2019 Speakers

Keynote Speaker

Christopher Ulmer

Professional Background:

Chris Ulmer is known as the teacher behind Special Books by Special Kids (SBSK), a popular blog that has surpassed a million followers in only two short years. Chris travels the world interviewing neurodiverse humans and sharing their stories. The SBSK community is leading the way towards an inclusive world for those with special needs.

After majoring in Media Effects from Penn State University, Chris worked as a college soccer coach in Kentucky. It was while coaching at University of the Cumberlands that he was offered free tuition and the opportunity to gain his master’s degree in teaching. On a whim, Chris chose special education believing he would not pursue the field, but instead continue working in college athletics. That quickly changed once Chris entered the classroom to student teach. He fell in love with his students and the profession. After earning his MAT Chris hopped on a Greyhound bus in pursuit of his dream to teach special education along the sunny Florida coast.

Upon hire, Chris instantly fell in love with the intelligence and humor displayed by the students in his special education classroom. After two years, this appreciation had reached an all-time high. It was then that the idea for Special Books by Special Kids was born; Chris intended to work with his students to write short stories that explained life from their perspective. He and his class believed these stories would enable the community to better understand neurodiverse individuals.

Life does not always go as planned and the book proposal for SBSK was denied by over fifty publishers. Instead of becoming discouraged Chris and his students decided to start a video blog on Facebook in April of 2015. This decision would eventually change the lives of millions of people across the globe.

After six months of sharing videos featuring the students in his classroom, SBSK had a loyal community of 150,000 followers. Chris began receiving messages from other neurodiverse people around the world in which they confessed their desire to be interviewed. He decided to begin traveling to interview humans of all ages and diagnoses for SBSK in December 2015. A full year into SBSK, the blog was 400,000 followers strong and being run during Chris’s free time outside of the classroom. Chris realized the enormous potential his platform had to impact society and made the difficult decision to leave his teaching position.

It is now 2019 and Chris dedicates his time to traveling around the world to further the mission of SBSK. He serves as a beacon of hope for millions and is an internationally renowned public speaker. Today, the Special Books by Special Kids community has surpassed over 3 million loyal members and is the world’s leading neurodiversity movement.

Session Description:

The Power of Acceptance and Positivity

I have made it my life’s mission to normalize the diversity of the human condition by showcasing how understanding, positivity, and acceptance can make a better world for all. Together, we will explore these concepts and more through my experiences with the worldwide acceptance movement, SBSK (Special Books by Special Kids). (YouTube.com/specialbooksbyspecialkids).


Keynote Speaker

Soma Mukhopadyay

Professional Background:

Soma is a tenacious teacher and mother from south India. She is the driving force behind HALO’s mission and goals.

Soma raised and taught her severely autistic son Tito (who is now a teenager) with little professional guidance. Although Soma held advanced degrees in chemistry, she had no formal training in autism before having her son.

Tito was diagnosed with autism when he was three-years-old. Soma was told to “keep him busy.” She went beyond busy, by providing Tito with her own intensive educational curriculum. Activities included reading textbooks and classics, prompting him to point to numbers and letters, and physically motoring his body through the motions like bicycle riding. Soma was Tito’s tireless taskmaster. The fruits of her labor ripened. By the time he was six-years-old, Tito could write independently.

In 1999, when Tito was 11-years-old, Dr. Lorna Wing, Dr. Judith Gould and Dr. Beate Hermelin of the National Autistic Society (UK) assessed and determined Tito to be gifted. In 2000, the BBC documentary “Tito’s Story” was released. Tito’s first book “Beyond the Silence” was published the same year. In 2001, the Cure Autism Now Foundation offered Soma a fellowship to try her teaching method at a school in Los Angeles, working with nine children with autism.

Since then, Soma has refined her trademark Rapid Prompting Method while instructing hundreds of students throughout the United States. Soma’s work garnered national attention when she was featured on the television news program “60 Minutes II.”

During the past few years, Soma and Tito have lived away from their native home and family. They have given graciously of their time to scientific research, so that others can understand how and why Soma’s method helped to cultivate Tito’s brilliant mind. Neuroscientists, including Dr. Michael Merzenich, Ph.D., a professor at the University of California San Francisco and a researcher at the W. M. Keck Center for Integrative Neuroscience, have studied Tito to learn more about autism and the brain.

Soma’s vision for HALO and RPM is to increase academic learning and communication and promote understanding and respect for ASD students around the globe.

Session Description:

Coming Soon


Dr. Salma Ahsan, DO, FMAPS

Professional Background:

Dr. Ahsan, DO, FMAPS is a board-certified Internal Medicine physician and a fellow of the Medical Academy of Pediatric Special Needs (MAPS). After her undergraduate education, she worked at Johns Hopkins University doing research in Genetics and Molecular Biology. She received her doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine from Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed her residency in Internal Medicine at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey School of Osteopathic Medicine. After residency training, she specialized in hospital medicine and practiced as a hospitalist physician at the Medical College of Central Georgia in Macon, Georgia and then at St. Mary’s Hospital in Athens, Georgia. After her youngest son was diagnosed with Autism and her oldest son with ADHD and dyslexia, she started attending Autism medical conferences and researching the medical literature to find ways to help her children. Her children have been patients of Dr. Rossignol’s for many years and she saw great improvements with biomedical interventions under his care. She has completed the clinician training series through the Autism Research Institute and completed the fellowship program from the Medical Academy of Pediatric Special Needs under Dr. Rossignol’s mentorship and training.

Session Description:

Coming Soon


Dr. Richard G. Boles

Professional Background:

Dr. Richard G. Boles is a medical geneticist and a pediatrician who specializes in mitochondrial medicine, functional disease (including cyclic vomiting syndrome, other atypical forms of migraine, and chronic fatigue syndrome) and autism spectrum disorders. His expertise stems from decades of both clinical work and research at a major academic center as well as from his most recent experience in cutting edge biotechnology and genomics. He uses an innovative and integrative approach in both diagnosis and treatment to best serve his patients

He treats children and young adults (up to age 25) with a variety of conditions, but his main focuses are on:

  • Mitochondrial disease and dysfunction
  • Autistic spectrum disorders
  • Complicated migraine including cyclic vomiting syndrome
  • Other chronic pain disorders
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome

Session Description:

Coming Soon


Dr. Phillip C. DeMio, MD

Professional Background:

Dr. DeMio’s practice focuses on the medical testing and treatment for you and/or loved one with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Dr. DeMio is the father of a child with autism, and has been an M.D. for over twenty years. He graduated from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine with honors in metabolism, women and children’s health, and neurosciences. Prior to medical school he taught and worked in the organic chemistry laboratory at Creighton University in Omaha Nebraska.

He is an experienced biomedical physician, an author of medical topics including alternative and conventional medicine, and is accredited for speaking nationally on medical topics including brain toxicology, nutrition, and use of supplements in health and disease for children and adults. Dr. DeMio’s philosophy is that our children and loved ones are first and foremost in all of our treatments. He is the founder of the American Medical Autism Board (AMAB), which is the first organization to board certify physicians for autism treatments. In addition, Dr. DeMio is on the Board of Directors and is the Chief Medical Officer of the US Autism Association.

Session Description:

Coming Soon


Dr. David Dornfeld, D.O.

Professional Background:

David Dornfeld, D.O. , in 2017, has been practicing family medicine for 31 years, with extensive experience covering the full spectrum of clinical family medicine, including caring for children beyond the age of two. Throughout this time, he has developed a special interest in working with children who have autism spectrum disorders. His experience encompasses all spectrums of family medicine, spinal manipulation, Chelation therapy, and IV infusion therapy. Focusing on whole body and alternative therapy techniques, he alleviates pain in patients through hands-on osteopathic therapy, manipulation, and nutritional support, with additional experience that encompasses nutritional counseling, diving medicine, Chelation therapy, weight loss, and many areas of holistic medicine and primary care medicine.

He received his degree in osteopathic medicine from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine, Maine, then completed his residency and internship at Rocky Mountain Hospital, Denver, Colorado, and Doctors Hospital of Stark County, Massillon, Ohio. He is Board certified, family practice, 1995 ACOFP, and board certified in anti-aging medicine by the International Society of Anti-Aging 2000. Dr. Dornfeld has been a member since 1994, and now a Board member of ACAM, the American College for Advancement in Medicine, He became certified in Chelation therapy in 2010 and recertified in 2017.

He completed his Fellowship training with MAPS- (Medical Academy of Pediatric Special Needs) in 2013. Recently, he was the only US physician asked to participate in an Autism Summit in Cairo, Egypt, expanding his guidance to help physicians in the Middle East combat the issues associated with recovering children and adults suffering with autism spectrum disorders. His Family Wellness Center is in Middletown, NJ.

Dr Dave speaks nationally and internationally four to ten times per years on average, trying to share his knowledge to help People take better care of their diseases rather than just treating the diseases that they have.

Session Description:

Coming Soon


Dr. Michael W. Elice, M.D.

Professional Background:

Michael W. Elice, M.D. is a board certified pediatrician who has treated Autistic Spectrum Disorders, mitochondrial, PANDAS, immune and metabolic dysregulation for the past 10 years. The treatment is based on the theory that autism and related disorders are actually complex neurodevelopmental disorders with genetic, biochemical and immunological origins, thus making these autoimmune disorders the incidence of which has been increasing rapidly over the past 30 years.

As the research in this field advances, Dr. Elice has treated not only the affected children but their siblings, parents and family members who suffer from other genetically based autoimmune disorders. Dr. Elice is on the board of NYFAC –New York Families of Autistic Children, National Autism Association – New York Metro Chapter and MAPS Physician.

He has lectured at MAPS (Medical Academy for Pediatric Special Needs,) Autism Research Institute (formerly Defeat Autism Now!) conferences, Autism One conferences and local SEPTA and school conferences. Dr Elice has participated in TV and web interviews. He has contributed several chapters to “Cutting Edge Therapies in Autism – 2010-2013” editions and has coauthored papers on immune therapy for autism spectrum disorders. Dr. Elice is also certified in Hyperbaric Medicine.

Dr Elice is a graduate of Syracuse University and the Chicago Medical School. He maintains teaching positions at New York University Medical School and the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and has adjunct professorship at North Shore University Hospital, Manhasset, New York and the Cohen Children’s Hospital of the Long Island Jewish Medical Center, New Hyde Park, New York.

Dr. Michael Elice has been awarded Member status in the American Association of Integrative Medicine® (AAIM). AAIM recognizes individuals working in the health care field who are dedicated to the advancement of integrative medicine and are determined to heighten public awareness.

Dr. Elice has also been awarded the prestigious Board Certified in Integrative Pediatrics, BCIP, credential by the American Association of Integrative Medicine® (AAIM). The BCIP designation is reserved for those individuals who are able to meet the stringent requirements of AAIM in the areas of knowledge, skill, education, training and experience in their health care specialty.

Session Description:

Coming Soon


Dr. Darin Ingels, ND

Professional Background:

Dr. Ingels is a respected leader in natural medicine with numerous publications, international lectures and 30 years experience in the healthcare field. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in medical technology from Purdue University and his Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine from Bastyr University in Seattle, Washington. Dr. Ingels completed his residency at the Bastyr Center for Natural Health. Dr. Ingels is a licensed naturopathic physician in the State of Connecticut and a licensed Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine in the State of California, where he maintains practices in both states. He is also Board Certified in Integrated Pediatrics through the American Association of Integrative Medicine and is a Fellow with the American Academy of Environmental Medicine. Dr. Ingels has been published extensively and is the author of two books, The Natural Pharmacist: Lowering Cholesterol and Natural Treatments for High Cholesterol. He has also written a chapter on allergy desensitization for autistic children in “Cutting Edge Therapies for Autism” and is the author of the upcoming book, The Lyme Solution: A 5-Part Plan To Fight The Inflammatory Autoimmune Response And Beat Lyme Disease (Avery, 2018). Dr. Ingels’ practice focuses on environmental medicine with special emphasis on Lyme disease, autism, Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS and PANDAS) and chronic immune dysfunction, including allergies, asthma, recurrent or persistent infections and other genetic or acquired immune problems. His practice is comprised of both children and adults. He uses diet, nutrients, herbs, homeopathy, and immunotherapy along with conventional medical therapies to help his patients achieve better health.

Session Description:

Coming Soon


Shannon Kenitz

Professional Background:

Shannon Kenitz is the executive Director of the International Hyperbarics Association (IHA). The IHA is a non-profit organization that promotes the use of hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) for neurological conditions through education, research and fundraising of treatments for families in need. Ms. Kenitz has been working in the field of hyperbaric medicine since 2003 as a strong advocate for HBOT to treat children with special needs. Ms Kenitz has been instrumental in the education of primary physicians in the benefits of HBOT and is highly regarded as an expert on its treatment of neurological conditions. Since 2013, Ms. Kenitz has served as the Senior Administrator of the Medical Academy of Pediatrics Special Needs(MAPS).

Shannon Kenitz resides in Madison, Wisconsin with her two daughters Lily and Grace.

Session Description:

Coming Soon


Dr. Julie Logan, D.C.

Professional Background:

Dr. Julie Logan specializes in helping children with the symptoms of Autism, ADD/HD, PANDAS/PANS, food sensitivities, methylation defects, GI issues, and environmental illnesses. She is fully MAPS certified (Medical Academy of Pediatrics Special needs) and has been working alongside Dr. Usman for the last 4 years.

Before earning her medical degree, Dr. Julie Logan was introduced to the world of medicine as a patient. After being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Thyroiditis, she began treatment with a chiropractic physician and soon recovered from the disorder. But as a concerned mother, Dr. Logan was pushed further into the medical world. Educators began telling her that her older son showed signs of ADHD and her younger son developed Autism. Like so many other parents, Dr. Logan was plunged into the struggle to rescue her sons. She watched their amazing paths of recovery through chiropractic care and nutritional therapies, and soon she had discovered an incredible truth; the human body has the power to heal itself when given the right care.

Prior to joining True Health Medical Center, Dr. Logan worked in the field of Environmental medicine, addressing biotoxin mediated illnesses such as mold exposure and sick building syndrome. Her chiropractic background gives her insight into correcting the dysregulation of the central nervous system, known as dysautonomia.

She obtained her undergraduate degree at Wheaton College and completed her physician’s degree National University of Health Sciences in Lombard, graduating as Valedictorian of her class. She currently also works in private chiropractic practice in Warrenville to further serve the health needs of her patients.

Dr. Logan owes much of her tenacity to her career in elite athletics. Since the age of twelve, she has been a serious athlete, competing in track, cycling, and triathlon. Her careers have included racing for Trek Bicycle as a triathlete and coaching track at Wheaton College. Today, she continues to race in triathlon, duathlon, and road racing. She lives in Wheaton with her husband and two teenage sons, who are also runners. Her other hobbies include gardening and painting.

Session Description:

Coming Soon


Lynn Medley, M.S., CCC-SLP – Communication and Educational Specialist, Co-Director, MMTA

Professional Background:

Lynn is a speech-language pathologist, with a rich variety of training from which she combines current methods for the treatment of individuals with ASD, dyspraxia, and other significant communication disorders. Lynn earned her undergraduate degree at Vanderbilt University, and her Master’s Degree at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she received additional training at the TEACCH program, in a Sensory Integration private practice, and in a range of home programs utilizing Applied Behavioral Analysis principles.

In 1995 Lynn moved to Baltimore, where she worked for the Center for Autism and Related Disorders of the Kennedy Krieger Institute. During her time at CARD as a communication specialist and later as the Clinical Director and eventually Assistant Director, Lynn assisted in starting the Achievements Therapeutic Day Program, consulted to school systems in several states, lectured internationally, and provided advocacy and expert witness services for children with autism and their families, while also participating in direct interdisciplinary evaluation and therapy service provision. From 1999-2000 Lynn served as an Adjunct Professor in the School of Continued Studies in Business and Education at the Johns Hopkins University, where she taught students in the Masters Certificate program in Autism, the first of its kind in the country.

Early in 2002 Lynn moved to Pennsylvania and opened a private practice providing therapy, advocacy, and consultation to individuals with autism and their families, and consultation and training to school systems. In 2005, Lynn’s friend and colleague from Kennedy Krieger, Janice Mesaric, joined her in partnership, and they opened Medley & Mesaric Therapy Associates, LLC. Lynn continues to specialize in social engagement and social cognition across ages and diagnoses, providing evaluative and therapeutic services with individuals with communication disorders, and consultative services to schools and school systems.

Session Description:

Coming Soon


Dr. Nancy Hofreuter O’Hara, MD, MPH, FAAP

Professional Background:

Dr. Nancy O’Hara is a board certified Pediatrician. Prior to her medical career, Dr. O’Hara taught children with autism. She graduated with highest honors from Bryn Mawr College and as a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Society from the University of Pennsylvania School Of Medicine. She earned a Master’s degree in Public Health from the University of Pittsburgh. After residency, chief residency and general pediatric fellowship at the University of Pittsburgh, Dr. O’ Hara entered general private practice in 1993, and in 1998 began her consultative, integrative practice solely for children with special needs. Since 1999 she has dedicated her practice to the integrative and holistic care of children with neurodevelopment disorders, ADHD, PANDAS/PANS, OCD, Lyme and Autistic Spectrum Disorder. She is a leader in the training of clinicians, both in the US and abroad.

Session Description:

Coming Soon


Mary Romaniec

Professional Background:

In Victory Over Autism, Mary Romaniec takes the reader through the personal stages parents will experience when their child is first diagnosed with autism; and how to use these stages to catapult to becoming part of the next generation of proactive parents who are making a difference in the well-being of their child and family.

Victory Over Autism will explore the stages of grief associated with the diagnosis, followed by the winning attributes parents will either possess or adopt as they strive to the goal of better health or full recovery for their child. And a better future.

Victory Over Autism includes personal accounts of overcoming the autism odds, looking out for all family members, addressing marriage issues and in all other ways getting the parent into the mindset that a Victory Over Autism is doable for their child too.

Mary Romaniec is the mother of a child who recovered from autism by the age of four. In addition to mentoring hundreds of families around the U.S. and the world, her articles about autism have appeared in Mothering Magazine, Autism/Asperger Digest, Autism Today and Journeys Magazine. The articles are also listed on autism related websites. She has appeared on radio and TV programs to discuss the idea of recovery in autism and special needs issues in general.

Mary works as a reporter and lives in Grafton, Massachusetts with her husband, Richard and three children, Theresa, Daniel and David. She continues to be an advocate, writer and speaker in the autism community on a variety of topics.

Session Description:

Coming Soon


Dr. Dan Rossignol, MD, FAAFP 

Professional Background:

Dr. Dan Rossignol, MD FAAFP is a board certified family physician. He received his Doctorate of Medicine at the Medical College of Virginia and completed his residency in family medicine at the University of Virginia.  Coming from an academic background, Dr. Rossignol searched the medical literature looking for a solution after both of his children were diagnosed with autism.  He has made it his mission to research and publish in autism. Since 2006, he has 55 papers, abstracts, editorials, and book chapters (including those in press) concerning autism and related conditions. Dr. Rossignol has a special interest in autism spectrum disorders, PANS/PANDAS, cerebral palsy, and related neurological and developmental disorders as well as medically complex children and adults. Dr. Rossignol is a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians (FAAFP) and a Fellow of the Medical Academy of Pediatric Special Needs (FMAPS). Dr. Rossignol sees patients in both his Florida and California offices.

Session Description:

Coming Soon


Dr. Jared M. Skowron, N.D.

Professional Background:

Dr. Skowron is an Amazon best-selling author, international lecturer, biomedical expert in autism, and 2017 Generation Rescue Physician Expert. He has been helping kids using natural medicine for over 15 years, specializing in Autism, ADHD, and anxiety. He serves on the Advisory Boards of Autism Hope Alliance, Natural Practitioner Magazine, and Chemo & Crayons.

Session Description:

Coming soon


Dr. Shannon D. Smith, DC, CCN, CCSMS, MAPS

Professional Background:

Shannon David Smith, DC, CCN, CCSMS, MAPS is a graduate of Palmer College of Chiropractic and is board certified in Clinical Nutrition. He has been in private practice in Pittsburgh for the last 23 years. He specializes in functional medicine autoimmune support. He is one of only a few Doctors of Chiropractic to be invited to MED MAPS certification (Medical Academy of Pediatric Special Needs) specializing in Autism Spectrum Support and evaluation. He has attended over 660 postgraduate hours of nutritional training, many under Dr. Turnpaugh. Dr. Smith is a second generation Chiropractor (Dr. Frank Smith, class of 1966). He has years of experience helping patients regain their health through conservative and holistic approaches utilizing Functional Medicine, Chiropractic, diet modifications and nutritional support. As a chiropractor, he is trained to not just treat symptoms but to find and fix the cause of the problem. Dr. Smith has attended over 660 postgraduate hours of nutritional training, many under Dr. Turnpaugh. He wholeheartedly embraces this philosophy with his nutritional and functional medicine patients as well.

Session Description:

Coming soon


Dr. Anju Usman-Singh, MD, FAAFP, ABIHM, Hom-C – Medical Director

Professional Background:

Dr. Anju Singh is director of True Health Medical Center in Naperville, Illinois and owner of Pure Compounding Pharmacy. She has been using evidence based integrative medical interventions to help children diagnosed with ADD, Autism, Allergies, Gastrointestinal issues and related disorders for over 15 years. She has conducted research involving copper/zinc imbalances, metallothionein dysfunction, biofilm related infections, vitamin D in pregnancy, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. She serves on the executive board for the Autism Society of Illinois as well as the scientific advisory board for Generation Rescue and TACA. She is on faculty for MAPs (Medical Academy for Pediatric Special Needs).

Dr. Usman received her medical degree from Indiana University. She completed a residency in Family Practice at Cook County Hospital, in Chicago, Illinois and is board certified in Family Practice. In addition she is board certified in Integrative and Holistic Medicine, and holds a certificate in Homeopathy.

Session Description:

Coming soon


Dr. Lindsey Wells

Professional Background:

Dr. Lindsey Wells is a naturopathic physician. Dr. Wells has focused her practice on pediatric primary care and consultative care for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), PANS/PANDAS, other neurodevelopmental disorders, and various chronic illnesses. In addition, Dr. Wells focuses on preconception and maternal health. As chronic illness among the pediatric population is rising, her goal is to treat mothers before and after conception as a preventative measure to nurture healthy children. She uses therapies including homeopathy, nutrition, nutraceuticals, botanical medicine, counseling, and water therapy. This model of care addresses biochemical, nutritional, and energetic needs of each patient to improve overall health.

She believes that a child will thrive emotionally, physically,
and academically if the family members are also thriving in all aspects of their health. When a child is struggling, the whole family is affected, which is why everyone involved should receive support. This is the fundamental basis for why Dr. Wells entered the medical profession, which was to keep families together. She truly believes that treating children and their families with naturopathic medicine leads to healthier individuals and stronger family units.

In addition, Dr. Wells is an adjunct professor at Scared Heart University. She teaches anatomy and physiology and biology to undergraduate pre-health professionals. Dr. Wells is a member of the American Association of Naturopathic Physicians (AANP), the Connecticut Naturopathic Physicians Association (CNPA), and American Institute of Homeopathy (AIH). Also, she writes and contributes to the Journal of Natural Medicine and Natural Awakenings. In 2016, Dr. Wells was recognized as “Young Influencer in Naturopathic Medicine” by the AANMC. In addition, Dr. Wells is involved with legislative efforts to expand Naturopathic Doctors scope of practice to include prescriptive authority in CT. She recently testified in front of the CT public health committee in support of HB 5294.

Session Description:

Coming soon