The work we do at Autism Parenting Magazine (APM) to support families all over the world simply wouldn’t be possible without the help and dedication of our valued contributors.
Every year, we’re privileged to have many autism experts offering their time and services to the magazine as writers and, in 2021, for the first time, we also welcomed contributors onboard as speakers for our new initiative, the Autism Parenting Summit.
To thank these special collaborators for their support, we present our annual Contributor Awards. Choosing the winners for 2021 was no easy task as so many are worthy of this acknowledgment. If you’re a contributor reading this who hasn’t received an award this year, please note that your work is highly valued and appreciated. We look forward to working together in 2022 and further into the future.
Without further ado, we’re delighted to announce the following autism experts have been selected as APM’s 2021 Contributor Awards recipients:
Top Parental Advice Writer
Karla Pretorius, M Psych
Karla is Co-Director of AIMS Global and co-developer of the AIMS holistic support system. Karla has contributed to almost every issue of APM over the past year as well as writing for the blog and speaking at the Autism Parenting Summit. Karla is a Research Psychologist who resides in Portugal but travels all over the world raising global awareness and acceptance of neurodiversity.
Top Education Writer
Dr. Ron Malcolm
Dr. Malcolm has contributed to APM for years and presented at the Autism Parenting Summit. He is Assistant Director of Special Education for a public school district and a faculty member with the University of Phoenix as well as the University of Kansas. He has Bachelor’s degrees in English and Special Education, Master’s degrees in Counseling, Special Education, and School Administration, a Doctorate in Educational Leadership, and Post-Graduate degrees in Positive Behavior Supports and Autism Spectrum Disorders. He has worked with autistic students in school and community-based settings for almost 40 years.
Top Personal Narrative Writer
Kendra Pittman-Smith, BSc
Kendra has shared her personal experiences as an autism parent across a number of our 2021 issues. She is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, who graduated from Georgia State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology and a minor in Sociology. Kendra is a Certified Life Coach and has developed her own non-profit, Heartfelt Connections Inc., that supports parents of children with autism, ADHD, OCD, and other exceptionalities.
Top Autism Therapy Writer
Carol Tatom, RBT
Carol is a Registered Behavior Technician and a mother of four children including a child with autism. She has written extensively on behavior solutions for APM over the past year. Carol serves as the Committee Chair for the Dallas Chapter of Autism Speaks and is working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Human Services with a concentration in Child and Family Services.
Top Autism Rights Writer
Ron Sandison, M Div
Ron is a Professor of Theology at Destiny School of Ministry and is the Founder of Spectrum Inclusion, which empowers young autistic adults for independence and employment. He provides regular interviews to APM, featuring inspirational people on the spectrum. He is an advisory board member of the Art of Autism and the Els Center of Excellence and is the author of A Parent’s Guide to Autism: Practical Advice. Biblical Wisdom.
Top Autism Safety Advisor
Lt. Joseph Pangaro, CPM, CSO, MOI
Lt. Pangaro is a 27-year veteran law enforcement officer and former Director of School Safety and Security. He has written multiple safety-themed articles for APM and, this year, he was also a presenter at the Autism Parenting Summit. He runs True Security Design, a company that provides training for law enforcement, schools, businesses, and houses of worship, on safety and security issues.
Top Autism Advocate
Gemma regularly contributes to APM as an autism sibling and ally. She was born and raised in Singapore and has two brothers with additional needs. She is the middle child; her older brother has autism and her younger brother has Down’s syndrome and autism. Gemma’s personal connection with people on the spectrum fuels her to help families through her writing.
Top Sensory Solutions Writer
Rebecca Duvall Scott, BA
Rebecca has been raising awareness of sensory processing disorder ever since her son’s diagnosis. She has written several articles for APM in addition to speaking at the Autism Parenting Summit. Rebecca writes about her ever-evolving research and has helped others through her book, Sensational Kids, Sensational Families: Hope for Sensory Processing Differences.
Top Young Writer
Ishaan is a semi-verbal autistic teenager who has submitted inspirational poems and allegories to APM. He lives in Calgary with his parents and older sister and communicates through a keyboard. Ishaan loves watching sports, but his passion is writing. His goal is to make unheard voices heard through his words.
Top Expert Advice Writer
Karen Kaplan, MS
Karen contributes multiple articles to APM as an expert in many areas of autism. Karen holds BS and MS degrees in Speech Pathology, an Educational Administrative Credential, and a Moderate to Severe Teaching Credential. She is a former Executive Director of Wings Learning Center (a school for children with autism) and served as an Instructor in the Autism Spectrum Certificate program at Alliant University. She has sat on nonprofit boards, directed a residential school in Sacramento, and helped non-governmental agencies in Indonesia and Africa. Currently, Karen is consulting with families, schools, and adult programs.
Top Transitioning to Adulthood Writer
Dr. Rachel Bédard, PhD
Dr. Bédard has supported APM for the past few years, penning articles on topics such as transitioning to adulthood and autism diagnosis. She is a licensed Psychologist practicing in Fort Collins, Colorado. Dr. Bédard uses a strengths-based approach and has co-written two books, including You’ve Got This!: The Journey from Middle School to College, As Told by Students on the Autism Spectrum and Their Parents.
Top Occupational Therapist
Linda Craig Dennis, MEd, OTR/L
Linda has two decades of pediatric experience in schools. As well as writing for APM, Linda presented on Motor Skills at the Autism Parenting Summit. She has completed extensive education in fine motor, visual motor, and sensory-motor development, and also holds certifications in Therapeutic Listening®, Astronaut Training, and Interactive Metronome.
Top Communication Advisor
Colette McNeil, M Psych
Colette is the author of the award-winning book Understanding the Challenge of “No,” for Children with Autism: Improving Communication, Increasing Positivity, Enhancing Relationships. She covered the subject of nonverbal communication and personal communication support for APM and is joining the lineup for the next Autism Parenting Summit. Colette has worked with children on the spectrum for 30 years in a range of educational, recreational, and caregiving settings.
Top Autism Solutions Writer
Dr. Marcia Eckerd, PhD
Dr. Eckerd has supported APM for a number of years, offering outspoken solutions and ideas on topics such as education, social skills, and safety. She has been a licensed Psychologist since 1985, providing neuropsychological evaluations, therapy, social skills training, and consultation with parents and schools for those with autism traits.
Top Social Skills Advisor
Holly Blanc Moses, MS BCBA LCMHC LPA ADHD-CCSP
Holly is mom to a child on the spectrum and has diverse experience as a Licensed Psychological Associate, a Licensed Clinical Mental Health Counselor, and an ADHD Certified Clinical Services Provider. Holly delivered a presentation on Six Simple Strategies to Improve Social Skills at the Autism Parenting Summit and encouraged hundreds of autism caregivers to attend.
Website: www.hollyblancmoses.com / www.crossvinegroup.com
Top Autism Health Writer
Tina Bishai, BSc PT, MBA
Tina is a Holistic Health Practitioner specializing in Energy Medicine, a Shamanic Practitioner, and a trained Physical Therapist. She has been helping kids with autism and ADHD to reduce their symptoms and feel healthier in their own bodies since supporting her own daughter through prior struggles. Tina has penned articles APM as well as speaking at the Autism Parenting Summit.
Top Speech-Language Pathologist
Mallory Griffith, MA, CCC-SLP
Mallory has supported APM with multiple articles covering areas such as conversation, oral motor exercises, and social skills. Mallory also discussed speech therapy as an early intervention at the Autism Parenting Summit. Mallory has co-authored two books and specializes in coaching social communication skills for people on the autism spectrum.
Neurodivergent Advocate Award
Marcelle Ciampi, MEd
Marcelle (pen name Samantha Craft) is an autistic advocate best known for work in the book Everyday Aspergers. She is Senior Manager DEI at Ultranauts Inc (an engineering firm with an autism-hiring initiative) and is Founder of Spectrum Suite LLC. Marcelle’s Autistic Traits List has enabled many adults to receive an ASD diagnosis. As well as writing for APM during 2021, Marcelle spoke about empowering young autistic adults for the workplace at the Autism Parenting Summit.