Contributors

Kate Ahern, M.S.Ed., is a teacher of learners with multiple or significant special needs. She has been working with youngsters who have developmental disabilities since she was fourteen years old. Her professional interests are diverse and include the impact of presumed competence, integrating assistive technology in the classroom, alternative and augmentative communication and positive behavior supports as a framework for implementing application of behavior analysis. She blogs at Teaching Learners with Multiple Special Needs,
teachinglearnerswithmultipleneeds.blogspot.com.

Bridget Allen is a forty-something autistic woman with no discernible occupation. Specializing in perpetual motherhood, she spends her days wrangling children, grandchildren, and multiple house pets. Imaginary spare time is spent devoted to disability rights and vegan cooking.

Devon Koren Alley is a devoted mother, a freelance writer, a talent specialist, and a human laugh track. Her daughter was diagnosed with autism at the age of two and has been receiving various therapies and special services ever since. Devon resides in the foothills of East Tennessee with her daughter, Aisling, her husband, Thomas, their cat, Pantoufle, and their puppy, Pippin.

Alyssa is an Autistic college student majoring in Chinese, mathematics, and mechanical engineering. She blogs about a variety of things, with autism issues through the lenses of social justice and neurodiversity among her most common themes. In addition to her personal blog, she has written for the ASAN newsletter and organized the Autistic People Are (autisticpeopleare.blogspot.com), Autistic People Should (autisticpeopleshould.blogspot.com), and Autism Speaks, I Want To Say (autisticswanttosay.blogspot.com) flash blogs. When not perseverating on autism, she does research in nanotechnology and plays Ultimate Frisbee on her college team.

Kyra Anderson is a homeschooling mom and writer who systematically neglects her blog, This Mom dot com. She co-edited the anthology Gravity Pulls You In (Woodbine, 2010) and is currently at work on a memoir. Kyra lives in western Massachusetts with her husband, children's book writer and illustrator David Milgrim, and their son, whom she refers to on her website by the dubious nickname Fluffy.

Emma Apple is a designer by day, a writer and advocate by night -- or vice versa -- and a mother of two children, an ’Aspergirl’ (that’s her superhero name, otherwise, she goes by Madam) and a Not Typical boy who would rather be a paleontologist than a superhero. Emma has had several pieces of creative writing published in anthologies in New Zealand and the United States. She founded Muslimas Oasis (www.muslimasoasis.com), a collaborative magazine blog for and about Muslim Women where she writes articles about a variety of topics. Emma converted to Islam at age 17, became acquainted with Autism when her daughter was three, and married the two experiences in 2010 with Blue Hijab Day, a yearly event for autism awareness in the Muslim community.

Carrie Arick is a stay-at-home home-schooling mom to a ten year old boy with Asperger's syndrome who wasn’t diagnosed until 2009 (thanks to her being pegged as an overly concerned mother). In her spare time, she cooks, reads, creates digital scrapbook pages, writes about her family’s antics, the food she prepares them and whatever else crosses her silly mind. Recently, her husband was diagnosed with an Arnold-Chiari Malformation -- a progressive, congenital defect of the skull which, left untreated, causes severe neurological impairment and eventually death. Her family is currently preparing for his life-saving surgery.

Jo Ashline is a mom to two boys: Andrew, who is nine and has autism, epilepsy, and cystic fibrosis, and who possesses a deep passion for big rigs and shiny soup cans, and Ian, who is eight, and a mitten and sweatband aficionado, and the greatest little “older brother” in the world. Jo lives in Orange County, California, and is married to her best friend Michael. Together they try their best to duck whenever the perpetual doodie hits the fan. Jo is a freelance special needs columnist for The Orange County Register as well as the blogger for OC Moms. She also regularly writes about her life at Joashline.com. Recently Jo had a giant serving of humble pie and was pleased to discover it tasted delicious. She suggests everyone give it a try once in a while.

Stacey Ashlund is proud to be raising her two school-aged children “to be made fun of: Jewish vegetarians who don’t watch TV.” Her loving and brilliant son’s special needs include deafness, going blind, and autism; her younger daughter is exquisitely special in her own right. She is also extremely fortunate to be married to a wonderful man who knows 61 percent of everything. Stacey is a User Experience Consultant, designing and researching ways to make products easier to use, and an active community volunteer and parent advocate for special needs and education. She founded her local relationship development intervention for autism group, health.groups.yahoo.com/group/rdibayarea. Despite degrees in Math and Computer Science, Stacey is continually drawn back to writing. She is outspoken, energetic, and extremely opinionated -- and is hoping to pass these traits on to her children.

Asperger Ninja is the way Amy Sheridan decodes and interprets life with Asperger’s and ADHD, through the experiences she has with her son, Nate. Amy works with children on and off the Spectrum, through the YMCA and the NorthEast ARC. She is pursuing her degree in Mental Health Counseling at North Shore Community College. She loves her amazing child, Diet Coke, chocolate, sleeping, and My Little Pony.

Autism and Oughtism is the mother of two sons, as of 2011 a one year-old and a five year-old. Her five year-old has autism. She has a teaching background in both law and philosophy, with teaching experience at two universities in New Zealand where she lives. She blogs at Autism and Oughtisms

Christina Goodney Bailey’s professional background is in arts education and nonprofit administration. Currently, she is raising two beautiful boys, one of whom has Asperger's syndrome. Christina lives with her husband and children outside Sacramento, California.

Katharine Beals, PhD, is the creator of the GrammarTrainer, an interactive, multi-level, English-teaching software program for children with autism, and the author of Raising a Left-Brain Child in a Right-Brain World: Strategies for Helping Bright, Quirky, Socially Awkward Children to Thrive at Home and at School. She is also a lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education and an adjunct professor at the Drexel University School of Education. Both her teaching and her research focus on the education of children on the autistic spectrum. Her book, her blog and her various articles for education journals (Encounter, Nonpartisan Education Review, and Education News) expand this focus to include a much wider variety of socially quirky children.

Corina Lynn Becker is an autistic adult with a BA in English who is currently studying Disability Studies at Ryerson University. She is a writer and artist, and is a contributor to the Perspectives anthology. Corina has been sharing her experiences as an autistic since 2005, and is involved with the leadership of various Autism organizations, including the Autism Women’s Network, www.autismwomensnetwork.org. She writes No Stereotypes Here at nostereotypeshere.blogspot.com, and publishes comics at www.nekomics.com. She can also be found at twitter.com/CorinaBecker.

Allison Blazek, MD is board certified in Internal Medicine. She works and lives in her beloved native land of Houston. She is currently learning to balance work with raising two daughters with Asperger’s and ADHD. She blogs and tweets as Owlblazek.

Samantha Bodwell, diagnosed in adulthood, has become a passionate Autistic Activist. She avidly blogs about important Autistic issues on Autism Acceptance Digest. She also organizes a group for Washington, D.C. area Autistic adults called the Adult Autism Spectrum Friends. Samantha has become very involved in advocacy, is the sole Autistic on the board of the Autism Society of Northern Virginia and is a board member of TASH-Virginia. She tries to attend various Autism-related meetings locally and she also attends Autreat yearly. Samantha is an avid reader who enjoys doing research, especially about Autism, Climate Change, history, and animals. And of course she is always smiling!

Barbara H. Boucher, OT, PhD, PT has focused her therapy career on children and the needs of their parents. Her career is meshed with her personal roles as a wife and mother. She is a specialist in the treatment of movement disorders and developmental problems. Dr. Boucher has clinical experience in rehabilitation hospitals, neonatal intensive care units, private homes, and public schools. She was a university faculty member and taught graduate students in physical therapy for six years. She blogs at www.TherExtras.com.

Karen Bower writes: "I'm Karen. Mum to Harry, 4, who has autism, and Imogen, 3, who is neurotypical. I write about my family and our experiences. Based in the UK, we are exploring the world -- mostly by train."

Katie Bridges was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome in 1998 at the age of forty. After years of being told that she had nothing but problems, she was delighted to take hold of the positive messages she was now hearing, such as the idea that many people on the autism spectrum were visionaries. It set her in a new direction when it dawned on her that she’d always been a futurist at heart. Today she is a speaker and author of the juvenile sci-fi novel Warriors of the Edge: The Search for Stone. She also blogs about her experiences with autism and tells how she overcame her difficulties. She lives with her husband and children in Washington state. You can read more of her future-oriented articles at http://warriorsoftheedge.com.

Amanda Broadfoot once considered winning a screenwriting award at the Cannes Film Festival to be her greatest accomplishment. That was before she managed to potty-train her son, Billy. A freelance writer and now the mother of two, Amanda blogs at LifeIsASpectrum.com about the joys, challenges and fulfillment found in parenting her autistic son and his neurotypical sister. She has also written and sold five screenplays and had her articles published in magazines and newspapers around the world -- but that's still nothing compared to the potty-training.

Mary Brandenburg MA Ed., and Tony Brandenburg, MA Ed. are the parents of three wonderful children whose learning abilities and styles are outside the “norm”. Educators by training, Mary’s primary job has been advocating for services, educational equity, and appointment juggling while Tony teaches and tours (he is a musician, as well.) Somewhere in the middle of all of that they write articles supporting their extended community, challenge the educational status quo, and confront the hypocrisy of social tiers that value some, and devalue others.

Jon Brock is a post-doctoral researcher working at the Macquarie Centre for Cognitive Science in Sydney, Australia. His research interests are the cognitive and neural mechanisms involved in a range of developmental disorders; his current research projects and list of publications can be found here. His blog, Cracking the Enigma, covers current developments in autism research. You can follow him on Twitter: @DrBrocktagon.

Emily Brooks, a journalist on the autism spectrum, advocates through her writing for broader acceptance of members of the disability, queer, and gender-nonconforming communities. Currently, Emily writes from Brooklyn, New York, where she works with children and teenagers with disabilities. You can read more of her work at www.emilybrooks.com.

Lydia Brown is an Autistic woman who interns for the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. In 2011, she served on the Adult Services subcommittee to the Massachusetts Autism Commission. Lydia authored legislation in Massachusetts that would mandate training about autism for all law enforcement and corrections officers. She has researched Asperger’s and twice-exceptionality as well as the portrayal of Autistic characters in literature. She also likes hot chocolate. Please buy some for her if you meet her at a conference or somewhere equally random.

Jennifer Bush left her Southern California valley girl roots behind for college in Berkeley, where she fell in love with the Bay Area. After a brief time on the east coast to get an MBA, she high-tailed it back to the California sunshine and the high tech world of Silicon Valley. She worked at big companies and startups, but in 2007, she packed up her cubicle to be a stay-at-home mom. Jen writes about her family, including a preschooler on the autism spectrum, at her personal blog, Anybody Want A Peanut?, www.wantapeanut.com. She also writes for Hopeful Parents, From Left to Write, and Silicon Valley Mamas. She lives in San Jose, CA.

Alysia K. Butler is a stay at home mom to three boys ages eight, four, and almost two. Her four-year-old was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder in December 2009, and since then she has become his tireless advocate. Prior to staying home with her boys, she was a member of the Vermont State Legislature from 1998-2000, and manager and academic coordinator for a leading test preparation company in Massachusetts.

Matt Carey is the parent of an autistic child.

Liane Kupferberg Carter writes frequently about autism. Her articles and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including the New York Times Motherlode blog, the Huffington Post, the Chicago Tribune, Parents, McCall’s, Skirt!, Babble, Literary Mama, and many newspapers and journals. She is a 2009 winner of the Memoir Journal Prize for her essay Love Is Like This, and is writing a memoir about raising a child with autism. You can follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/LianeCarter and on Facebook at on.fb.me/lnKzH1.

Kerima Çevik
is a member of the AWN Committee on Autism & Ethnicity and a parent activist for Autism and Social Justice. She was a participant in the Autism Education Project, and has spoken at Autism and Disability Rights conferences and workshops. She is a married mother of two children, world traveler, and occasional blogger. She is currently homeschooling her adventurous, grade-school-aged son Mustafa, who is intensely Autistic and nonspeaking. Mrs. Çevik gave written testimony before the Maryland State Assembly in support of HB269/SB540 Child With A Disability - Individualized Education Program, which became law in May of 2010 and continues working with legislators in support of Autism training for first responders. Her first effort was HB 361, a bill modeled on similar legislation presented before the Massachusetts Legislature by Autistic disability advocate Lydia Brown. HB-361 was shelved after all stakeholders agreed to a regulatory mandate for autism awareness training instead.

Sara Chapman is an Educational and DIR® Consultant in private practice in the San Francisco Bay Area. She specializes in working with young children with special needs and their families, primarily in home and community-based settings. She believes in capitalizing on each child’s unique strengths, individual differences, and specific learning styles to support growth, development, and learning potential. Sara holds a master’s and teaching credential in early childhood special education. She is a graduate of the DIR® Institute, completing the DIR®/Floortime certificate through the Interdisciplinary Council for Learning and Developmental Disorders (ICDL) and now trains others in the model as a tutor and DIR® Facilitator. Sara is a member of ICDL, the Profectum Foundation, and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC).

Kristina Chew is an Associate Professor of Classics at Saint Peter’s College in Jersey City, New Jersey. She has published a number of articles about autism, disability studies, and literature, most recently “The Disabled Speech of Asian Americans” in Disability Studies Quarterly (volume 30), for which she won the 2010 Tyler Rigg Award. Since 2005, she has been blogging about autism at websites including Autism Vox and Change.org; she currently writes about life with her son, Charlie at We Go With Him (autism.typepad.com) and also blogs for Care2.com. She is working on a translation of the Roman poet Virgil’s Eclogues and has also published a translation of Virgil’s Georgics (2002).

Clay writes, “There wasn’t any word for it when I was a kid. There was ‘sissy,' there was 'big baby,' (one of my sister’s favorite words for me), there was ‘queer,' (meant with either major connotations), and of course, there was ‘ostracism.’ My parents didn't much notice, they had divorced when I was four, and when they weren’t tearing each other down, they were drinking. My three older sisters were only jealous of me, because I was the son my father always wanted -- except that I wasn't. He wanted another son, someone he could call ‘Butch.’” I clearly didn’t live up to his expectations.

Jim Clewell is a mental health client and holds a bachelors as nurse in the mental health field.
Dawn Comer received her MFA in Creative Writing from The University of Notre Dame. She currently teaches part-time at Defiance College and is writing two books: Raised in a Corn Palace: Stories from the National Association of Tourist Attraction Survivors, and Fella With an Umbrella: Discovering Joy on the Autism Spectrum.
Daniel Dage has been teaching and serving individuals with various disabilities for over 15 years. He received his bachelor’s degree in Agriculture Education from Iowa State University in 1987 and his master’s degree in Special Education from Georgia State University in 1996. He also has done coursework and research in Applied Behavior Analysis. He and his wife and two sons live near Atlanta, Georgia. Other interests include open source technology, 21st century learning, and home gardening.

Christa Dahlstrom lives in Oakland, California with her husband Chris and her six and a half year old son. Shortly after her son was diagnosed with ASD and Hyperlexia at age 3, Christa created a blog called Hyperlexicon (hyperlexicon.blogspot.com) where she publishes reflections on raising an extraordinary child. In her professional life, Christa is writer and designer the field of corporate training and learning design. She is also the creator of Flummox and Friends, an off-beat, live-action video series for kids and families that teaches social skills.

Jeanne Davide-Rivera is a writer, student, and stay-at-home mother of three, stumbling through life with a form of Autism called Asperger’s syndrome (AS). She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, but is currently living in South Carolina with her husband of 15 years, their three sons, and their beagle. Their oldest son is an Aspie as well (undiagnosed), and is currently being home schooled. Their middle boy is a live wire and has returned to mainstream school, and her littlest guy is pulling her hands off the keyboard as she types this (after she retrieved her mouse because he threw it down the air conditioning vent!). Life is massively chaotic in their home and never quiet, which hugely interferes with her writing.

David M. Davison lives in the UK and received his Asperger syndrome diagnosis in June 2011 -- at the age of 46. The day following his diagnosis, he visited the National Autistic Society's web page What is Asperger Syndrome? for an overview of the condition. Whilst reading the text, he realised, time and again, that he had been behaving in a natural manner for him; following years of being told that he was deliberately awkward etc., this realisation brought tears to his eyes and those tears ran down his cheeks unchecked. The world began to make some sense or, rather, his world began to make some sense. He is still learning about Asperger syndrome and his own self plus trying to help other people understand the condition.

Lori Miller Degtiarev Lori Miller Degtiarev is a writer, artist, and mental health advocate who shares her space on the autism spectrum with her seven-year-old son and eighty-year-old father. Her eclectic background includes electrical and chemical engineering, mathematics, and clinical psychology. When she is not organizing her art supplies, she writes about her family’s experiences with autism, Tourette’s syndrome, and O.C.D.at A Quiet Week in the House.

Charli Devnet is a single woman living in Croton-on-Hudson. New York in the northern suburbs of NYC. Despite several advanced college degrees, she has been unemployed or underemployed all her life; for the past ten years she has had a part-time job as a tour guide at Kykuit, a historic house museum built by the Rockefeller family and in this job she has flourished, developing many skills, such as the ability to speak in public. The very prospect would have terrified her before. Two years ago, at the age of 54, she was diagnosed with Asperger syndrome. She was not surprised by the diagnosis, because all her life she had known she was different from other people, that she could not cope with the changes in life as other people could -- and always felt she was a stranger, no matter the environment that she found herself in. From the time she first started school she has been searching for the answer to “Just what is wrong with me?” It took her nearly a lifetime to solve the riddle.

Liz Ditz is a dyslexia and handwriting consultant and advocate for struggling students on the San Francisco Peninsula. She had a long and varied career in publishing, mostly in areas that don’t appear on the masthead. She started her blog, I Speak of Dreams, in December 2003 and almost immediately used her blog to become an outspoken advocate for research-based approaches to autism and other examples of the normal diversity of human cognition.

The Domestic Goddess, Marj Hatzell, isn’t a writer but she plays one on TV. She’s a Domestic Engineer, Total Babe, and SAHM of two boys with Autism. She has more energy than the Energizer Bunny crossed with a chinchilla. Marj was picked last for dodge ball in grade school, was a band geek (she played the flute, and this one time, at band camp...), and prefers dogs to people, which means she has stellar social skills. You can find her at her non-paying day job, the wildly unsuccessful blog The Domestic Goddess at http://thedgoddess.com.

Lisa Domican is a mother of two kids with autism, a boy and girl. Both gorgeous, both very big handfuls. She lives in her husband’s homeland, Ireland, but was born and had her babies in Australia. She thinks the lessons learned from being a parent in the world of autism are universal. She might have to train and compete at the Extreme Level of Parenting everyday -- but she tries to use her sharpened skills to advise you on walking around the block, without working up a sweat.

Cheryl Dorfman started her blog www.littlebitquirky.com to celebrate the strengths of her high-functioning autistic/Asperger's daughter. She initially hoped to make scads of money doing this while working at home. Unfortunately, blogging doesn't really pay the bills! It is fun and therapeutic, however, so she keeps blogging away! In her previous life (before becoming a mother), she worked for more than 17 years at the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) conducting reviews, research, and program audits for the U.S. Congress. She recently landed a full-time position working at a really cool internet firm!

Michael V. Drejer is 33 years old, and was diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome at age 25. He lives in Aarhus, Denmark with his cat Lucius. The company he works for, which specializes in hiring people with a diagnosis on the autism spectrum, is called BOAS Specialister. You can follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/maialideth.

Kim Dull spent years toiling in optical retail management. She has since left the optical field and is looking for a new career. Kim is a mother to three kids -- one is typically developing, one has a slight developmental delay, and one has sensory processing disorder and a recent autism diagnosis. She lives with her husband and children in North Carolina.

Stuart Duncan is the creator of www.stuartduncan.name. His oldest son (Cameron, 6) has autism while his younger son (Tyler, 3) does not. He is a work from home web developer with a background in radio. He and his wife do their very best to stay educated and do whatever is necessary to ensure their children have the tools they need to thrive. He shares his stories and experiences in an effort to further grow and strengthen the online autism community, and to promote autism understanding and acceptance.

Paula C. Durbin-Westby is an Autistic parent and disability rights activist. She has participated in Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee workshops as well as given testimony at IACC meetings. She works generally in the disability rights arena in a variety of endeavors. She has worked extensively with the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. She writes indexes for scholarly works, primarily in the humanities and social sciences. She blogs, when she has time, at paulacdurbinwestbyautisticblog.blogspot.com.

On the surface, E is a young PhD student, studying her absolute favorite subject in the whole world. She is independent from her parents. She is asexual. She has a super cool secret life. She can speak in English, and she knows French, and some American Sign Language. She is a voracious reader, both of fiction and non-. She loves playing the piano. She is an Autistic Woman. And she has a story that wants to be told.

Elise, A.K.A. Aspergers2mom, is the parent of two young men with Asperger’s syndrome. She writes about her adventures raising her two remarkable sons in her blog Raising Asperger’s Kids (http://asd2mom.blogspot.com). She is a volunteer advocate and co-moderator of the support group The Coffee Klatch (http://thecoffeeklatch.com). You can contact her through her blog and she welcomes your thoughtful questions, comments, and perspectives.

Judy Endow, MSW maintains a private practice in Madison, Wisconsin, providing consultation for families, school districts, and other agencies. Besides having autism herself, she is the parent of a grown son with ASD. Judy presents internationally, is part of the Wisconsin DPI Statewide Autism Training Team and a board member of both the Autism Society of America, Wisconsin Chapter and the Autism National Committee. In addition, Judy works with Autistic Global Initiative (AGI), a program of the Autism Research Institute that is self-run by autistic adults working in the autism fields. Her book Paper Words, Discovering and Living with My Autism (AAPC, 2009) was 2010 International Book Award Finalist in Autobiographies/Memoirs. Judy has also received the 2010 Autism Society Media Excellence Award for her DVD The Power of Words: How we talk about people with autism spectrum disorders matters! (AAPC, 2009). Practical Solutions for Stabilizing Students With Classic Autism to Be Ready to Learn: Getting to Go (AAPC, 2011) is Judy's most recent book. Please see Judy’s website, www.judyendow.com, for a complete listing of publications.

Susan Etlinger began writing about autism and special needs both to document her family's experience and to offer practical resources for families, teachers, therapists and friends of children on the autism spectrum. She was recently named one of Parenting Magazine’s “Must-Read Moms" for her blog, The Family Room (www.familyroomblog.com). She lives in San Francisco with her husband and seven-year-old son.

Greg Evans, DDS is a Diplomate, American Board of Pediatric Dentistry, and has been in private practice for over 12 years. Greg’s professional interests include infant dental care and hospital dentistry; he is a founding member of the Poudre Valley Hospital Cleft Lip and Palate Team, and regularly coordinates oral care with area physicians in and out of the hospital. His practice reaches out to families with special-needs children. In Dr. Greg’s eyes all children are special and all are treated with love, humor, and respect.

Meg Evans belongs to a multigenerational Autistic family, is married, and has two grown children. She serves as the Board Secretary/Treasurer of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network. Employed in the legal publishing industry, she is a licensed attorney in the State of Ohio and received her law degree from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. She envisions a world in which respect for human rights and diversity can flourish. Among her interests, she has long found it fascinating to explore how our cultural narratives change over time and shape the development of social structures and expectations.

Kathi Flynn has been a teacher for 8+ years. Her years of special education mainly incorporated working with children on the autism spectrum and their families. Her education and experience has given her proficiency in early child development, language acquisition, and behavior management. She is also a mother to Riley, (almost) 4, and Connor, 2. She has a passion for everything related to early childhood, including children’s literature, toys, and shows.

Kurt Gatejen describes himself as: Tortured agnostic. Married father of adult sons with autism. Liberal. Renowned catch-and-release Chinook salmon virtual fisherman. Quasi-photographer. Former motorcycle rider. Irascible curmudgeon. He blogs at http://pseudocognitive.blogspot.com/

Gen Eric (true name not given) has been everywhere from an American special-ed classroom to prominent universities in Europe and Africa. He has been called, at various times and by various people, any combination of the following: brilliant, unfocused, energetic, immature, and by far the worst insult of all, inspiring. He currently occupies a government job that totally has nothing to do with reading all your emails.

Lisa Friedman is a certified special education teacher and has worked in the special education field for almost 18 years. She is the Education Co-Director at Temple Beth-El in Hillsborough, New Jersey where she oversees an extensive Special Needs program within the Religious School with programs designed to help students successfully learn Hebrew, learn about their Jewish heritage and feel connected to their Jewish community. Friedman received her masters degree in counseling psychology from Rutgers University in 2000. She blogs about her experiences in Jewish Special Education at jewishspecialneeds.blogspot.com and is a regular contributor to The NY Jewish Week's New Normal: Blogging Disability, Disability Frontline and the Reform Movement's RJBlog. You can follow her on Twitter at @JewishSpecialEd and join Jewish Special Needs Education on Facebook.

Shawn C. Graves is dating the mother of an autistic child. It has been rewarding, challenging, and frustrating. He is always seeking to learn more about autism. The more he learns, the more he realizes he needs to learn. He has two children of his own who are not autistic. Tree has challenged everything he knows about kids, autism, communication and challenges. He is just an outsider, observing what few people will ever experience.

Karen B. Golightly is a full-time mother of three children and a full-time professor at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tennessee. Her children are Bella, 14, Phin, 11, and Pip, 5 (who has autism). She has an MFA in creative writing and a PhD in 19th century British and Irish Literature.

Corin Barsily Goodwin is the Executive Director of the Gifted Homeschoolers Forum (http://giftedhomeschoolers.org/http://giftedhomeschoolers.org/)  She homeschools her own two twice exceptional (2e) children, and commutes between the Silicon Valley in California and rural southern Oregon. She co-chaired the Legislative Committee for the HomeSchool Association of California and was their Gifted/Special Needs Advisor.

Rob Gorski is father to three awesome but challenging autistic boys and husband to an amazing wife. Their life is very difficult but they somehow manage. His wife is chronically ill so they learn to appreciate the good days and pull together to make it through the bad. He started his blog Lost and Tired in January 2010, to share their story in a way that was open and honest. He thinks that sharing their stories both good and bad helps to create an emotional connection that naturally fosters the growth and spread of autism awareness. His blog was selected as a top 25 Autism Spectrum Blog by Babble.com and Autism Speaks.

Autistic scholar and advocate Elizabeth "Ibby" Grace has always had trouble writing bios. However, despite that, she has a rewarding job as Assistant Professor in Education at National Louis University, a lovely and magnificent family, and has recently been given the honor of organizing Autistic Self Advocacy Network's presence in Chicago. That latter thing is turning out to be even harder than writing bios, though, so if you read this and are anywhere near Chicago, feel free to jump in and help; or, even if you are not near Chicago but you know about such things, I'm sure she'd love to hear bountiful advice from you!

Amy Greatbanks is mother to Pinky, who is eight years old and yet to be formally diagnosed on the autism spectrum, and Perky who is six years old and has a diagnosis of autistic disorder. Before becoming a full-time mum, Amy worked as an Education Officer at various cultural institutions in Canberra, Australia. Amy writes about her family’s adventures with the autism spectrum at www.ishouldhavecalledhimcalvin.wordpress.com.

Carol Greenburg is an adult with a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome, mother of a movie-star handsome, severely language-delayed autistic seven-year-old, and Executive Director of Brooklyn Special Needs Consulting, an advocacy and consulting business helping parents get educational services for children with disabilities. Carol is a frequent speaker at area universities, community organizations, and parent support group. She speaks fluent Japanese, which has done her not a bit of good at any IEP meeting, and does not know the first thing about pearl diving, but fears her son will force her to learn. For more information about her family or her work, please see her company website, www.bklynsnc.com. You can also follow Carol on Twitter at AspieAdvocate.

Rob Gross is the proud father of two adult children, one of whom is Autistic. He lives with his family in Oakland, CA.

Zoe Gross is a college student with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and a lot of really strong opinions. Sometimes she says things that other people find adorable or hilarious. Sometimes she really pisses people off. She’s obsessive and neurotic and she’s trying to understand her fellow human beings. This is very hard to do. 

Mika Gustavson MFT is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.  Her practice in the San Francisco Bay area centers on helping families of highly gifted or intense children thrive socially, emotionally, and cognitively (www.mika-mft.com). Her interest in working with gifted and 2e issues comes from her experiences being the parent of a 2e child.

Prather Harrell is the proud mother of four boys, two of whom are on the autism spectrum (one diagnosed with ADHD and PDD-NOS, the other diagnosed with high functioning autism). She is currently a board member as well as Community Relations Director for African-American Autism Support Services of Arizona (www.africanamericanautismofaz.org). Additionally, she works as a Center Liaison and Family Advocate for Lauren's Institute for Education (L.I.F.E., www.laurensinstitute.org) where her son receives his therapy and habilitation services. When she is not working to further the cause of getting the voice of autism heard, or volunteering at her sons' schools, she spends her time with her husband and four children living, loving, and celebrating God and life.

Michelle Hecht is an educational and behavioral consultant and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She has worked for over twenty years in special education, and for over ten years with clients with autism, ages eighteen months through adulthood. Michelle provides behavioral consultation and ABA program supervision to private clients, school districts, and agencies for adults in the San Francisco Bay Area. She conducts agency staff training and parent education through local parent support organizations for families of children with disabilities. Michelle received her BA in psychology from Vassar College, and MA and EdS in Educational Psychology from the University of Minnesota.

David Heurtevent is an Autistic self-advocate, and spokesperson of “Support the Wall--Autism: Help Stop Abuse of Autistics in France Now” http://www.supportthewall.org. He has: an MA from Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service; a MBA (Finance); and a MS in Agriculture Engineering. He has studied and volunteered in Public Health in California. This year, he was a postgraduate student in ABA at Cardiff University (UK), before quitting to join “Support The Wall". He is admitted next year to the postgraduate program in autism at the University of Birmingham (UK).

Joan T. Hocky is a writer with a background in the arts, community development and public policy. After working in city government in New York, she started her own writing and consulting practice with a focus on helping to improve resources in underserved communities. She has worked for numerous public agencies, non-profit organizations and private foundations including the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Rockefeller Foundation, Nathan Cummings Foundation, New York State Council on the Arts, New York Foundation for the Arts, and the National Center for Schools and Communities. In the past dozen years she has expanded her role to include the thankless, unpaid, yet important and rewarding jobs of parent, special needs advocate, and community activist, working to assure that both her 12 year old anything-but-typical son, his 10 year old brother with autism, and all other children -- regardless of background or ability -- have access to quality educational and cultural programs.

L.C. Horn does things at her own pace and on her own schedule. In fact, the only thing she ever did on time was graduate from college. Her alma mater is Mars Hill College, where she majored in instrumental music, graduating in the top ten percent of her class, magna cum laude. In addition to being a musician, she also fancies herself a writer and is a self-taught artist. She is an avid follower of Criminal Minds, Harry Potter, Twitter and has a strange obsession with fan fiction.

Lynn Hudoba is the mother of Audrey, a beautiful and amazing six-year-old girl with autism. Born and raised in Chicago, she graduated from the University of Illinois with a degree in Finance. Before becoming a mom, she worked for 20 years in the business world, first as a corporate financial analyst and then as a software product manager. Lynn’s blog is My Life as an Ungracefull, Unhinged, and Unwilling Draftee Into the Autism Army at www.autismarmymom.com. She was drafted into the Autism Army in 2006, and is now a full-time foot soldier fighting everyday on behalf of her daughter.

Dr. Claire Hughes-Lynch is an Associate Professor of Special Education at the College of Coastal Georgia where she teaches in an integrated Elementary/Special Education teacher preparation program. She has a doctorate in gifted education and special education from the College of William and Mary, and was recently a Visiting Fellow at Oxford University, studying autism. She also does research in the areas of language acquisition, Response to Intervention, and cognitive interventions with children. Most importantly, she is the mother of two children, “Elizabeth,” who is eight years old and has autism -- high functioning that is, and “Raymond,” who is seven years old and has Generalized Anxiety Disorder -- Not Otherwise Specified (GAD-NOS) and Tourette’s syndrome. She is also the author of two books that integrate both aspects of her life: Children with High Functioning Autism: A Parent’s Guide, and coming soon, Children with High Functioning Autism: A Teacher’s Guide. She has sat on both sides of that IEP table, and fully believes that both professionals and parents have a lot to learn from each other.

Rivka Iacullo is the mother of three children: a five-year-old son with autism, a neurotypical three-year-old daughter who is anything but typical, and a newborn son. She is an Orthodox Jew, an inveterate reader, and the editor of a trade publication for the oil and gas industry.

Jess is the mother of two beautiful little girls: “Katie,” a typically a-typical fifth grader and “Brooke,” an anything-but-typical third grader diagnosed with PDD-NOS. Jess relishes the privilege of mothering these two incredible creatures. She writes about her family’s journey at www.adiaryofamom.wordpress.com.

Jennifer Johnson lives on the San Francisco Peninsula. She is the mother of an almost three-year-old boy with complex medical needs and an autism diagnosis. She has been at home with her son full time since he was born.

Lisa Brandolo Johnson is a mom to three kids ages two, four, and six as well as a physical therapist. When her middle son had developmental delays, she was consumed with helping him -- which changed the course of her life and led her and her husband to create Grembe Apps. Her son is doing quite well now but she cannot forget where he was, and would love to advocate more for kids with difficulties with social skills and pragmatics. She is nervous about having people in her community read her essay, but she also thinks the first step in helping change perceptions about kids with autism, sensory integration disorder, behavioral disturbances, and developmental delays is sharing our stories.

Sparrow Rose Jones is an Autistic, an ABD political scientist, and the blog author at Unstrange Mind: Remapping My World.

JoyMama describes herself as “mom (2 daughters), wife, data librarian, musician (handbells), artist (wheat straw), autism advocate, blogger, voracious reader, tired!” Her cheerful, energetic daughter Joy has several developmental diagnoses, including epilepsy and autism. JoyMama blogs pseudonymously at Elvis Sightings, elvis-sightings.blogspot.com/.

KAL is a graphic designer and writer living in the D.C. metro area. In 2006, when her identical twin boys were both diagnosed on the autism spectrum at the age of two, she began chronicling their story on her blog, Autism Twins. As a mom to two extraordinary boys, she now knows far more about the Sesame Street oeuvre, cloud formations, and Greek mythology than she ever dreamed possible. Her days are never boring and she wouldn’t have it any other way.

Mir Kamin is a mom, writer, wife, and spoiled dog wrangler who lives with her family outside of Atlanta. She’s pretty sure that she’s completely awesome, because they say the universe never gives you more than you can handle, and she has both a hormonal teen daughter and a son with Asperger’s. She is planning to try that whole leaping-tall-buildings-in-a-single-bound thing once she’s caught up on everything else and has a nap. In the meantime, she’s equivocating over her life at her personal blog, Woulda Coulda Shoulda (wouldashoulda.com).

Steven Kapp is studying autism and neurodiversity in a PhD program at UCLA, the historical Land of Lovaas that still leads the medical model of autism research. As Chair of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network's Science Committee, he influenced the revision of autism's diagnostic criteria in the DSM-5 to support evidence-based access to services. He likes dogs and hiking and slyly teasing anyone who assumes autistic people have no sense of humor.

Kassiane is a vintage 1982 autistic and epileptic adult. She has been doing the autistic advocacy thing online and in person this whole century, starting with message boards and progressing to attending conferences, writing, blogging, and generally speaking truth to power. Kassiane is particularly passionate about teaching autistic kids to advocate for their needs from an early age, autistics being able to access services on their own, keeping people out of the social services cracks, banning strobe lights in public, and twice exceptionality. In her non-online life, she teaches gymnastics, tutors math and science, and is hoping to get into med school in the next year or two. She wrote for Ask and Tell (Shore et al 2004), and has spoken at /been yelled at/generally made waves at at a number of conferences. Kassiane currently blogs at Radical Neurodivergence, where she says what she really thinks.

Kate is a longtime disability advocate with Asperger's syndrome and a non-verbal learning disability. She is slowly beginning to realize and accept the fact that there is nothing wrong with her. She has a master's degree in disability studies and is working towards becoming fully independent. She currently holds several part-time childcare jobs as well as working on a state-wide political campaign and being very active at her Unitarian Universalist church.

Molly Keene is a mother of two kids (one of whom is autistic) and a teacher-on-hiatus. She and her husband, Steven, are partners, therapists, teachers, and advocates for their own children and for people everywhere. She likes life with a sense of humor, a splash of sarcasm, a touch of whimsy, and a big dose of big girl panties for when times are tough. Molly enjoys writing about her family's experiences online, and is an avid social media addict.

Sam Keller is a writer, a thinker, and a lover of words. During the day, she’s a marketing director for a tech company, by night, a freelance writer, and the rest of her time is consumed with family and ministry. Bookstores make her happy; if there’s a coffee shop attached she’s ecstatic. Her three kids keep her busy, and are the muse of many of her articles. Her husband, a pastor, is high energy and fun. He rescues her from hiding away in books and writing, and injects energy and excitement to her life. She finds levity in life through faith, love and random acts of kindness. She’s a story-teller and delights in turning real life into literary bites, and imagination into a good read! You can also check out her work at www.everydaychristian.com.

Cynthia Kim is the proud owner of many labels including woman, wife, mother, writer, editor, entrepreneur and most recently, autistic. Diagnosed with Asperger's in her early forties, she began blogging about life on the spectrum at Musings of an Aspie. When she's not writing about all things autism, she indulges her passion for words by running a small publishing company and occasionally dabbling in fiction, which sometimes gets published.

Leah Kelley, M.Ed. is a K–12 Special Education Teacher, and a parent of a child on the Autism spectrum, who has presented locally and internationally on the topics of Autism, advocacy and inclusion. She completed her Master of Education Degree at Simon Fraser University (in British Columbia), focusing on Supporting Educators in Understanding the Experience of Students with Autism, and has worked with educators as a mentor and part of the instructional team for SFU in their Field Studies Graduate Program. She is an advocate for both children and adults who experience the world differently, and is the Co Producer of the documentary film Vectors of Autism (featuring Laura Nagle). She also authors the Blog 30 Days of Autism (30daysofautism.wordpress.com) a project that offers a glimpse into the world of those whose lives are touched by autism, with a focus on supporting self-advocacy and increasing social understanding for those who experience the world differently.

Brian R. King LCSW is the founder of SpectrumMentor and is an international consultant on the topics of confidence building and win-win relationship strategies. He is also known for his work with Developmental Disabilities including the Autism Spectrum. Brian and his three sons are all on the Autism Spectrum. Through his books, website, mentoring programs and interactive workshops, Brian has become known worldwide for his focus on abilities and his belief in the potential of all people to develop the skills they need to live their dreams. As Brian says, “I am defined by my dreams and my commitment to achieving them and not by any label that tries to tell me otherwise.”

Estée Klar is founder and executive director of The Autism Acceptance Project (www.taaproject.com) and blogger at the Joy of Autism blog, now located at www.esteeklar.com. She is the mother of a young Autistic son named Adam and writes about autism and art for publication. While currently completing her Graduate Degree in Critical Disability Studies at York University in Toronto, Estée continues to work as a curator of art and has organized major exhibitions of “Outsider Art” to promote a discourse about how we think about, regard, and treat Autistic citizens. Estée also lectures on Autism and Representation at universities across North America.

Judy McCrary Koeppen is a 40-something gal who lives on the San Francisco Peninsula with her husband, two kids, and a plethora of pets. She is the parent of a child with PDD-NOS, ADHD, SPD and some other things that don’t have such cool acronyms. Judy was a founding member and the first president of the Special Education PTA of Redwood City, California (SEPTAR). Judy’s private speech therapy practice, Sage Therapy, is also located in Redwood City. She specializes in early intervention, problem eaters, difficult feeders (those having motor control issues), and other regular speech therapy stuff. She incorporates her therapy dog, Izabelle, into her therapy sessions. In her spare time Judy enjoys family and friends and her continual quest for fine chocolate and good coffee.

Kristen is eighteen years old and currently in her third year of high school. She is a semi-self-diagnosed Aspergian, since she was officially diagnosed at three.

Dr. Rob Lamberts is board certified in pediatrics and internal medicine, practicing full-time in Augusta, GA. He authors the acclaimed blog Musings of a Distractible Mind, known for its mix of seriousness and absurdity. He also hosts the House Call Doctor podcast, part of the Quick and Dirty Tips family of podcasts from Macmillan publishing. The podcast focuses on taking complex medical topics and making them understandable to the public.

Melody Latimer is an autistic parent to two beautiful autistic boys. She works for the Autistic Self Advocacy Network (www.autisticadvocacy.org) as the Director of Community Engagement. She typically speaks about parenting and issues around parents rights of those with disabilities.

Kev Leitch is a web developer from Oxfordshire, UK. He blogs about autism at leftbrainrightbrain.co.uk and is dad to three children of whom one is autistic, and step-dad to three children of whom one is autistic.

Leah Jane describes herself as a nerdy, skeptical, over-educated, artistically inclined, loudmouthed autistic student, activist, and advocate, all in one. She writes, “If there’s one thing to be said about me, it's that I love the world too much to ever be truly happy in it.” She blogs at http://quixoticautistic.blogspot.com.

Diane Levinthal, M.A. CCC-SLP, is the owner of Social Strides Therapies in Redwood City, California and an MGWinner/Think Social certified mentor. She runs social thinking groups for students of all ages and lives in Redwood City with her husband and their three children, one of whom was diagnosed with social language challenges in 1999.

Diane Lightfoot is Director of Communications and Fundraising at United Response. United Response is a national [UK] charity that supports people with learning disabilities, mental health needs and physical disabilities to take control of their lives.

Sarah Low is a former nurse practitioner, now a stay-at-home-mom, living and writing in the Pacific Northwest with her two boys: Zach, fifteen, and Josh, thirteen. Sarah maintains a personal blog, Planet Josh, which is an uncensored look at life with her boys -- primarily Josh, who is profoundly Autistic. She has also been a guest blogger for Momversation.com.

J. Lorraine Martin is a parent, writer, teacher and graduate student.  She candidly and humorously blogs about her life experiences at cheeselesspizza.blogspot.com.

Sarah MacLeod is a homeschooling mom to two twice-exceptional boys (learning disabled and gifted) and a very part-time Physician Assistant in Family Practice. When she's not navigating the day-to-day realities of educating and parenting kids with an alphabet soup of diagnoses (ADHD, Asperger's Syndrome, Sensory Processing Disorder, Convergence Disorder, Dysgraphia, profound giftedness, and others she's too tired to recall), she’s reading voraciously about these neurodiversities. Knitting and writing take up the few remaining waking hours. She blogs about parenting and homeschooling a child with Asperger’s at Asperger’s at Home. She write fairly regularly at quarksandquirks.wordpress.com about her homeschooling life and at findingmygrounduu.wordpress.com about the rest of life.

Kerry Magro, an adult on the spectrum, was diagnosed with PDD-NOS at the age of four. Now as an adult who has autism he, is a recent graduate of Seton Hall University’s prestigious Leadership Development Honors program, majoring in Sports Management. In 2008 as a college sophomore he started the first Student Disability Awareness club in Seton Hall’s history to help spread awareness and raise funds for those affected by autism and other disabilities. From that opportunity he has become a tireless advocate for students with disabilities around the state and nationally appearing on Caucus NJ’s segment, “Breakthrough’s in Autism”, writing a successful blog for Autism Speaks, being published in the San Francisco Chronicle, and recently meeting with Senator Robert Menendez in his Washington offices on the renewal of The Combating Autism Act. This summer Kerry has been chosen to present at the Autism Society of America’s Conference in Orlando Florida on his experiences and to preview a book he is writing, which is a guide to surviving college with a disability.

Colin Meloy is the singer and songwriter for the Portland, OR band The Decemberists. He is also the author of two novels for children, Wildwood and Under Wildwood. He lives in Portland with his wife and son.

Brett Miller has been a student of the Art of Living for most of his life, with varying degrees of success. Being the parent of two unique young men -- one autistic, one not -- has provided him the best lessons of all. He has written on and off about autism since 2005, and all sorts of other things for even longer. He has been called many things by many people; “instigator” is his favorite. You can find him all around the web as gbrettmiller.

Robert Moran was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome when he was 15. He loves science fiction and fantasy and is working on a novel. He graduated from California State University, Fullerton with a degree in broadcast journalism in 2012. He currently works as a Desk Assistant at ABC News' LA bureau.

Sharon Morris is a mother of three: two NT girls, and a beautiful, recently diagnosed ASD boy aged two. She was a social worker for several years specialising in assisting women to transition from prison. She also worked with chronically ill people in a hospital setting before burning out and leaving the profession to start a solar electricity business with her husband. Then, in a moment of madness they made the decision to have their third child. Harri was born in 2008 and brought a level of unparalleled love and chaos into their lives. She currently blogs about her experiences as a mummy of a newly diagnosed ASD child.

Jennifer Byde Myers lives on the San Francisco peninsula with her supportive husband and their two children. A writer and editor for both small and large corporations, she began writing at www.jennyalice.com in 2003 to chronicle her family’s journey from diagnosis to daily living with her son’s special needs. She also runs the Can I Sit With You? book and blog project with Shannon Des Roches Rosa. Follow her on Twitter @jennyalice.

Lindsey Nebeker is a pianist, songwriter, consultant, and speaker who lives and works in the metro Washington DC area. She was diagnosed with autism at the age of two, and began to speak around age four. She grew up in Tokyo, Japan with her younger brother, who shares the same diagnosis, but faces a lot more challenges. She attended special education programs until kindergarten, when mainstreaming into a typical classroom environment ensued. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Technology from the College of Santa Fe in 2004. Since then, she has been highly active in the conference speaking circuit along with her boyfriend, Dave (who also has autism). She is especially interested in the topic of ASDs and sexuality, and incorporates it into her workshops and on her blog: Naked Brain Ink (nakedbrainink.com). She is a graduate of the Partners in Policymaking program, and she is currently serving on the Board of Directors. She is also the Washington, DC Liaison for the Autism Women’s Network. Lindsey has been featured in Glamour magazine, ABC’s Good Morning America, IPC Media (UK), and appeared on the cover of Autism Spectrum Quarterly.

Ari Ne'eman is the President and co-founder of the Autistic Self Advocacy Network, an advocacy organization run by and for Autistic adults seeking to increase the representation of Autistic people across society. He is an Autistic adult and a leading advocate in the neurodiversity and self-advocacy movements. 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 currently chairs the Council's Policy and Program Evaluation Committee. Ari worked to shut down the New York University Child Study Center's “Ransom Notes” campaign and also led other successful disability community responses to offensive media and advertisements, including the response to the Autism Speaks “I am Autism” fundraising video. In his policy work, Ari has worked on a wide variety of disability rights related legislation relating to education, transition, employment, rights protection and other areas. In April 2010, he was appointed by Secretary Sebelius 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. Appointed by Governor Jon Corzine, Ari 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.

Kristin Neff got her PhD at the University of California at Berkeley in 1997, and is now an Associate Professor at the University of Texas at Austin. Her main research focus is on self-compassion, a field which she pioneered: www.self-compassion.org. She teaches workshops on self-compassion, and is currently writing a book called Self-Compassion: How to Stop Judging Yourself and Embrace the Joy of Being Human, to be published by William Morrow in 2011. Kristin lives in the countryside in Elgin, Texas with her husband Rupert Isaacson -- an author and human rights activist -- and with her eight-year old son Rowan, who is autistic. She and her family were recently featured in the film and book called The Horse Boy: www.horseboymovie.com.

John J. Ordover is the founder and CEO of JJO PRODUCTIONS and was previously an editor at Pocket Books responsible for overseeing the licensed novels of the Star Trekfranchise. He is the co-creator of such spin-off series as Star Trek: New Frontier (with writer Peter David), Star Trek: Starfleet Corps of Engineers and Star Trek: I.K.S. Gorkon (both with Keith R.A. DeCandido), Star Trek: Stargazer (with Michael Jan Friedman), and Star Trek: Challenger (with Diane Carey). Ordover is also the owner of The SoHo Gallery for Digital Art www.sohodigart.com at 138 Sullivan St., New York, NY 10012, on property once owned by his father Jerald Ordover, a noted art lawyer. Information about the gallery, which uses digital screens both to provide digital artists with a place to display their work and create illusory spaces within the gallery. The gallery’s UNDERGROUND THEATER hosts indie films live performances ranging from literary readings to burlesque.

Mark Osteen is a professor of English and Film Studies at Loyola University Maryland. He is the author or editor of eight books, including Autism and Representation (2008), and One of Us: A Family's Life with Autism (2010), from which his essay is excerpted.

Jane Parker is the wife of a State Department Foreign Service Office currently living in the DC metro area. She writes at Spectrum Mummy about her two children, one of whom has Asperger’s.

Elaine Park lives with her son, husband, and collection of cats in the San Francisco Bay area. She struggles herself with spelling certain words and hates having to drop out the British “u” from so many of the words she learned to spell while growing up in Canada.

Rory Patton knew very little about autism until a friend of his wife's said some of his behaviour was “like other people with Asperger’s.” Prompted by this he found out enough to realise the comment was not without foundation and had himself assessed. He is married, a grandfather, and in full-time employment. When not working he is trying to give the world a realistic view of autism, or messing about with his PC, his camera, or in his garden. He spends a lot of his time trying to calculate how it must feel to have a “Theory of Mind.” You may follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/springingtiger.

Kris Robin is a parent of three children. Her oldest is eleven, non-verbal, and diagnosed with autism. Her middle daughter is nine years old and has a diagnosis of celiac disease. Her youngest is six yrs old and diagnosed with asthma. Kris and her family live in a rural area with two cats and a dog named Trouble. They grow about half of their own food and hope to get chickens this summer. They enjoy being a family and facing family challenges together.

Holly Robinson Peete is an actress, author, activist, and philanthropist. On the heels of Robinson Peete's success on NBC’s Celebrity Apprentice, she will co-host a new daytime talk show The Talk, premiering this Fall on CBS. With her husband, Rodney, Robinson Peete created the HollyRod Foundation, inspired by her father’s battle with Parkinson’s disease. Inspired by their son, they expanded their mission to include Autism. With her daughter Ryan, Robinson Peete published her second book, My Brother Charlie, examining autism from a sibling’s perspective.

Pia Prenevost is the mom to one beautiful and wicked smart boy who fits somewhere on that wide, wide autism spectrum. She is a fierce protector, fiery advocate, and in desperate need of a nap. She happens to have a PhD in Developmental Psychology, works as an NICU nurse, and dreams of the day she can discuss Voltaire with her little man. Or even Curious George. She isn’t picky. Some days she dreams about becoming a writer, but then remembers that bills have to get paid. You can find her honing her storytelling skills on her blog The Crack and the Light.

Sarah Pripas is co-director of the Los Angeles/UCLA chapter of the Autistic Self-Advocacy Network.

Joni Redlich is a Doctor of Physical Therapy and a Board-Certified Pediatric Specialist who provides early intervention, community-based and clinic based physical therapy services for children in Somerset County, NJ. She provides services to children of all ages with a wide range of diagnoses.

Shannon Des Roches Rosa is a writer and editor who gives daily thanks for living in the glorious San Francisco Bay Area with her handsome husband. Her three kids are both delicious and rotten, just like their mother. She has been writing on parenting and autism since 2003 at www.Squidalicious.com, as BlogHer’s contributing editor for parenting kids with special needs since 2009, and also runs the Can I Sit With You? school social stories sharing book and blog project with Jennifer Byde Myers.

Chris R. is a native of California’s San Joaquin Valley and a veteran of the United States Air Force. He is the married father of two wonderful children. His 4 year old son Matthew has autism. He is currently enrolled in a Dual Credential program (Multiple Subject and Special Education) and hopes to have his own classroom soon!

Brenda Rothman is a writer, public speaker, and political activist with a background in information technology, writing, and health law. She is a parent to a child diagnosed with autism. Brenda blogs at Mama Be Good and contributes to the Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism blog and the Sensory Processing Disorder Blogger’s Network. Her essay about race and autism was featured on My Brown Baby’s blog and Parenting.com’s blog. Brenda was interviewed by Atlanta Parent and The Lime magazines. She has advocated for autism insurance reform and autism support in front of legislators, insurance representatives, medical professionals, and the autism community. She lives in Atlanta with her husband and son.

Robert Rummel-Hudson is the author of Schuyler’s Monster: A Father’s Journey With His Wordless Daughter (St. Martin’s Press 2008). He blogs at Fighting Monsters With Rubber Swords. He and his family live in Plano, Texas.

Kelly V. Russell is a 42 year old mother of three beautiful children. Her oldest, age seven, has autism. Her younger two, ages five and three, have lots of empathy and love for their brother. She has been a stay-at-home mother for seven years, but is planning on re-entering the workforce as a physical therapist. She'd love to be a writer, but until that becomes a paying gig, those dreams will have to wait. ;)

Beth Ryan is a stay at home mother to two children. Like every mother, she is overwhelmed with her love for her children. Her oldest daughter, Evelyn, is autistic. After a long and terrifying medical journey with Evelyn, she was relieved to find out that she is autistic. Although, in her previous life autism was one of her greatest fears. Learning to accept both of her children for the unique people that they are is her greatest accomplishment. Her only hope for them and for herself is that they all grow to be happy, healthy, and kind people.

Jordan Sadler, MS, CCC-SLP, is the director of Communication Therapy, P.C., in Chicago, Illinois. Jordan enjoys helping each child develop to his or her full potential by working with the whole family within natural environments, and has been recognized for her work in private practice, public, and private schools. In her clinical practice, Jordan draws from the SCERTS Model, DIR/Floortime, and the Hanen program, and is enthusiastically working on a variety of projects designed to improve the lives of those with autism through the use of technology and media.

S.R. Salas is an author, public speaker, and advocate. She is currently a member of the Virginia Board for People with Disabilities (VBPD) 2013 Partners in Policymaking program, which she is really excited about! This program is preparing her to step up and take on a larger advocacy role so she may better assist people with disabilities in having their needs met. She has dedicated her website, blog, books and her advocacy to: What Autistic People CAN Do!

Sarah Schneider is the mother of two boys. M, born in 2007, is Autistic. His particular variety of Autism looks a lot like Hyperlexia, although this diagnosis is no longer widely used. Her second son, L, was born in 2009. They live in Portland, Oregon. Sarah likes art, politics, food, and serial commas.

Heather E. Sedlock Heather E. Sedlock is a married, stay-at-home mom of two boys. Heather and her two boys are on the autism spectrum while her husband has various physical disabilities. It is her passion to share quality information about autism and other issues that affect parents
of children with special needs.

Susan Senator is the mother of three young men, the oldest of whom has a fairly severe form of autism. She is the author of “Making Peace With Autism: One Family’s Story of Struggle, Discovery, and Unexpected Gifts” (Trumpeter, 2006) and “The Autism Mom’s Survival Guide: Creating a Balanced and Happy Life While Raising a Child With Autism” (Trumpeter, 2010). A speaker, blogger, writer, and English professor, she has had work published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, and Education Week, among other places. Her website is www.susansenator.com.

Amy Sequenzia is an autistic self-advocate and poet. She types using Facilitated Communication. She also has epilepsy and mild cerebral palsy. In 2012 she became part of the Board of Directors at Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology (FAAST). She was a presenter at the conference “Reclaiming our Bodies and Minds” at Ryerson University in Toronto. She had essays published by The Autism Women’s Network, The Shift Journal, Think Inclusive, Autism Now Center and The Autistic Self Advocacy Network (ASAN). She blogs for Ollibean (Ollibean.com). She likes to have her voice heard and tries to be a good advocate for her community.

Jessica Severson currently blogs at Don't Mind the Mess and is on Twitter as @jessicaesquire. She has a BS in Biochemistry and a JD. During her practice as an attorney, she specialized in criminal defense. She has two children, including a two-year-old diagnosed with PDD-NOS.

Sarah Seymour is a single mother of four active children. She is blessed to parent children with special needs: two of her children are on the autism spectrum, and she also is the proud parent of the labels ADHD, OCD, hearing loss, and heart conditions. She is an educator working with teens with special needs and behavior concerns, and runs the website www.allkidshavespecialneeds.net She is applying to begin her masters in child psychology.

Laura Shumaker is the author of A Regular Guy: Growing Up With Autism. She writes a nationally recognized autism blog for the San Francisco Chronicle and has contributed to several anthologies, including Voices of Autism and Gravity Pulls You In. Laura’s essays have appeared in The New York Times, the San Francisco Chronicle, Literary Mama, The Autism Advocate and on CNN.COM. Laura speaks regularly to schools, book groups and disability organizations.

Stephen Shore, Ed.D. is an assistant professor at the Ammon School of Education at Adelphi University, teaching courses in special education and autism. He focuses his research and teaching on matching best practices to the needs of people with autism. In addition to working with and talking about life on the autism spectrum, Dr. Shore presents and consults internationally on educational and social inclusion as well as on adult issues pertaining to relationships, employment, advocacy, and disclosure as discussed in his numerous books, articles, and DVDs. His website is www.autismasperger.net.

N.M. Silber is a former attorney, a (usually) snarky writer, and a carbon-based life form. She is also Autistic and a survivor of various "supports." Her social skills are impeccable -- at least to others who have been forced to undergo social skills training. She enjoys reading and writing about things she enjoys (perseverating) and relaxing at home (isolating herself from social contact.) Her dark humor is what has kept her (sorta) sane.

Adam Slagell is a computer security researcher by day and skeptic by night, having spoken at both The Amaz!ng Meeting and written for Skeptical Inquirer magazine. He is a father of two wonderful little boys with special needs all of the time. Having OCD, and perhaps a little Asperger’s himself, it was not all that surprising when his first son was diagnosed with ASD and emerging OCD behaviors, nor when his second son was found to have special needs. You can follow Adam’s blogging
at http://sciencebasedparenting.com/author/slagell.

Dr_Som is a board certified pediatrician and a fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. She writes: “Children inspire me: their honesty, ability to live in the moment, fragility, and openness. Children make me laugh and make me want to be a better person. I write this blog to raise awareness about health issues impacting all children. Hoping that each reader may find a way to improve their child, their community, and our future just a little bit.”

Lynne Soraya is the nom de plume of a writer, who discovered she had Asperger’s syndrome as an adult. The aim of her writing is to use stories to build awareness and help others people on the autism spectrum. She believes that such stories, information, and resources will help the world at large to learn that while life on the spectrum can be a difficult at times, it can be a rich and valuable life. Those on the autism spectrum have a great deal to offer the world - the challenge is to harness their strengths, and work with their differences. Tolerance and understanding is key. Ability comes in all configurations.

Kristen Spina is a freelance writer living in New York whose writing has appeared in numerous trade and consumer publications, as well as the anthology Gravity Pulls You In: Perspectives on Parenting Children on the Autism Spectrum. She is currently at work on a novel.

Amy Spurway is a panicky duck-footed Gen X writer based in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, and is now officially the Mother of Three Children With Autism and Wife of A Probable Aspie. Which is not nearly as harrowing as it sounds.

Squillo is a former person, on hiatus while she raises her two children. Her son has PDD-NOS, and her daughter is just nuts in the typical way. Both children have inherited their father’s intelligence and her teeth, for which she is profoundly grateful. She is not an expert in much of anything. She has an opinion anyway.

Scott Standifer works for the University of Missouri’s Disability Policy and Studies office. He is the author of the online guide Adult Autism & Employment: A guide for rehabilitation professionals [PDF] and is co-organizer of the Autism Works [Facebook] [website] National Conference on autism and employment, being held in St. Louis, Mo, March 3 and 4, 2011.

Mike Stanton lives and works in the UK where he teaches children with severe cognitive disabilities, many of whom are autistic. His adult son is diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome. Stanton is a member of the UK’s National Autistic Society. He speaks and writes on autism. His book, Learning to Live with High Functioning Autism is also available in a Spanish translation, Convivir con el Autismo. He has also has contributed a chapter to Asperger Syndrome in Adolescence edited by Liane Holliday Willey.

The name of Mike’s website and blog, Action for Autism (actionforautism.co.uk), is a reaction against names like Action Against Autism and Defeat Autism Now! Names like these suggest to autistic people that we are against them as people. You may not mean that. But if you care about autism you ought to care about the feelings of autistic people and not use language that makes them angry or upset. If you disregard the feelings of autistic people do not be surprised if you are disregarded.

Hartley Steiner lives in the Seattle area with her three sons. She is the award winning author of the SPD Children’s book This is Gabriel Making Sense of School and Sensational Journeys, as well as the founder of the SPD Blogger Network (www.spdbloggernetwork.com). She is a contributing writer for the SPD Foundation’s blog, S.I. Focus Magazine, and Autism Spectrum Quarterly, among dozens of other online websites and blogs. You can find her chronicling the never ending chaos that is her life on her personal blog Hartley’s Life With 3 Boys (www.hartleysboys.com) and on Twitter as @ParentingSPD. When she isn’t writing, or dealing with a meltdown, she enjoys spending time in the company of other adults preferably with good food and even better wine.

Christine Stephan lives in Virginia with her husband and three sons. She and her family can often be found navigating the streets of their hometown by bicycle or scouting for the best swimming holes. She blogs about their adventures at daysixtyseven.blogspot.com.

Sunday Stilwell is one frazzled mom raising two boys on the severe end of the autism spectrum while living to laugh and blog about it. She spends her days writing her blog Adventures In Extreme Parenthood, tweeting, shooting pics for Instagram, and otherwise daydreaming over her posters of Ryan Gosling. Her friends and family are pretty sure a 12-step program for social media addiction is in her near future.

R. Larkin Taylor-Parker is an autistic adult, tuba player, college student, and sometime holy terror in Atlanta, Georgia. She volunteers with and incessantly plugs The Arc of Georgia, blogs, and lives with two brass contrabasses.

TC is a science writer in her non-pseudonymous work life, and a blogger in what she likes to think of as her real life (http://ihavethings.blogspot.com). She finds describing optomechanical cavities or the biogeochemistry of the Precambrian ocean much simpler than raising two kids, but not nearly as much fun. TC’s teenaged daughter puts the typical in neurotypical, while her son puts the quirk in quirky--and she wouldn’t have them any other way.

TH is a 10-year-old autistic boy who enjoys acorns, Pokemon, chess, and blogging about the periodic table of elements at Double X Science Jr. He is also the inventor of the unit of excitement or agitation known as the “flap,” which ranges from nanoflaps to gigaflaps. He understands that not everyone with autism can communicate the way he does but feels that while communication abilities vary, what he experiences may be pretty common among autistic people and that he can help by trying to describe some of it.

Lou Tecpanecatl is the father of two boys, an autism advocate, and a recent addition to the blogging community at ourlifewithdiego.blogspot.com. His older son, Diego, was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder in August of 2008. He is doing what he can to raise awareness for autism.

Cissi Tsang is a photographer with Asperger's syndrome from Western Australia. She graduated with a BA with a double major in Political Science and History at the University of Western Australia.

Amy Tuteur MD is a obstetrician-gynecologist and freelance writer on who writes on women’s health, particularly pregnancy. Her blog is The Skeptical OB (skepticalob.blogspot.com) and she runs the fertility, pregnancy and delivery website Ask Dr. Amy (www.askdramy.com)  Her book, How Your Baby Is Born, is an illustrated guide to pregnancy, labor, and delivery.

Frances Vega-Costas is the mother of an eleven-year-old boy diagnosed with PDD-NOS. She has created a website about autism in Spanish (www.viviendoenotradimension.com) and writes articles for Hispanic blogs and online magazines. She is Puerto Rican and currently works as a Special Education Advocate for a nonprofit called Community Advocates (communityadvocates.org) for people with developmental disabilities in Kalamazoo Michigan. She is involved with several non-profit organizations in her area.

Karen Velez is a lawyer and is female. She has a son born in 2006, who was diagnosed with autism in April 2010. About her blog she writes: “In my head, I’ve gone through hundreds of questions, worries, and wonders. Some of them leak out on my blog, Solodialogue. I laugh. I cry. I express anger and confusion but I do it all because of the great love I have for my son which is endless and forever."

Amanda Forest Vivian is a person with autism who recently graduated from college and is training to be a nurse aide. She sometimes works as staff for other people with developmental disabilities, which is confusing, and at the height of her confusion in 2009 she started writing an anti-ableism blog called I’m Somewhere Else. Some of her posts are Gaslighting, They hate you. Yes, you, Social Skills Don’t Exist, disability services are not accessible, some disabled staff person fragments and facts, and Ability Statements Are a Personal Attack. She made the Autistic Passing Project, which is an art project and survey about what happens after people become indistinguishable from their peers, and she is working on a podcast about disability identity.

Nick Walker is an Autistic educator, author, speaker, psychologist, workshop leader, parent, and martial arts master. Nick is the founder and senior instructor of Aikido Shusekai, an aikido dojo in Berkeley, California. He teaches in the Interdisciplinary Studies program at California Institute of Integral Studies, and is a longtime core member of the experimental physical theatre group Paratheatrical Research. Information on Nick's aikido dojo can be found at aikiarts.com, and information on his workshops, writing, speaking, and other activities can be found at walkersensei.com.

Susan Walton is the author of Coloring Outside Autism’s Lines (Sourcebooks), a practical book about ways to have fun at home, with friends, in the community, during holidays, and on vacation. She has three children, and her eldest son is autistic. Her two girls are twins and quite simply the best sisters a brother could have. She is on the Board of the Best Day Foundation, a non-profit organization that gives kids with special needs memorable days of outdoor adventure with surfing and downhill snow sports.

Lydia Wayman is an autistic writer, devoted cat mom, hoarder of pink things and addict to Diet Mountain Dew from Pittsburgh, PA.  She is a full-time grad student, studying Creative Writing (nonfiction).  In her free time, she enjoys other creative interests (especially freehand needlepoint), being Auntie to the cutest baby in the world, and spending as much time as possible with her kitties.

Katharine Kroeber Wiley is a writer, cartoonist, needleworker, and confirmed introvert. She currently lives in Massachusetts, with two cats, a daughter, and a husband and son who are both autistic. She enjoys the chance to explain to other NTs what it can be like living with autistic individuals, but is excited at how possible it is these days for autists to speak for themselves. Now if people would just listen...

L. Mae Wilkinson is a writer, advocate and parent of a 10-year old son with a diagnosis of PDD-NOS/HFA and ADHD. Mae is a marketing sciences and strategy consultant, and has held senior marketing positions in the financial services and travel industries. She holds an M.A. in international political economics and has completed coursework in advocacy leadership and business administration. She is the founder of Autism is Not the Boss.com, a moderator for The Coffee Klatch Special Needs Network, the National Examiner for Autism and Parenting and a contributing reporter to Autism Hangout. She lives with her husband and son in St. Louis, where she is parent mentor through the State of Missouri’s Sharing Our Strengths program.

Emily Willingham earned her doctorate in biological sciences after realizing that a BA in English was not the money maker she’d anticipated. Upon completing a postdoctoral fellowship in pediatric urology, she turned to teaching and writing full time, authoring The Complete Idiot’s Guide to College Biology and blogging at both A Life Less Ordinary and The Complete Idiot’s Blog for College Biology. Living the life of a writer, teacher, and editor up to her ears in science, Emily cannot believe her good fortune, which she shares with a direct descendant of the Vikings and their three sons, all of whom show similar tendencies to a love of all things biology.

Jean Winegardner lives in the D.C. Metro area with her husband and three wonderful children: Sam, Jack, and Quinn. Her middle child, Jack, was diagnosed with PDD-NOS shortly before he turned five. Jean joined him on the spectrum when she was diagnosed with Asperger's at age 38. Passionate about creating a positive view of special needs children and adults, Jean writes often on her blog, Stimeyland; runs an autism-events website for Montgomery County, Maryland called AutMont; and writes Autism Unexpected, a column in the Washington Times Communities. Through her writing, Jean hopes to help spread the word that there are many ways to be Autistic, many of them very positive. She also hopes to encourage understanding and acceptance of Autistic individuals. She is also a firm believer that when you have a choice between laughing and crying, you should always try to laugh. Although sometimes you may have to do both.

Kim Wombles is an instructor of English (and occasionally psychology) at a community college in Texas. She is mother to three wonderful children on the spectrum, and wife to a pretty swell guy. In her spare time, she writes several blogs, some of which are snarky, some of which are sweet, and some of which are science-based. Occasionally, all three combine in one place. You can find her at www.science20.com/countering_tackling_woo for the science-based snark free stuff.

Caitlin Wray lives in a city fondly nicknamed “Winterpeg” (Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada) which, despite its often frigid temps, is a wonderfully eclectic city. She has a BA in History and works as a government policy analyst, on leave to raise her two young boys. Everything in her house (excepting her) is a boy, including the dog, the guinea pig, the fish, and the abundant dust bunnies. Some days she admits she would give her left ovary for nail polish and a tea party ... but mostly, she feels honoured to nurture and learn from her amazing children as they join her on my mission to cure the world, rather than her son’s autism.

Sandy Yim, M.S.Ed., is a writer and consultant with Aspergers syndrome and Auditory Processing disorder. She is passionate about working with companies and organizations to bridge mainstream practices with the needs of autistic individuals.

Ariane Zurcher is a writer and award-winning jewelry designer living in New York City with her husband and writer, Richard Long, daughter Emma, son Nic and cat, Merlin. Ariane also blogs at the Huffington Post. Emma was profiled on The Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism for their Slice of Life Series in April, 2012. Follow Emma’s Hope Book on Facebook and Twitter.