Summer Institute 2017 Faculty Bios
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Aubyn Stahmer

Access to Services Across Diverse Communities: Service Expansion to Rural and Underserved Areas 

Dr. Stahmer is an expert in the translation of evidence-based autism research to community-based practice and delivery.  The main goals of her research include developing ways to help community providers, such as teachers and therapists, help children with autism and their families by providing high quality care. She is an internationally respected expert in the use of naturalistic developmental behavioral interventions which are validated treatments for autism.  Dr. Stahmer has conducted extensive research in the areas of parent coaching, early intervention, inclusive education and services research in autism spectrum disorders.  


Dr. Stahmer leads several grants funded through the U.S. Department of Education that involve adapting evidence-based practices for children with autism in collaboration with teachers and community providers and a new collaborative R01 examining implementation interventions to improve uptake of training in evidence-based practices in schools and community clinics. She is also interested in examining key ingredients of efficacious interventions to help with use in the community.  She is widely published and a frequent presenter at annual professional meetings in the field of services to children with autism.  She is an editor of Autism: International Journal of Research and Practice. In addition, she is very involved in the autism community, participating in the California Best Practice Guidelines Committee and the National Standards projects, developing guidelines for autism treatment.

Elizabeth Pellicano

Ethics and Participation in Autism Research

Dr. 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.


Twitter: @CRAE_IOE


Ari Ne’eman 

Ethics and Participation in Autism Research

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, 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.


Roy Richard Grinker

Cross Cultural Views of ASD - An Anthropological Perspective

Dr. Grinker is a cultural anthropologist specializing in ethnicity, nationalism, and psychological anthropology, with topical expertise in autism, Korea, and sub-Saharan Africa. He is also the director of George Washington University's Institute for Ethnographic Research, director of the Institute for African Studies, and editor-in-chief of of the journal Anthropological Quarterly.


Current Research

Dr. Grinker has conducted research on a variety of subjects: ethnic relationships between farmers and foragers in the Ituri forest, Democratic Republic of Congo; North and South Korean relations, with special emphasis on North Korean defectors' adaptation to South Korea life; and the epidemiology of autism. In addition, he has written a biography of the anthropologist Colin M. Turnbull.


Ongoing Projects

Autism and Culture. After completing the first ever epidemiological study of Autism Spectrum Disorder in South Korea (see Kim et al. 2011, under Publications), Dr. Grinker is funded by the Autism Speaks Foundation to study the cultural influences on identification and treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder among Korean-Americans. In addition, he is studying efforts at early identification of autism among Mexican migrant farmers in southwest Florida and among Zulu-speaking South Africans in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. A second area of research is military psychiatry, about which he is writing a book.

Sue Fletcher-Watson

Autism and Bilingualism: What Do We Know? What Do We Need to Know?

Dr. Fletcher-Watson is a developmental psychologist, holding the post of Senior Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh. She is an associate of the Patrick Wild Centre for research into autism, Fragile X Syndrome and intellectual disabilities and of The Salvesen Mindroom Centre to understand and resolve learning difficulties. Sue is interested in the application of psychological research methods to questions with clinical, educational and societal impact.  Much of her work focuses on tracking early development on atypical trajectories (premature infants, autistic children) and applying this knowledge to outcome measurement and the design and evaluation of new types of support. Recently she has initiated a number of projects, in response to clinical and community demand, exploring the interface between autism and bilingualism with a view to developing evidence-based recommendations for parents and practitioners, and to understanding the role of bilingualism in the autistic experience. Dr. Fletcher-Watson can be contacted via her website and on twitter @SueReviews

Jennifer Singh

Structural Inequalities in ASD Diagnosis and Services at the Intersection of Race, Class, and Gender

Dr. Singh is Associate Professor of Sociology in the School of History and Sociology at Georgia Institute of Technology. She is the author of the book Multiple Autisms: Spectrums of Advocacy and Genomic Science, which explores a range of perspectives from scientists, activists, parents, and people with autism surrounding the rise and implementation of autism genetics research. Her current research investigates the quality of care provided by a community-based autism clinic that serves under-privileged communities, as well as the social, cultural, and structural barriers to autism diagnosis and services. 


Nidhi Singhal
Translation of Research and Services Across Cultures - Autism Research in India

Dr. Singhal has extensive experience providing psychological services to persons with autism and their family members. As a PI or co-Investigator on several grants, Dr. Singhal laid the groundwork for autism research in India. She helped develop and establish an IRB for Action for Autism, which was critically important to ensure that research on autism in India is conducted with high standards and clear consideration of ethical issues. Dr. Singhal coordinates research collaborations with other institutes, and mentors graduate, postgraduate, doctoral and post doctoral students interested in researching the field of autism in India. Dr. Singhal’s own research has focused on two primary areas: development of a tool for screening, diagnosis and functional skills assessment in autism, and on the topic of psychosocial support for families of children with autism. Her research interests include studying the sociocultural interplay and its influence on development of and access to services for people with autism; researching the autistic symptomatology, building upon screening and diagnostic markers, clinical epidemiology; the role of culture in the parental experience of autism, and development of parent empowerment programs.

Dr Singhal is recognized as an expert on autism by the Indian statutory body responsible for training professionals in India. Her experience with working with hundreds of families gives her an astute grasp on the movement of autism in India.



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