Aiding Autism


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Host:
Angela Santomero is best known as the Creator and Executive Producer of acclaimed children’s television hits such as Blue’s Clues on Nick Jr., and Super Why! and Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood on PBS KIDS. She is the Founding Partner and Chief Creative Officer of Out of the Blue Enterprises, LLC, and oversees the creative development and research of all the company’s projects, with a mission and vision to bring educational entertainment to a whole new level. Angela is also host of PBS’ The Parent Show at www.PBSparents.org and writes a personal blog about being a parent who creates children’s media at www.AngelasClues.com. She is a prestigious Peabody Award Winner for Outstanding Children’s Programming and a Gold and Silver Parents Choice Awards recipient. She currently lives in New York with her husband and two adorable daughters.


Guests:
Dr. Carla Mazefsky is a licensed clinical psychologist specialized in autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Dr. Mazefsky was the 2012 recipient of the Ritvo/Slifka Award for Innovation in Autism Research from the International Society for Autism Research. She is on the editorial board of the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders and is a member of the Board of Directors for the Western PA Chapter of Autism Speaks. Dr. Mazefsky’s research has been funded by the Organization for Autism Research and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Her program of research is focused on emotional dysregulation in ASD, including the identification of underlying neural mechanisms, the conceptualization, treatment, and assessment of problems with emotional control, and co-occurring depression and anxiety. While most of her research to date has focused on high-functioning adolescents with ASD, she is expanding to more of a lifespan perspective, and is now conducting research on psychiatric inpatients with ASD as part of a multisite study to better understand and improve outcomes for those most severely affected by the disorder.

Brett Spitale is the Executive Director of the Autism Speaks Greater PA Chapter. Autism Speaks is the largest national healthcare nonprofit organization dedicated to funding global biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments and a possible cure for autism. Autism Speaks aims to bring the autism community together as one strong voice to urge the government and private sector to listen and take action to address this urgent global health crisis. Prior to joining Autism Speaks, Brett served as the Vice President for The Alzheimer’s Association – Virginia Chapter and with the ARC of Virginia as the Development and Community Relations Director where he was responsible for managing overall fund development, communications, advocacy and programs and services. Brett completed his Masters work in nonprofit management and public administration, and his B.S. in communications and interpersonal communications at George Mason University. Brett has been in the Pittsburgh area for just over a year and is married with two beautiful children.

Aubrey Shick iis the founder and CEO of Origami Robotics, a startup developing Romibo, a friendly social robot for special needs therapy and education. Romibo has shown to be particularly beneficial with children on the autism spectrum. Origami Robotics is a spin-off out of the Quality of Life Technology Center in the Robotics Institute at Carnegie Mellon University where she created and directed the project for three years. Aubrey specializes in assistive technologies including wearable computers, with a focus on affective social robotics. Her work encompasses design research, product development, mechanical design, interaction design and STEM education and outreach. Aubrey completed both her Bachelors in industrial design and a Masters of Human-Computer Interaction at Carnegie Mellon. She is a Pittsburgh native recently relocated to Berkeley, California where Romibo is being developed for commercialization.

 

Presented with expertise from Common Sense Media.


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