Let’s Hear It For This Year’s Special Contributors 2016

Autism Parenting Magazine Awards

It’s that time of year—time to celebrate our amazing contributors who have helped make Autism Parenting Magazine an award-winning magazine.  We’re proud to provide the most up-to-date information each month to our readers on autism health, safety, therapy, education, finance, social skills, and employment options.

We have a remarkable group of contributors: dedicated physicians, scientists, advocates, educators, writers, artists, young people, and families, some of whom are on the spectrum.  Together we form an exceptional and supportive community of knowledge and understanding.

Selecting 15 people to honor out of hundreds of valuable contributors this year was quite a challenge.  Really, everyone deserves a hearty round of applause.  This year we are also recognizing the top two articles with the most social media shares for 2016.

The following contributors have been handpicked for special recognition:

areva martin Areva Martin Award

Top Autism Rights Writer
Areva Martin, Esq.

Areva Martin is one of the nation’s leading voices in the media.  An attorney, legal and social issues commentator, and talk show host, she is an audience favorite on a long list of talk and news shows on CNN, ABC and Fox. With regular appearances on Good Morning America and Dr.Phil, Areva is also a cohost on the Emmy Award-winning daytime syndicated talk show The Doctors. A Harvard Law School graduate, Areva is the founding partner of Martin & Martin, LLP. She represents clients in high-stakes civil and disability rights and employment litigation. She has been identified as a Southern California Super Lawyer for the last three years. Recognized as one of the nation’s leading autism and children’s rights advocates, she is the founder of Special Needs Network, Inc. and the author of an Amazon best-selling book, The Everyday Advocate: Standing Up for Your Child with Autism and Other Special Needs (Penguin 2010).

Debra Moore Debra Moore Award

Top Autism Solutions Writer
Debra Moore, Ph.D.

Debra Moore is a psychologist who has worked extensively with children, teens and adults on the autism spectrum.  She coauthored The Loving Push: How Parents and Professionals Can Help Spectrum Kids Become Successful Adults (2016) with Dr. Temple Grandin.   She started the groups “Autism Spectrum Across the Lifespan,” and “Autism Spectrum HELPING HANDS Mentors”  at https://www.linkedin.com/groups/1646967. She contributed two chapters (one again coauthored with Dr. Temple Grandin) to The Nine Degrees of Autism (Routledge, 2015), which presents a developmental model of stages frequently experienced by those diagnosed as adults.  She also wrote the chapter Internet and Gaming Addiction in Youth on the Autism Spectrum: A Particularly Vulnerable Population in Internet Addiction in Children and Adolescents (forthcoming, Springer Publishers).

Angelina M Angelina Award

Top Assessment and Treatment Writer
Angelina M., MS, BCBA, LMFT

Angelina M. works as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, specializing in assessing and treating children and adolescents with autism, down-syndrome, and other developmental delays. She began her career in Applied Behavior Analysis in 2006, following her youngest brother’s autism diagnosis, and has since worked with dozens of children and families. She also writes a blog about her experiences as both a professional and a big sister. Her brother, Dylan, remains her most powerful inspiration for helping others who face similar challenges.  Learn more about Angelina and her blog, The Autism Onion, at www.theautismonion.com or www.facebook.com/theautismonion

Tracy Oxley Tracy Oxley Award
Top Special Education Advice Writer
Tracy Oxley

Tracy Oxley is an exceptional student education (ESE) middle school teacher at Johnson Middle School in Melbourne, Florida.  She is the 2016-17 Teacher of the Year for Johnson Middle School.  She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Exceptional Education from the University of Central Florida and a Master’s Degree in Exceptional Education with a certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorders from the University of Central Florida.  She is married with six children ranging from ages 3 to 27 and has a rescue dog named Julie.  She is an avid sports fan and loves spending time with her family.

Sarah Kupferschmidt   Sarah Kupferschmidt Award

Top Behavior Analysis Writer
Sarah Kupferschmidt,MA, BCBA

Sarah Kupferschmidt realized that Behavior Analysis was her calling when she first started working with children with autism in 1999. Once she discovered its effectiveness and the impact it had in helping children with autism and their families, it inspired her to pursue a Masters of Arts in Psychology with a specialization in Behavior Analysis from the University of Nevada, Reno. She is also a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA).  Not only does Sarah enjoy working directly with children with autism, she’s also very passionate about empowering others with the most effective tools to teach children with autism.  She has been training staff and clinicians and coaching parents on how to do this since she started.  She is also passionate about the science and research behind the tools that she advocates.  In partnership with Brock University, Sarah is currently involved in a research project that involves the evaluation of a parent-training package that will help empower parents with tools to teach a child with autism important safety skills. She has been a Part-Time or Adjunct Professor since 2005, teaching ABA courses.  Sarah also regularly presents workshops to parents, therapists, and educators on a variety of topics related to teaching or working with individuals with autism.  Sarah is a Huffington Post Contributor, a TEDx speaker, and was named Top Safety Contributor for Autism Parenting Magazine in 2014 and Top Behavior Analysis Writer for 2015. Visit her site: sarahkconsulting.com

Barbara Sher   Barbara Sher Award

Top Occupational Therapist Writer
Barbara Sher MA, OTR

Barbara Sher is the author of 11 books on playing games. Her latest books, Everyday Games for Sensory Processing DisorderEarly Intervention and The Whole Spectrum of Social, Motor and Sensory Games emphasize playful activities to do with siblings at home and in inclusive classroom using recycled materials. Check out online bookstores or www.gameslady.com for details and to hear Playful Parent podcasts.

Lauren Brukner Lauren Brukner Award

Top Parental Advice Writer
Lauren Brukner, OT

Lauren Brukner is a Senior Occupational Therapist and author who graduated with a Masters of Science in Occupational Therapy from New York University.  She is a mom of three kids, ages 5, 7, and 8. She specializes in sensory integration and self-regulation strategies in children and young people, and their implementation in home, school, and community settings.  She is an author with Jessica Kingsley Publishers, and is the author of The Kids’ Guide to Staying Awesome and in Control: Simple Stuff to Help Children Regulate Their Emotions and Senses (July 2014), and How to Be a Superhero Called Self-Control!: Super Powers to Help Younger Children to Regulate their Emotions and Senses (November 2015). She holds advanced training and certification in Integrated Listening Systems and is a Certified Screener for Irlen Syndrome/Scoptic Sensitivity.  She is a contributing author to Autism Parenting Magazine and Fireflyfriends Special Needs blog. She has appeared as a guest on The Autism Show and The Manhattan Neighborhood Network’s School-Home Connection. Her books have been listed as resources on websites such as Real Simple Magazine, Everyday Health, AOL’s Health and Wellness, MSN Health, and Friendship Circle, as well as Special Needs Book Review, among others. She blogs at www.awesomeandincontrol.com.

Karen Kabaki-Sisto   Karen Kabaki Sisto Award

Top Communications Writer
Karen Kabaki-Sisto, M.S., CCC-SLP

Karen Kabaki-Sisto is a Communication Expert and Advocate helping people with autism for over 20 years. As a certified Speech-Language Pathologist and Applied Behavior Analysis Instructor, Karen has been empowering people with autism and special needs to have more meaningful conversations like never before. Her highly effective “I CAN! For Autism Method™”—perfected for over 10 years and now incorporated within the iPad app I Can Have Conversations With You!™–is changing lives through improved social and language skills. It is 100% fun for both kids and adults to use! Join the conversation at www.iCanForAutism.com.

Ryan F. Platt Ryan Platt Award

Top Special Needs Financial Writer
Ryan F. Platt, MBA, ChFC®, ChSNC™

Ryan F. Platt completed his Special Care Planner Certification in 2005 at the American College in Bryn Mawr, PA, in which he received advanced training in estate and tax planning, special needs trusts, government programs, and the emotional dynamics of working with people and families with special needs loved ones. In 2013, he went on to complete the Chartered Special Needs Consultant designation. A pioneer in his field, Ryan is one of only a few planners certified through Massachusetts Mutual Life Insurance Company (MassMutual) and the American College in Special Care Planning in Charlotte. He is the founder of A Special Needs Plan.

Kate Hooven Kate Hooven Award

Top Personal Narrative Writer
Kate Hooven

Kate Hooven is a mom of three fabulous kids, and she shares how her family rides the waves of autism without drowning at The AWEnesty of Autism. The blog is real, raw, and AWEnest. Kate hopes in the few minutes it takes a parent riding a similar wave to read one of her posts, that parent feels a little less lonely and little more determined to hold on and ride the wave. She has been blogging for three years and has had several posts shared on The Mighty, Yahoo Parenting, AutismAwareness.com, The Autism Society of America and Autism Speaks.


Jamie E. Carter   Ahna I. O’Shaughnessy Jamie Carter Award Ahna OShaughnessy Award

Top Social Skills Advisers
Jamie E. Carter, Ph.D. and Ahna I. O’Shaughnessy, M.A.

Jamie E. Carter is a clinical psychologist and Ahna I. O’Shaughnessy is a psychology associate.  They are co-authors of PREP for Social Success:  A Guide for Parents of Children with Autism.  It is a social skills manual which provides an easy to follow four-step program to help your child improve social functioning and emotion management.  It is available exclusively through Amazon Kindle at http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00WQANRI4.  You can follow them on Twitter @Prep4SocSuccess and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/PREPforSocialSuccess.

Ahna I. O’Shaughnessy Nick Turziano Award

Top Young Adult Writer
Nick Turziano

Nick Turziano is a 14-year-old boy who happens to have autism. He is from Wheeling, WV and will be entering into 9th grade in the fall.  His parents knew there was something different about Nick when he was little, but he was not diagnosed with autism until he was seven years old. Nick plays hockey, soccer, and is learning to play tennis.  He volunteers all over town, gets good grades, has a summer job, and has been able to make a difference in the autistic community.  Nick says his greatest accomplishment is earning the rank of Eagle Scout at only 14 years old.

Kaelynn Partlow Kaelyn Partlow Award

Top Autism Voice
Kaelynn Partlow

Kaelynn Partlow is a young adult with autism who has a passion for advocacy. She has a high level of energy and always needs to be busy. She enjoys spending time with her family and boyfriend while she is not working with kids.  On the side, Kaelynn also has a small dog training business, in which she teaches people with disabilities how to train their own service dogs. She had an internship with a service dog organization for several years before branching out and teaching people how to train their own dogs. Kaelynn developed a passion for dog training and behavior at the age of nine when her parents purchased her a show dog. Ever since then, she has been fascinated with behavior modification and how it can change lives for the better.

Neill Broderick   Colin Rhodes Neil Broderick Award Colin Rhodes Award

Top Expert Advice Writers
Dr. Neill Broderick and Colin Rhodes, M.Sc. 

Neill Broderick is a licensed clinical psychologist employed by the Department of Pediatrics at the Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital and the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center. Prior to her faculty appointment at Vanderbilt, Dr. Broderick completed a Bachelor’s degree and a Master’s of Education degree at Vanderbilt University. She then pursued her doctoral degree in Clinical & School Psychology at the University of Virginia. Neill completed a predoctoral internship at the Kennedy Krieger Institute of Johns Hopkins University Medical School before returning to Vanderbilt University for a postdoctoral fellowship. She works with children with autism spectrum disorders and their families in assessment, intervention, and research capacities.

Colin Rhodes is an experienced healthcare IT executive with sixteen years’ experience working in medical imaging and clinical trials.  Colin holds a bachelor’s degree with honors in Pure Mathematics and Computer Science as well as a Master’s degree in Computer Science from the University of Queensland.  He has an eight-year-old son with ASD.

Lieutenant Joseph Pangaro

Top Safety Writer
Lieutenant Joseph Pangaro (Ret.)

Joseph Pangaro is a 27-year veteran of law enforcement. He retired in 2013 at the rank of Lieutenant and currently serves as the Director of School Safety and Security for a large school district in NJ. He is also the owner of Pangaro Training and Management, a company that provides training to the public and private sector on a host of topics. Joseph is also a staff writer for the magazine NJ Blue Now.

Contributed Articles with the Top Media Shares for 2016

The following two contributor articles received the highest number of shares for the past year.

Simple Ways to Help Your Child with Autism Learn Flexible Thinking

By Kari Dunn Buron

5 Ways to Deal When You Don’t Want to Talk About Your Loved One’s Disability

By Elizabeth Alterman

Amy KD Tobik

Amy KD Tobik, Editor-in-Chief of Autism Parenting Magazine, has more than 30 years of experience as a published writer and editor. A graduate of Sweet Briar College in Virginia, Amy’s background includes magazine, newspaper, and book publishing. As a special needs advocate and editor, she coordinates with more than 300 doctors, autism specialists, and researchers to ensure people diagnosed with autism receive the services and supports they need for life. She has two adult children and lives in the Carolinas with her husband.

  • I am honored and humbled to be recognized by Autism Parenting Magazine. I hope the articles help families and kids everywhere! JPangaro

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