Past Speakers

The ASD Nest Support Project is proud to provide ASD Nest staff with the opportunity to hear from some the biggest names in the field of autism spectrum disorders. Below are some of the previous speakers Nest educators have heard from.


Brenda Smith Myles 

Brenda Smith Myles Ph.D., a consultant with the Ohio Center for Autism and Low Incidence (OCALI) and the Ziggurat Group, is the recipient of the Autism Society of America’s Outstanding Professional Award, the Princeton Fellowship Award, The Global and Regional Asperger Syndrome (GRASP) Divine Neurotypical Award, American Academy of Pediatrics Autism Champion, and two-time recipient of the Council for Exceptional Children, Division on Developmental Disabilities Burton Blatt Humanitarian Award. She served as the editor of Intervention in School and Clinic and has been a member of the editorial board of several journals, including Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, Remedial and Special Education, and Autism: The International Journal of Research. Brenda has made over 1000 presentations all over the world and written more than 250 articles and books on ASD. In addition, she collaborated with the National Professional Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders, National Autism Center, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services who identified evidenced based practices for individuals with autism spectrum disorders. 

The Hidden Curriculum & Simple Strategies that Work, August 2016 ASD Nest Presentation

Brenda presented on the topics of two of her books, understanding and teaching the "hidden curriculum" of unspoken, untaught social rules and expectations, and go-to strategies for students with autism and Asperger's.


David Finch 

Married in 2003 and diagnosed five years later with Asperger syndrome, New York Times best-selling author David Finch has committed himself to relentless self- improvement. David is a nationally sought-after speaker and mentor who works with individuals, educators, international conferences, and corporations.

“Oh, You Needed Me to Pay Attention?” Classroom Perspective from a Deceptively Remarkable Student, March 2017 ASD Nest New School Year Kickoff Keynote 

David presented lessons learned from his childhood growing up with Asperger's, and advice for professionals around love, understanding, and guidance for supporting individuals with ASD

More information about David Finch 


Tony Attwood

Dr. Tony Attwood a clinicial psychologist who has specialized in autism spectrum disorders since 1975. His book, Asperger's Syndrome: A Guide for Parents and Professionals, has sold over 350,000 copies and has been translated into over 25 languages. 

Emotional Regulation in Children and Early Adolescence, AHA Fall Conference 2016

More information about Tony Attwood is available at his website


Carol Gray

Carol Gray is Director of The Gray Center for Social Learning and Understanding, and the creator of Social Stories, one of the best researched strategies for individuals with ASD.

Social Stories 10.2, March 2016 ASD Nest presentation

Carol presented training on Social Stories 10.2 to 300 Nest staff and guests. Read more at our Social Stories workshop page

More information about Carol Gray is available on her Social Stories website


Paula Kluth

Dr. Paula Kluth is a consultant, teacher, author, advocate, and independent scholar who works with teachers and families to provide inclusive opportunities for students with disabilities, and to create more responsive and engaging schooling experiences for all learners. 

Dwelling in Possibility, September 2015 ASD Nest New School Year Kickoff Keynote

Paula Kluth gave a rousing keynote presentation about "Key Practices & Habits of Inclusive Schools." She shared her vision of inclusion as a process, and challenged the audience to practice radical & relentless role sharing. Read more at the Kickoff 2015 page.

“You’re Going To Love this Kid!” March 2014 ASD Nest presentation

Paula Kluth spoke to 200 Nest staff about educating students with autism in inclusive schools, including creative ideas on increasing access to communication and tips for including students' special interests. She later collaborated with the Nest's Middle School/High School Task Force to help the team refine its development of the Nest middle and high school model.

Educating Students with Autism in Inclusive Schools, October 2011 AHA Conference 

More information about Paula Kluth is available on her website


Peter Vermeulen 

Dr. Peter Vermeulen is a psychologist with more than 25 years of experience working with children and adults with ASD. He is a senior lecturer and consultant with Autisme Centraal, a training center in Gent, Belgium, and has written 15 books on autism.

Autism & Happiness, March 2015 ASD Nest presentation

Peter Vermeulen returned two years after his incredibly successful original appearance to discuss happiness and wellbeing in ASD. He challenged staff to rethink their goals for students to include wellbeing, and provided a "twin track approach" to providing support: adapting the environment & teaching the person. Read more at our Autism & Happiness workshop page

Autism as Context Blindness, May 2013 ASD Nest presentation

On Dr. Vermeulen's first visit to ASD Nest, he introduced his theory of autism as context blindness. He had a profound effect on educators' understanding of autism, its characteristics and challenges. Work continues on incorporating his ideas into social therapeutic supports and classroom academic strategies. 


Stephen Shore 

Diagnosed with "strong autistic tendencies," nonverbal until four and recommended for institutionalization, Dr. Stephen Shore is now a professor of special education at Adelphi University focusing on helping people with autism lead fulfilling and productive lives. Stephen is an internationally known author, consultant, and educator on issues related to autism. 

Bullying, Harassment, and Intimidation, AHA Fall Conference 2012

Dr. Shore also presented Parent Workshops for ASD Nest on Relationships & Sexuality 

More information about Stephen Shore is available on his website


Zosia Zaks

Zosia Zaks is a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC) working with adults on the autism spectrum, their families, and professionals to deliver and to improve services and supports that have a direct positive impact on quality of life. 

Keeping it Real Election Day Workshop, November 2013

Zosia presented on his background and shared his self-advocacy curricilum, developed for the Nest's Keeping it Real project.

More information about Zosia is available on his website


Jesse Saperstein

Jesse A. Saperstein is a best-selling author, autism advocate and motivational speaker. Jesse also has Asperger’s syndrome. He is the author of two books, “Atypical: Life with Asperger’s in 20 1/3 Chapters,” and “Getting a Life with Asperger’s: Lessons Learned on the Bumpy Road to Adulthood."

Keeping it Real Election Day Workshop, November 2013

Jesse presented his anti-bullying materials, developed for the Nest's Keeping it Real project. Students in Nest middle schools across the city have heard Jesse directly share his entertaining and enthusiastic take on lessons in compassion.

Jesse also presented a Parent Workshop for ASD Nest on The Transition to Adulthood

More information about Jesse is available on his website


Kari Dunn Buron

Kari Dunn Buron is the co-creator of the Incredible Five-Point Scale strategy, and was a teacher of students with ASD for over 30 years. 

When My Autism Gets Too Big! Educational Strategies for Addressing Social Cognition and Emotional Regulation, AHA Fall Conference 2013



Michelle Garcia Winner

Michelle Garcia Winner specializes in working with students with social learning challenges. She runs a clinic, has authored numerous books and speaks internationally. She coined the term Social Thinking and pioneered the related treatment approach.

Social Thinking for Teens and Tweens, AHA Fall Conference 2014

Social Thinking in the Classroom and Across the Day, AHA Fall Conference 2007

More information about Michelle Garcia Winner is available on her Social Thinking website 



And last but not least...

Shirley Cohen

Dr. Cohen is the co-developer of the ASD Nest model. She determined the combination of evidence-based and promising practices to be used in the ASD Nest program, and guided the early development of the elementary Nest model. In addition, several Nest educators have had the privilege of attending SPEDE 771 when it was taught by Dr. Cohen, and many Nest schools have greatly benefited from her direct consultation.

Dr. Cohen is the author of Targeting Autism: What We Know, Don't Know, and Can Do to Help Young Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders, available on Amazon