WHO WE ARE

US Autism & Asperger Association (USAAA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization for Autism and Asperger education, support, and solutions. Since 1995, USAAA began improving the quality of life of individuals affected by autism, Asperger Syndrome and other related disorders. In the summer of 2005, Special Abilities evolved into US Autism & Asperger Association, Inc. with a mission to Provide the Opportunity for everyone living with autism, Asperger Syndrome and other related disorders to achieve their fullest potential, by enriching the autism and Asperger communities with education, training, accessible resources, and partnerships with local and national projects.
Federal Tax i.d. # 20-3372933

To learn more about how you can help with our current and future projects, contact us.


BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Chairman, CEO
Lawrence P. Kaplan, PhD
Lawrence (Larry) P. Kaplan, PhD is a parent of three boys, one who is afflicted with autism and co-occurring disorders including Apraxia of Speech (CAS) and Lyme disease. Dr. Kaplan’s work in autism evolved in 1995 when his son was originally diagnosed with PDD-NOS, then autism. He founded Special Abilities, a non-profit charitable organization. It was one of the first organizations to offer assistance to special education schools and provide educational programs for parents who have children with ASD. Drawing on his decade long tenure in professional and collegiate sports, he created a "team approach" to develop a parent-physician partnership that has been presented at national and international autism conferences. This innovative concept led to authoring the book, "Diagnosis Autism: Now What? 10 Steps to Improve Treatment Outcomes; A Parent-Physician Team Approach". The book is listed in the top ten of titles most in demand by libraries and bookstores from Quality Books nationwide for six months prior to the week ending April 8, 2006 (source: Library Journal Archive - Small Press Bestsellers).

Dr. Kaplan was the chief investigator for the first study on early diagnosis of ASD. Dr. Kaplan is editor of the USAAA WeeklyNews e-newsletter and has created multiple Conference Proceedings Manuals. Dr. Kaplan has spent many years collaborating with the non-profit community. Prior to working with the autism community, he worked on many projects, over a ten year period, with the March of Dimes, the American Cancer Society, the National Stoke Association, and the American Heart Association.

In the summer of 2005, Special Abilities evolved into US Autism & Asperger Association, Inc. with a mission to Provide the Opportunity for everyone with autism, Asperger Syndrome and other related disorders to achieve their fullest potential, by enriching the autism and Asperger communities with education, training, accessible resources, and partnerships with local and national projects. Dr. Kaplan’s vision was to create an annual conference that concentrated on family, health, sibling issues, adolescence, diet and nutrition, autism and Asperger concerns, as well as other related disorders and the latest autism research and treatment. That vision became a reality in the summer of 2006. Thousands of people have attended USAAA World conferences since 2006. The 5th annual conference (2010) became the most-viewed autism and Asperger conference in the world with over 34,000 viewers. This was the first autism and Asperger event that was streamed live in its entirety. For more information on USAAA conferences, click on the following link: USAAA conferences.

Secretary/Treasurer
Richard Dunie, MPh, MBA, CPA
Richard Dunie, MPh, MBA, CPA is an Assistant Professor in the Management Department at the David Eccles School of Business, University of Utah. In addition to teaching accounting to undergraduate and graduate students, he teaches an introductory course in which students have the opportunity to read a collection of classic readings on various topics related to business, commerce, and economics.

Before coming to the University of Utah, he spent fifteen years working in the oil industry in a variety of accounting and financial analysis positions. He completed several years of graduate study at the University of Utah and recently received a Masters in Philosophy. He was also Treasurer and a member of the Board of Directors of the Heritage Academy in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Mr. Dunie is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. His son was diagnosed with nonspecific developmental delay at the age of four, also known as PDD-NOS.

Phillip C. DeMio, MD, Chief Medical Officer
Phillip C. DeMio, MD is board-certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He received his M.D. from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine with honors in Neurosurgery, Endocrinology/Metabolism, Advanced OB/GYN, and Advanced Internal Medicine. Dr. DeMio has been a faculty member at several teaching hospitals including Case Western University School of Medicine and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. He is accredited by the Teaching System of U.S. Armed Forces Medical Core and his career includes an emphasis on toxicology.

Dr. DeMio is the Medical Director for the Whole Health and Wellness Centers located in Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. His practice focuses on the diagnosis and treatment for individuals with Autism, Asperger Syndrome and related disorders. In addition to his practice, Dr. DeMio is an ER Physician at Case Western Reserve University Hospitals. Dr. DeMio is board-certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. Dr. DeMio is a father of a child with autism. Dr. DeMio is the Chief Medical Officer for the US Autism & Asperger Association and was appointed to this position in 2008.Dr. DeMio is the Executive Director for the American Medical Autism Board. More...

Jay D. Burstein, MD, F.A.C.S.
Jay D. Burstein, MD, F.A.C.S. is a board-certified urologist specializing in incontinence, interstitial cystitis, and prostate disorders. Dr. Burstein Clinical Adjunct Professor at University of Wisconsin, School of Medicine and Public Health. He is certified by the American Board of Urology and is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons (F.A.C.S.). He spent more than a decade teaching medicine in Chicago-area hospitals and is now in private practice at the KishHealth System Physician Group in DeKalb, Illinois. He completed his undergraduate work at Drake University, graduating magna cum laude, and is a member of the Phi Beta Kappa society. Dr. Burstein graduated from the University of Illinois College of Medicine in 1979.

Dr. Burstein's publications include several articles on embryology and anatomy published in urology textbooks. He has been involved with bladder suspension modifications since the introduction of that procedure in the Midwest in 1984. Dr. Burstein is a past president of the local American Cancer Society Chapter.

As a parent of a child with disabilities, his interest in the area of ASD grew, and he teamed up with Dr. Kaplan as editor of Diagnosis Autism: Now What? 10 Steps to Improve Treatment Outcomes. Dr. Burstein is now finding new ways to help parents of children with disabilities find urological solutions.

Daniel E. Kaplan, BA
Daniel E. Kaplan is the Outreach Manager for the award-winning PBS/Impact/Tribeca comedy documentary MEET THE PATELS. Daniel graduated in 2014 from the University of Southern California, where he studied Biological Sciences, Cinematic Arts, and Theatre. Previously, he worked as a film development intern at Red Wagon Entertainment.

While in school, Daniel wrote and contributed plays to a student-run theater company, Brand New Theatre, as well as a USC/NASA joint event, ClimatePalooza. He is passionate about writing, directing, and providing research and support for independent cinema, and values the role that the arts play to educate and bring about change by entertaining and documenting the personal side of complex issues. Also, while attending USC, Daniel volunteered hundreds of hours at Saint Francis Medical Center in Lynwood, California.

Daniel served two years as an AmeriCorps member, where he worked to improve the children’s literacy landscape of Los Angeles. Daniel is a twin to Nathan who is afflicted with autism and related disorders.


SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY BOARD
Phillip C. DeMio, MD, Chief Medical Officer
Phillip C. DeMio, MD is board-certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. He received his M.D. from the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine with honors in Neurosurgery, Endocrinology/Metabolism, Advanced OB/GYN, and Advanced Internal Medicine. Dr. DeMio has been a faculty member at several teaching hospitals including Case Western University School of Medicine and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. He is accredited by the Teaching System of U.S. Armed Forces Medical Core and his career includes an emphasis on toxicology.

Dr. DeMio is the Medical Director for the Whole Health and Wellness Centers located in Cleveland and Columbus, Ohio. His practice focuses on the diagnosis and treatment for individuals with Autism, Asperger Syndrome and related disorders. In addition to his practice, Dr. DeMio is an ER Physician at Case Western Reserve University Hospitals. Dr. DeMio is board-certified by the American Board of Emergency Medicine. Dr. DeMio is a father of a child with autism. Dr. DeMio is the Chief Medical Officer for the US Autism & Asperger Association and was appointed to this position in 2008.Dr. DeMio is the Executive Director for the American Medical Autism Board. More...

Theodore Henderson, MD, PhD
Dr. Henderson established his private practice, Child, Adolescent, and General Psychiatry in Centennial Colorado in July of 2000. Dr. Henderson brings a unique blend of expertise in psychopharmacology, neurobiology, and an understanding of human nature to the practice of psychiatry. He trained in Psychiatry at the prestigious Barnes/Jewish Hospitals at Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Henderson approaches psychiatry from a brain-based biological perspective and recognizes the limitations of the categorical philosophy of the DSM system.

Valerie Hu, PhD
Valerie W. Hu, PhD, is a Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Medicine at The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences in Washington, DC as well as the mother of a son with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Dr. Hu was trained as a chemist, with a PhD in Chemistry from the California Institute of Technology, postdoctoral research in Membrane Biochemistry and Immunology at UCLA, and a BS in Chemistry from the University of Hawaii. She has a long research history in cross-disciplinary studies focused on protein structure-function relationships and membrane-protein interactions.

Julie Matthews, CNC 
Julie Matthews is a Certified Nutrition Consultant specializing in autism spectrum disorders and is a co-founder of Nourishing Hope. She is the author of Nourishing Hope for Autism, an award-winning parent and clinicians guide to the fundamentals of autism nutrition, dietary implementation and supplementation. She is the creator of "Cooking to Heal", an autism education and cooking class program that provides public education in cities in the U.S. Julie is an expert at applying food, nutrition, and diet to aid digestive health and system healing. Her presentations are supported by rigorous scientific research.

J. Michael Uszler, MD
Dr. Uszler is Medical Director of the Nuclear Medicine Department at Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica, California, Assistant Clinical Professor of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology at UCLA, and Medical Director of DrSpectScan.com. Dr. Uszler is nationally recognized for his expertise of brain SPECT imaging of disorders such as ASD, Cerebral Palsy, ADD/ADHD, near-drowning, closed head trauma, toxic encephalopathy, stroke and dementia. Board certified in Nuclear Medicine, he has 3 decades of academic and clinical experience in hospital-based care.


COMMUNITY ADVISORY BOARD
James W. Partington, PhD, BCBA
Dr. Partington is the director of Behavior Analysts, Inc., and provides services to children and their families at the STARS Clinic in Walnut Creek, California. He is a licensed psychologist and a board certified behavior analyst, doctoral level (BCBA-D), and has more than 35 years experience working with children with developmental disabilities. Dr. Partington has been a faculty member of several universities including West Virginia University, University of San Francisco and St. Mary's College. He is the author of "The Assessment of Language and Learning Skills-Revised (The ABLLS™-®). 

Marlo Payne Thurman, PhD
Marlo Thurman, PhD is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Northern Colorado and completed her PhD in Special Education in the summer of 2016. She started her work with special needs children in 1986. Marlo developed a special interest in the unique needs of those individuals who were both highly intelligent and asynchronously developed. Through her private practice she carried out this interest, specializing in assessment, advocacy, cognitive training, sensory and behavior support, and socio-emotional coaching. In 1999 Marlo founded the Brideun Learning Communities and built the Brideun School for Exceptional Children.

Gil Tippy, PsyD
Gil Tippy, PsyD, is the Clinical Director of the Rebecca School in Manhattan. As one of the founders of the school, he has been responsible for evaluating over 300 children, and has been central in creating both the academic and clinical programs. He was directly supervised by Dr. Stanley Greenspan, creator of the Developmental, Individual difference, Relationship-based (DIR®) model from the beginning of the school until Dr. Greenspan's untimely passing in 2010. He brings 33 years experience as a teacher and a Psychologist where he supervises, does the evaluations, and works directly with the kids.

Theresa K. Wrangham
Theresa K. Wrangham became a parent advocate as a result of her daughter Deanna's life-threatening asthma, as well as her daughter Rachel's diagnosis of PDD-NOS. In 2001 she co-founded the Autism Society of Boulder County (ASBC) in Colorado and served five terms as its president and, served on the Board of Directors for the Autism Society of Colorado. Theresa collaborated with Google to create Project Spectrum. She has been featured in local and national television and print news reports and recently was featured in Parade Magazine. Theresa is the Executive Director for NVIC.org. 


SELF ADVOCACY ADVISORY BOARD
Christopher M. Gauthier, MFA
Christopher M. Gauthier, MFA, is a professor at Illinois Central College. He also taught photography at Utah State University and at Jackson State University. Christopher has presented his work at conferences, workshops and symposia, including a TEDx talk titled, Evidence and Artifacts: Facing Autism. Christopher sits on many advisory boards including the US Autism & Asperger Association where he has also presented his work for five consecutive years at the World Conference. Chris and his wife Jacqueline have a son and daughter, both on the autism spectrum.

Raun K. Kaufman
Raun K. Kaufman is an international speaker, writer and teacher for The Son-Rise Program® at the Autism Treatment Center of America™. In his work with families, children, and professionals from around the world, Raun brings a distinctive qualification to the realm of Autism treatment - his own personal history. At 18 months, Raun was diagnosed as severely and incurably autistic. Raun's story was recounted by his father, Barry Neil Kaufman, in the best-selling book "Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues", and was also the subject of an award-winning NBC television movie, Son-Rise: A Miracle of Love.

Michael McManmon, EdD
Dr. McManmon grew up the youngest son in a family of nine children. He is the father of six children and sixteen grandchildren. He is the Founder of the College Internship Program (CIP) in 1984 with six campuses across the US. He obtained his Doctorate in Special Education from the University of Nevada. Dr. McManmon is a licensed psychologist by the State of Massachusetts and has worked for 44 years on curriculum development, staff training, program evaluation, and administering community based programming. He is the driving force behind the founding of the Good Purpose Art Gallery and the Spectrum Playhouse in Lee, Massachusetts. He is the author of Made for Good Purpose: What Every Parent Needs to Know to Help Their Adolescent with Asperger's, High Functioning Autism or a Learning Difference Become an Independent Adult.

Tim Page, DFA
Tim Page was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome at the age of forty-five and says, "I am very grateful to have the diagnosis, because it explains a lot." He is a professor at both the Thornton School of Music and the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at the University of Southern California. Page won the Pulitzer Prize for criticism in 1997 for his writings about music in The Washington Post, where he held the position of chief classical music critic since 1995. He is the author of "Parallel Play", an autobiographical account of "Growing up with Undiagnosed Asperger's".

Stephen Shore, EdD
Dr. Shore was diagnosed with "Atypical Development with strong autistic tendencies." Dr. Shore was viewed as "too sick" to be treated on an outpatient basis and recommended for institutionalization. Nonverbal until four, and with much help from his parents, teachers, and others, Dr. Shore completed his doctoral degree in special education at Boston University in 2008 with a focus on helping people on the autism spectrum develop their capacities to the fullest extent possible. Dr. Shore presents and consults internationally. Dr. Shoreis a Professor at Adelphi University in New York.