EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR

David Celiberti - Picture ASAT website

David CelibertiPhD, BCBA-D, is the part time Executive Director of ASAT and Past-President, a role he served from 2006 and 2012. He is the Co-Editor of ASAT’s newsletter, Science in Autism Treatment

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He received his PhD in clinical psychology from Rutgers University in 1993. Dr. Celiberti has served on a number of advisory boards and special interest groups in the field of autism, applied behavior analysis, and early childhood education, and been an active participant in local fundraising initiatives to support after school programming for economically disadvantaged children. He works in private practice and provides consultation to public and private schools and agencies in underserved areas. He has authored several articles in professional journals and presents frequently at regional, national, and international conferences. In prior positions, Dr. Celiberti taught courses related to applied behavior analysis (ABA) at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, supervised individuals pursuing BCBA certifications, and conducted research in the areas of ABA, family intervention, and autism.

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OFFICERS OF BOARD

EricLarsson

Eric V. Larsson, PhD, LP, BCBA-D,
President,
is a Board Member of ASAT. He is the Executive Director of Clinical Services at the Lovaas Institute Midwest, where he implements and researches a program of intensive early intervention services for families of children who suffer from autism.

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Dr. Larsson is a member of the Clinical Faculty in the Psychology Department at the University of Minnesota, where he teaches classes in Applied Behavior Analysis and in Autism. He is currently a board member of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board and the Autism Recovery Foundation. He is the honorary President of the Fundaçion Planeta Imaginario in Barcelona, Spain. Dr. Larsson served as Associate Research Director of the NIMH Multi-site Replication Study of the UCLA Young Autism Project. He has supervised intensive early intervention services since 1983 and has consulted with over 250 programs and governmental agencies world-wide, particularly on the issues involved in insurance coverage of accountable ABA services. In Minnesota, he authored a law for Medicaid coverage of intensive early intervention for autism. He participated in the development of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board Guidelines for Health Plan Coverage of Applied Behavior Analysis Treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder. In 2013 he received the Provider of the Year Award from Autism Speaks in Washington, DC. and the Jerry Shook Leadership Award from the California Association for Behavior Analysis (CalABA).

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Sabrina Freeman, PhD,
Treasurer, is a Board Member of ASAT since 2011. She graduated from Stanford University in 1995 with a PhD in Sociology, specializing in small group research and the study of organizations…

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Upon return to Canada, Dr. Freeman spent 14 years advocating for the rights of children with autism to be included in the government funded health care system for autism treatment.

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BigSquare

Ruth Donlin, MS,
Secretary,
i
s a Board Member of ASAT since 2010 and on the Public Relations Committee…

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She is a consultant in private practice based in New York, and has provided consultation to schools, agencies, and home programs for children and adults on the autism spectrum for 20 years. She has completed the course requirements for a PhD in Clinical Psychology at Pacifica Graduate Institute and is completing her dissertation. She presents on a variety of topics such as managing challenging behaviors, using visual supports, team dynamics, and social skill development at conferences regionally, nationally, and internationally. Ruth is Past-President of the Autism Special Interest Group (SIG) of the Association of Behavior Analysis International.

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BOARD MEMBERS

Preeti

Preeti Chojar, MCA, has been a Board Member of ASAT since 2007 and currently serves as Co-Chair of the Website Committee. She is a software professional and, when her son was diagnosed, she had no knowledge of autism. She set about educating herself by attending numerous conferences, asking questions and reading as many books and articles as possible.

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She worked hand in hand with the team at her son’s preschool. She has used her software skills, innovative thinking and her commitment to her son to develop and carry out an unrelenting path forward for him. Her level of involvement and commitment to science-based treatment has sustained over the years.

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Julie

Julie Azuma, BFA, joined the ASAT Board of Directors in 2016. She had a career as a designer and merchandiser in the apparel industry for 30 years. In 1995, when her older daughter, Miranda, was diagnosed with autism at the age of six, Julie left the apparel industry to begin a business marketing educational materials for children on the autism spectrum.

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Different Roads to Learning and DRL Books were created to meet the need for ABA products in the autism community. A pioneer in online business as well as autism education, Julie was able to source products that would help young students with language and shape their positive behavior. In 2011, the company was mentored by a partnership of UBS and the Clinton Economic Opportunity Initiative. The mentoring programs helped to create Apps for children on the autism spectrum. In the autism community, she was presented the Robert Ambrey Award from Eden II in 2007. The Elija Foundation honored her for her company’s work in autism with the “Chariot Award” in November of 2008. She has been honored with the Martin Luther King Jr.: “I Have a Dream Award” by Governor George Pataki. In 2015, she received the Clara Lemlich Award for lifelong social activism. In May of 2009-2015 she was chair of the Eden II and Genesis Foundation Board, an agency that works to educate and serve over 300 individuals diagnosed with autism. Julie is active in many Japanese American organizations from US Japan Council to local networks. She was elected to the Board of Governors at the Japanese American National Museum in 2015.

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Karen

Karen Fried, PsyD, BCBA-D, joined the ASAT Board of Directors in 2015 and is a member of the Scientific Review Committee. She is Director of Developmental Pediatric Services for the Advocate Health Care hospital system in Chicago. Originally from New York, Dr. Fried is a licensed clinical psychologist and board certified behavior analyst, with a background in school and community psychology.

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She holds a Doctorate of Psychology from Rutgers University. For the past 20 years, Dr. Fried has specialized in the diagnosis, education and treatment of children with ASD and other disorders impacting behavior, learning, socialization and communication. In prior positions, she led the start-up and management of ABA programs for children with ASD. Dr Fried serves on the Illinois Autism Task Force, an advisory body to the Secretary of the Illinois Department of Human Services. She is a member of the Illinois Psychological Association, American Psychological Association, Association for Behavior Analysis International, and Association of Professional Behavior Analysts.

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Photo - Lina Slim-Topdjian

Lina Slim, PhD, BCBA-D, CCC-SLP has over 30 years of experience working with children with speech, language, communication and behavioral challenges, and has worked in the field of ABA and Autism since 1998. She founded ASAP – A Step Ahead Program, LLC in 2004, an educational and behavioral consulting clinic that serves children diagnosed with Autism, providing individualized comprehensive interventions based on the science of applied behavior analysis (ABA).

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Dr. Slim’s clinical and research interests focus on disseminating  best practices in the application of the science of behavior analysis, training staff to gain competencies in the application of behavior learning principles, empowering families with the knowledge and skills necessary to advocate for implementation of best practices for their children, and promoting a culture that embraces interprofessional education and collaborative practices with a family centered approach. Dr. Slim currently serves as Vice-Chair of the New Jersey Speech and Hearing Association (NJSHA) Private Practice Committee, Chair of NJSHA Interprofessional Autism Conference (IPAC), Board Member of the Internal Continuing Education Committee for ABAC Inc., and Executive Member of the Speech Pathology and Applied Behavior Analysis (SPABA) SIG affiliated with the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI). She is an Adjunct Professor at Seton Hall University in the ABA program and an Adjunct Assistant Professor at The Chicago School of Professional Psychology in the ABA Online Program. She also presents and consults nationally and internationally. Dr. Slim is recognized for her innovative interdisciplinary / interprofessional education collaborative approach to practice, building partnerships between practitioners, families and stakeholders, facilitating communication and integrating effective best practices across disciplines. 

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Erin

Erin Leif, PhD, BCBA-D, joined the Board of Directors in 2018, and is currently serving as the Media Watch Lead. In this role, she coordinates efforts to identify and respond to accurate and inaccurate portrayals of autism and its treatment in the media, through the association’s Media Watch initiative.

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Originally from Boston, Massachusetts, Erin currently lives in the beautiful city of Melbourne, Australia. She is a Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Education at Monash University, where she coordinates the Master’s of Education in Applied Behaviour Analysis course sequence. Prior to joining the Faculty at Monash, Erin held various clinic appointments at internationally-recognised organisations providing applied behaviour analytic education and treatment to children with autism and related conditions, including the New England Center for Children (Boston and Abu Dhabi) and the Lizard Centre (Sydney, Melbourne, and Adelaide Australia).

Erin obtained her PhD in Behaviour Analysis from Western New England University in 2012. She specialises in the design and delivery of early intensive behavioural intervention (EIBI) and in functional assessment and treatment of severe behaviours of concern. Her approach to EIBI and behavioural treatment is skill-based; designing individualised programs that focus on teaching functional and fundamental life skills, including communication, learning to learn and listening skills, social responsiveness, play and leisure, and toleration. She is passionate about making sure every child has access to appropriate, evidence-based supports to help build their functional independence. Erin is an avid animal lover and enjoys spending time with her two rescue dogs, Frank the Tank and Bentley, when not busy at work.

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CarolynSneizyk

Carolyn Sniezyk, MS, BCBA, LBA, joined the Board of ASAT in 2018. Carolyn has been working with individuals of all ages diagnosed with Autism and other developmental disabilities for more than 15 years.

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The majority of her experience has been with Crossroads Center for Children located in Schenectady, New York. Crossroads Center for Children is a private, non-profit school serving children age two to 12 years that utilizes the treatment philosophy of applied behavior analysis. Carolyn has filled many roles within this agency including teaching assistant, research assistant, consultant to public schools, and ultimately, Clinical Director. At this time Carolyn oversees all behavior analysts working at the Center and the Clinic, which provides insurance based ABA services to families in their homes or community.

Carolyn received her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Environmental Science from Queens College in 2002. Shortly thereafter, she began pursuing a Master of Arts degree in Community Psychology from Sage Graduate School. In conjunction with taking courses to complete the Master of Arts degree, she also took courses through Sage Graduate School to fulfill requirements to sit for the board certification in behavior analysis exam. She completed her Master of Arts degree in Community Psychology in 2004 and became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in 2005. In 2008 she completed a Master of Science degree in Educational Psychology and Methodology from the State University of New York at Albany. In 2014 she attained her NYS license in applied behavior analysis.

She has had the opportunity to conduct and present research at various state and national conferences including the New York State Association for Behavior Analysis, the Association for Behavior Analysis International, and Behavior Analysis and Developmental Disabilities. One research projects has resulted in a professional publication. Carolyn has been volunteering for ASAT for approximately five years.

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mary jane weiss

Mary Jane Weiss, PhD, BCBA-D, is a Professor at Endicott College, where she directs the Master’s Program in Autism and ABA and is a mentoring faculty member in the Doctoral program in ABA. She also does research with the team at Melmark. She joined the Board of ASAT in 2018.

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Dr. Weiss has worked in the field of ABA and Autism for over 30 years. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Rutgers University in 1990 and she became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in 2000. She previously worked for 16 years at the Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center at Rutgers University, where she served as Director of Research and Training and as Clinical Director. Her clinical and research interests center on defining best practice ABA techniques, exploring ways to enhance the ethical conduct of practitioners, evaluating the impact of ABA in learners with autism, teaching social skills to learners with autism, training staff to be optimally effective at instruction, and maximizing family members’ expertise and adaptation. She serves on the Scientific Council of the Organization for Autism Research, is on the Professional Advisory Board of Autism New Jersey, is a regular reviewer for a variety of professional journals, and is a frequent member of service committees for the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. She is also a Past President of the Autism Special Interest Group of the Association for Behavior Analysis International, a former member of the Board of the Association for Professional Behavior Analysts, and a former Vice President of the Board of Trustees for Autism New Jersey.

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Beverly Sharpe

Beverley Sharpe joined the board of ASAT in 2019. Beverley Sharpe is the proud parent of a now 23 year old daughter with autism. She started an ABA Home Treatment program 20 yrs. ago, and has not looked back. Her daughter was mainstreamed in school and now has paid part time work, along with volunteer work.

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Beverley participated on two legal steering committees for judgments which helped children access treatment dollars, and access trained Special Education Assistants.

Beverley has been the Director of Families for Early Autism Treatment since 2010 This means she has done new parent intake, spoken to parents on Advocacy in the School System, and been a resource for parents, teachers and family members.

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transparent-flame

Joseph Forgione, MBA, has served on the board of ASAT since 2002 when he joined to support a friend and founding board member who had children with autism…

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He holds a BA in political science and economics from Queens College and an MBA from Fordham University. He was a former financial services executive and Adjunct Assistant Professor of business at St. John’s Graduate School of Business having taught numerous courses and summer seminars to graduate business students. Over the last 20 years, he has worked with several non-profit organizations.

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Laura Grow

Laura Grow joined the board of ASAT in 2019. Dr. Grow is the Executive Director of Garden Academy, a non-profit school for children with autism in West Orange, New Jersey. She received her doctorate in behavior analysis from Western Michigan University and completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Munroe-Meyer Institute.

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Dr. Grow is an editorial board member for Behavior Analysis in Practice and serves on the Advisory Council for REED Academy. Dr. Grow is a former faculty member of California State University- Fresno and University of British Columbia. She has published in several top-tiered behavior analytic journals, served on the editorial boards for several journals, and served leadership roles in state- and national-level behavior analytic organizations.

Dr. Grow has 19 years of experience implementing and directing services for individuals with developmental disabilities across the lifespan. Her clinical and research interests include teaching language and communication skills, comparing the efficiency and
effectiveness of teaching strategies, and refining parent and staff training techniques.

In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her dog, Gouda, and cooking Cajun food in her great grandmother’s cast iron pot.

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Frank Cicero

Frank R. Cicero, PhD, BCBA, LBA(NYS), is a New York State licensed psychologist, licensed behavior analyst and board certified behavior analyst with over 25 years of experience working in the fields of applied behavior analysis and autism spectrum disorders. He joined the Board of ASAT in 2020.

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He received his master’s degree in school psychology from St. John’s University and his doctoral degree in educational psychology from the City University of New York Graduate Center. Dr. Cicero is currently an assistant professor and ABA program director for Seton Hall University, New Jersey. Prior to this position, he served as the Director of Psychological Services for the Eden II Programs, an applied behavior analysis agency in the New York City area serving children and adults on the autism spectrum. Dr. Cicero has served on the board of the New York State Association for Behavior Analysis since 2000 in various positions including President of the Board in 2015 and 2016.  Dr. Cicero continues a private practice for child/adolescent psychology and ABA as well as conducts program consultations in best practice treatment for autism, developmental disabilities and problem behavior. Dr. Cicero frequently conducts workshops and trainings nationally on a variety of topics within his fields of expertise including treatment of problem behavior, sexual education for individuals with ASD, toilet training, and ethical practice of behavior analysis.

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IN MEMORIAM

TristramSmith

In Memory of Tristram Smith, PhD,
BCBA-D,

We want to recognize the contributions of one of our longstanding board members.

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Tristram Smith was a Board Member of ASAT since 2006 and Chair of the Scientific Review Committee. He was the Haggerty-Friedman Professor of Developmental/Behavioral Pediatric Research at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC), where he led federally funded studies comparing the efficacy of different interventions for children with autism spectrum disorder. He was also a clinician in URMC’s Community Consultation Program, serving students with ASD and other intellectual disabilities in schools and other agencies. His commitment to the study and treatment of children with ASD began in 1982, when he had the opportunity to volunteer as a buddy for an adult with autism who lived near his college. This experience inspired him to apply to graduate school at the University of California, Los Angeles, where he studied clinical psychology and worked as a therapist and researcher with O. Ivar Lovaas, PhD, in the UCLA Young Autism Project. Before moving to Rochester in 2000, he directed clinics for children with autism and their families in the states of California, Iowa, and Washington. He had authored or coauthored several of the most widely-cited studies on treatment outcomes for children with ASD.

Please read our collection of heartfelt tributes to our beloved colleague published in the Fall 2018 issue of Science in Autism Treatment

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