2018 Transition Conference | Partnership Sponsor: Hinkle, Fingles, Prior & Fischer

2018 Autism New Jersey Transition Conference

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Presenter Bios

Donald Brown, ChFC, CASL, LUTCF
MassMutual Tri State

Don has been in the financial services industry for the past 31 years. Before transitioning to MassMutual Tri State, Don was with MetLife since 1985. During his many years with MetLife, he has been recognized as an industry leader in both personal production and management. Educating individuals and families on how to properly plan for a dependent with special needs is a primary focus of Don’s practice. He regularly presents to local support groups and nonprofit organizations, including a monthly educational workshop for expecting parents on the basics of financial security. Don also provides assistance to local businesses. He is active in his local Chamber of Commerce, who recognized him as their 2011 Member of the Year. In addition, he runs employee workshops on topics including retirement planning to corporate clients. Don demonstrates a broad, long-standing commitment to local community and philanthropic service. He is an over 20-year volunteer with Camp Fatima of New Jersey, an all-volunteer one on one camp for developmentally challenged children. He annually acts as a camp activities staff member as well as serves on their finance committee. Don is involved with DeVry University-New Jersey Campus and was honored to be their commencement speaker in February 2011. He is also a member of the Advisory Council of the grammar school at St. James Church in Woodbridge, NJ and has the coached the school’s soccer team since fall 2010. Don is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Economics and Finance and holds his Series 6, 7, 63, and 24 security licenses along with his life, annuity, accident and health licenses, and LUTCF, CASL® and ChFC® designations.
Workshop: 11, Session D

Alison Capelli
NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities

Alison Capelli earned a B.A. in Psychology from Stockton University. She has been in the field working with individuals with developmental disabilities and mental health diagnoses for almost 10 years. Directly from college, Alison worked at the Occupational Training Center in Burlington County doing job coaching and counseling for individuals who obtained jobs at the McGuire Air Force Base. After working at OTC for three years, Alison obtained a position as a Habilitation Plan Coordinator with the Division of Developmental Disabilities. At DDD she served as an advocate for individuals living in their own homes and in residential facilities with the state of New Jersey. Alison provided ongoing monitoring to ensure individuals’ health and safety were maintained. Alison began a new position in June 2016 in the Supports Program and Employment Services Unit and is assisting with getting individuals Medicaid and services through the Supports Program.

William England
Disability Services & Advocacy, LLC

The mission of Disability Services & Advocacy is to provide person centered Support Coordination and Future Care Planning for people with disabilities and their families. DS&A, LLC became a licensed Support Coordination provider for the NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities in June 2013. Currently, the company has 38 Support Coordinators serving 700 consumers statewide. From 2001 to 2013, William was a Support Broker through in the NJ Division of Developmental Disabilities Self Determination program. From 1989 to 2001, William was a Financial Planner and Manager for MetLife Securities.
Workshio C7 

Ira M. Fingles, Esq.
Hinkle, Fingles, Prior & Fischer

Ira M. Fingles has devoted his legal career to the representation of individuals with disabilities and their families. His motivation to enter this field stemmed from his experiences with his sister who has multiple disabilities. He has provided legal representation to individuals with disabilities in a variety of areas, including educational rights for children with disabilities, benefits and services for adults with disabilities, guardianship, and estate planning. He has argued precedent-setting cases in federal and state court and before administrative agencies in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He received his J.D. degree from Temple University in 1992 and has been admitted to the Pennsylvania and New Jersey bars.
Workshop 5, Session B

Maria Fischer, Esq.
Hinkle, Fingles, Prior & Fischer 

Maria Fischer, Esq. is personally committed to the field of disability law. The mother of a daughter with multiple disabilities, Maria’s legal work focuses on guardianship, estate planning, and helping families of adults with disabilities access and retain appropriate services. She completed an internship at the New Jersey Department of Public Advocate, where she conducted legal research and drafted papers on civil rights, healthcare, education and administrative law. She also interned with the Family Law Clinic at Seton Hall University. Maria has been appointed to serve on the Board of Directors of The Arc of Mercer County. She earned her J.D. from Seton Hall University School of Law. She is a member of the Pennsylvania and New Jersey Bars.
Workshop: 8, Session C

Peter Gerhardt, Ed.D.
EPIC School

Peter Gerhardt, Ed.D., is the Executive Director of the EPIC School in Paramus, NJ. Dr. Gerhardt has more than 35 years of experience utilizing the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis in support of adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorders in educational, employment, residential and community-based settings. He is the author or co-author on a number of articles and chapters on the needs of adolescents and adults with ASD and has presented nationally and internationally on this topic. Dr. Gerhardt serves as Chairman of the Scientific Council for the Organization for Autism Research and is on numerous professional advisory boards including the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies. He received his doctorate from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey’s Graduate School of Education.
Workshop 3, Session A

Amy Golden, M.S., BCBA
Behavior Therapy Associates

Amy Golden M.S., BCBA is a BCBA at Behavior Therapy Associates. She received her undergraduate degree in Psychology and Sociology at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and graduate degree in ABA at St. Cloud State University. She previously served as Parent Services Coordinator at Autism New Jersey. Ms. Golden has extensive experience designing and supervising home-based ABA programs, providing parent training, staff workshops, and consulting in public schools. She is Program Director of the southern NJ HI-STEP® Summer Program. Ms. Golden co-authored a booklet for Autism New Jersey: Autism: Start Here, What Families Need to Know.
Workshop 6, Session B

Alison Goodrich
Community Access Unlimited

Alison Goodrich is the Assistant Executive Director of Support Coordination at Community Access Unlimited and holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in Economics & Spanish from Rutgers University. Her career experience at the Rutgers Center for State Health Policy has informed her understanding of the Division of Developmental Disabilities and its approach to providing services. Alison has worked in Support Coordination since DDD began its new initiative for case management in 2013, witnessing the Division’s design evolve throughout the years into today’s system. She and her agency are a contributing member of the Support Coordination Alliance through the Alliance for the Betterment of Citizens with Disabilities, an advocacy organization dedicated to improving the lives of those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Fully embracing the life course model, her Support Coordination department provides individuals with a team of knowledgeable staff who help identify resources in their communities, navigate the intricacies of obtaining division-funded services, and expertly write unique person-centered individualized service plans. Both Alison and Community Access Unlimited are dedicated to maintaining exceptional service quality and furthering the mission to help individuals with intellectual and development disabilities gain community access through person-centered services that help them to lead fulfilling, productive, happy lives.
Workshop 7, Session C

Elena Graziosi, M.Ed.
Autism New Jersey

As Manager of Information Services for Autism New Jersey, Elena Graziosi assists families and professionals who contact the agency’s help line. She provides information and advocacy advice to parents navigating the various New Jersey service systems for children and adults. Elena presents workshops on topics such as educational rights and health insurance, and creates content on a variety of topics for Autism New Jersey’s website and publications. She has a Master of Education from Temple University and a Bachelor of Arts from The College of New Jersey. Prior to joining Autism New Jersey, she worked for several years in public relations and corporate training.
Workshop 7, Session C

Marissa Gynn-Ricafort, M.A., BCBA
Bergen County Special Services School District

Marissa Gynn-Ricafort, M.A., BCBA is a supervisor for Bergen County Special Services School District’s Autism Continuum. She currently oversees the Behavior Analysis Department that provides services to students and staff members in various school programs. Ms. Gynn-Ricafort’s interests include presenting professional development workshops on autism and special education.
Workshop 10, Session D


Erika Kerber, Esq.
Community Health Law Project

Erika Kerber is the Director of Litigation at the Community Health Law Project (CHLP). She's been with CHLP for over 13 years, first as Supervising Attorney of its Monmouth/Ocean office and then as the Managing Attorney of that office, ultimately moving up to her current position as Director of Litigation. CHLP is a nonprofit legal services organization which has provided legal and advocacy services to low-income New Jersey residents living with disabilities for over 40 years. CHLP has regional and satellite offices throughout the state and its dedicated staff assists individuals in a myriad of legal issues ranging from SSD/SSI claims and other entitlements, housing, health care and managed care issues, guardianships, family, consumer and other civil law matters. Prior to joining CHLP, Ms. Kerber practiced family law at Northeast New Jersey Legal Services, litigated child welfare cases while working for the City of New York, and spent some time in private practice. Ms. Kerber received her law degree from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and her bachelor's degree from the NYU Leonard N. Stern School of Business.
Workshop 2, Session A

Gregory S. MacDuff, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Princeton Child Development Institute 

Gregory S. MacDuff, Ph.D., BCBA-D is Executive Director of Adult and Community-Living Programs at the Princeton Child Development Institute. He is Adjunct Professor in the Department of Applied Behavioral Sciences at the University of Kansas and the Departments of Psychology at The College of New Jersey and Rider University. He is a Past President of the Board of Directors for the New Jersey Association for Behavior Analysis and has served in an array of positions within the organization for more than 10 years. He has authored articles and book chapters on incidental teaching, photographic activity schedules, staff training strategies, prompt- and prompt-fading procedures, behavioral intervention for adults with autism and intervention models in residential settings. He has lectured nationally and internationally and has provided consultation and training to a variety of public and private programs.
Workshop 10, Session D

Christopher J. Manente, Ph.D., BCBA
Rugers Center for Adult Autism Services

Christopher J. Manente Ph.D., BCBA is the Executive Director of the Rutgers Center for Adult Autism Services (RCAAS). Previously, Dr. Manente served as an Assistant Professor of Education at Caldwell University, a behavior consultant working in schools throughout NJ, and as the Senior Program Coordinator of Adult Services at the Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center (DDDC) at Rutgers University. Dr. Manente is currently the Chair of the Adult Services Workgroup (ASWG) for the NJ Association for Behavior Analysis and is a strong advocate for the advancement of community-based educational, vocational, and residential opportunities for older learners with autism.
Workshop 10, Session D

Rory Panter, Psy.D.
Behavior Therapy Associates, P.A

Dr. Rory A. Panter is a licensed psychologist in NJ at Behavior Therapy Associates, P.A. Dr. Panter has a special interest in the assessment and treatment of children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder, disruptive behavior disorders, anxiety disorders, and training parents on behavior management strategies to improve child behavior. She provides behavioral consultation to schools, conducts Functional Behavior Assessments and Psychoeducational and Program Evaluations, develops Behavior Intervention Plans, and runs social skills groups. She is the Program Director of the North NJ Campus of HI-STEP® Summer Program. This program is an intensive day program for children to improve their social skills and problem-solving ability.
Workshio 9, Session C

Paul Prior, Esq.
Hinkle, Fingles, Prior & Fischer

S. Paul Prior has spent his entire legal career representing people with disabilities. As the younger brother of a man with autism, he has a lifelong commitment to disability law. His legal work has focused on special education, guardianship, financial entitlements, and access to appropriate services. A substantial part of his practice is devoted to assisting families in estate and trust matters. He has successfully argued leading cases before the New Jersey Supreme Court, Third Circuit Court of Appeals, as well as other state and federal courts. He served as a federal monitor overseeing conditions at state-operated institutions. He holds a JD from Seton Hall University School of Law, and serves on the board of directors of The Arc of New Jersey and Autism New Jersey. Previously, he served on the Board of Special Olympics New Jersey and the Eden Foundation. He is a member of the Elder Law Section of the New Jersey Bar Association. He writes and lectures frequently on topics concerning the law and disability as well as issues affecting siblings.
Workshop 8, Session C

Paul Shattuck, Ph.D.
Drexel University

Paul Shattuck, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor at Drexel University’s A.J. Drexel Autism Institute as the Leader of the Institute's Research Program Area on Life Course Outcomes. He has a secondary faculty appointment at Drexel’s Dornsife School of Public Health. Most of his current research is aimed at understanding services and related outcomes among youth with autism as they leave high school and transition to young adulthood. Dr. Shattuck’s work has been funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the National Science Foundation, the Institute for Education Sciences, Autism Speaks, the Emch Foundation, and the Organization for Autism Research. His research publications have appeared in high-impact scientific journals including Pediatrics, Psychiatric Services, the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, the American Journal of Public Health and the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. Prior to joining the A.J. Drexel Autism Institute, Dr. Shattuck served as a faculty member at the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis. Dr. Shattuck’s professional background includes nonprofit fundraising and program development. His education includes a Ph.D. in Social Welfare from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and postdoctoral training in epidemiology.

Ernst VanBergeijk, Ph.D., MSW
Lesley University Threshold Program

Dr. VanBergeijk has 30 years’ experience in the special education and social service fields. As a social worker, he has conducted special education evaluations, designed individualized education programs, crafted behavioral treatment plans, and provided counseling, advocacy, and crisis intervention for students. He also has developed and implemented parent training curricula. Dr. VanBergeijk has conducted NIH funded research on the impact Asperger Syndrome has on family functioning while working as a research associate at the Yale Child Study Center in the Autism Clinic. His current research and practice interests are in the area of transitioning higher functioning individuals on the autism spectrum to postsecondary educational settings, independent living, and the world of work. For over a decade he served and the Associate Dean and Executive Director of New York Institute of Technology Vocational Independence Program. Currently, he is a Professor and Director of Lesley University Threshold Program which is the nation’s oldest post-secondary comprehensive transition program for students with a variety of disabilities. Dr. VanBergeijk is also a field editor for the Encyclopedia of Autism and a peer reviewer for the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders among other publications. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy in social work from Columbia University, and a Master of Social Work and bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Michigan.
Workshop 1, Session A

Mary Jane Weiss, Ph.D., BCBA-D
Institute for Behavioral Studies, Endicott College

Mary Jane Weiss, Ph.D., BCBA-D is a Professor at Endicott College, where she directs the Master’s Program in ABA and Autism and is a mentoring faculty member in the doctoral program. She also conducts research with the team at Melmark. Dr. Weiss has worked in the field of ABA and autism for over 30 years. She received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Rutgers University in 1990, and she became a Board Certified Behavior Analyst in 2000. She previously worked for 16 years at the Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center at Rutgers University, where she served as Director of Research and Training and as Clinical Director. Her clinical and research interests center on defining best practice ABA techniques, exploring ways to enhance the ethical conduct of practitioners, evaluating the impact of ABA in learners with autism, teaching social skills to learners with autism, training staff to be optimally effective at instruction, and maximizing family members’ expertise and adaptation. She serves on the Scientific Council of the Organization for Autism Research, is on the Professional Advisory Board of Autism New Jersey, is a regular reviewer for a variety of professional journals, and is a frequent member of service committees for the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. She is also a Past President of the Autism Special Interest Group of the Association for Behavior Analysis International, a former member of the Board of the Association for Professional Behavior Analysts, and a former Vice President of the Board of Trustees for Autism New Jersey.
Workshop 12, Session D

Tina Wiltsee
Advantage Supports

Tina Wiltsee is the owner of Advantage Supports and performs the role of Support Coordination Supervisor. Advantage Supports started in 2016 and serves 7 southern counties, Monmouth, Ocean, Burlington, Camden, Gloucester, Salem and Cumberland. Prior to that, Tina was instrumental to starting Support Coordination services for another agency. She started working with the Support Coordination model in 2013 when the first participants were enrolled in the new system. Tina is currently a doctoral candidate at Jefferson University and is using her experiences with support coordination in New Jersey as the basis of her research. Having worked within the state’s support coordination program for the past 5 years, she has seen it grow and change. This has contributed to the considerable insight and experience which she freely shares with others. In addition to owning her own business, Tina is also the co-chair of the Support Coordination Alliance, an advocacy organization for Support Coordination agencies. The group meets regularly to share best practices, advocate with state representatives for improvements, and help fellow members stay connected with changes in the system.
Workshop 7, Session C

Elena Zaklis, M.A., BCBA
Behavior Therapy Assoicates

Elena Zaklis M.A., BCBA works at Behavior Therapy Associates, P.A. Ms. Zaklis consults to school districts, works with children, adolescents, families and professional staff to develop, implement and monitor curriculum for educational programming. She conducts FBAs, program evaluations, social skills evaluations and works with teams to develop behavior intervention plans (BIPs). She manages school-based programs and provides ongoing training for staff. She leads social skills groups for children, adolescents, parents, and school personnel using behavioral skills training. Ms. Zaklis is the Program Director of Central NJ HI-STEP® Summer Program. This program is a five-week day program for children to improve their social skills and problem-solving ability.
Workshop 9, Session C

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Thank you to the following sponsors and supporters for making this event possible.

Keynote Sponsor: Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health NK Friends of Cyrus
Scholarship Fund Donor: PerformCare

Learn more about sponsorship options>>

Bellwether Behavioral Health

CEA Schools


500 Horizon Drive, Suite 530 Robbinsville, NJ 08691
Phone: 609.588.8200; 800.4.AUTISM | Fax: 609.588.8858
Email: information@autismnj.org