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Speakers
 
Autism and Advocacy
A Conference of Witness and Hope

Participants

WANDA BROWN
Wanda Brown, the mother of an adolescent
child with autism, co-founded ASD
Concepts with members of her family.
Through its informative websites and community outreach, this advocacy program
addresses the need in minority communities
for parent and sibling support, networking, information and practical strategies to help manage daily living with autism. Brown’s advocacy work is featured at www.child-autism-parent-cafe.com.

KRISTINA CHEW, Ph.D.
Kristina Chew is assistant professor of
classics at Saint Peter’s College, Jersey
City.Her translation of Virgil’s Georgics
was published in 2002, and an essay on
autism and poetry will be published in
2007 in Autism and Representation, a
volume edited by Mark Osteen. Since
June 2005,Dr. Chew has produced a
daily blog devoted to her son, Charlie
(www.autismland.com), and maintains
an autism advocacy blog at www.autismvox.com.

SALVATORE C. FERRERA, Ph.D.
Since 1993, Salvatore C. Ferrera, Ph.D.,
Fordham Graduate School of Education, ’00
has been president of Xaverian High School, which overlooks the Narrows in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.Xaverian is unique among Catholic secondary schools in the New York metropolitan area for offering an academic program to students on the autism spectrum.

JAMES T. FISHER, Ph.D.
James T. Fisher, Ph.D., is co-director of
the Francis and Ann Curran Center for
American Catholic Studies and professor
of theology at Fordham.His cultural and
religious history of the Port of New York
and New Jersey, Covering the Waterfront,
will be published in 2007, as will an essay
on autism conversion narratives in Autism
and Representation.

REV.WILLIAM C.GAVENTA, M.Div.
William C. Gaventa, M.Div., is director of
community and congregational supports
at the Elizabeth M. Boggs Center on
Developmental Disabilities, and associate
professor at the University of Medicine
and Dentistry New Jersey – Robert Wood
Johnson Medical School.Rev. Gaventa has built a strong advocacy community through his work at the Boggs Center and his writings on the pastoral needs of the developmentally disabled and their families.

RABBI GEOFFREY HABER,D.Min.
Rabbi Geoffrey Haber,D.Min., is spiritual
leader of Temple Emanu-el, an historic
congregation now located in Closter,New
Jersey.He has created and implemented
many award winning programs and services to meet the unique needs of the congregations and communities he has
served over the years.Rabbi Haber has
distinguished himself in the field of pastoral care, youth and adult education, and religious and spiritual leadership.

JEANNINE HILL FLETCHER, Th.D.
Jeannine Hill Fletcher, Th.D., is assistant
professor of theology at Fordham
University.Dr.Hill Fletcher is the author
of Monopoly on Salvation? A Feminist
Approach to Religious Pluralism (2005).At
Fordham, she teaches courses in systematic
theology, theologies of religious pluralism,
and feminist and postcolonial thought.

BRUCE MILLS, Ph.D.
BruceMills,Ph.D., a professor of English
at Kalamazoo College, is the author of several books including Poe, Fuller, and the
Mesmeric Arts: Transition States in the
American Renaissance (2006).His essays
on autism and the imagination will appear
in 2007 in Autism and Representation. In
addition to offering undergraduate servicelearning seminars on autism,Dr.Mills is
a boardmember of The Gray Center, a
nonprofit corporation that assists those
affected by autism spectrum disorders.

STUART MURRAY, Ph.D.
Stuart Murray, Ph.D., is a senior lecturer in
the school of English at the University of
Leeds,U.K. Initially trained in postcolonial
literature, he has increasingly focused his
research on issues of disability following
the diagnoses of his sons with autism and
Asperger’s syndrome.Dr.Murray is general
editor of Liverpool University Press’ new
series Representations: Disability, Health,
Culture.His own study, Representing Autism: Narrative, Culture and Fascination will appear in 2007.

MARK OSTEEN, Ph.D.
Mark Osteen, Ph.D., is a professor of English and director of film studies at Loyola College, and has a son with autism. His books include The Question of the Gift: Essays Across Disciplines, and Autism and Representation, a collection of essays from the landmark 2005 conference organized by Dr. Osteen.He is also the author of a forthcoming memoir, One of Us: A Family’s Life with Autism.

TIMOTHY P. SHRIVER, Ph.D.
At the helm of Special Olympics since 1996, Timothy Shriver has helped lead the extraordinary expansion of the movement to reach two million athletes worldwide while creating new initiatives in health, education, family support and self-empowerment.He is also a long time educator and experienced film producer with an abiding interest in the social,
cultural and political means to empower the
most vulnerable members on our planet.

KASSIANE ALEXANDRA SIBLEY
Kassiane Alexandra Sibley is an autistic
advocate who writes The Rett Devil’s Rants
(http://rettdevil.blogspot.com/) as well as
Crazy Meds (http://www.crazymeds.org/).
Her essay “Help Me Help Myself: Teaching
and Learning”was published in Ask and Tell: Self-Advocacy and Disclosure for People on the Autism Spectrum (2004). A coach and teacher of gymnastics, dance and self-advocacy skills to autistic children, Sibley has presented at numerous autism conferences.

LANCE STRATE, Ph.D.
Lance Strate, Ph.D., is associate professor of
communications and media studies at
Fordham University and past president of
the Media Ecology Association.Dr. Strate’s
books include The Legacy of McLuhan and
Echoes and Reflections: On Media as Field
of Study, a new work that treats — among
other themes— communication theory in
light of the author’s experience as the parent
of a child with autism.

CAROL TRASBORG. Ph.D.
Carol Trasborg, Ph.D., is director of the
Ryken Program at Xaverian High School in
Brooklyn. This special education program
is for students who demonstrate the cognitive
capacity to master a rigorous college preparatory program but whose academic
performance is hampered by a disability
that interferes with their capacity to store,
process or produce information.

GLORIA PEARSON-VASEY
Gloria Pearson-Vasey is the co-author of
The Road Trip: Life with Autism (2005)
with her son, J.Kevin Vasey.A pastoral
minister, Pearson-Vasey is also a Secular
Franciscan who helped create St. Francis
Advocates in Canada to serve individuals
with autism spectrum disorder and their
families on the premise that “each person,
as a child of God, has an innate dignity,
along with physical, emotional and spiritual needs.”

MARY BETH WALSH, Ph.D.
A graduate of the Jesuit School of Theology
at Berkeley and Union Theological Seminary, Mary Beth Walsh teaches in the Pastoral Ministry program at Caldwell College, is on the board of the Association for Science in Autism Treatment and is a member of the Autism and Faith task force of the Elizabeth M. Boggs Center.Dr.Walsh is the mother of two children — Benedict, who has autism, and Sean.

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