MS, MBA, DBA
Founder and President
Dr. Hayes resides in Princeton, New Jersey with her three children. Her youngest son has autism. In addition to her role as Founder and President of Aging with Autism, Dr. Hayes is founder and past President of Global Communities of Support, a non-profit organization serving teens and adults with autism in New Jersey, and Reaching Potentials, a non-profit with offices in Florida and Virginia, focusing on early intervention, providing behavioral training to parents and staff. She is also the co-founder of Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism, AFAA, a collaborative of 14 National Autism Organizations. Dr. Hayes' professional career has spanned over 25 years working in business management and organization effectiveness. Her major contributions have been in the area of leadership development, strategic visioning, organizational diagnostics, and community building. Dr. Hayes has a MS in Psychology, MBA and DBA in Business.
Christine Rolando, CSEA
Christine Rolando, CSEA has spent most of the past twenty years involved in charitable works. She is currently the Executive Director for Literacy Orange, a non-profit agency based in Orange County, New York that improves lives and communities through adult literacy. Ms. Rolando has extensive experience in fundraising, charitable development and grant writing, having previously served as Development Director and Executive Director for non-profit organizations. Ms. Rolando also has over thirty years of experience in the equine field and is the founder of the Signet Equine Institute, an educational institute that teaches and certifies equine appraisers. She has also been active as a speaker and educator on both local and national levels in the field of equine science. Ms. Rolando is a graduate from the Equine Sciences Program of Centenary College and was a participant in the Animal Science Visiting Student Program at Penn State University. She is currently the President of the Middletown (New York) Rotary Club, the District Leader of for the New York Agri-Women, a member of Cornell Cooperative Equine Advisory Board and is past President of Warwick Valley Chamber of Commerce. She is the mother of two children with learning disabilities.
Edward L. DuPre, CPA
Edward L. DuPre, CPA brings over twenty-five years of financial and non-profit related experience to Aging With Autism where he serves as its Treasurer. Mr. DuPre is the Director of Finance for the non-profit Catholic Cemeteries of the Diocese of Brooklyn. He previously spent two decades in the publishing and entertainment industry serving companies as Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Finance. Mr. DuPre began his career as an Audit Manager for the public accounting firm of Ernst & Young. Mr. DuPre is a graduate of Hamilton College and New York University where he received his Masters in Accounting. An avid sports fan, Mr. DuPre has been active in volunteer work in his community and has served on the Board of Directors and as Treasurer for the Marty Lyons Foundation, a non-profit organization that grants wishes to children with life-threatening conditions. He is also a member of the New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants.
Denise Dimson Rekem, Esq
Denise Dimson Rekem, Esq. is an associate in the Disabilities Law Group of the New Jersey Law Firm Cohn Lifland Pearlman Herrman & Knopf, LLP where she works primarily in the Special Education, Adult Services and Guardianship practice. Ms. Rekem began her legal career in the New York office of Weil Gotshal & Manges before taking time off to raise her three children, one of whom is diagnosed with AD/HD and another with CAPD. Her experience advocating for her sons led to her interest in advocacy for children with special educational needs.
Ms. Rekem is a member of the Board of Directors of JESPY House, a non-profit organization based in South Orange, New Jersey that serves developmentally disabled adults in their on-going efforts to live independently and gain competitive employment.
Ms. Rekem is admitted to the New Jersey and New York bars as well to practice before the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. She received her J.D. from New York University School of Law where she was a member of the Review of Law and Social Change Journal. She received her B.A. with distinction from the University of Michigan.
Stephen Parles, M.D., FAAP
Stephen Parles, M.D., FAAP, is a Board Certified Pediatrician and founding member of the Smithtown Pediatric Group, P.C. a prominent medical practice in Long Island, New York. Dr. Parles brings some fifty years of experience in the medical profession to Aging With Autism. He is currently an Associate Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the State University of New York – Stony Brook Medical School and previously served as Chief of Pediatrics and President of the Medical Staff at the Smithtown (New York) General Hospital. Dr. Parles is a graduate of Cornell University and New York University School of Medicine. He performed his internship and residency at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine where he had the opportunity to train under Isabelle Rapin, M.D., one of the pioneers in the diagnosis and classification of autism. Following his training he served in the medical corps of the United States Army prior to entering the private practice of medicine. He is the grandfather of a young man with autism.
Lisa McCauley Parles, Esq.
Ms. McCauley Parles, of Counsel to the Firm, Cohn Lifland Pearlman Herrmann & Knopf LLPis is responsible for the training and supervision of associates in the Special Education and Disabilities Law Group. In addition to special education and disabilities law, she has practiced for many years in the areas of labor and employment law. Ms. McCauley Parles started her career as an Assistant District Attorney in the Sex Crimes/Special Victims Bureau of the Kings County District Attorney’s Office.
Ms. McCauley Parles has served as the Director of the Center for Leadership Studies and as the Director of the Junior MBA Program at the Stillman School of Business of Seton Hall University. In addition, Ms. McCauley Parles is an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Legal Studies.
Ms. McCauley Parles has represented numerous not for profit organizations in the disabilities community as well as families of children with disabilities in special education, guardianship and related matters. She is a founder of the Quest Autism Foundation and the Special Quest Recreation Program. She is the mother of a 20 year old with autism. In addition, she is a frequent lecturer and has appeared in a number of broadcasts, including Nightline and World News Tonight.
Ms. McCauley Parles has received numerous awards including, “Everyday Hero Award,” RNN, Cablevision of New Jersey (2006); “5 of 5” Teaching Evaluation, Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University (2005-2006); Research Excellence Award, Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University (2005); Recognition Award for Contributions in the Field of Law, La Tribuna Newspaper of Hudson County (1999); Program Enhancement Award, Bancroft Young Autism Program (1997); and Outstanding Woman in Law, Town of Brookhaven, New York, (1991).
Michael Alessandri, Ph.D.
In addition to his role as Executive Director of UM-NSU CARD, Dr. Alessandri is also Director of the Divisio of Community Outreach and Development and Clinical Professor of Psychology at the University of Miami. Dr. Alessandri has worked with individuals with autism and their families for nearly 30 years. He is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Rochester, where he earned his Bachelors degree in Psychology. He attended graduate school at Rutgers University, where he obtained both his M.S. (1989) and Ph.D. (1992) in Clinical Psychology. Dr. Alessandri completed his clinical internship at UNC-Chapel Hill's Center for Development and Learning (CDL). Prior to arriving in South Florida in 1996, Dr. Alessandri was an Assistant Professor of Psychology at San Jose State University (SJSU) and Associate Director of the Stanford University Pervasive Developmental Disorders Clinic.
Dr. Alessandri has presented, consulted and published internationally on developing appropriate and effective educational programs for students with autism spectrum disorders. In addition, he has received several awards within the field including the Autism Society of America (ASA) Special Recognition Award for Publications (1993), the Outstanding Faculty award by the SJSU Disability Resource Center (1995), and the ASA's Wendy F. Miller Autism Professional of the Year Award (2003). Under his direction, the University of Miami Center for Autism & Related Disabilities was named ASA's National Autism Program of the Year in 1999. Dr. Alessandri has also received numerous other community service awards, including the March of Dimes Community Excellence in Health Care Award (2007) and Health Services Coalition Outstanding Community Leader Award (2009). He was also named one of the Ronald McDonald House's 12 Good Men (2008) and the Dewar's 12 Man of Distinction (2007).
Dr. Alessandri proudly serves several community and professional organizations as a member of the Board of Trustees (CasaBlanca Academy; Easter Seals of South Florida) or the Scientific (Rethink Autism) or Professional Advisory Boards (The Victory Center for Autism & Behavioral Challenges; Friends for Youth; South Florida Autism Charter School). Previously, he served as a member of the Board of Trustees and Chair of the Scientific Affairs Committee of the National Alliance for Autism Research (NAAR). Dr. Alessandri is also a proud Founding Member of the Autism Society of Miami-Dade County and former Co-Director of the Marino Autism Research Institute (MARI).
Linda Walder Fiddle, Esq.
Linda Walder Fiddle, Esq. is the Founder and Executive Director of The Daniel Jordan Fiddle Foundation, a 501(c)(3) national autism organization with the mission to develop programs that honor the individuality of adolescents and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and award grants to residential, recreational, vocational, educational and family programs that enhance their lives. Linda has received numerous public service awards for her work on behalf of the autism community, most recently she received a 2009 Russ Berrie Award for Making a Difference and the Jefferson Award for Public Service. She is a member of the N J Adults with Autism Task Force, a member of the Advisory Boards of the Autism Center of N J Medical School, Bergen County Community College Autism Center and Autism Family Services of New Jersey and on the Steering Committee of Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism, a national collaborative effort of autism organizations focusing on adult issues. Linda Walder Fiddle dedicates herself not only to those with autism but also to humanitarian projects around the world from New Orleans to Cambodia; she serves on the Advisory Board of Jewish Helping Hands, a global social action organization.
Joanne Gerenser, Ph.D., CCC-SLP
Joanne Gerenser is the Executive Director of the Eden II Programs in Staten Island, NY. She received her Master’s Degree from the Ohio State University and her Ph.D. in Speech and Hearing at the City University of New York Graduate Center. She received her Certificate of Administration from the College of New Rochelle. Joanne currently sits on the advisory Boards of several programs for children with autism in the US and Australia. She is a member of the Scientific Advisory Council for the Organization for Autism Research as well as the president of the New York State Association for Behavior Analysis. Joanne has presented on topics in autism and related disorders at local, national and international conferences. She is the co-author of Behavioral Programming for Children with Autism, an interactive CD-ROM as well as several articles and book chapters.
Peter F. Gerhardt, Ed.D.
Peter F. Gerhardt, Ed.D. is the Director of Education, Upper School, for the McCarton School in New York City. Dr. Gerhardt has more than 30 years 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 has authored and co-authored articles and book 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, is on the Editorial Board of Behavior Analysis in Practice and on numerous professional advisory boards, including the Autism Society of America. Dr. Gerhardt received his doctorate from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey’s Graduate School of Education.
Russell J. Kormann, Ph.D.
Russell J. Kormann is the Project director of NSTM and has been with the Project since 1986. Dr Kormann focuses his professional attention on issues of community and academic inclusion for individuals with behavioral challenges, as well as on community based behavioral assessment. In addition to conducting extensive staff and parent training in behavior management, he has mentored many students in developing their professional expertise in this area. He serves as a behavioral consultant to multiple school districts, and residential programs throughout New Jersey and is both a licensed clinical psychologist, as well as a state certified school psychologist. He has achieved fellow status with the American Association on Mental Retardation (AAMR) and chairs the Developmental Disabilities - Special Interest Group for Association for Advancement in Behavior Therapy. He maintains an assistant faculty position in the School Psychology Program at the Graduate School of Applied and Professional Psychology (GSAPP), Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey and overseas the practicum training program that provides clinical experience to GSAPP students through experience the Project.
Bridget A. Taylor, PsyD, BCBA
Bridget A. Taylor is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst. She holds a Doctorate of Psychology from Rutgers University, and received her Masters degree in Early Childhood Special Education from Columbia University. Dr. Taylor has specialized in the education and treatment of children with autism for the past twenty years. In 1988, she co-founded the Alpine Learning Group, a well-regarded education and treatment center for children with autism in New Jersey. She currently serves as Executive Director. Dr. Taylor serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis and the journals Behavioral Interventions and Behavior Analysis in Practice. She is also a member of the Autism Advisory Group for the Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies and a board member of the Association for Science in Autism Treatment. Dr. Taylor has authored research articles and book chapters related to autism and she is a regular presenter at national and international conferences.
Patricia Wright, PhD, MEd, MPH, BCBA
Patricia Wright has a passion for education and advocacy and has dedicated her career to ensuring that individuals with autism are fully included in society. Her personal mission is to offer the support that makes it possible for people with autism lead meaningful, happy and productive lives. As Easter Seals National Director of Autism Services, Wright leads ASD programs for Easter Seals, on of the nation’s largest provider of services for individuals with autism across the life span.
Wright’s expertise as an educator and Board Certified Behavior Analyst inform her individualized approach to creating effective intervention plans. Wright is well known as a presenter at national and international conferences, and is been invited to deliver workshops and presentations nationally and internationally. She is a member of the Organization for Autism Research’s Scientific Council and is currently a serving on the Executive Committee for the External Partners Group for the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities.
Patricia Wright earned her PhD, in education from the University of Hawaii in 2006. She also has a master's of public health from the University of Hawaii, and a master’s degree in special education from San Francisco State University. Wright earned her bachelor’s degree in education at Central Washington University.