2014 Conference Presenters
David Finch is a humorist and author of the acclaimed New York Times best-selling memoir, The Journal of Best Practices. Married in 2003 and diagnosed five years later with Asperger syndrome, David has committed himself to relentless self-improvement, sometimes to a comical extent. A former semiconductor engineer turned full-time writer and speaker, David has written for The New York Times, Huffington Post, and Slate, and he writes a relationship blog for Psychology Today. But his greatest accomplishment by far has been learning how to thrive as a family man.
Laura Anderson and Cheryl Smith
Cheryl and Laura have been advocates for autism since 2003. They sit on several State and community committees relating to autism and are the President and President Elect of the Autism Council of Utah. Together they started the Big MAKS, (mom's of autistic kids) a networking and support kind of group for parents. They both have boys who have autism.
Yael Calhoun, MA, MS, RTY, is the Executive Director of GreenTREE Yoga, a nonprofit, and is an author and educator. In addition, she has developed manuals, curriculum, CDs, DVDs on yoga for trauma, children, autism, seniors, and cancer survivors. Yael also does professional development on yoga for compassion fatigue and trauma/vicarious trauma.
Teresa has worked with individuals on the autism spectrum for over 20 years. Dr. Cardon completed her doctoral training in Speech & Hearing Science with an autism emphasis and is currently the Director of Autism Studies at Utah Valley University. Dr. Cardon has published her research on autism in peer-reviewed journals and presents at conferences both nationally and internationally.
Holli Child graduated from BYU with a degree in Early Child Education. In addition to obtaining her degree Holli has also had four years of experience working with children on the Autism Spectrum. She is currently a teacher at Clear Horizons Academy. Holli has always had a love of working with children and fostering language development in the children.
Julia Connelly is the Clinical Director at the ASDC. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Utah in School Psychology in 2006 and has been involved with autism research and treatment since working with Dr. Sally Ozonoff as an undergraduate student. Her research has focused on interventions to treat problematic behaviors in individuals with autism spectrum disorders. Her current focus is on providing ASD assessments across the life span, providing behavioral consultations and supports, being a school liaison for families, and engaging in individual and family therapy addressing behavior problems and difficulties relating to mood disorders and anxiety in children, adolescents, and adults with ASD.
Kristina Cottle is a graduate student at the University of Utah, School Psychology Ph.D. program. She works at the Autism Spectrum Disorder Clinic (ASDC) at the University of Utah, and is a Utah Regional Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (URLEND) trainees.
LauraLee Gillespie, an attorney at the Disability Law Center, focuses her practice in special education and Vocational Rehabilitation disputes. As a former public educator she brings a unique understanding to her work with the Utah Department of Education. She received her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Weber State University in 1996. For seven years she taught first grade in Provo School District and held team and technology leadership positions. Following her teaching experience in Utah she taught Physical Education in Washington State to Kindergarten, First Grade and individuals with disabilities in a self contained classroom. While teaching she received her paralegal certificate at the University of Washington. A 2011 S. J. Quinney College of Law graduate and a 2012 Utah State Bar Licenses attorney, Ms. Gillespie loves the work she has been involved in at the Disability Law Center since 2009.
Tracy Golden completed her doctorate in Social Work at the University of Utah in December, 2011, and will be awarded her degree in May, 2012. Her research interests are around the unique patterns of relating that parents develop with their children with autism. Ms. Golden is currently a trainee at the Utah Regional Leadership Education in Neuro-developmental and Related Disabilities Program (URLEND) participating on the autism enhancement track. Ms. Golden has been involved in the disability field since 2004. She helped co-found Utah Families for Effective Autism Treatment and served as vice president. She is also a collaborating member of the Utah Autism Council, the State of Utah “Learn the Signs. Act Early” Team, the Maturation Work Group for Children with Developmental Disabilities, and the Utah Autism Project (a volunteer organization serving Latino families). Her interest in the Utah Act Early Program arose from her belief that parents should have opportunities for early detection in order to access early intervention. She is particularly interested in increasing identification of developmental disabilities in underserved populations. Ms. Golden joined the faculty in the Behavioral Science Department of the UVU College of Humanities and Social Sciences in 2013.
Rhonda J. Greenhaw
Rhonda J. Greenhaw, , MA, BCBA is the Director of the Hussman Center for Adults with Autism at Towson University, one of the world’s largest university-based centers for adult autism. She is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst who has focused her work with adults and adolescents on the autism spectrum. She conducts trainings nationally and internationally, recently becoming an international Professional Fellow of the U.S. State Department’s Empower Project, in which she provided trainings to disability organizations in Novi Sad, Serbia. She also consults with organizations around the country to assist them in providing assessments, services and programs for people on the spectrum from a strengths-based model of disabilities. In addition to leading the Hussman Center for Adults with Autism, Ms. Greenhaw presents at national and international conferences on the topics of autism, adults with autism, autism and culture, is a developer and trainer of programs about autism for first responders, and has written numerous articles and a soon to be released chapter in a text on autism. Ms. Greenhaw is also the parent of a daughter with autism who turned twelve in January which makes her work very personally rewarding.
Julia is currently a Master’s student in the Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis program at Utah State University under the supervision of Dr. Thomas Higbee. Her thesis research investigated the use of activity schedules with adults with intellectual disability in a day program setting. Julia will graduate in April 2014. She received her Bachelor’s degree from Utah State University as well. She started working for Chrysalis in the spring of 2009 as a behavior assistant in Logan, UT. Most recently, Julia is working as a Behavior Analyst student for Chrysalis.
Hyun Uk Kim
Dr. Hyun Uk Kim is an Assistant Professor of Special Education program in the Department of Psychological & Educational Consultation. She has extensive experience working with children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). In 2009, she was awarded an international fellowship at the Bundang Seoul National Hospital in Korea, where she collaborated with mental health professionals and offered a series of workshops to the public on ASD.
Spencer F. Mack, CLU ChFC ChSNC is a financial planner and one of only two Chartered Special Needs Consultants in Utah. Spencer has served families with their financial needs since 1979. He focuses on connecting families with resources in their communities and on helping them build life plans for their
special-needs children. He currently lives in Orem, Utah with his wife, Jane. They have seven children and twenty grandchildren -- two with autism and one with Down Syndrome.
Dr. Todd K. Mack received a PhD in Iberian and Latin American Cultures from Stanford University in 2012. He specializes in the literatures and cultures of the Iberian Peninsula and in artistic representations of autism. He currently teaches at Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah where he lives with his wife and their four children – two of which are on the spectrum.
Dr. Bill McMahon is Chairman of Psychiatry at the University of Utah. He is a child and adolescent psychiatrist with over 3 decades experience as a clinician, teacher and research scientist. He has participated in Utah and national autism epidemiology studies and the international Autism Genome Project. He is currently completing the follow up study of Utah adults who were originally identified as children with autism in a statewide epidemiology study 30 years ago.
Esperanza Reyes is a Parent Consultant with the UPC and a member of the iSTAR research team. Her education includes a BA in Linguistics and one in Sociology. She is finishing her MS in Human Development and Social Policy, with a Graduate Certificate in Disability Studies. Her main academic interest lies in the transition to adulthood and employment for youth with ASD.
Chloe Ruebeck is a graduate student at the University of Utah, School Psychology Ph.D. program, and is also a School Psychologist at a high school in the Salt Lake area. She also works at the Autism Spectrum Disorder Clinic (ASDC) at the University of Utah, where she co-leads the adolescent group. Chloe is also a Utah Regional Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities (URLEND) trainee.
Mikle South received a B.A. in psychology from Yale University in 1994 and a PhD in clinical psychology from the University of Utah in 2005. After returning to Yale for a post-doctoral fellowship in neuroimaging of childhood problems, Dr. South began work at Brigham Young University where he is currently an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience. Dr. South’s research uses a variety of techniques to study links between the brain and behavior in autism spectrum conditions, especially regarding the influence of emotion on thinking in autism. When not working, Dr. South enjoys playing soccer, eating waffles, or watching the show White Collar on Netflix.
Jared Stewart, M.Ed., was named the 2011 Educator of the Year by the National Association of Private Special Education Centers (NAPSEC). He is the director of education at Provo’s ScenicView Academy, and an adjunct professor at UVU. After graduating Magna Cum Laude from BYU he has spent the past decade working with adolescents and adults with autism, and has shared his views on the techniques and mindsets that lead to improved outcomes for individuals on the autism spectrum with many local and national audiences. His passion for the subject arises from personal experience: he has family members on the spectrum and has been diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.
Maria Wiscombe has been involved with helping families who have children with special needs/special healthcare needs connect to information and resources for 13 years. She has been involved with the Epilepsy Association of Utah, Medical Home Project, Utah Family Voices Family to Family Health and Information Network, Family to Family Network and Utah Parent Center. She is currently a District Consultant for the Utah Parent Center and works with families in Alpine School District. Maria has a daughter who has a seizure disorder and autism.