Conference Speakers

Photo by Ron Uriel

On July 5-6, 2010, thirty speakers connected at one conference to educate attendees from around the globe on autism. This grand conference was held in Jerusalem at the Ramada- Renaissance and kept the autism community a buzz. Check out photos, bios and more info from the event, in the following article.

Speakers for the event, in alphabetical order, included: Kenneth J. Aitken, PhD. (Scotland), Dafna Ben Bashat, Ph.D. (Canada), Esther Ben Yitzchak, Ph.D. (Israel), Doreen Ben Shalom, Ph.D. (Israel), Agantino Battaglia, M.D, DNeurol (Italy), Yoram Bonneh, Ph.D. (Israel), W. Ted Brown, M.D, Ph.D. (USA), Eitan Eldar, Ph.D., BCBA-D (Israel), Kenneth D. Gadow, Ph.D (USA), Eynat Gal, Ph.D. (Israel), Doreen Granspeesheh, Ph.D., BCBA, Lior Greenbaum, MD (Israel), Tal Kenet, Ph.D. (USA), Yoav Kohn, M.D. (Israel), Dhavendra Kumar, M.D. (Wales, UK), Amos Rolidor, Ph.D., BCBA (Israel), Laura Schreibman, Ph.D. (USA), Stephen von Tetzchner, Ph.D (Israel), Sigal Tidhar Paz, MA, BCBA (Israel), Tamar Weiss, Ph.D. (Israel), Ditza Zachor, M.D. (Israel), Gil Zalsman, M.D. (Israel), Ofer Zeevy (Israel), and Lonnie Zwaigenbaum, M.D. (Canada).

Eric Hollander, M.D. – USA

Eric Hollander, M.D. – USA

Eric Hollander, M.D., is an internationally recognized psychiatrist and former Esther and Joseph Klingenstein Professor and Chair of Psychiatry at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and Director of the Seaver and Greater New York Autism Center of Excellence. He is the Chairman of The International Center for Autism Research and Education’s Advisory Board. He is also the Chair of Psychiatry at Montefiore Medical Center.

Dr. Hollander is known for his work with oxytocin. To read about him and his comments in the news, click on the following links: Daily News, Newsweek, Washington Post, The Epoch Times.

Presentation Title: Neuropsychopharmacology of Autism Symptom Domains.


Eli Hatchwell, M.D., PhD

Eli Hatchwell, M.D., PhD – USA

Dr. Eli Hatchwell is a Medical Geneticist and Molecular Genetics scientist who studies a variety of childhood disorders, including Autism Spectrum Disorders, Congenital Heart Disease and a number of lesser known but important conditions. Dr. Hatchwell was among the first to discover the phenomenon of copy number variation in normal human beings, and specializes in the use of copy number variation for his study of human genetic disorders.

View his bio: Click here, Watch him on CNN: Click here

Presentation Title: Modern Approaches to the Study of the Genetics of Autism.


Ken Aitken M.A., MPhil, PhD – Scotland

Ken Aitken M.A., MPhil, PhD – Scotland

Dr. Aitken is a clinical neuropsychologist and researcher with a particular interest in neurodevelopmental disorders, particularly in those conditions that result in differences in social interaction and development such as the Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) and the Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorders. He has been a Trustee and a Director of the Association for Child Psychology and Psychiatry, and has contributed to a number of UK best practice guidelines in this area.

Read more about him: Click here

Presentation Title: Intersubjectivity, Affective Neuroscience, and the Neurobiology of Autistic Spectrum Disorders.


Agatino Battaglia, M.D., DPed, DNeurol – Italy

Agatino Battaglia, M.D., DPed, DNeurol – Italy

Agatino Battaglia, M.D., DPed, DNeurol is a contract professor of Child Neuropsychiatry at the Post-Graduate Medical School in Child Neuropsychiatry, at the University of Pisa.

Presentation Title: Genetics: Inverted Dup 15/idic(15).

Abstract: Chromosome region 15q11q13, known for its instability, is highly susceptible to clinically relevant genomic rearrangements, such as supernumerary marker chromosomes formed by the inverted duplication of proximal chromosome 15. Inv dup(15) results in tetrasomy 15p and partial tetrasomy 15q. Those containing the Prader-Willi/Angelman syndrome critical region (PWS/ASCR), are responsible for the inv dup(15) or idic(15) syndrome. The syndrome displays distinctive clinical findings represented by early central hypotonia, developmental delay and intellectual disability, epilepsy, and autistic behaviour. Incidence at birth is estimated to be 1 in 30,000 with a sex ratio of almost 1. Developmental delay and intellectual disability affect all individuals and are usually moderate to profound. Expressive language is absent or very poor; and often echolalic. Comprehension is very… CLICK HERE to read in Full

Dafna Ben Bashat Ph.D. – Israel

DAFNA BEN BASHAT speaks at the 2010 International Autism Conference. Photo by RON URIEL

Professional Affiliation: The Functional Brain Imaging Center, The Wohl Institute for Advanced Imaging, Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, Tel Aviv, Israel

Presentation title: Advanced MR Imaging in Young Children with Autism

Abstract: Postmortem and structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies pointed to pathological findings in several brain regions including the limbic system, the cerebellum and the related inferior olive1, the frontal lobes2, 3 and the corpus callosum (CC)4-6. In about 70% of the children with autism, the brain undergoes a period of precocious growth during early postnatal life, mainly in the frontal lobes, followed by a deceleration of brain growth in later childhood years2, 3, 7-9 . Morphological and volumetric studies reported differences in specific brain regions including both white and gray matter volumes10-15.

Abnormal integrity of the white matter has also been reported in subjects with autism… CLICK HERE to VIEW full abstract


Dorit Ben Shalom, Ph.D. – Israel

Dorit Ben Shalom speaks at the 2010 International Autism Conference. PHOTO BY WALLACE KARABEE

Dorit Ben Shalom, Ph.D., is a cognitive neuroscientist, specializing in ASD (and, lately, ADHD). Her model (Ben Shalom, 2009) unifies known atypicalities in ASD in terms of reduced integration of motor actions, emotional states, memory episodes, and perceptual objects, in different subareas of the medial prefrontal cortex.

Presentation Title: The Integrative Basic Emotional State Specifier

Abstract: All people with ASD have trouble with experiencing social emotional states. But some, even high functioning, have a difficulty with basic emotional states as well. Using the new DSM-V system of umbrella terms and specifiers, this difference can be modeled as the presence or absence of an integrative basic emotional state (Ben Shalom, 2009). The proposed specifier correlates with rarely discussed practical skills, such as the ability to report one’s physiological state in a medical context. It also has an unaccounted for correlation with more severe forms of sensnory issues.


Yoram Bonneh, Ph.D. – Israel

Yoram Bonneh is a senior research associate at The Weizmann Inst. and the The Center for Brain and Behavior Research at the University of Haifa.

Presentation Title: Mono-channel processing and hyper perception in cases of severe autism.

Abstract: There is accumulating evidence for perceptual abnormalities and sensory disturbances associated with ASD, but the emerging picture which is based primarily on studies of high functioning individuals suggest a relatively mild abnormality, not necessarily related to the core symptoms of the syndrome. I will describe cases of autism that show severe perceptual abnormalities, but that can nevertheless report and take part in an experimental study, thus providing a rare insight into severe autism. Overall, these cases suggest that severe autism is characterized by stimulus driven, winner-takes-all type of sensory processing in which a strong stimulus tends to take over completely and extinguish other stimuli, leading to intermittent partial shutdowns. These may take the form of a loss of awareness to stimuli from one modality in the presence of stimuli from another (“mono channel” perception). People with such perceptual abnormalities tend to develop detaching strategies such as avoiding strong stimuli, looking to the side or “through”, covering the ears etc. which reduce the occurrence of shutdowns. The neural correlate of these perceptual shutdowns and their relation to the core of the syndrome are currently unknown. We suggest that some types of autism could be triggered by hyper excitatory winner-takes-all cortical responses to which the child develops compensation in the form of detachment, thus initiating a severely abnormal developmental process.


W. Ted Brown, M.D., Ph.D. – USA

W. Ted Brown, MD, PhD, is the Director of the New York State Institute for Basic Research (IBR) in Developmental Disabilities, Chair of the IBR Department of Human Genetics and Director of the IBR Jervis Clinic.  He is a fellow of the American College of Medical Genetics and adjunct Professor at the State University of New York- Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn.

Dr. Brown received a B.A. degree in 1967, an M.A. degree in 1969, and a PhD in 1973 in Biophysics from the Johns Hopkins University.  He received an M.D. from Harvard Medical School (Cum Laude) in 1974.  He trained in Internal Medicine in New York City, undertook a fellowship in Clinical Genetics and was appointed as an assistant Professor of Medicine at The New York Hospital-Cornell University Medical Center in 1978.  He began research into Premature Aging Syndromes and Down syndrome while on the Cornell Medical School Faculty and was an Attending Physician at New York Hospital, and a faculty member of Rockefeller University.  In 1981, he moved to become Chairman of the Department of Human Genetics. In 1991, he was appointed the Director of IBR’s Jervis Clinic and in 2005 became IBR’s Director. He is the author of more than 300 publications.  At IBR, his initial research was on Down syndrome genes.  He began research focused on the Fragile X syndrome, which was then newly recognized and is considered to be the most common inherited cause of mental retardation. At IBR, he established a DNA diagnostic and molecular laboratory. He developed a screening  and prenatal testing program for Fragile X. He was the first to describe a relationship between autism and the Fragile X syndrome. His work on Fragile X has ranged from clinical studies relating to phenotype, to family inheritance studies, to mouse model development, and to basic molecular research.

His current research is focused on autism genetics and the Fragile X syndrome. Dr. Brown has remained a recognized world authority on Progeria, a rare and tragic disease that afflicts young children with premature aging and was instrumental in the discovery of the genetic mutation that causes this disease. Dr. Brown serves on the editorial board of the American Journal of Intellectual and Developmental Disability. He has served on the scientific advisary board for Cure Autism Now, the Progeria Research Foundation, and the National Fragile X Foundation.

Presentation title: The Fragile X Syndrome and Autism

CLICK HERE to VIEW presentation abstract


Michael Davidovitch, M.D. – Israel

Michael Davidovitch is the Chairman of the Israeli Society for Child Development and National Consultant for Child Development. He is also the Director of the Child Development Center in Jerusalem.

Presentation Title: Autism Regression – Diagnosis and Outcome.


Beth Diviney, Ph.D, BCBA – USABeth Diviney, Ph.D., BCBA is a behavior analyst who consults in health care clinics, early intervention centers, schools, homes and other community based programs throughout the New York tri-state area in the USA. Beth received a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from SUNY at Stony Brook where, under the supervision of Dr. Ted Carr and his graduate students, she discovered the field of Applied Behavior Analysis.  She earned her M.A. in Experimental Psychology and Ph.D. in Applied Psychology.  Beth is a Nationally Board Certified Behavior Analyst and an elected Past President of the NYS Association for Behavior Analysis.  She is a cofounder of the Premier HealthCare Training Institute, serves on several advisory committees and presents at nationally and internationally held professional conferences.  Her general research and practice focus is on the health and well-being of families, learning, autism, and the integration of behavior analysis with parenting, education, and medical/dental care.

Presentation Title: Integration of Behavioral Practices with Medical Care for People on the Autism Spectrum


Eitan Eldar, Ph.D., BCBA – Israel

Dr. Eitan Eldar Ph.D., BCBA, is the Founder and Director of the Applied Behavior Analysis Center (Teaching, Community Services & Research) at the Zinman College in Israel. He has been widely acknowledged by the educational community for his extraordinary efforts to fulfill the goals, values, and mission of disseminating behavior analysis. He has written numerous papers and books, authored the first Applied Behavior Analysis textbook in Hebrew and serves as the Chairman of the Israeli Association of Applied Behavior Analysis. Dr. Eldar designed a model for individual full inclusion in general education settings for autistic students which has been adopted by the Ministry of Education countrywide.

Dr. Eldar has organized workshops and conferences on various topics related to the enhancement of services the ABA science can offer to improve the quality of daily living for parents, para-professionals, and educators.

Throughout the past three decades, Dr. Eldar has been… CLICK HERE to READ FULL BIO

Presentation Title: Bringing ABA to China – The Wucailu Center for People with ASD.

Abstract: Wucailu is an organization for supporting people with ASD – based in Beijing, China. During the last 5 years, 3 centers have been established in Beijing – all provide services to… CLICK HERE to VIEW presentation abstract.


Lidia Gabis, MD – Israel

Dr. Lidia Gabis currently works at Sheba Medical Center, where she is a leader in autism and developmental disability research.

Presentation Title: Autism and Epilepsy / Medical Treatment for Core Symptoms and Comorbidity in ASD.


Kenneth D. Gadow, Ph.D. – USA

Kenneth D. Gadow, Ph.D. – USA

Dr. Gadow is a Professor of Psychiatry at the State University of New York School of Medicine at Stony Brook, NY. He is the Director of Research for the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Director of Clinical Research for the Cody Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities (Dept. of Pediatrics). He has been funded regularly by National Institutes of Health over the past 25 years for a number of studies, including the effects of television violence on children with learning and behavioral disabilities and psychotropic drugs on children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, aggression, or Tourette syndrome.

Presentation Title: Behavioral Variability with the ASD Clinical Phenotype.


Ofer Golan, Ph.D. – Israel

Dr. Ofer Golan is a lecturer at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, in the department of Psychology.

Presentation Title: Adults with ASDs: Coping with the Challenges of Young Adulthood.


Doreen Granpeesheh, Ph.D. – USA

Doreen Granpeesheh, Ph.D. – USA

Doreen Granpeesheh is the Founder and Executive Director of The Center for Autism and Related Disorders(CARD). Dr. Granpeesheh earned her Ph.D. in Psychology from UCLA under the guidance of Dr. Ivar Lovaas. She is a licensed psychologist and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She started the Center for Autism & Related Disorders, Inc.(CARD) in 1990. Dr. Granpeehsheh is also the president of the Board of ACT Today! (Autism Care & Treatment Today), a non-profit organization whose mission is to increase access to proven Autism treatments. Her drive to help as many families as possible achieve success, has led CARD to become an industry leader in administering effective multi-disciplinary treatment plans.

Presentation Title: Curriculum for People with ASDs/ An International Model of Service Delivery for People with ASDs.




Hakon Hakonarson, MD, PhD – USA

Hakon Hakonarson, Ph.D.

Hakon Hakonarson, MD, PhD, is a Board Certified Pediatric Pulmonologist and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He is the Director of the Center for Applied Genomics (CAG) at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), a high-throughput highly automated genotyping facility founded to identify the genetic causes of autism and other complex medical disorders in children with the objective of developing new therapies. The Center represents a $40 million commitment from CHOP to collect and genotype approximately 100,000 children over a 4 year period.

Presentation Title: CNVs and Genome-Wide Association Studies.




Tal Kenet, Ph.D. – USA

Dr. Tal Kenet is an Instructor at Harvard Medical School and a Principal Investigator in the Massachusetts General Hospital Department of Neurology. She is also affiliated with the Harvard-MGH Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging at MGH-Charlestown. Dr. Kenet obtained her HMS/MGH faculty appointment in September 2005, following her post doctoral training with Dr. Michael Merzenich at UCSF. She has extensive training and knowledge in systems neuroscience, with particular expertise in sensory processing. Since moving to MGH, Dr. Kenet has continued to use MEG to study visual, auditory and tactile sensory processing in children and adults with autism spectrum disorders. Dr. Kenet’s most recent studies focus on both the evoked responses themselves as well as on cortical connectivity and coherence patterns before, during, and after stimuli presentation.

Presentation Title: Sensory Processing Abnormalities and Autism.


Dhavendra Kumar, M.D. – United Kingdom

Dhavendra Kumar, M.D. – UK

Dr. Dhavendra Kumar is Consultant in Clinical Genetics at the University Hospital of Wales and Hon. Senior Research Fellow in the Institute of Medical Genetics, Cardiff University, Cardiff, Wales, United Kingdom. He is the lead Clinical Geneticist for Clinical Cardiovascular Genetics. After qualifying in Medicine from the King George’s Medical College, University of Lucknow, India, he completed postgraduate training in Pediatrics with an MD. Since 1980 he has pursued a career in Medical Genetics in the UK. In 1990 he became a Diplomate of the American Board of Medical Genetics. He is a Fellow of the American College of Medical Genetics (FACMG) and as well as Royal Colleges of Physicians
(FRCP-London and FRCP-Ireland) and Paediatrics and Child Health (FRCPCH-UK).

Presentation Title: Autism in the Developing World.

Kevin O’Shea, M.D., FRCPsych, DCH – United Kingdom

Dr O’Shea graduated in Medicine from University College and the Mater Misericordiae University Hospital, Dublin in 1986. Following a period of post graduate training in Dublin including Neuro-developmental Paediatrics he moved to work in the United Kingdom in 1990 to complete specialist training in Psychiatry with a particular interest in Neuro-developmental psychiatry. His current post is as Consultant Psychiatrist to the Hampshire Forensic Service for People with Intellectual Disabilities, which provides a comprehensive service for people with neuro-developmental conditions who come to the attention of the criminal justice system.

Presentation Title: Diagnostic Clarity – The Key to Effective Care in Autism.


Amos Rolider, PhD, BCBA – Israel

Amos Rolidor, Ph.D., BCBA

Amos Rolider, PhD, BCBA, is a professor of Behavioral Sciences and the chair of the Institute for Research and Prevention of Antisocial Behavior of Children in Educational Settings at the Emek Yezreel College. He also chairs the M.A. Program in Educational Counseling. In the last few years, Dr. Rolider’s research and clinical work have focused on studying anti-social behaviors of children in home and typical school settings.

Presentation Title: Behavior analysis in every home & School: Translating “cold science” and gaining national acceptance.


Laura Schreibman, Ph.D. – USA

 Laura Schreibman, Ph.D., is Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of California- San Diego where she has been on the faculty since 1983.  She earned her Ph.D. at UCLA where she focused on the field of behavior analysis and treatment of childhood autism.  Her research since her degree has continued in the same vein and she currently directs the UCSD Autism Intervention Research Program, a federally funded research program focusing on the experimental analysis and treatment of autism.  Her general research interests include naturalistic behavioral intervention strategies (Pivotal Response Training), the development of individualized treatment protocols, translation of empirically-based treatments into community settings, analysis of language and attentional deficits, generalization of behavior change, parent training, and issues of assessment.  She is the author of two books and over 140 research articles and book chapters.  The Science and Fiction of Autism, published in 2005 by Harvard University Press, is her third book.

Presentation Title: Development of Individualized Treatment for Children with Autism/ Translation of a Naturalistic Behavorial Intervention: Adapting PRT for the Classroom.


Cory Shulman, Ph.D. – Israel

Cory Shulman is a member of The International Center for Autism Research and Education’s Advisory Committee.

Presentation Title: Language Abilities and Disabilities in Autism: Empirical Findings and Clinical Implications.


Stephen von Tetzchner, Ph.D.– Norway

 Stephen von Tetzchner, Ph.D. is professor of developmental psychology at the Department of Psychology, University of Oslo, Norway. He has been a visiting researcher at the University of California- Berkeley, at Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand, at Pretoria University, South Africa and University of Louisiana, USA. The distinguished doctor has published textbooks on developmental psychology, language development, augmentative and alternative communication, rehabilitation, challenging behavior and Asperger syndrome.  

Presentation Title: Augmentative and Alternative Communication Intervention.

Abstract: Many children with autism have limited spoken language and need to develop alternative means of communication, especially those who also have intellectual impairments. During three decades of intervention, manual and graphic communication systems have proved important for promoting the development of communication, language and social functioning and reducing behavior problems in this group, but the approaches have differed considerable. Some children may… CLICK HERE to VIEW presentation abstract


Sigal Tidhar-Paz, MA, Ph.D. – Israel

Sigal Tidhar Paz (left) takes the stage from Laura Schreibmen (right) at the 2010 Int’l Autism Conference. Photo By WALLACE KARABEE

Sigal Tidhar-Paz is the founder of the Lovaas Israel Site, and a Senior Consultant in Intensive Home-Based programs. She is a certified Psychologist, in Israel, and a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She has been working in ABA, and helping children with autism, since 1998. In addition, she also has completed four publications, thus far. This autism professional also gives lectures and workshops, pertaining to ABA for individuals with autism.

Presentation Title: Treatment of Self Stimulatory Behavior in Children with Autism through Non-Contingent Reinforcement and Sensory Extinction. ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Ditza Zachor, M.D. – Israel

Ditza Zachor currently works at Tel Aviv University’s Sackler School of Medicine. One of her highlighted recent studies involved examining the link between IVF treatments and autism.

Presentation Title: Risk Factors for Autism: The Role of Prenatal and Birth Complications and Parental Measures.


Lonnie Zwaigenbaum, M.D. – Canada

Dr. Zwaigenbaum is a developmental pediatrician and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Alberta, where he holds the Stollery Children’s Hospital Foundation Endowed Chair in Autism Research.

Dr. Zwaigenbaum’s research focuses on early development in autism, including early identification, screening and diagnosis.

Presentation Title: Early Development in High Risk Siblings.


Attendees discuss the autism topics in the pre-conference Breakfast room. Photo by Ron Uriel

Yuri Geiron, President of Israel bar Assoc., receives award from Joshua Weinstein. Photo by Wallace Karabee


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