for his work in education, inclusive education, counseling, and human rights.
Top Personal Narrative Writer
Anthony Whitaker lives in Queens, NY. He is a husband and father of four daughters, and his primary role is to be the family “Uber.” He writes a blog about Unscripted Life.
Top Young Writer
Sofia Palacios is originally from Guatemala City, Guatemala, but resides in Miami, Florida. She is currently a junior in Palmetto Senior High School and runs her own at-home business, ‘Scrumptious Bakery.’ Sofia lives with both parents and her 12-year-old brother, Gabriel, who is on the spectrum. Advocating for her brother and spreading autism awareness are the things Sofia is passionate about. She also loves writing and hopes to pursue a career in journalism one day.
This article was featured at Issue 98 – Fresh ASD Guidance For A New Year