Dr. Brian Skotko, MD
A Board-certified medical geneticist and Co-Director of the down syndrome program at Massachusetts general hospital, Dr. Skotko has dedicated his professional energies toward children with cognitive and development disabilities. In 2001 he co-authored the national award-winning book, Common Threads: Celebrating Life with Down syndrome and, most recently, Fasten Your Seatbelt: A Crash Course on Down syndrome for Brothers and Sisters. He is a graduate of Duke University, Harvard Medical School, and Harvard Kennedy School. Dr. Skotko recently authored major research on how physicians deliver a diagnosis of Down syndrome to new and expectant parents. He has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The L.A. Times, NPR’s “On Point,” and ABC’s “Good Morning America.” Dr. Skotko serves on the Honorary Board of Directors for the Massachusetts Down syndrome congress, the Board of Directors for the Band of Angels’ Foundation, and the Professional Advisory Committee for the national center for prenatal and postnatal Down syndrome resources.
Dr. Theresa Hamlin, Ed.D., P.D.
An internationally known expert and educator in the area of special education, developmental disabilities and autism spectrum disorders (ASD). As the Associate Executive Director, Dr. Hamlin is responsible for the comprehensive oversight of all program operations, management, curriculum design, and program evaluation at The Center for Discovery, a national premier specialty center for the advanced care of individuals with developmental disabilities, medical frailties and ASD. Dr. Hamlin has spearheaded the development of many comprehensive programs and integrated services for children and adults with severe disabilities, as well as the development of the Carrus Institute, an international training center for medical personnel, educators, policy makers, parents, and other professionals. She has also served as expert adviser to leaders of developing countries for many years. In 2004, Dr. Hamlin represented the United States in a joint US-India meeting of experts on autism spectrum disorders in India, and has subsequently been engaged in similar research efforts, program design and planning in the Middle East, Latin America, and Southeast Asia. She has directed several federally-funded grants aimed at providing education and support to the families of children with severe disabilities. Dr. Hamlin is responsible for the design and implementation of The Center for Discovery’s advanced Research Program investigating response to intervention for children with ASD at the Discovery School. Her current efforts involve the development of the Health E6 comprehensive approach to treating autism as well as the establishment of an integrated, short-term stay Assessment Center for children diagnosed with ASD. Dr. Hamlin received a BS in Special Education from the College of St. Rose; her MA in Special Education from Columbia University; her Post-Master’s and Public School Superintendent’s licensure from SUNY New Paltz; and her doctorate in Educational Leadership from St. John’s University. She also holds a certificate as a teacher of the visually impaired and blind from Dominican College.
Dr. Dalia Zwick
Physical Therapist with an advanced PhD degree in Pathokinesiology from New York University. She has an extensive clinical and teaching experience in the disciplines of neurology and neurodevelopment rehabilitation of adults and young children with developmental and acquired disabilities. Dr. Zwick has presented in national and international conferences and seminars. Her special focus is in integrating yoga into rehabilitation where postural alignment and use props are main elements. In addition she also specialized in orthotics and shoe wear needs of people with disabilities. She is currently interested in raising awareness of postural issues of children and adult with Autism. She focuses on rehabilitation options to improve posture and walking in consumers with autism, thus preventing the possible added burden of physical disability that may occur as consequence of postural issues.
Dr. Charles Cartwright, M.D.
Dr. Cartwright was the Director of the Autism Center at the YAI Network, NY. He completed a general psychiatry residency in Cape Town, South Africa, fellowships in child and adolescent psychiatry at New York University/Bellevue Hospital and autism research at the Seaver Autism Center for Research and Treatment at Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Dr. Cartwright is a renowned expert in the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorders in children, adolescents and adults. In addition to being a board certified child and adolescent psychiatrist, Dr. Cartwright is also a faculty member at the Department of Psychiatry, Child and Adolescent Division, the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. He has an extensive experience in directing autism clinical research and educational outreach, reading lectures on autism related topics, and conducting research in autism genetics, neuroimaging and psycho-pharmacology. Dr. Cartwright also managed a large clinical practice as well as served as a member of the New Jersey Governor’s Council on Autism to advocate for law and policy changes.
Dr. Michelle Major
Dr. Major is a Bahamian, who is licensed and nationally certified as a school psychologist. Dr. Major serves as the Clinical Director of the Caribbean Center for Child Development in the Bahamas. She has over 15 years’ experience working with children with disabilities in both the private and public sectors and has had extensive experience in the administration of developmental and neuropsychological assessments. Dr. Major specializes in the assessment and diagnosis of, as well as intervention for, children with autism and low-incidence disabilities. She began her career in this field as an inclusion teacher and a verbal behavior therapist (ABA) for children with autism. She later conducted research in the field of disabilities and education. She worked for Child Provider Specialists at the Dan Marino Center, Miami Children’s Hospital in Weston Florida. Dr. Major served as the Autism Task Force Leader for the executive board of the Florida Association of School Psychologists in 2008. Dr. Major served on the Florida Association of School Psychologists executive board for the year 2010/2011, representing low-incidence disabilities for the state of Florida. Prior to her move to the Bahamas, Dr. Major served as an Assistant Professor of Psychology at Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida; where she spent five years training school psychology graduate students in child and adolescent development, counseling, learning theory, academic and behavioral interventions, consultation, and assessment. She also taught at the undergraduate level, introduction into psychology, psychology of women and the psychology of the family. Her years as a school psychologist in Palm Beach County and Miami-Dade County school systems have provided her extensive experience in psycho-educational evaluations, behavior modification, teacher and parent consultations and crisis intervention. Furthermore, she has served as part of the design, implementation, and evaluation of prevention/intervention initiatives (i.e., Safe Schools Healthy Students and the Hepatitis, HIV, and Substance Abuse Grant Initiatives) in the Miami-Dade County School District. She has presented at local, regional, and national conferences on topics such as: the effectiveness of interventions for children with autism, applied behavioral analysis, parental stress related to having a child with a disability and attribution theory.
Ms. Pace is a nationally certified Speech-Language Pathologist. She obtained her Master’s Degree in Speech Pathology from Hofstra University after completing her undergraduate degree in Speech-Language Pathology/Audiology from Loyola University in Maryland. Ms. Pace has extensive experience working in a variety of settings including: early intervention, schools, and outpatient rehab facilities. She is currently working in a public special education school primarily for students (grades K-6) on the Autism Spectrum and with developmental delays. Her therapy addresses/targets speech, language, pragmatics/social skills, reading and feeding deficits. Ms. Pace conducts staff and parent trainings regarding the use of visual supports to aid communication, behavior management techniques, and using Alternative Augmentative Communication devices.
Dr. Danielle Catalano, PT CYT
A nationally certified Physical Therapist working in New York City. She earned both her Bachelor’s Degree and Doctorate of Physical Therapy from New York University. Through her career, she has worked in a variety of settings treating individuals with a wide range of diagnoses and ages. Currently, Dr. Catalano works full time with children diagnosed with Autism and Developmental Delays. In addition, she is a certified Yoga Teacher, Pilate’s instructor, and Reiki Practitioner. She developed and teaches a class named “Yoga Therapeutics,” teaching Yoga to individuals with current and past injuries. Dr. Catalano’s therapeutic style is holistic; examining and studying the whole body to make clinical decisions based on what is best for the individual. She draws from a wide range of modalities and treatment approaches, and is continually learning new concepts to better serve her patients. Dr. Catalano has conducted numerous professional development courses, workshops and in-service presentations on a variety of topics within the lens of Physical Therapy.
Mr. Elder is a third year doctoral student at Syracuse University pursuing his Ph.D. in Special Education and Certificates of Advanced Study in Disability Studies and Leadership in International and Non-Governmental Organizations. Mr. Elder holds advanced degrees in moderate/severe disabilities and special education. He was a special education teacher at a public elementary school in Goleta, CA from 2004 to 2012. While there, he created a successful inclusive education program. Students with multiple disabilities were fully and actively included into general education classrooms with their age-appropriate peers. As a public elementary school teacher, Brent supervised special education student teachers from UCSB at his school site. He also taught courses from 2010 to 2012 in the Teacher Education Program at UCSB on inclusive education, stakeholders in inclusive education, and co-taught a methods course on English Language Development (ELD) and Specially Designed Academic Instruction in English (SDAIE). Mr. Elder has also collaborated with the US Embassy in Manama, Bahrain, and the Ministry of Education in Kenya as a special education consultant. His international work has centered on developing sustainable inclusive practices that are in alignment with the Article 24 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD). Mr. Elder was named Goleta’s Teacher of the Year in 2007. He is currently in the process of applying to a Fulbright Scholar Program to expand his research on inclusive schools in Kenya.
A PhD candidate and fellow in Counseling and Counselor Education at Syracuse University. He holds a Master’s Degree in School Counseling from the University of Scranton, and is a Certified School Counselor, National Certified Counselor, and Approved Clinical Supervisor. He was an Applied Behavior Specialist and Mental Health Counselor at the YAI-Network for four years. As an Applied Behavior Specialist, Jaime conducted assessments, developed treatment plans for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and trained and supervised direct care staff and clinical assistants. As a Mental Health Counselor, Jaime provided individual and family counseling for children and adolescents diagnosed with Autism. In his clinical work, Jaime specializes in creating inclusive, person-centered, and solution-focused counseling for individuals and families. Jaime’s clinical experiences and research interests include: facilitating process and self-advocacy groups for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, creating inclusive groups for students with disabilities in schools, clinical supervision, and the education and training of counselors. Jaime has led workshops at regional, national, and international conferences for disability and rehabilitation, counselor education and supervision, and professional counseling.
Ms. Fisher has worked in pediatrics for over 16 years working as both an educator and an occupational therapist. She holds two Master’s degrees – one in special education, the other in occupational therapy, from New York University and has worked in a wide variety of settings including: early intervention, schools, sensory gyms and private practice. Her focus has been working with children (ages 15 months-17 years) diagnosed with autism and developmental delays. In her treatment, Ms. Fisher focuses on sensory integration, motor coordination, handwriting/fine motor, leisure skills, self-care skills and feeding. She is certified in Therapeutic Listening, and teaching yoga to children with special needs. She is also a certified feeding therapist. Ms. Fisher is a strong advocate for multidisciplinary team collaboration and family involvement in the therapeutic process. She has conducted several family workshops and lectures throughout the New York Metropolitan area.