WIBA 2022 Speakers
Jane Howard, Ph.D.
Jane Howard, Ph.D., is the CEO and Co-founder of Therapeutic Pathways. She is also a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA-D®) and a licensed psychologist. Dr. Howard is the lead author on several widely cited long-term outcome studies for the treatment of autism. Before co-founding Therapeutic Pathways in 1996, Dr. Howard was a professor of psychology at California State University, Stanislaus where she trained graduate students in behavior analysis and established clinic-based services. She currently serves on the Board of the Council of Autism Service Providers (CASP) and is a Past President of the Board of Directors for the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB®).
Gwendolyn Cartledge, Ph.D.
Gwendolyn Cartledge, PhD, is professor emerita at The Ohio State University, College of Education and Human Ecology. She began her career as a preschool and elementary public school teacher, continuing with youth with learning and behavior disorders, but she taught most extensively in higher education. Her professional research and writings center on the social and academic skills of children with and without disabilities, particularly those from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. She has extensively researched social development and literacy interventions for these populations, as documented in over one hundred publications, including four books and four curricula on behavioral and literacy approaches. Gwen’s fifth book, There’s More to the Story: Using Literature to Teach Diversity and Social-Emotional Skills in the Elementary Classroom, is currently being published by Solution Tree to be available beginning 2022.
Over the course of her career, Gwen has supported her research and writings through competitive national and local grants, she has lectured extensively at local, national, and international forums and meetings, and has maintained membership in numerous educational and behavioral professional organizations. Among her various awards, Gwen was recognized for Leadership and Distinguished Service by her state professional organization in 1996, received the Distinguished Teaching Award from The Ohio State University in 2003, received the Educator of the Year Award from the Ohio Council for Exceptional Children in 2006 and the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Pittsburgh in 2010. Gwen earned undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Pittsburgh and a doctorate in education from The Ohio State University.
Florence Digennaro Reed, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Dr. Florence DiGennaro Reed, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, received a doctorate in school psychology from Syracuse University. She also completed a clinical post-doctoral fellowship at the Institute for Child Development and a pre-doctoral internship in clinical psychology at the May Center for Education and Neurorehabilitation and the May Center for Child Development. Presently, Florence is a Professor in the Department of Applied Behavioral Science at the University of Kansas where she serves as departmental chairperson and directs the Performance Management Laboratory. Her research examines effective and efficient staff training and performance improvement practices. Florence has published over 90 articles and book chapters and two edited books on a variety of topics including training, performance management, assessment, and intervention. With co-authors Drs. Gregory Madden and Derek Reed, Florence recently published a textbook titled An Introduction to Behavior Analysis. Moreover, Florence has been an Associate Editor for Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, Journal of Behavioral Education, and Behavior Analysis in Practice.
Lorri Unumb, Ph.D.
Lorri Shealy Unumb, Esq. (pronounced YOU-numb)
Chief Executive Officer, The Council of Autism Service Providers
Lorri Shealy Unumb is an executive leader, lawyer, professional speaker, law professor, mother of three teenage boys, and an internationally renowned autism advocate.
She began her legal career clerking for a United States District Judge in Charleston, South Carolina, and then moved to Washington, D.C. to practice law with the United States Department of Justice. She enjoyed a fulfilling career as an appellate litigator, arguing civil cases in Circuit Courts all over the United States.
After two academic stints at law schools in D.C. (George Washington University) and Charleston, Lorri began running and teaching advocacy courses at the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Advocacy Center. During the same period, she hosted an award-winning weekly cable TV show called “The Law with Professor Lorri.”
Following her firstborn son’s diagnosis with autism, Lorri began working in autism advocacy as a volunteer, writing ground-breaking autism insurance legislation for South Carolina (“Ryan’s Law”) that passed in 2007 and served as the catalyst for the national movement toward autism insurance reform. In recognition of Ryan’s Law, Lorri was awarded the Autism Society of America 2008 “Parents of the Year” award (along with her husband Dan). She then was recruited by the New York-based nonprofit Autism Speaks to advocate full-time on behalf of individuals with autism. As the national head of state government affairs, she testified more than 100 times on various autism issues in legislatures throughout the United States and beyond and led an autism insurance reform effort that resulted in 50 states requiring insurance coverage for autism by 2019.
Alongside her career with Autism Speaks, in 2010 Lorri founded the Autism Academy of South Carolina, a non-profit, year-round diagnostic and treatment center for individuals with autism; in 2019, the board of directors voted to rename the academy “The Unumb Center for Neurodevelopment” in honor of Lorri & Dan’s extensive national contributions in the autism field. Lorri & Dan also wrote the first-ever comprehensive textbook on legal issues related to autism, called “Autism and the Law.” Additionally, Lorri is in her 15th year of organizing and conducting the annual “Autism Law Summit,” a national gathering of parents and professionals who advocate for legal and policy changes to better the lives of individuals with autism. Finally, in 2018, Lorri was appointed by the governor of South Carolina to serve as a Commissioner for the SC Department of Disabilities and Special Needs, which administers several of the state’s Medicaid waivers.
In 2019, Lorri was recruited by the nonprofit trade association The Council of Autism Service Providers; as CEO, she has led the association into a period of rapid growth, increased visibility, and international expansion.
For her local, national, and international advocacy efforts, Lorri has been recognized with
– the NASCAR Foundation’s Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award;
-the Jefferson Award for Public Service (Charleston, SC);
– the Professional Women in Advocacy “Excellence in a State Campaign” 2014 Award; and
-the Civitan International “World Citizenship” 2021 Award.
Her work has been profiled on CNN, on NPR’s “Morning Edition,” and in Town&Country magazine, from whom she received one of three 2009 “Women Who Make a Difference” awards. She is also profiled in the American Academy of Pediatrics book “Autism Spectrum Disorders: What Every Parent Needs to Know.”
Lorri is a magna cum laude/Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of South Carolina (Journalism, 1990; Political Science 1990; Law 1993).
Mari Luci-Cerda, MAEd., BCBA, LBA
Mari Cerda is a Mesoamerican Indigenous woman, wife, mom of 3, and board-certified, trauma-responsive behavior analyst who consults with teachers and schools to provide professional development coaching on various Neurodivergent-affirming topics. A former special education teacher, Mari has been working with public education for nearly 13 years. She is currently completing her doctoral dissertation on Examining the Effects of a BST Training Package for Public Educators Administering the VB-MAPP Assessment at Texas Tech University and is set to defend this spring. Mari is also the co-founder of The LEAP (Lighthouse of Equitable Access and Practices) Institute, a non-profit whose mission is to increase equitable access for marginalized and intersectioned groups entering the field of applied behavior analysis through quality supervision support and testing scholarships. LEAP is also working to shift the culture around the supervision relationship in the field of ABA. Mari currently sits on the advisory board for the Standard Celeration Society, Next4Autism Committee, TX-ABA Promoting ABA Committee, and BHCOE Person and Family Workgroup.
Trya P. Sellers, J.D., Ph.D., BCBA-D
Tyra P. Sellers is the owner of TP Sellers, LLC. She earned a B.A. in Philosophy and M.A. in Special Education from San Francisco State University, a J.D. from the University of San Francisco, a Ph.D. from Utah State University, and is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst®. Her professional and research interests focus on professional ethics, training and supervision, assessment and treatment of severe problem behavior, and variability. Dr. Sellers has over 20 years of clinical experience working with individuals with disabilities in a wide variety of settings. She has published several journal articles, two co-authored book chapters, and co-authored the book titled Building and Sustaining Meaningful and Effective Relationships As A Supervisor and Mentor. She currently serves on the editorial boards for several journals.
Patricia Wright, Ph.D., MPH, BCBA-D
Dr. Patricia Wright’s commitment to ensuring all individuals with autism have access to effective services and supports has guided her work over the past 30 years, from her earliest responsibilities as a special educator, to state and national-level program management. Specific examples of her advocacy include the management in the design of a statewide system of support for children with autism for the state of Hawaii, several years as the National Director of Autism Services for Easter Seals, her industry positions leveraging technology and her current role at the Autism Wellbeing Alliance fusing the principles of Positive Psychology and evidence-based autism intervention to transform the lives of autistic individuals and the communities that surround them.
Dr. Wright has held advisory roles for a number of professional associations and advocacy groups, including the Organization for Autism Research’s Scientific Council, the Executive Committee for the
Friends of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Board of Directors for the Association of Professional Behavior Analysts and the Autism Society Panel of Professional Advisors. She has been asked to provide expert testimony at Congressional Hearings and is a frequent contributor in the media, raising awareness of effective intervention for those living with disabilities.
Dr. Wright completed her PhD and Master of Public Health from the University of Hawaii. Her research focuses on the delivery of evidence-based interventions in community-based settings and healthcare access for people with disabilities.
Kimberly Nix Berens, Ph.D.
Kimberly Nix Berens, Ph.D., is a scientist-educator and Founder of Fit Learning. She co-created a powerful system of instruction based in behavioral science and the Technology of Teaching, which has transformed the learning abilities of thousands of children worldwide, including those who are struggling, average, gifted, or learning disabled. For more than 20 years, her system of instruction has produced one year’s worth of academic growth in only 40 hours of training. Her learning programs effectively target such essential areas as early learning skills, basic classroom readiness, phonemic awareness, reading fluency, comprehension, inferential language, basic and advanced mathematics, logical problem solving, grammar, and expressive writing. From her early beginnings in a broom closet at the University of Nevada – Reno, Dr. Berens has helped grow Fit Learning to an organization with more than 30 locations worldwide. She is a frequent invited speaker and a regular contributor to many popular press publications such as Thrive Global, 74 Million, and Medium. Her first book Blind Spots: Why students fail and the science that can save them was released in October of 2020. Dr. Berens currently lives in Long Island with her husband and two children, where she oversees Fit Learning locations in Long Island, New York City, and Connecticut.