NAC 2022 SPEAKERS
Hear from the authors of:
An Autism Miracle
Nonspeakers Are Speaking Up!: Spelling to Communicate panel presentation
Panel of Nonspeakers from SEEN
Sarah Ackerman, Ben Crimm, Brian Foti, Vincent Rinicella
Gregory Tino and More
Dr. Richard Boles
The Full DNA Sequence of Temple Grandin and Many Others, How They Tell a Complex Tale of Multiple Pathways
Transition to Adulthood and Waiver Options
Maintaining Disability Supports During Periods of Lost or Unstaffed Services
Mouth To Hand Therapy Center
More Than You May Believe:
How Well Do We Really Know Our Children?
Dr. David Dornfeld
Environmental Issues within ASD including Lyme: Practical Detox Strategies
Dr. Michael W. Elice
Mast Cell Activation
Dr. Richard Frye
Seizures In ASD
The Latest Findings on Mitochondrial Issues in ASD
Dr. John Gaitanis
CBD Use in Autism Spectrum Disorders
Novel Approaches to Managing Aggression and Self Injury
Dawnmarie Gaivin, RN, BSN, AT-ACP
Empowered2 / Transcending Apraxia
S2C Overview: A Pathway to Fluency
Successful S2C in Students with Complex Motor Profiles
Q&A with Speakers
Dr. Sharon Hausman-Cohen
Addressing Genomic Variants for ASD Through Diet, Lifestyle and Supplements
Dr. Dana Johnson
Empowered2 / Interplay Therapy Center
S2C Overview: A Pathway to Fluency
Movement differences in autism: Why behavior is not always communication
Q&A with Speakers
Dr. William Kracht
Treatable Issues within ASD:
A biomedical approach
Dr. James Neuenschwander
COVID Support: Prevention & Post-Care
Dr. Nancy O’Hara
Demystifying PANS/PANDAS: A Functional Medicine Guide on Basal Ganglia Encephalitis: Healing Through Case Studies
The Persistent Cell Danger Response (CDR): Clinical Strategies to Optimize Mitochondrial Health & Metabolism
Dr. Jason Sonners
HBOT & Healing for Multiple Ailments in ASD
Dr. Anju Usman-Singh
Mold: How to Recognize and Recover from Exposure
Healing the Gut to Support the Brain
Optimizing Your Family’s Health
Dr. Lindsey Wells
PANS and Lyme Disease
Shannon Zish, MA
Unspoken Thoughts, LLC
* Schedule and speakers are subject to change.
Dr. Boles is a Medical Geneticist with expertise in mitochondrial and other metabolic disorders. He completed medical school at UCLA, a pediatric residency at Harbor-UCLA, and a genetics fellowship at Yale. He received board certifications in Pediatrics, Clinical Genetics and Clinical Biochemical Genetics. For over two decades, Dr. Boles’ clinical and research focus has been on sequence changes in genes involved in energy metabolism, and more recently ion channels, and their effects on the development of common functional disorders. Examples include autism, pain syndromes, cyclic vomiting, bowel dysmotility, dysautonomia, depression, and SIDS. Dr. Boles practices the “bedside to bench to bedside” model of a physician-scientist, combining an active clinical practice with basic research into the underlying genetic predispositions leading to the same conditions. He has over 70 published papers, mostly in mitochondrial medicine.
In Underestimated: An Autism Miracle, Generation Rescue’s cofounder J.B. Handley and his teenage son Jamison tell the remarkable story of Jamison’s journey to find a method of communication that allowed him to show the world that he was a brilliant, wise, generous, and complex individual who had been misunderstood and underestimated by everyone in his life.
Jamison’s emergence at the age of seventeen from his self-described “prison of silence” took place over a profoundly emotional and dramatic twelve-month period that is retold from his father’s perspective. The book reads like a spy thriller while allowing the reader to share in the complex emotions of both exhilaration and anguish that accompany Jamison’s journey for him and his family. Once Jamison’s extraordinary story has been told, Jamison takes over the narrative to share the story from his perspective, allowing the world to hear from someone who many had dismissed and cast aside as incapable.
Jamison’s remarkable transformation challenges the conventional wisdom surrounding autism, a disability impacting 1 in 36 Americans. Many scientists still consider nonspeakers with autism—a full 40 percent of those on the autism spectrum—to be “mentally retarded.” Is it possible that the experts are wrong about several million people? Are all the nonspeakers like Jamison?
Underestimated: An Autism Miracle will touch your heart, inspire you, remind you of the power of love, and ultimately leave you asking tough questions about how many more Jamisons might be waiting for their chance to be freed from their prison of silence, too. And, for the millions of parents of children with autism, the book offers a detailed description of a communication method that may give millions of people with autism back their voice.
Sarah Ackerman is 27 years old. She learned how to Spell to Communicate at age 23. Sarah states, “I want to help those without a voice to have better access to effective means of communication in schools. I want to make a positive difference and to create a kinder world for nonspeakers.” Sarah has contributed to articles, blogs, panel discussions, and webinars about nonspeaker representation and rights. In addition to being a member of SEEN, Sarah serves on the Spellers and Allies Advocacy Network, a branch of the International Association for Spelling as Communication (I-ASC).
Matthew Cramer is a 16-year-old nonspeaking autistic individual who spells and types to communicate. By pointing to one letter at a time on an alphabet letterboard and spelling out responses to questions, Spelling to Communicate (S2C) provided a life-altering breakthrough for Matthew at age 12. This technique allowed him to express his ideas and feelings through words, which at one time had been thought impossible. Currently, as an Honors student at the Philadelphia Performing Arts Charter School, Matthew is able to use a letterboard and keyboard to spell in school. Access to this form of communication has allowed him to fully participate in classroom discussion, demonstrate his knowledge and intelligence, express himself artistically as a Fine Arts major, argue in Debate Club, serve as Secretary of the National Junior Honor Society, and “talk” with friends at lunch. According to Matthew, “S2C has opened up my world in so many ways. Finally, I can get the education I always craved and express the words I have always had inside my mind.”
Hi, my name is Brian Foti and I am 29 years old. I make my home in Springfield, Delaware County. I graduated from school in 2014 without a bright future. My life’s trajectory changed when I was 24 and began learning how to synchronize my brain and body through the Spelling to Communicate method. I am now able to expressively communicate through a letterboard; and my future is met with boundless opportunities. I currently live as a respected participant in my life rather than as a bystander. My arching message to our caring community is: My nonspeaking friends and I are just like you with a different means of interacting with the world around us. I look forward to meeting you.
Ben Crimm is almost 30 years old. He learned to spell on an alphabet board to communicate 5 years ago. For the 25 years before that, he reports: “I was trapped in a silent world of frustration and misunderstanding. I was very lonely and sad. I understand everything that others say – and I mean everything – and am an astute observer of human behavior and the world around me. My time in school was a waste because my teachers assumed I had low intelligence due to the fact I could not speak.”
Vincent Rinicella is a 21-year-old nonspeaker who had been a prisoner in his mind for 18 years. This fortunately changed with a newer communication method that would finally allow him to break free from his silence. Through hard work and dedication, Vincent can now share his feelings, his needs, his opinions, and his insight, which in turn has brought a whole new meaning and reward to his life, as well as to those he loves. Vincent is a passionate advocate for others and believes it’s critically important to help ensure all nonspeakers are given the chance he had, so they, too, can break free.
Will Stephanou is finishing his last year of public school education at Lower Merion High School. He struggles to speak as a result of motor challenges stemming from Down syndrome and apraxia, but 3 years ago he began the life-altering journey of self expression by learning to spell to communicate. He would like people to see past the challenges that his body poses and know that he has interests, hopes, and dreams that are similar to those of speaking persons. He is relieved that his family recognizes his abilities and that he can now participate in planning his own life course. He hopes to attend college to prepare for a career advocating for others with disabilities.
Gregory Tino is a nonspeaking autistic who has been spelling on a letterboard to communicate since 2017. He is an advocate for other nonspeakers, presents at conferences, and his goal is to educate people on the incredible capabilities of people with autism. He has written two books, The Land Called Boring and The Autistic Mind Finally Speaks. He also has written the narrative for two videos on Youtube: My Story by Gregory C Tino and Living Our Lives Through Letters. In his free time, he enjoys writing for his blog The Autistic Mind Finally Speaks on WordPress, spending time with family, and riding his bike.
Holly Bortfeld is a single mother of 2 adults with ASD. A long-time homeschooler living in PA, Holly has been doing biomedical treatments since 1998 and now owns a homestead farm for men with autism.
Located in York County, PA, Felton Homestead is a private biomed-friendly intentional residence where the residents require a strict dietary program and have similar medical and safety needs. The resident farmers grow as much of their own food as possible, learn skills to care for animals, garden, preserve, cook and much more.
Follow us at https://www.facebook.com/FeltonHomestead/
Judy Chinitz, MS, MS is the Director of Hand to Mouth Therapy. She is a New York State Licensed, Special Educator and Certified S2C Practitioner.
Judy has been actively involved in the world of autism, both biomedicially and educationally, since her son, Alex, was diagnosed 26 years ago. With a Master's degree in nutrition, she has worked with many of the top physicians in the field, authoring numerous book chapters, articles and her own book on diet (We Band of Mothers: Autism, My Son and the Specific Carbohydrate Diet) and other biomedical treatments. She also has a blog, The Biome Buzz, on which she follows research on the human biome and health.
On the educational front, she spent 26 years trying to find ways to teach her own son, as well as other students with nonspeaking autism, but until almost 3 years ago, believed herself unsuccessful. In July of 2019, when she was introduced to Spelling to Communicate (S2C), everything changed for both Judy and Alex. He went on to pass the GED exam with distinction, and was recently accepted early decision to the Script and Playwriting Program and the State University of New York, Purchase, which he hopes to start attending in September.
Judy changed her entire career path, and in May of 2020, opened up the Mouth to Hand Learning Center, and is now giving the gift of talking to 35+ students.
Dr. David Dornfeld has been preventing and reversing illness at Family Wellness Center in Middletown, NJ, for 36 +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 since 2005, 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.
Michael W. Elice, MD is a board certified pediatrician who has treated patients with Autism Spectrum Disorders, mitochondrial disorders, PANDAS, immune and metabolic disorders for almost 20 years. As a practicing pediatrician for over 40 years he recognized the significant changes in the way children have been developing and how chronic illness has become the new 'norm' in pediatric medicine. Investigation and treatment are based on the theory that autism and related disorders are actually complex neurodevelopmental disorders with genetic and epigenetic origins.
Dr Elice is an adjunct professor of pediatrics at the Northwell Health Cohen Children's Hospital in New York. He a board certified pediatrician and MAPS physician. Dr Elice has lectured at Defeat Autism Now!, MAPS Autism One and National Autism Association conferences. He has treated patients in over 20 countries around the world and is convinced that autism is a disease of epidemic proportions needing up to date medical attention.
Dr. Richard Frye, MD, PhD. is a Child Neurologist with expertise in neurodevelopmental and neurometabolic disorders. He received an MD and PhD in Physiology and Biophysics from Georgetown University and completed his Child Neurology Residency and Fellowship in Behavioral Neurology and Learning Disabilities at Harvard University/Children’s Hospital Boston. He has authored over 200 peer-reviewed publications and book chapters, and serves on several editorial boards. He has conducted several clinical trials demonstrating the efficacy of safe and novel treatments that target underlying physiological abnormalities in children with ASD. He is the Chief of Neurodevelopmental Disorders at the Barrow Neurological Institute at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.
Dr. John Gaitanis, a graduate of Brown Medical School, completed his neurology training at Children’s Hospital Boston. He went on to finish an epilepsy fellowship at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center before returning to Children’s Hospital Boston to join their epilepsy staff. While there, he co-founded the Comprehensive Brain Malformation Program, helping bridge clinical and basic science knowledge of these conditions. In 2004, Dr. Gaitanis returned to Brown Medical School and Hasbro Children’s Hospital where he served as the director of pediatric epilepsy. He aided in the development of ketogenic diet and epilepsy surgery programs at Brown, providing comprehensive epilepsy care for children in Rhode Island. He now serves as the Director of Child Neurology at Tufts Medical Center/Floating Hospital for Children. Apart from his clinical duties, Dr. Gaitanis serves as the Chairperson of the Matthew Siravo Memorial Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving epilepsy advocacy and education. Dr. Gaitanis’ research is aimed at improving the sensitivity of EEG through digital signal processing. He has also published original articles and book chapters on status epilepticus, cortical malformations, and epilepsy in infancy and childhood.
Dawnmarie Gaivin, RN, BSN, AT-ACP is the co-founder of Empowered2 as well as the founder of Transcending Apraxia, an S2C and purposeful motor skill clinic based in San Diego, CA. With a strong foundation in co-regulation and sensory processing as both a DIR/Floortime® provider and a registered S2C Practitioner, she has combined that with her credential as an Assistive Technology Specialist (AT-ACP) to support individuals’ access to reliable communication. She is also the proud mother of two autistic teenagers, Evan and Trey, who utilize AAC. Her children have inspired her specific passion to support non- and minimal speakers in finding their voice and developing the skills to live as authentically and autonomously as possible. Dawnmarie is as passionate about advocating for the right to communication choice as she is about breaking down barriers to access to quality education for nonspeakers.
Einstein once said “You can’t solve a problem with the same level of thinking that created it” and Dawnmarie couldn’t agree more: “Our nonspeaking citizens, if left without an effective means of communication and education, are a vital untapped resource that can surely help make our world a better, more connected place. It’s our duty to help every student share their gifts with the planet.”
Dr. Sharon Hausman-Cohen, Co-Founder, Chief Science Officer, and Medical Director of IntellxxDNA, has been using genomics for over a decade to deliver personalized medicine and help her patients achieve optimal health and wellness. As a researcher and clinician advocate, she recognized that information inaccuracies and complexity were barriers to entry for many. She saw the need for an easy-to-use, accurate, science-based genomics interpretation tool for clinicians, and began to develop what is now IntellxxDNA™. In addition to being a well-regarded doctor and researcher, Dr. Hausman-Cohen is a sought after speaker and educator on genomics, personalized medicine and integrative medicine. Dr. Hausman-Cohen received both her master’s and medical degrees from Harvard Medical School. Board-certified in Family Medicine, she is a Fellow of the American Board of Integrative and Holistic Medicine, possessing additional board certification in Integrative Medicine through the American Board of Physician Specialties. She has been practicing Full Spectrum Family Medicine and Integrative Medicine for more than 20 years.
Dr. Dana Johnson, PhD, MS, OTR/L is a cofounder of Empowered2, owner of Interplay Therapy Center, and Founder of Invictus Academy Tampa Bay, a non-profit private school for students with sensory motor differences. Dr. Johnson has a Master’s Degree in Occupational Therapy and a PhD in Child and Adolescent Mental Health and Development and has worked with individuals with motor and sensory differences for over 15 years. Her private practice opened in 2010 and has grown to serve children, adolescents and adults with motor and sensory differences, including autism, apraxia, sensory integration disorders, and other developmental disabilities.
William G. Kracht, D.O., F.A.A.F.P. is board-certified in Family Medicine (American Board of Family Medicine) and Integrative Medicine (American Board of Integrative Medicine). He has extensive post graduate training in integrative medicine disciplines. He is a Fellow of the American Academy of Family Physicians, an active member of the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, the American Academy for the Advancement in Medicine and the American Association of Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Dr. Kracht was awarded the rank of Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America at age 15 and currently serves as Assistant Scout Master of Troop 215 in Dublin, PA. He received his B.S. in Pre-Medicine with High Distinction and Honors in Religious Studies at the Pennsylvania State University. He received his Doctor of Osteopathy at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. While attending Penn State, he was the recipient of the Paul/David Wentroble Award for the Outstanding Premedical Student. He completed his family practice residency at Eglin Air Force Base and was named chief resident his third year. He subsequently served four years as an active duty family physician in the United States Air Force.
While serving in the Air Force, he held numerous positions to include Medical Director of Emergency Services, Medical Director of the Allergy Clinic, and co-founder and co-manager of the Women Survivors of Sexual Abuse Group. He was cited in the 11th edition of Who's Who in the World. While at Tyndall Air Force Base, he was deployed to Cuba to provide medical aid to the Cuban refugees at Guantanamo Bay. Dr. Kracht was Tyndall's nominee for the Air Force Physician of the Year, 1994. He separated from the Air Force with three Commendation Medals, an Achievement Medal, a Humanitarian Medal and Honorable Discharge with the rank of Major.
Dr. Kracht is affiliated with the following hospitals: Grandview Hospital in Sellersville, Lehigh Valley Hospital in Allentown, and Quakertown St. Luke's Hospital in Quakertown. He serves as a community preceptor for the family medicine residents at Lehigh Valley Hospital. He was the past chairperson of the Family Medicine Department at Grandview Hospital.
In addition to his conventional family medical training, Dr. Kracht has received additional advanced post doctorate training in Environmental Medicine and Allergy, Osteopathic Cranial Sacral Therapy, Homeopathic Medicine, Functional and Nutritional Medicine. Using the best of many medical modalities, he is able to provide an integrative, patient centered medical care that specializes in the individual patient; whether it be a common or complex problem. His comprehensive family medical care includes preconception care, newborn and child care, adolescent, adult and geriatric care all with the warmth and sensitivity of a family physician.
Dr. Kracht resides in East Rockhill Township with his wife, Terri and their children Taylor Marie, Zachariah William and Laurel Nicole.
James Neuenschwander, M.D. (a.k.a. Dr. Neu) has been practicing integrative medicine since 1988. He is the owner of Bio Energy Medical Center, a multidisciplinary, integrative medical practice with the philosophy of treating illness at its source using whatever tools are available.
Dr. Neu is a graduate of the University of Michigan Medical School and is board certified in Emergency Medicine, Integrative and Holistic Medicine, as well as Anti-Aging and Regenerative Medicine. In addition, he is a Fellow of the American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M) as well as holds a certification in chelation therapy. He is a member of A4M, ACAM, and ILADS. He has been a DAN! Practitioner since 2007, a member of MAPS since its founding, and a MAPS fellow since 2014.
Nancy H. O’Hara, MD, MPH, FAAP
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 functional medicine practice to the integrative and holistic care of children with chronic illness and neurodevelopmental disorders such as ADHD, PANDAS/PANS, OCD, Lyme and ASD.
She is also a leader in the training of clinicians, both in the United States and abroad. Dr. O’Hara has written a comprehensive guidebook, “Demystifying PANS / PANDAS: A Functional Medicine Desktop Reference on Basal Ganglia Encephalitis”, which will be available in Summer 2022 with pre-orders available in May 2022.
Dr. Jason Sonners has always been fascinated by the machinery of the human frame and strives to learn everything and anything he can that might help even one of his patients. Always working to integrate new knowledge and practical experience, in addition to his Doctor of Chiropractic, Jason earned his Diplomate of the Chiropractic Board of Clinical Nutrition (DCBCN) and his Diplomate of the International Board of Applied Kinesiology (DIBAK). He is one of only 250 professionals in the world with this distinction.
Dr. Sonners utilizes his combined training in various modalities to create comprehensive programs and help patients achieve their health goals. His patients are dealing with, among other conditions, a variety of autoimmune and neurological conditions, allergies, autism and cancer. He combines Chiropractic, Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, Nutrition, Exercise, Detoxification programs and more to naturally support patients and guide them through their health challenges.
Anju Usman Singh, MD, FAAFP, ABIHM, FMAPs, Hom-C
Dr. Anju Usman Singh is director and owner of True Health Medical Center and Pure Compounding Pharmacy in Naperville, Illinois. She also is the Chief Science Officer for True Healing Naturals. She specializes in biomedical interventions for children with ADD, Autism, PANDAS/PANS, Down Syndrome and related disorders. She has been involved in research regarding copper/zinc imbalances metallothionein dysfunction, biofilm related infections and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. She serves on the board for The Neuroimmune Foundation, and the medical advisory boards for TACA (The Autism Community in Action) and Autism Hope Alliance, as well as faculty for MAPs (Medical Academy for Pediatric Special Needs). Dr. Usman Singh received her medical degree from Indiana University and completed a residency in Family Practice at Cook County Hospital, in Chicago, Illinois. She is board certified in Family Practice and Integrative and Holistic Medicine (ABIHM), and holds a certification in Homeopathy.
Ms. Vicki Warren is an electrical engineer who has spent 30+ years investigating the impact of high frequency electromagnetic signals on the organic materials of high voltage insulation. In 2005, she was introduced to the fact that electromagnetic pulses can also have negative effects on organic human bodies. After intensive study and research, Ms. Warren and others started a non profit to educate and assist families to mitigate the effects of these signals. Several of the clients were families with a member diagnosed on the autism spectrum. The primary goal was to assist in the creation of “sleeping sanctuaries”. During sleep, it is important for the cell membranes to properly transfer nutrients and toxins, and in the presence of electromagnetic signals, hypersensitive individuals are often negatively affected. Vicki offers practical and afforable steps to improve your enviroment for the entire family.
Dr. Lindsey Wells is a naturopathic physician. She focuses her practice on pediatric integrative care for PANS/PANDAS, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), Tick-borne Illnesses, and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Also, she cares for the parents of her pediatric patients which allows for a comprehensive model of care for the whole family. She currently serves as the President of the Connecticut Naturopathic Physicians Association (CNPA) and is a Fellow of the Medical Academy of Pediatric Special Needs. She frequently lectures on PANS/PANDAS and ASD to both professional and parent organizations, and is the author of the children’s book, Super Sam and the Battle Against PANS/PANDAS. In 2016, Dr. Wells was recognized as “Young Influencer in Naturopathic Medicine” by the AANMC.
Shannon Zish is the Founder and Director of Unspoken Thoughts. Shannon earned her M.A. in Applied Developmental Psychology from George Mason University and gained experience at a variety of non-profits and therapy centers in addition to working privately with individuals and families. She brings her experience with RDI, TEACCH, and DIR/Floor time, ABA, and RPM (Level III Provider) to her students and instructors through Unspoken Thoughts.