Dr. Elizabeth Pellicano is Professor of Autism Education and Director of the Centre for Research in Autism and Education (CRAE) at UCL Institute of Education, University College London. She trained as an educational psychologist in Perth, Australia, where she also completed her PhD on the cognitive profile of children with autism, before moving to the UK, to the University of Oxford and then the University of Bristol. She became Director of CRAE in January 2013.
Dr. Pellicano is committed to understanding the distinctive opportunities and challenges faced by autistic children, young people and adults and tracing their impact on everyday life – at home, at school and out-and-about in the community. She is also dedicated both to ensuring that the outcomes of her research are as influential as possible in education policy-making and to enhancing public understanding – including awareness and acceptance – of autism.
Ari Ne’eman is the co-founder of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network and served as its President from 2006 to 2016. He currently serves as Chief Executive Officer of MySupport.com, an online platform designed to empower seniors and people with disabilities to self-direct their own services. In 2009, President Obama nominated Ari to the National Council on Disability, a federal agency charged with advising Congress and the President on disability policy issues. He was confirmed by the Senate in July 2010 and served until 2015, during which time he chaired the Council’s Committee on Entitlements Policy. From 2010 to 2012, he served as a public member to the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee, a Federal advisory committee that coordinates all efforts within the Department of Health and Human Services concerning autism. Ari also served as an adviser to the DSM-5 Neurodevelopmental Disorders Workgroup convened by the American Psychiatric Association. He previously served as a member of the National Quality Forum’s Workgroup on Measuring Home and Community Based Services Quality and the Department of Labor’s Advisory Committee on Increasing Competitive Integrated Employment of People with Disabilities.
He previously served as Vice Chair of the New Jersey Adults with Autism Task Force, where he represented autistic adults in reviewing the state’s autism services. He also previously served on the New Jersey Special Education Review Commission, where he authored a minority report on the topic of aversives, restraint and seclusion. He is also a board member of the American Association of People with Disabilities and the World Institute on Disability. In addition, he was named by the New York Jewish Week as one of their “36 by 36″ in 2010. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland-Baltimore County, where he studied political science in the Sondheim Public Affairs Scholars Program.