About Autism Today Foundation
Karen Simmons (CEO Founder)
In 1998, Karen Simmons a mother of seven, founded Autism Today, the first online global autism resource center, winning the Internet Entrepreneur of the Year in 2001 from Multiple Streams of Income. Featured on PBS, ABC & Woman’s World, she is a “Chicken Soup for the Soul, Children with Special Needs” Co-Author and manifested 14 books including Gold Medal winning “The Official Autism 101 Manual” and hosted 72 conferences across North America.
Prior to her current path, Karen travelled around the world and became a gemologist where she discovered the magic of gemstones. She joined the US Air Force, where she worked in a base hospital and lived across the United States. Karen has transitioned Autism Today which she founded into a non profit Foundation with a mission to move the needle of understanding and support for those with autism and neurodiversity fastest way possible, globally. Recently she hosted the first world Autism Summit through her organization and plans to share this along with a wealth of other content in a Channel, ARTS network and Learning & Education Division. This will easily and affordably provide resources that are needed to the autism world and beyond. Her most recent venture is partnering with Neuro Nutritionals to provide a spectrum of solutions to the neurodistinct individuals.
Ronald Caissie, MEd, PhD
As a professional in the mediation world for over 25 years and as an officer in the military, his passion is helping individuals, families and workplaces who are struggling in relationships by cohesively negotiating affordable agreements. During his past with the armed forces he began to do mediation with families that had autistic and neurodivere children. he continued this into his private practice focusing in this area. To date he has completed hundreds of family and workplace mediations as well as many senior mediations which is a growing trend with the aging baby boomer population
Dr. Sharon Fried Buchalter
Dr. Sharon Fried Buchalter is a distinguished Clinical Psychologist, life coach, public speaker, Hypnotherapist, and award-winning author.
Dr. Buchalter is also a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, and Clinical Social Worker, and has worked as a Corporate Training and Development Manager and Career Counselor.
For over 25 years, Dr. Buchalter has empowered individuals, couples, and families to overcome challenges and thrive. As a Distinguished Clinical Psychologist, she draws upon a multi-modality approach, tailored to her patient’s individual needs. Whether they are facing anxiety, trauma, family conflicts, or navigating adolescence, a safe and supportive space for growth and healing is always provided. She has performed psychoeducational assessments and worked with neuro-diverse children, adolescents, and adults. With compassion and skill, she has taught them how to navigate their unique challenges and help them discover their strengths.
Dr. Buchalter is a certified PEERS Provider. PEERS® is the only publicly available evidence-based social skills program for autistic adolescents and adults, youth with ADHD, anxiety and depression, and other socioemotional challenges.
Dr. Buchalter expertise extends beyond traditional psychotherapy. As a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, she is skilled in guiding couples and families through communication hurdles and relationship challenges.
Additionally, she is a certified hypnotherapist, effectively utilizing hypnotherapy for pain management, behavior modification, and trauma regression. For rapid trauma healing, she was one of the first to leverage the power of Rapid Resolution Therapy (RRT), a powerful short-term solution-focused approach.
Dr. Buchalter has developed revolutionary tools to help couples, parents, and families achieve happiness and success. Her first book Children Are People Too, provides eight essential steps designed to strengthen families and empower parents to be their own child’s life coach and mentor. Her second book, New Parents Are People Too, provides relationship advice for couples entering parenthood for the first time.
In these diverse capacities, she has worked with people from all walks of life, ranging from inner city teenage parents to CEOs of major corporations. Dr. Buchalter is also a successful advice columnist for national and local publications and a media consultant on various mental health topics.
Dr. Buchalter vast education includes a master’s in social work from NYU and a Masters and Doctorate in Counseling Psychology from Columbia University in New York City. In addition, she has an MBA with a specialty in Marketing Management and Industrial Psychology from the Zicklin School of Business. In addition, she has received the highest accreditation as a board-certified diplomate-fellow in advanced child and adolescent psychology, marital and family relations, psychoeducational assessment, hypnotherapy, and clinical psychology.
For her patients, Dr. Buchalter is a partner in growth, a champion of inner strength, and a catalyst for transformation. Her commitment to her patients and clients is simple: to empower them to overcome obstacles, unlock their potential, and embrace a life of fulfillment.
Bob has been an active advocate for neurodiverse children for most of his life. Efforts include volunteering and leading at both the community and university levels. He is also the parent and grandparent of neurodistinct children.
Bob has over 25 years of experience as president or owner of a preeminent training company focusing on emerging communications and information technologies. He is also known for his work in four successful startup companies, all but one focused on mental health solutions.
He is currently the CEO of iSocial. They provide the leading social and personal development workshops for children and adults on the spectrum. Their partners include some of the top autism research and innovation centers in the United States. The sessions are proven to create clarity and build confidence through their university and research partners.
Mr. Etzel served for 12 years on the Board of Directors of the University of Kansas e-Design Lab. They were the leading university lab developing prescriptive e-learning for children with disabilities. While supporting KU, Mr. Etzel had the privilege to support the US Army at the Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth. He collaborated on the development of the “Think Like a Commander” program.
Other very large projects include introducing modern communications technologies to the People’s Republic of China by teaming with Motorola and Lucent Bell Labs. He also secured the three-year contract to develop and deploy the mass decontamination training for the thousands of employees in the 74 hospitals in the City of New York following September 11th, 2001.
Bob and his team have successfully led very ambitious projects on a massive scale. His iSocial team are now focused on their mission to radically improve the lives of the neurodiverse.
I’m a physician with over 40 years of seeing incredible transformations in my ASD patients using a combination of conventional and traditional medical approaches. The journey keeps getting better with new tools for treatment and diagnostics emerging consistently. One new development, our book, “The Busy Couple’s Guide to Conceiving and Giving Birth to a Healthy Baby,” launches in March. It’s packed with essential knowledge to empower couples on their path prior to and during parenthood, helping them navigate the challenging world and ensure their offspring thrives.
Stephen Shore, Ed.D.
Diagnosed with “strong autistic tendencies,” nonspeaking until four and recommended for institutionalization, Dr. Shore is now a professor of special education at Adelphi University focusing on empowering autistic to lead fulfilling and productive lives. Stephen is an internationally known author, consultant, and educator on issues related to autism. His present efforts include supporting authentic participatory research for autistic individuals and effective transition to adulthood in the areas of employment, continuing education, and relationships.
Schereéya (he/they) is a Pittsburgh-based author, artist, and activist. Working in tech sales by day, writing, creating (and parenting 2 young kids!) by night. Schereéya is an outspoken advocate for building equity through representation of Blackness, Indigeneity, neurodiversity and queerness.
Marcia Eckerd, Ph.D
Dr. Marcia Eckerd is a licensed psychologist in practice since 1985. She specializes in working with students and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Nonverbal Learning Disabilities, serving on the CT ASD Advisory Council, working with AANE.org.and serving on the board of directors of NeuroClastic.com.
She is a consultant, speaker, writer and therapist. She was the Director of Clinical Programs for the New Learning Therapy Center from 1993 – 2001 and is currently on the community medical staff of the Norwalk Hospital.
She’s spoken for NJ Autism Association, the US Autism Association, and several national autism summits.
She’s written professional articles on autism, articles on numerous websites and writes a blog for Psychology Today, “Everyday Neurodiversity.” She was educated at Yale University and the City University of NY.