2017 Conference Speakers


John Edler Robison

Our 2017 Autism Conference keynote speaker will be best-selling author, advocate, and Aspergian, John Elder Robison. Mr. Robison is the author of New York Times Best-Seller, “Look Me in The Eyes.” Other works include “Be Different: My Adventures with Apserger’s and My Advice for Fellow Aspergians, Misfits, Families, and Teachers,” and “Raising Cubby: A Father and Son’s Adventures with Asperger’s, Trains, Tractors, and High Explosives,” and, most recently, “Switched On.” He is currently scholar in Residence at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.

John will also be available for book signings at the close of the conference.


    Janet Twyman, Ph.D., BCBA, NYSLBA

Janet S. Twyman is the Director of Innovation & Technology for the U.S. Dept. of Education’s national Center on Innovations in Learning, and an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Mass. Medical School/Shriver Center. Dr. Twyman is a noted proponent of effective instruction and using technology to produce individual and system-wide change.

Dr. Twyman will present on:

~Technology for Teaching and Learning: Tools you can use right now

      ~Personalized Learning and Competency-Based Education for Students with ASD

       Daniel Wendler

Daniel Wendler is the author of “Improve Your Social Skills,” and a doctoral student in clinical psychology at George Fox University. After being diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome in high school, Daniel taught himself social skills the same way one might learn a foreign language. His TEDx talk, “My Life With Asperger’s” has been viewed over 250,000 times. Make sure to check it out!

~Daniel will present on strategies to improve and develop social skills and lead a forum on Autism and dating.

    Lynn Adams, PhD

Dr. Adams is an author, teacher, and clinician who specializes in the assessment and treatment of children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Formerly with Valdosta State University, Lynn recently left academia to return to full time clinical work, intervention and training with the Reading and Language Learning Center, serving the Washington, DC area and the Research Triangle in North Carolina.

~Dr. Adams will present on interplay of Sensory Processing, Communication and Behavior.

   Jack O’Connor, M.Ed., BCBA

Jack graduated from Simmons College in Boston, MA with a Master’s Degree in Severe         Special Needs Education (K-12) in 2010 and has been a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) since 2012.

Jack O’Connor, BCBA,serves as the School Director for The Matthew Reardon Center for Autism’s Advance Academy, a year-round day school for children on the spectrum. Jack has over 10 years’ experience as a teacher and BCBA in private residential and day school programs. He has extensive experience with IEP development, transition planning, and curriculum modification. Jack also has experience providing ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) services in school, home, and community settings.

~Along with Mark Stokes, Jack will present on The Purposes and “How-To” of IEP Development and Implementation.

Mark Ezra Stokes, MA, MFA

Mark Ezra Stokes has taught elementary-through-high-school special education, college film & drama, graduate-level creative writing, and continuing-education screenwriting. He’s the founder/story consultant for Holistic Storyteller, though prior to that, he served as lead teacher for The Matthew Reardon Center’s high-school students. He holds a B.A. in Communications, an M.A. in Screenwriting & Film Studies, and an M.F.A. in Screenwriting.

~Together with Jack, Mark will present on effective IEP development and implementation.

    Derek Volk

Derek Volk is the author of the internationally acclaimed Amazon best seller, “Chasing the Rabbit: A Dad’s Life Raising a Son on the Spectrum.” He is president and co-owner of Volk Packaging Corporation, a third generation, family owned, corrugated box manufacturer in Biddeford, Maine. Derek actively participates on the Maine Business Leadership Network (BLN), a national organization that focuses on connecting employers with potential employees who have disabilities. His own company currently employs those who are deaf, blind and on the autism spectrum.

~Derek, along with his son Dylan, will take part in the conference opening plenary as well has sessions focused on employment

Dylan “Dielawn” Volk

Dylan was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome at the age of eight. Life has always been challenging for Dylan. Even today, Dylan works hard to figure out what he needs to do in order to get through each day as a 24-year-old adult in a very fast-paced society.

Dylan graduated from Scarborough High School in 2010.  Dylan is currently pursuing his goal of earning a living making people laugh.  He currently lives in Austin, Texas where he has produced a series of satirical videos for his YouTube channel, Dielawn Comedy.  He has created a significant following with almost 50,000 views to his YouTube videos, over 550 subscribers and almost 15,000 followers on Instagram. Dylan has also been a regular on SiriusXM’s Dirty Pop hosted by Lance Bass on Radio Andy Channel 102.   He also has his own radio show, “Ridin with Dielawn” which can be heard every week in Maine on WLOB 1310AM and streams or can be heard any time on his website, www.ridinwithdielawn.com.

    Valerie Thompson, MAT

Ms. Valerie Thompson, Is the middle school lead teacher at MRCA’s Advance Academy. Valerie holds a Bachelor’s degree in Early Elementary Education and a Master of Arts in Teaching with an emphasis in students with exceptionalities. She has worked in homes through government-based programs and organizations and also works as an ABA Therapist with a private sector clinic, and F.R.I.E.N.D.S., a Savannah-based summer camp for children with autism.

~Valerie will present on Positive Behavioral Supports within the classroom

     Maranda Porter, MSP, BCBA

Maranda Porter previously served as Behavior Consultant and Outreach Coordinator for The Matthew Reardon Center for Autism. She is the founder of FRIENDS, an organization dedicated to providing social opportunities to children with ASD through summer camp. FRIENDS also provides job coaching for teens and young adults.

~Maranda will present on Toilet Training for ASD and other developmental disabilities.

 Pauline Shaw

Pauline is a wife, and mother of 3 children, Josh, Katrina and Dakota. She also has 3 beautiful granddaughters. Pauline is the Family Support Coordinator at B & B Care Services, and Founder & President Effingham County Navigator Team. She also serves on the Ebenezer Middle School Council, Emory Adult Autism Services Initiative Advisory Committee. Pauline is 2016 Graduate of Leadership Effingham, 2013 Graduate of Partners in Policymaking, MANDT Certified Instructor, and Certified Aging in Place Specialist.

~Pauline will present on Navigating Medicaid

    Jennifer McGee, LPC, EdD

Jennifer has over 20 years of experience working with individuals with ASD and their families. While earning her Doctorate of Education Degree in Counseling Psychology, Jennifer examined the counselors’ perception of their role in the treatment of those diagnosed with ASD. She believes that counseling is an underutilized resources for those affected by ASD, ADHD/ADD, depression, social skill difficulties, and sibling/parents support.

    ~Jennifer will present about supporting social skill learning from home and the role of counseling for families affected by ASD.

    Christy Calbos

Christy graduated from University of Georgia Law School and provides legal services to children who are enrolled in a public school and are receiving special education services, are in the process of progress monitoring or have 504 plans.

Christy is licensed to practice law in Georgia and California. In 2003, Christy began work in California’s largest education law firm. Upon moving back to Georgia, Christy continued this work in a mid-size firm representing Cobb, Clayton, and Fulton County School Districts.

In 2011, Christy decided to open her own firm representing children with special needs. She has shifted her focus toward representing children as she feels it better lines up with her core values.

~Christy will be presenting on key legal provisions that guide the IEP process. There will be an opportunity to discuss your own questions or concerns with Christy within the conference.

Learn more about Christy Calbos: www.calboslaw.com

     DJ Jeyaram

DJ received his J.D. from Emory University. His current practice areas have a focus on special needs law, healthcare, Katie Beckett Deeming Waiver, special needs trusts, and wills, trusts & estate planning.

DJ is part of an experienced legal team at Jeyaram & Associates.

~DJ will be presenting on Special Needs Trusts and Estate Planning. There will be an opportunity to discuss your own questions or concerns with DJ within the conference.

Learn more about DJ Jeyaram: www.jeylaw.com

    Suzette Rosario, M.S., BCBA

Suzette is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) with a master’s degree in Psychology from Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, Ala. She has worked with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and other developmental disabilities for nearly 10 years.

Mrs. Rosario began her career with May Institute in 2013 as a Behavior Analyst at the May Center in Tennessee, and is now the Program Director at the May Center in Savannah, Ga.

Before joining May Institute, Ms. Rosario was a Residential Instructional Support Specialist for The Learning Tree in Piedmont, AL, where she worked with adolescents and adults.

    Bora Kim, M.Ed., BCBA

Bora Kim is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) with a master’s in special education specializing in Autism from University of North Florida. Bora Kim has up to 10 years of experience in ABA providing service as a Coordinator of the classroom at Emory University Walden Early Childhood Center and as service provider in different clinics. Bora has experience working with a one year old to college students. Currently, Bora Kim provides services through non-profit organization, May Institute. May Institute provides services in home, school, and community settings from Port Wentworth to Hinesville.