Autism Summit 2019

The 2019 Autism Summit took place on November 2 at the Water Center in Boise, Idaho. Below is a list of speakers who attended as well as some information about their background and expertise. 

You can also find speaker presentations and the expert panel discussions from the event.

For more information about the next conference, view the Autism Summit page.

Speakers and presentations

Ian Bott is a self-advocate on the Autism Spectrum. Ian prefers using the pronouns they, them, and their.

Ian is a recent college graduate and has been advocating for individuals with developmental disabilities for over twenty years. They have lived in group homes, supportive living, and now lives alone on the My Voice, My Choice Medicaid self-directed program. They have served on several boards and are currently serving on the Idaho Council on Developmental Disabilities. They have received an award for their efforts on inclusion.

Dr. Desai is a board-certified psychiatrist and adjunct Associate Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, University of Washington School of Medicine. He works with Crisis Prevention team, Division of Family and Child Services, Department of Health and Welfare, and the State of of Idaho to help children and adults with Autism Spectrum disorders.

Dr. Desai believes in and practices holistic approaches to brain wellness that harnesses the power of neuroplasticity to achieve and maintain optimal cognitive and emotional wellbeing across the life span.

Amanda DeYoung is a board-certified Behavior Analyst and Licensed Professional Counselor. Amanda is currently the Clinical Supervisor for the west Hub Developmental Disabilites Crisis Prevention and Court Services team (CPCS) at the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare.

Amanda has over ten years' experience working with individuals with Developmental Disabilities and Mental Health in schools and the private and public sector. Outside of Amanda's professional career she enjoys spending time with her family and traveling.

Dr. Epperly is the President and CEO of the Family Medicine Residency of Idaho, a Federally Qualified Teaching Health Center (FQHC) comprised of nine FQHC clinics, four ACGME family medicine residency programs, and four fellowships.

He received an undergraduate degree in Biology and Anthropology from Utah State University in 1976. He graduated from the University of Washington School of Medicine in 1980. He completed his residency in Family Medicine at Madigan Army Medical Center, Fort Lewis, Washington in 1983. He completed a faculty development fellowship at the University of North Carolina in 1986 and achieved an additional CAQ in Geriatrics.

Dr. Epperly retired July 2001 as Colonel after serving 21 years in the U.S. Army. He served as the past President and Board Chair of the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) representing 135,000 family physicians across the country. He is a past member of the ACGME Board of Directors that has responsibility of all residency and fellowship training for over 125,000 residents and fellows of all specialties in the United States.

Dr. Epperly is an award-winning physician, teacher, leader, author, researcher, and mentor. His multiple award-winning book Fractured: America's Broken Health Care System and What Must Be Done To Heal It provided excellent insight to the U.S. healthcare system and can be found on

Slide Presentation: Integral Role of Primary Care Providers (PDF)PDF

Video: Why Primary Healthcare Providers are Key to Improving Health and Wellness of Children and Adults with ASD video

Transcript: Why Primary Healthcare Providers are Key to Improving Health and Wellness of Children and Adults with ASD (PDF)PDF

Julie A. Fodor, PhD received her doctorate from Utah State University with an emphasis on childhood special education, behavior disorders, and applied behavior analysis in 1993. Currently, she is the Director of the Center on Disabilities and Human Development (CDHD) at the University of Idaho and an Associate Professor in the College of Education, Health and Human Sciences.

Dr. Fodor initiated and coordinates the doctoral program with an emphasis in Autism Spectrum Disorder and Related Disabilities (ASD/RD) which is affiliated with the Utah Regional LEND program. Dr. Fodor is a member of the University of Idaho Institutional Review Board and the college Graduate Research and Policy Committee. She provides oversight of all CDHD functions with assistance from a Core Directors team and two associate directors.

Over the years in Idaho, she has worked on multiple system change projects in the areas of family support, self-determination for adults with disabilities, and enhancement of Medicaid services for children and adults. She initiated positive behavior intervention supports in Idaho, and autism support services for school-based teams. She now directs CDHD SESTA, a technical assistance and training project funded through the Idaho State Department of Education; IdahoSTARS, a project designed to increase the quality of childcare in Idaho; and the Idaho Living Well project, designed to improve home and community-based services for adults with disabilities.

Dr. Fodor co-hosted two previous Autism Summits in Idaho (2003, 2011) with the Department of Health and Welfare and State Department of Education. Dr. Fodor has worked for and with people with disabilities and their famililies for over 40 years. "Inclusion for All" is her lifetime career goal.

Dr Goodwin is an Interdisciplinary Associate Professor with tenure at Northeastern University, jointly appointed in the Bouvé College of Health Sciences, and the Khoury College of Computer & Information Sciences, where he is a founding member of a new doctoral program in Personal Health Informatics and directs the Computational Behavioral Science Laboratory.

He is also a visiting Associate Professor in the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Harvard Medical School and was previously adjunct Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown University (2008-2018) and Director of Clinical Research at the MIT Media Lab (2008-2011). He has previously served on the Executive Board of the International Society for Autism Research and the Scientific Advisory Board for Autism Speaks.

Dr Goodwin has over 25 years of research and clinical experience working with children and adults on the autism spectrum and developing and evaluating innovative technologies for behavioral assessment and intervention, including video and audio capture, telemetric physiological monitors, accelerometry sensors, and digital video/facial recognition systems.

Dr Goodwin has received several honors, including a dissertation award from the Society of Multivariate Experimental Psychology, Peter Merenda Prize in Statistics and Research Methodology from the University of Rhode Island, Hariri Award for Transformative Computational Science, named an Aspen Ideas Scholar by the Aspen Institute, and a career contribution award from the Princeton Autism Lecture Series. He has obtained research funding from a variety of sources, including the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, National Endowment for the Arts, Department of Defense, Simons Foundation, Nancy Lurie Marks Family Foundation, and Autism Speaks.

He received his B.A. in psychology from Wheaton College and his MA and PhD, both in experimental psychology and behavioral science, from the University of Rhode Island. He completed a postdoctoral fellowship in Affective Computing in the MIT Media Lab in 2010.

Slide Presentation: Developing Innovative Technology for Individuals on the Autism Spectrum (PDF)PDF

Video: Developing Innovative Technology to Enhance Research and Practice in Individuals on the Autism Spectrum video

Transcript: Developing Innovative Technology to Enhance Research and Practice in Individuals on the Autism Spectrum (PDF)PDF

Ninon Germain, MD is a psychiatry specialist in Boise, ID and has been practicing for 29 years. She graduated from the University of Nevada School of Medicine in 1986 and completed her residency at the University of Oklahoma. She is a clinical faculty member at Idaho State University and the University of Washington.

Dr. Germain is currently practicing at Saint Alphonsus Medical Center, Intermountain Hospital, St. Luke's Medical Center, and the Allumbaugh House. She also practices rural psychiatry in Salmon, Grangevile, and Moscow. She specializes in child, geratric, and persons with neurodevelopmental disabilities.

Dr Hall completed his undergraduate education at Northwest Nazarene University. He received his master's and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology from Fuller Theological Seminary's Graduate School of Psychology (APA accredited) in Pasadena, California. Dr. Hall completed his pre-doctoral intership at the Warm Springs Counseling Center and Training Institute in Boise, Idaho, and completed his post-doctoral residency at NNH.

Dr. Hall's areas of interest include working with child, youth, and families with ASD and other neurodevelopmental disorders, including Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), and learning disabilities. Through the use of cognitive, behavioral, group, and family therapies, Dr. Hall assists those he works with in the development of greater behavioral and emotional regulation, adaptive functioning, and self-advocacy.

Robert L. Hendren, D.O. is Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Science; Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry; Co-Director of the UCSF Dyslexia Center; and Director, Program for Research on Neurodevelomental and Translational Outcomes (PRONTO). Dr. Hendren is past President of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (2007-2009). He has published well over 100 scientific papers and 5 books and has been listed in "The Best Doctors in America" each year since it was first published in 1996.

Dr. Hendren took his residency in general psychiatry at the Mayo Graduate School of Medicine, and his child and adolescent psychiatry fellowship at the Yale Child Study Center. He is board-certified in General as well as Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. He has been on the faculty at the George Washington University of Medicine, the University of New Mexico School of Medicine, and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (now Rutgers ) - Robert Wood Johnson and New Jersey Medical Schools. From 2001-2009, he was Professor of Psychiatry and Executive Director and Tsakopoulos-Vismara Chair at the University of California, Davis M.I.N.D. Institute (Medical Investigation of Neurodevelomental Disorders).

His current areas of research and publication interests are translational interventional outcomes research including clinical pharmacology, nutraceutical and nutritional trials using biomarkers (metabolomics, measures of inflammation, oxidative stress, immune function, pharmacogenomics, and neuroimaging) to enhance resilience in neurodevelopmental disorders. He is currently applying a targeted outcomes research approach in collaborative projects with the Oak Hill School for youth with severe autism and neurodevelopmental spectrum, and the Charles Armstrong School, Athena Academy, and Chartwell School for youth with dyslexia.

Slide Presentation: Integrating Treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorders (PDF)PDF

Video: Integrating Treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder Through the Life Cycle video

Transcript: Integrating Treatment for Autism Spectrum Disorder Through the Life Cycle (PDF)PDF

Maggie Imlay is a board-certified Behavior Analyst working in the field of developmental disabilities for over 10 years. She works for the Department of Health and Welfare on the Crisis Prevention and Court Services team.

In addition to her role with Health and Welfare, Maggie provides in-home Applied Behavior Analysis therapy to children with autism and works with parents to learn strategies to support their children and decrease problem behavior.

Audrey Kennedy is a board-certified Behavior Analyst. She currently works as a behavior coordinator with Idaho SESTA (Special Education Support and Technical Assistance) and serves as the president of Idaho Association for Behavior Analysis (IdABA). She received her Masters of Science in Educational Psychology and a certificate in Applied Behavior Analysis from George Mason University.

She was awarded an academic award of excellence for Special Education and Applied Behavior Analysis from the College of Education and Human Development. Audrey has been working in the field of Behavior Analysis for over 13 years, becoming board-certified in 2012.

Audrey has a passion for increasing independence and strives to enhance the lives of all the individuals and families she serves. She has worked in both the home and school settings, which has provided her with an array of experience and expertise in severe problem behavior, verbal behavior and communication, functional life skills training, functional assessment and analysis, and behavior intervention development and implementation.

Dr. J.T. Leavell is the medical director of the Center for Autism and Neurodevelomental Disabilities at St. Luke's Children's Hospital. He is a developmental pediatrician who came to Boise in 1999 after completing a Navy career.

For most of his time in Idaho, he has been the state's only full-time developmental pediatrician. Dr. Leavell has been a strong advocate for children with special needs and has been a leader in shaping care for children with autism.

Ron Oberleitner, MBA is cofounder and CEO of Behavior Imaging. Since 2005, he has been advocating for technology-based solutions for behavior and mental health, including new telehealth solutions for autism, PTSD, and dementia. He has successfully commercialized numerous award-winning innovations for the autism community, including Behavior Imaging™, TalkAutism™, and AutismCares™.

He is a widely published expert on the use of health informatics, telemedicine, and health assessments for special needs, and prior to that has more than 20 years of executive-level management experience leading product development in large medical device companies (including Stryker and Howmedica). He is a former Chair of the Idaho Assistive Technology Project, and a current board member on Idaho's State Rehabilitation Council. Ron has a 26-year-old son with autism.

Slide Presentation: Telehealth Technology (PDF)PDF

Video: Telehealth Technologies and More for Families and Professionals video

Transcript: Telehealth Technologies and More for Families and Professionals (PDF)PDF

More information

These Behavior Connect videos were mentioned in Ron's presentation above.

Video: What if the Autism Community used Telemedicine? video

Video: Season's Greetings from Behavior Imaging Solutions video

Kristin Sohl, MD, FAAP, ECHO Autism is a pediatrician with extensive experience in medical diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of children with a concern of autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. She is an expert in quality and process improvement for comprehensive autism diagnostic and longitudinal services.

Dr. Sohl is the site principal investigator for the Autism Intervention Research for Physical Health/Autism Treatment Network (AIRP/ATN), and serves in national leadership roles with each program. She is also the founder of ECHO Autism, an innovative framework to increase community capacity to care for children with autism and other developmental/behavioral concerns.

ECHO Autism is considered a national model for expanding autism diagnosis and treatment to underserved and rural populations. Her team has established partnerships with health care entities in more than 15 states and five countries.

Slide Presentation: ECHO Autism (PDF)PDF

Video: ECHO Autism: Bringing Best Practice Autism Care to Communities through Guided Practice and Technology video

Transcript: ECHO Autism: Bringing Best Practice Autism Care to Communities through Guided Practice and Technology (PDF)PDF