Science Advisory Board

Dr. Christina Whalen
Co-Founder, Chief Science Officer
Dr. Christina Whalen, Ph.D., BCBA-D
is a licensed psychologist and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst specializing in autism and special education. She received her PhD at U.C. San Diego and did her post-doctoral fellowship at U.C.L.A. She has consulted for many school districts and has run early intervention programs at Autism Spectrum Therapies and University of Washington Autism Center. Dr. Whalen has more than 15 years of experience in research and clinical practice. She has presented at many professional conferences and has authored several peer-reviewed publications. She is the Editor of the book, Real Life, Real Progress for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Strategies for Successful Generalization in Natural Environments. Dr. Whalen has been a Principal Investigator on 4 federal grants and has won 2 awards for research including the National Tibbett's Award from Small Business Innovative Research and runner-up in the 2007 Technology in the Works competition from the National Center for Technology Innovation. She is currently the Chief Science Officer for TeachTown and works in the San Francisco bay area office of TeachTown and has been with the company since the very beginning in 2003. Dr. Whalen was recently appointed as a Consulting Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Stanford School of Medicine.

Dr. Laura Schreibman
University of California, San Diego (UCSD)
Dr. Schreibman
is one of the world’s most respected researchers in Applied Behavior Analysis and is a licensed psychologist. She is one of the creators of Pivotal Response Training (PRT), a naturalistic ABA intervention that has been shown to be effective for increasing communication, play, imitation, joint attention, and social skills in children with autism. Dr. Schreibman is a distinguished professor at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). She has published in many journals, has served on several editorial boards for journals, served as the Associate Chancellor at UCSD and as the chair of her department, has written and received numerous grants, and is a prolific speaker in the autism. Her most recent book is ”The Science and Fiction of Autism” published by Harvard University Press.

Dr. Geraldine Dawson
Autism Speaks
Chief Science Officer
Geraldine Dawson, Ph.D.
is Chief Science Officer at Autism Speaks and Research Professor of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dawson also holds the positions of Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry at Columbia University and Professor Emeritus of Psychology at University of Washington.

Dawson received her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology with a minor in Child Clinical Psychology from the University of Washington and was a postdoctoral fellow at the Neuropsychiatric Institute at UCLA, specializing in neurodevelopmental disorders. She has been licensed as a clinical psychologist since 1980. From 1996-2007, Dawson was Founding Director of the University of Washington Autism Center, designated an NIH Autism Center of Excellence, where she lead a multi-disciplinary autism research program focusing on genetics, neuroimaging, diagnosis, and treatment, and oversaw a treatment center for children and adolescents with autism. Dawson has published extensively on autism spectrum disorders, focusing on early detection and intervention, brain dysfunction (electrophysiology), and genetic studies. In collaboration with Sally Rogers, Dawson developed and empirically-validated the Early Start Denver Model, a comprehensive early intervention program for young children with autism. Dawson has testified before the U.S. Senate on behalf of individuals with autism and played a key role on the Washington State Autism Task Force.

Dr. Connie Kasari
Graduate School of Education at the UCLA
Center for Autism Research and Treatment (CART)
Professor of Psychological Studies
Connie Kasari, Ph.D.
is Professor of Psychological Studies in Education and Psychiatry at UCLA, where she is the Principal Investigator for several multi-site research programs, including the Autism Intervention Research Network for Behavioral Health funded by MCHB, and Characterizing Cognition in Nonverbal Individuals with Autism Intervention network by Autism Speaks. She received her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and was a NIMH postdoctoral fellow at the Neuropsychiatric Institute at UCLA. Since 1990 she has been on the faculty at UCLA where she teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses, and has been the primary advisor to more than 30 PhD students. She is a founding member of the Center for Autism Research and Treatment at UCLA and has been actively involved in autism research for the past 25 years, leading projects under the CPEA, STAART, and Autism Centers of Excellence programs from NIH. Her current research focuses on developing targeted interventions for early social communication development in at risk infants, toddlers and preschoolers with autism, and peer relationships for school aged children with autism. She is involved in several randomized controlled trials, with her most recent work involving multi-site studies for interventions aimed at underserved and under-represented populations of children with autism. She has published widely on topics related to social, emotional, and communication development and intervention in autism. She is on the treatment advisory board of the Autism Speaks Foundation, and regularly presents to both academic and practitioner audiences locally, nationally and internationally.

Dr. Aubyn Stahmer
Child and Adolescent Services Research Center (Children s Hospital, San Diego)
Research Scientist and Research Director of the Children’s Autism Intervention Center
Dr. Aubyn Stahmer
is a Research Scientist at the Child and Adolescent Services Research Center (Rady Children s Hospital, San Diego), and Research Director of the Autism Discovery Institute. She also works as a researcher at the University of California, San Diego Autism Research Laboratory. Her current interests include the study of early intervention systems for children with autism, and the translation of research practices into community settings. Dr. Stahmer has published numerous research articles examining intervention with children who have autistic spectrum disorders.

Dr. Gary Stobbe
University of Washington: Clinical Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Neurology
Seattle Children’s Autism Center: Director of Adolescent & Adult Services
Dr. Stobbe
is a Board Certified Neurologist sub-specializing in the field of cognitive and behavioral neurology. He earned his BS in psychobiology from UCLA in 1985, and his MD from Albany Medical College in 1989, before completing his neurology residency at UCLA-West LA VA Medical Center in1993. In 2003, Dr. Stobbe co-founded and served as the Medical Director of the Autism Spectrum Treatment and Research (ASTAR) Center, a Seattle-based non-profit clinic serving individuals and families across the autism spectrum. Dr. Stobbe joined the University of Washington faculty in 2008 and is Clinical Assistant Professor of both Psychiatry and Neurology, specializing in autism spectrum disorders, multiple sclerosis, and traumatic brain injury. Dr. Stobbe is Director of Adolescent and Adult Services at the new Seattle Children’s Autism Center, and serves on the professional advisory boards of the Autism Society of Washington and the Brain Injury Association of Washington.

Dr. Brooke Ingersoll
Michigan State University
Professor of Psychology
Brooke Ingersoll, Ph.D.
is an assistant professor of psychology at Michigan State University. She is a licensed psychologist and a board certified behavior analyst who holds a doctoral degree in experimental psychology from University of California, San Diego. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship in clinical child psychology at the Child Development and Rehabilitation Center at Oregon Health & Science University, during which time she served as the director of the Autism Treatment and Research Program at the Hearing and Speech Institute in Portland, OR. Dr. Ingersoll has conducted training for practitioners on early intervention strategies for children with ASD both nationally and internationally. She has published extensively on early intervention for children with ASD and presented her work at professional conferences.

Dr. Daniel Openden
Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC)
VP and Clinical Services Director
Daniel Openden, Ph.D., BCBA-D
is Vice President and Clinical Services Director for the Southwest Autism Research & Resource Center (SARRC). He received his doctorate in Special Education, Disability, and Risk Studies under the mentorship of Drs. Robert and Lynn Koegel at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Dr. Openden has worked extensively with families with children with Autism Spectrum Disorders on both federal and state funded research projects; provided consulting and training for school districts across the country; presented research at regional, state, and national conventions; and has been published in peer reviewed journals and book chapters in the field. He has expertise in developing training programs for teaching parents and professionals to implement Pivotal Response Treatment (PRT), a comprehensive, evidence-based treatment model for children with autism spectrum disorders. Dr. Openden is currently an Associate Editor for the Journal of Positive Behavior Interventions and his research interests include parent education, professional development, positive behavior supports, early intervention, inclusion, and dissemination of service delivery models for children with autism spectrum disorders.

Dr. Lauren Franke
Clinical Psychologist
Dr. Franke
is a Clinical Psychologist and Speech Language Pathologist who has taught at several universities and worked with children, their families and school districts for over 30 years. Currently she in is private practice and consults with school districts. She has developed Coaching Comprehension-Creating Conversation an interactive narrative-based approach to for language intervention. A treatment manual for this approach is currently in publication. Dr. Franke frequently gives seminars to professionals and parents on topics related to assessment, social skills intervention, helping students with autism spectrum disorders access the core curriculum and narrative-based language intervention.

Dr. Dom Massaro
University of California, Santa Cruz
Research Professor of Psychology & Computer Engineering
Director of the Perceptual Science Laboratory/Founding Chair of Digital Arts & New Media M.F.A program
Dominic W. Massaro
is Research Professor of Psychology and Computer Engineering, director of the Perceptual Science Laboratory, and Founding Chair of Digital Arts and New Media M.F. A. program at the University of California, Santa Cruz. He received a BA in Psychology (1965) from UCLA and an MA (1966) and a Ph.D. (1968) in Psychology from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. After a two-year postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, San Diego, he was a professor at the University of Wisconsin until 1979 before moving to Santa Cruz. He has been a Guggenheim Fellow, a University of Wisconsin Romnes Fellow, a James McKeen Cattell Fellow, and an NIMH Fellow. He is a past president of the Society for Computers in Psychology, and is currently the book review editor of the American Journal of Psychology and founding co-editor of the journal Interpreting. He has published numerous academic journal articles, written and edited several books (including Perceiving talking faces: from speech perception to a behavioral principle; Time to Learn About Time; and Puzzles of Time). His research uses a formal experimental and theoretical approach to the study of speech perception, reading, psycholinguistics, memory, cognition, learning, and decision-making. One focus of his current research is on the development and theoretical and applied use of a completely synthetic and animated head for speech synthesis, language tutoring, and edutainment.
More about Dominic Massaro

Dr. Bryna Siegel
University of California, San Francisco
Professor of Psychiatry and Director of its Autism Clinic
Dr. Bryna Siegel
is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco and Director of its Autism Clinic. As a developmental psychologist specializing in developmental disabilities, she has worked with families of children with autism for the past 25 years. She has closely studied early diagnosis for autism, diagnostic methods, and the effect of autism on the family. Her books include The World of the Autistic Child: Understanding and Treating Autistic Spectrum Disorders (OUP, 1996) and What About Me?: Siblings of Developmentally Disabled Children. She lectures frequently to parents and professionals, comparing and contrasting treatments for autism and focusing on how to design and tailor treatment programs for the individual child.