2019 Speakers

Keynote Speaker

Christopher “Mr. Chris” Ulmer
Founder of Special Books by Special Kids

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 Mukhopadhyay, BS Chemistry with Honors, MS Chemistry, B.Ed
Executive Director of Education H.A.L.O. (Helping Autism through Learning & Outreach)

Professional Background:

A native of India, Soma is a teacher and mother who developed her trademark Rapid Prompting Method (RPM) to instruct her son Tito who is now a published Writer and poet, in spite of his severe autism. Soma and Tito have been featured on 60 Minutes II, PBS, Good Morning America, Scientific American, the New York Times, National Geographic, CNN, HBO documentary ” A Mothers Courage” and numerous other media.

Soma has instructed thousands of students (youth to adult) with autism and similar disorders at the HALO Clinic located in Austin, Texas that is a 501 (c) (3) Non Profit organization established in January 2004. She uses RPM to teach academics and communication by eliciting responses through intensive verbal, auditory, visual and/or tactile prompts. Her prompting is designed to keep students focused and successful. Soma’s approach presumes competence and comprehension at age level, and it is a very low-tech method requiring only paper and pencil. Student responses evolve from picking up answers, to pointing, to typing and writing, which reveals student’s comprehension, academic skills and eventually conversation.

Since 2008 Soma has written several books beginning with the first installment “Understanding Autism through Rapid Prompting Method” followed by” Curriculum Guide For Autism Using Rapid Prompting Method”, “Developing Communication for Autism Using Rapid Prompting Method”, “Developing Motor Skills for Autism Using Rapid Prompting Method”, and her latest release “Growing Sensory Tolerance Using RPM” published in 2018.

Session Description:

Increasing Academic Learning and Communication through Rapid Prompting Method (RPM)

Mind is a terrible thing to waste. A mind is designed to learn. RPM is a method to engage the mind of a student through cognitive engagements (with academic education) which otherwise will learn – an OCD or a ritualistic action or engage in a selective habit. Different students begin with varied levels of motor skills, sensory tolerance, emotional activities, previous exposure to learning and open learning channels. The teacher adapts the lessons based on an individual student’s needs and works on the 4 objectives of RPM – cognitive, skill, tolerance and communication.


Dr. Salma Ahsan, DO, FMAPS

Professional Background:

Dr. Ahsan is a board-certified Internal Medicine physician and a fellow of the Medical Academy of Pediatric Special Needs (MAPS). She grew up in Kansas and completed her undergraduate degree from Kansas State University in Microbiology and Biology. 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 and then at St. Mary’s Hospital in Athens, Georgia. After her youngest son was diagnosed with Autism and her oldest son with Dyslexia and ADHD, she started attending conferences and researching the medical literature to find ways to help them. After she saw that her children made great improvements with biomedical treatments, she decided to complete her fellowship from the Medical Academy of Pediatric Special Needs (MAPS) under Dr. Dan Rossignol’s mentorship and training. She is a member of the American College of Osteopathic Internists, the American Osteopathic Association, and the Medical Academy of Pediatric Special Needs. She currently practices at Rossignol Medical Center.

Session Description:

Environmental Influences in ASD and Essential Preconception Advice

Exposure to adverse environmental factors before conception, during pregnancy, and during early childhood can contribute to the development of autism. A wide range of environmental risks such as prenatal conditions, air pollution, exposure to pesticides and biotoxins, heavy metals, phthalates, PCB’s, solvents and other contaminants can increase the risk of autism. Dr. Ahsan will review these risks and others, including prenatal and perinatal factors such as folate receptor autoantibodies, Vitamin D deficiency, omega 3 fatty acids, and thyroid hormone abnormalities. Participants will learn how a variety of environmental issues impact children with autism and Dr. Ahsan will review how to clean up your environment to improve your child’s health, as well as recommendations before and during pregnancy that might reduce the risk of autism in future children.


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:

Nutrition in Autism as Informed by the Latest Science

Autism is no longer an idiopathic disease. This powerful statement has been made possible by an explosion in research into the underlying genetic, biochemical, and neuro-structural factors that can lead to autism. Autism is a behavioral outcome caused by a combination of genetic variants in hundreds to thousands of genes that are important in maintaining homeostasis regarding brain morphogenesis, physiology, and/or biochemistry. While the same can be said for intellectual disability, epilepsy, and many other neurodevelopmental conditions, the autistic phenotype is apparent when homeostasis fails in terms of brain connections important in highly integrative tasks such as language and social behavior.

Most autism-savvy families and clinicians are aware of the power of nutrition in autism. Nutritional interventions such as gluten-free, casein-free, antioxidants, and microbiome-related are familial tools of progressive management. However, few understand how the emerging picture of what autism fundamentally is affects efforts and prospects for improved treatment. Does the new science suggest that autism is genetic, immobile, and untreatable, and that nutritional therapy is wishful thinking? Certainly not! This presentation will focus on many of the ways in which the new science of autism actually informs favorably on treatment, in particular to the targeted use of nutrition.

Many of the pathways in which homeostasis is disrupted leading to autism are treatable. Mitochondrial function is a key treatable pathway, and this lecture will discuss the evidence, clinical signs, diagnostic testing, and treatment; most of the latter is nutritional. Many other metabolic pathways are also implemented in autism pathogenesis, and can be readily treatable by nutritional means. Beyond metabolism, additional autism-related pathways that are amendable to nutritional interventions involve ion channels, neurotransmitters, receptors, and axonal transport. While many people with autism have poor and/or highly-restricted diets, nutritional therapy goes beyond providing dietary supplementation. Extremely-high dosing of targeted nutrients are used to push key metabolic pathways in the direction consistent with healing.

The extraordinary polygenic basis of autism results in extreme biological heterogeneity. No two patients share exactly the same factors, even if they are siblings. This situation leads to two realities in modern nutritional therapy for autism: First, is the utility of in-depth characterization of the underlying genetics and biology in each individual patient, followed by personalized therapy. This characterization will be discussed in my other lecture, focused on genetic testing. Second, is the utility of combination products that include a large number of nutrients simultaneously targeted at many of the key pathways involved in autism pathogenesis. This lecture will discuss one such product, SpectrumNeedsTM by NeuroNeeds (neuroneeds.com), which contains 33 active nutrients.

Therapeutic Directions to Improve Outcomes in Autism as Informed by Genetic Testing

The explosion in knowledge, technology, and clinical capabilities regarding genetics and genetic testing has expanded greatly in this first part of the 21st Century. In the last half decade, these gains have rapidly been applied to individuals on the autistic spectrum (autism). However, most families, and most clinicians, are unaware or confused in regards to which people should be tested, what tests to order, who can understand the vast and complicated information provided, how genetic and environmental factors interact, and what difference all this might make in terms of altering management and improving outcomes. This article will address each of these issues. In addition, the emerging genetics of autism is discussed briefly in order to understand how genetic testing can oftentimes help elucidate “candidate”, potentially-treatable, risk factors that predispose the individual patient to develop disease, as well as occasionally define an exact cause/diagnosis.

As costs have dropped substantially, the panel approach, which was state-of-the-art just a few years ago, has rapidly been replaced by sequencing all ~22,000 genes (whole exome sequencing), or literally sequencing the entire 3 billion base pairs of DNA (whole genome sequencing, WGS). WGS is often the cost-effective approach as this single test can provide an equivalent of a chromosomal microarray, large repeat detection (including fragile X), pharamacogenetics (which drug and which dose as informed by genetics) as well as the sequence of the entire nuclear and mitochondrial DNAs. Triome (child plus parents) sequencing is often indicated, especially in more “severe” cases in order to find new (de novo) variants.

In this clinician’s experience, clinical improvement from a therapy suggested based on genetic data is present in more cases than it is absent, and improvement can occur in “core” autism areas (attention, behavior, anxiety, etc.) and/or in co-morbidities (nausea, fatigue, pain, etc.), as demonstrated in brief case reports. Options for helping clinicians choose the appropriate test(s), and to understand how to use the reports in their practice, will be discussed. Finally, cost reductions have allowed for most families to benefit from this technology, including frequent insurance coverage (if coded correctly), and some low-cost non-insurance options. Specific examples on how genetic testing can inform on clinical decision making will be presented, including the Temple Grandin exome, although most cases presented will be of children and young adults.


Holly Bortfeld

Professional Background:

Holly Bortfeld is a single mother of 2 adults with ASD, one in managed recovery. A long-time homeschooler, Holly now owns a biomed-friendly homestead farm for men with autism in York County PA. www.facebook.com/FeltonHomestead

Ms. Bortfeld was the Parent Support Manager and Lead Author at TACA for 10 years.

Session Description:

Life Skills:  Setting up goals for independence

• Functional life skills: What are they and why are they important?
• Chores by Developmental Age
• Personal Care, Food Preparation, Safety, College, Independence, Job and Volunteering Skills
• Transition IEPs
• How to teach functional life skills
• Volunteering
• Resources


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:

Advanced Lyme Disease Treatments

The diagnosis of Lyme is on the rise, as are the diagnoses of developmental problems, including the Autism Spectrum. This advanced talk will include insights & treatments for children and adults that have one or both of these, from the very beginning of Lyme-related tick-borne disorders, with emphasis on persons on the Spectrum, as well as particulars on the complexities of the marathon of treatment for the specific needs of the patient. Dr. DeMio will include biomedical treatments, antibiotics, and other modalities employed for this type of care.


Dr. David Dornfeld, D.O.

Professional Background:

Dr David Dornfeld has been preventing and reversing illness at Family Wellness Center in Middletown, NJ, for 33+years, while focusing towards “environmental medicine concerns” and how to repair those exposure related insults.

Throughout this time, he has developed a special interest in working with children with autism spectrum disorders, and encompasses many aspects of family medicine, osteopathic spinal manipulation, chelation therapy, IV infusions therapy, and hyperbaric therapies to help many improve. He received his medical degree from the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine in Maine and completed his residencies in Ohio and Colorado in 1986. He is board certified in family medicine (ACOFP) and board certified in anti-aging medicine by the International Society of Anti-Aging medicine in 2000. Dr. Dornfeld has been a member of ACAM, the American College for the Advancement in Medicine since 1994 and became double certified in chelation therapy through his training. He completed his Fellowship from MAPS (Medical Academy of Pediatric Special needs) in 2013, and helps train many professionals and parents in safe hyperbaric therapies, chelation therapies, Lyme related disorders (ILADS trained) and preventive medicine, both nationally and internationally.

Recently, Dr. Dornfeld 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 with autism spectrum disorders.

Session Description:

How to Recognize and Reduce Environmental Effects, and Inflammation in ASD with Safe Therapies

The environment around us is constantly changing and usually not for the better. We MUST be able to recognize, try to avoid, and then remove these toxins safely so they do not negatively affect our health and metabolism. Many children and adults with ASD have alterations in their biochemistry and genetic polymorphisms, whereby they are disadvantaged in the ability to cleanse and nourish their cells ideally. We need to first identify the harmful ingredients to avoid (i.e., heavy metals, chemicals, GMOs, plastics, hormone disrupters, pesticide exposures) and then identify and treat effectively many of the complicated tick-borne diseases as well as fungal infections.

It is no longer “You are what you eat,” but should be “YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT, WHICH YOU CANNOT EXCRETE.” Once we can identify these harmful agents, we need to determine how to safely rid these toxins, reduce the inflammatory processes they create, and oxygenate the tissues in order for tissue repair to be optimized. Safe Hyperbaric therapies and chelation therapies will be overviewed

I hope to be able to share a great deal of information on how to safely repair ourselves, especially since many environmental insults are growing around us exponentially as WE NEED TO RESTORE OURSELVES TO A MORE HEALTHFUL STATE!


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:

Neuroinflammation and Autoimmune Disorders
This presentation will help to explain the underlying metabolic and mitochondrial reasons for neuroinflammation ie inflammation in the brain or encephalitis). The medical community is becoming increasingly aware that exposure to environmental toxins, foods, infections and allergens can be related to dysfunction in the immune system and results in clinical illness.

Medical Cannabis CBD and Autism
Dr Elice will present clinical findings in his autism spectrum patients who have been prescribed Cannabidiol from the cannabis and hemp plants. As Hemp becomes more readily available and medical marijuana is legalized in many states, this natural oil from a 10,000 year old plant can be very helpful in treating symptoms of anxiety, OCD, ADHD, infection and adrenal problems.


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:

Low Dose Immunotherapy: A Novel Treatment for Lyme, PANS and Other Infections

Children with autism often suffer from various immune and autoimmune disorders, including gastrointestinal problems, behavior issues, cognitive impairment, sleep disturbances and more. Research shows that various microbes can induce an autoimmune reaction in certain people, even if the microbe is “friendly” to our own ecology. Since many children with autism have underlying immune dysfunction, reactions to certain bacteria and viruses may produce an unwanted autoimmune response instead of reacting appropriately in eradicating the infection. Once that part of the immune system is turned on, treating the active infection alone may not be adequate to correct the immune response. Low dose immunotherapy (LDI) is a novel way to help modulate the immune system and turn off autoimmune reactions triggered by stealth microbes. In this talk, Dr. Ingels will review how LDI works and which microbes tend to be most commonly found in kids with ASD. He will also talk about the risks and benefits of LDI and how LDI is managed in complex cases. Dr. Ingels will present on some of his cases to illustrate how LDI can be integrated into your child’s therapies.


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:

Hope and Possibilities

As Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy ( HBOT ) is becoming more and more popular among pro-athletes. It is also becoming more known in the chronic illness world as a viable and useful therapy. HBOT has been well documented and researched in helping children with Autism and other auto-immune disorders. This lecture will walk you through our family’s journey with HBOT and how it helped save our daughters life. It is a story of one little girl’s struggle with a rare Mitochondrial Disease and her persistence to stay alive and the one therapy that gave her the ability to do so. It is a talk on how a community of doctors like Daniel Rossignol MD, Paul Harch MD and the late Dr. Jeff Bradstreet took a chance and worked together to help our family receive the benefits of HBOT and because of this my daughter is now 20 years old. This talk will take you through the medical road map from hospital stays, seizures, blindness, mobility and life support to a now present 20 year old young women, who is no longer blind, is seizure free, is off the 42 medications she was once currently taking and even walked across her graduation stage. This story is about what can happen when we as parents and caregivers have HOPE, because when are have HOPE…anything is Possible.


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 Descriptions:

SIBO: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Implications for Children with Chronic GI Dysfunction

SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) is a complex medical issue that is present in more than half of people suffering from IBS and is one of the reasons that normally effective therapies for dysbiosis fail. In SIBO, bacterial (and fungal) overgrowth exist, but the problem is amplified by an abnormal movement pattern of the intestines. The resulting damage leads to the inability of the intestines to do the work of digestion, which leads to more bacterial overgrowth, and so the cycle continues. Patients with multiple digestive issues, including children with autism, may be at risk for developing SIBO. We will discuss the contributing factors and present a number of testing and treatment options. Correcting SIBO is a multi-step process that involves specific supplements, medications, and diet Dr. Julie Logan DC practices with Dr. Anju Usman at True Health Medical Center in Naperville, IL. She also has a chiropractic practice in Warrenville, IL. She is a fully MAPS trained and certified physician and specializes in working with children with the symptoms of Autism, ADD/HD, PANDAS/PANS, food sensitivities, thyroid problems, methylation defects, GI issues, allergies, and environmental illnesses. She applies both biomedical as well as chiropractic principles of restoring optimal health to her patients. She has successfully battled some of these conditions and problems in her own health as well as resolving the symptoms of autism in one of her own children. This has given her a heart to help others who are suffering from the same.

If Only My Child Could Talk!: The role of neuroinflammation in apraxia and novel approaches to repairing cellular damage in the brain to restore communication

Speech is how we share our minds and hearts and love with other human beings. The inability to speak is probably the most agonizing loss we face as parents of children on the autism spectrum.

The barrage of toxic chemicals, metals, and other immune irritants can start even before birth, and mounts immediately thereafter. This leads to severe oxidative stress and chronic inflammation which disrupt the delicate immune balance in the brain, leading to damage to the cell membranes and myelin coverings of the central nervous system-. This neuroinflammation hinders cell to cell communication and connectivity, leading to many of the symptoms of autism– especially Apraxia. We will discuss some of the main factors that lead to neuroimflammation as well as effective therapies for restoring immune balance and rebuilding healthy cells that are able to communicate.


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:

Social Cognition and Perspective Taking: How to encourage these critical life skills

“Social cognition” is a term used to capture the problem-solving aspect of social performance, acknowledging that rote skills will fail you if you don’t know how to make quick analyses of social information from which to draw reasonable hypotheses that lead to expected behavior. Perspective-taking is a skill with its roots in the preschool years and is a requirement for fluent social problem-solving. This presentation will provide a brief framework for thinking about the development of social cognition and ideas for building perspective-taking skills.


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:

POTS & PANS: Transforming Devastating Chronic Illnesses into Treatable Disorders

Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders associated with Streptococcal Infections, or PANDAS, is a common autoimmune disorder with far-reaching movement, behavioral, and cognitive consequences. While OCD and tics are still common, other issues like anxiety, bedtime fears, inability to control urination, aggression, and deficits in learning, attention, and social interaction are among the many manifestations that result from PANDAS/PANS and impair the daily functioning and cognitive progress for many children. Not only Strep, but Lyme, Viruses, Mycoplasma and other triggers can lead to Autoimmune Encephalitis. Autoimmune Encephalitis and PANDAS/PANS can also lead to significant dysautonomia, including POTS (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome). Heightened clinical suspicion and more appropriate and comprehensive treatment for both disorders with antibiotics and immune-modulating therapy will transform these devastating illnesses into treatable disorders.

New Treatment Options: Stem Cells, HDC, CIRS, CBD & More

We are always looking for the next best intervention for our children. While we always have to build a good foundation, this talk will look at newer interventions to help our children thrive such as Persistent Cell Danger Response interventions, Helminth therapy, CIRS treatment, Adrenal stress modulation and Ion Cleanse, Stem Cell Therapy, Fecal Transplantation, CBD and more.


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:

Recovery from Autism: A Mothers & Son Perspective

ASD Recovery will demonstrate how the journey toward health and well-being is defined and achieved over the years. After losing his medical diagnosis by the age of four, Mary began the process to ensure her son, Daniel, achieved his highest potential through additional therapies and treatments. This presentation will outline how the path to recovery has pitfalls not yet defined as our children head into adulthood.

Today Daniel is a sophomore attending the University of Rhode Island as Film major and Music minor. He would like to one day score films or become a world famous Electronic Dance Music producer.  Mary will be joined by her son Daniel to share the story of his remarkable life and aspirations for his future.


Dr. Dan Rossignol, MD, FAAFP 

Professional Background:

Dr. Rossignol 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. In the last 12 years, he has 57 publications 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/President of the Medical Academy of Pediatric Special Needs (FMAPS).

Session Description:

Advanced Insight on Treating Mitochondrial Issues & Seizures within ASD

This interactive lecture is geared to both children who are suspected of having mitochondrial dysfunction (MtD) and to children who have already been diagnosed. Tools will be provided which will allow most parents to determine the likelihood of MtD in their child as unlikely, possible, probable or definite. For children who already have a diagnosis of MtD, an in-depth analysis of the medical literature will review treatment options. If available, please bring test results for lactic acid, alanine and lactate/pyruvate ratio. Attendees will leave with a workbook and a plan of action. Dr. Rossignol will also cover seizures and epileptiform activity in children and the overlap between these problems and MtD. This lecture will review actual cases of children with autism to emphasize that these problems are treatable, with improvements/recovery from autism as potential outcomes.

Treating Immune and Viral Issues in ASD

A number of immune related problems have been reported in children with autism. Dr. Rossignol will review the evidence and recent literature for immune problems and viral infections in children with autism. He will also discuss laboratory testing and treatments geared towards immune problems in autism, including supplements, medications, IVIG and others. Actual case studies of children with autism will also be presented. 


Lanier Rossignol, BSN, MSN, FNP-C

Professional Background:

Lanier Rossignol, FNP-C is a board-certified family nurse practitioner trained in evidence-based medicine at the University of Virginia. She received her Master of Science in Nursing, a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, and a Bachelor of Arts in Neurobiochemistry at the University of Virginia. After Lanier’s two sons were diagnosed with autism and traditional treatments seemed ineffective, God lead her down a path to discover underlying medical issues that were inhibiting her children from making progress. She has been compelled to help other families find their children’s treatable underlying medical issues. Therefore, she has joined her husband, Dr. Dan Rossignol, and his medical practice as a Nurse Practitioner to help families struggling with developmental delay, autism, cerebral palsy, chronic fatigue, attention issues, hyperactivity, mitochondrial disorders/dysfunction, seizure disorders, gastrointestinal issues, aggression, anxiety, PANS/PANDAS, and others. Lanier sees patients in our Aliso Viejo office.

Session Description:

A New Method for Choosing the Most Effective Treatments for Autism

An internet search shows that there are hundreds, if not thousands, of treatments available or promoted for treating children with autism. With so many choices, it is difficult for many parents to know which treatments to choose for their child. Lanier Rossignol, FNP will review a new evidence-based method to evaluate treatments with the goal of picking the most effective and best studied treatments. While there is no guarantee that a particular treatment will benefit a child with autism, those who attend this presentation will leave with a written copy of the treatments most likely to help speech, social interaction, self-stimulatory behaviors, sleep, irritability, hyperactivity, attention and more.


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:

The BEST diet for your child! (Or is it?)
Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Paleo, SCD, GAPS, Oxalate, the list goes on and on. Diet is a 4 letter word, and these diets are so difficult to implement with a full household and a picky child. How do you know if the diet will even help? Dr. Jared Skowron, Amazon best-selling author and biomedical autism doctor of 15 years, will review the popular diets and identify which one you should try for your child!


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:

Understanding Core Symptoms of Lyme Disease within ASD: How it may be affecting health & behavior

Lyme disease is not just an infection, it’s an assault on the immune system. Ongoing immune dysfunction from this attack causes a multitude of symptoms from endocrine, cardiovascular, and neurological. It is estimated that 20 percent of ASD patients have their clinical symptoms from this neuro-immune lyme attack. We will discuss the underlying immune mechanisms and what lyme disease can present like in autism disorders and how to help.


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:

Treating Hormones, Rage, Dysautonomia and Aggression
Adolescence is a time for learning and change, however for many patients on the Autism Spectrum puberty can be a rough transition to adulthood. Hormonal changes may trigger issues in sleep, adrenal function, and blood sugar regulation which may lead to abnormal mood and behavior. Abnormal hormone regulation can also lead to an imbalance in the autonomic nervous system. By addressing these underlying issues symptoms of aggression and rage can be helped greatly.

Mast Cell and Microglial Activation, Implications for ASD

Neuroinflammation is one of the key features of patients diagnosed with ASD. Potential triggers of inflammation like allergens and infections may lead to mast cell degranulation and microglial activation. Testing for potential allergens and inflammatory markers may be helpful in diagnosis. Dietary interventions, supplements, herbs, essential oils and medications for mast cell activation and neuroinflammation will be discussed.

Advanced Gut Therapies: Microbiome Depletion, Helminths, Biofilms and more

Recent studies are showing the importance of the microbiome in the development of immune systems. The depletion or scarcity of good bacteria may lead to a myriad of issues including mood disorders, inflammatory bowel disease and pre-diabetes. Newer concepts of rebalancing gut flora using helminths, fecal microbial transplants and biofilm busting protocols will be discussed.


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:

Could Your Child’s Behavior be PANS/PANDAS?

Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders associated with Streptococcal Infections, or (PANDAS) and Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome (PANS) are common autoimmune disorders that present with physiological, behavioral, and cognitive challenges. Acute onset of symptoms such as OCD, tics, anxiety, bedtime fears, inability to control urination, aggression, and deficits in learning, attention, and social interaction are among the many manifestations that result from PANDAS/PANS and impair the daily functioning and cognitive progress for many children. These symptoms manifest from Strep, Lyme, Viruses, Mycoplasma and other germs, which can lead to Autoimmune Encephalitis. Thorough clinical evaluation combined with a comprehensive treatment approach that focuses on antimicrobial and immune-modulating therapy can transform PANDAS/PANS from a devastating chronic illness with episodic flares into a treatable disorder.

Lyme, Mold and Mycotoxins: When and why you should be concerned 

Lyme, Mold, and Mycotoxins impact the immune system by causing systemic body burden. Lyme Disease and environmental mold and mycotoxin exposure have a complex relationship in increasing susceptibility, duration, and severity of illness, which may lead to Chronic Inflammatory Response Symptoms (CIRS). Dr. Wells will discuss the relationship between chronic Lyme Disease and environmental exposures to mold and mycotoxins, symptom presentation, evaluation, and treatment.