“The ECHO Autism Communities Symposium unites professionals globally around key concepts to ignite important conversations and take action together. Learn from leading experts as we engage in empowering ourselves and each other through knowledge, practice, and advocacy.” – Dr. Kristin Sohl
“The ECHO Autism Communities Symposium unites professionals globally around key concepts to ignite important conversations and take action together. Learn from leading experts as we engage in empowering ourselves and each other through knowledge, practice, and advocacy.”
– Dr. Kristin Sohl

At this free symposium event, experts and participants learn together about specific topics to enhance services, access, care, and advocacy within the autism community.

At this symposium event, experts and participants learn together about specific topics to enhance services, access, care, and advocacy within the autism community.

ECHO Autism Communities Symposium Speakers

Kristin Sohl, MD, FAAP is a Professor of Clinical Child Health at the University of Missouri, Founder and Executive Director of ECHO Autism, Medical Director for MU Missouri Telehealth Network, and the MU Office of Continuing Medical Education. She is a pediatrician with extensive experience in medical diagnosis, evaluation, and longitudinal support of people with a concern of autism and other developmental/behavioral disorders. Dr. Sohl is regarded as an expert in quality and process improvement particularly for comprehensive autism diagnostic and longitudinal services. She founded ECHO Autism, an innovative framework to increase community capacity to care for people with autism. It is viewed as a national model in expanding equitable access to best practice screening, evaluation, diagnosis, and longitudinal support for autistic people particularly in underserved and rural populations. The ECHO Autism team has established partnerships with other children’s hospitals and autism centers in more than 40 locations in the United States and 15 international locations.   

Dr. Sohl is a tireless advocate for children and enjoys engaging other physicians in being a voice for children’s health particularly related to changing systems to improve access to equitable care in rural and underserved locations. She is the President of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Missouri Chapter.  She is the chair of the American Academy of Pediatrics, Autism Subcommittee within the Council on Children with Disabilities. She completed medical school and pediatric residency at the University of Missouri. 

Rachel Brown, MBBS, FAPA is a physician, psychiatrist and child and adolescent psychiatrist. She has worked with individuals with autism spectrum disorders and co-occurring psychiatric conditions for more than forty years, in outpatient, residential and inpatient settings. She has practiced in two countries and five US states, and has worked in private practice, community mental health, state hospitals, and academic health centers. Her current position is Professor and Chair for the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Kansas-Wichita. She’s been part of ECHOAutism since its inception. Dr. Brown grew up in the UK, attended medical school and did her psychiatry residency there. She completed two child and adolescent psychiatry fellowships, one in London, and the second, after moving to the USA, at the University of Alabama-Birmingham.

Dr Renae Beaumont, PhD is an Assistant Professor of Psychology in Clinical Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medicine, New York Presbyterian hospital. She is the founder of the video-gaming based therapy program Secret Agent Society -SAS. SAS is an evidence-based cognitive behavioral therapy intervention that has been shown to improve the emotion regulation skills and social skills of eight- to twelve-year-old children on the Autism Spectrum, and those with ADHD and Anxiety Disorders. 

To date, the lives of over 20 000 youth and families in nine countries worldwide have been touched by SAS. In recognition of this global impact, Dr Beaumont was awarded the 2021 American Psychological Association Division 53 Award for Promoting Evidence Based Mental Health Services for Children and Adolescents. 

Dr Beaumont moved to the US from Australia six years ago. She supports children and adolescents on the Autism Spectrum and their caregivers through her clinical work at the Weill Cornell Medicine Faculty Practice. Renae is also passionate about continuing to create and research technologically innovative interventions to improve the mental health and wellbeing of youth on the Spectrum. 

Kelly Bermingham, MA, BCBA has been practicing in the field of Autism and Developmental Disabilities for 25+years. She received her BCBA in 2003. She is a published author who specializes in Early Intervention Program Development and Social Skills. She has completed research and written several blogs for Autism Speaks during her time at UCI. She co-created the BCBA curriculum at Chapman University where she was an adjunct professor. Kelly is ESDM Certified and PEERS Certified.

Stephen Shore, Ed.D diagnosed with “Atypical Development and strong autistic tendencies” and “too sick” for outpatient treatment Dr. Shore was recommended for institutionalization. Nonspeaking until 4, and with much support from his parents, teachers, wife, and others, Stephen is now a full time professor at Adelphi University and adjunct at NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, focusing on aligning best practice in supporting autistic people to lead fulfilling and productive lives. 
In addition to working with children and talking about life on the autism spectrum, Stephen is an internationally renowned educator, consultant and author on lifespan issues pertinent to education, relationships, employment, and self-advocacy. His most recent book College for Students with Disabilities combines personal stories and research for promoting success in higher education. 
A current board member of Autism Speaks, the Organization for Autism Research (OAR), American Occupational Therapy Foundation (AOTF), president emeritus of the Asperger/Autism Network, and advisory board member of the Autism Society, Dr. Shore also serves on the advisory boards of AANE, and other autism related organizations. 

Haley Moss, JD is a lawyer, neurodiversity expert, and the author of four books that guide neurodivergent individuals through professional and personal challenges. She is a consultant to top corporations and nonprofits that seek her guidance in creating a diverse workplace, and a sought-after commentator on disability rights issues. The first openly autistic lawyer in Florida, Haley’s books include “Great Minds Think Differently: Neurodiversity for Lawyers and Other Professionals” (ABA Book Publishing; June 2021) and “The Young Autistic Adult’s Independence Handbook” (Jessica Kingsley Publishers; November 2021). Her articles have appeared in outlets including the Washington Post, Teen Vogue, and Fast Company.  

Paul Kotler is a self-advocate, blogger and college student. He is currently a junior at Widener University majoring in psychology. Paul is a non-speaker and types to communicate. He has been a guest lecturer in NYU’s Occupational Therapy Department and AOTA conferences among others, was the subject of an Autism Speaks podcast on being nonverbal and made remarks at the UN’s Special Mission to Qatar on how technology can help people with autism. He had his breakthrough in communication at age 14 with Soma Mukhopadhyay’s Rapid Prompting Method, which led to independent typing. Paul is an advocate for all those without a voice, working to help neurotypicals understand that being nonspeaking does not mean low cognitive ability, nor do sensory and movement differences. Being connected socially and the desire to be engaged fully in community are just as important as for everyone else. Paul likes working out at the gym and ice skating. He also loves big cities. View his blog.

Dr. Brenna Maddox, PhD is an Assistant Professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, in the Department of Psychiatry. As the implementation scientist for the TEACCH Autism Program, her work focuses on improving community services for people on the autism spectrum across the lifespan. She is particularly interested in training and supporting community mental health clinicians, modifying cognitive-behavioral therapy for people on the autism spectrum with anxiety or depression, and preventing suicide in this population. Dr. Maddox is also a clinical psychologist with expertise in the assessment and treatment of co-occurring psychiatric conditions in autism. She is a deputy editor for the journal, Autism in Adulthood, and a co-chair of the American Association of Suicidology’s Autism and Suicide Committee. She serves on the expert hub team for ECHO Autism: Mental Health. 

Lindsey Nebeker, BA a freelance presenter and serves on the national staff at the Autism Society of America. She was born in Tokyo, Japan, and spent the first eleven years of her life residing there with her family. She received her autism diagnosis at age 2 from the UCLA Department of Psychiatry during a visit to the United States. Lindsey is also a sibling of an autistic adult with high-support needs, and she is strongly focused on the message of presuming competence for all people regardless of their labels. She has served on several boards and advisory panels for organizations including the Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network and Felicity House, and she Is a current member of the Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC). She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Technology (minor in Photography) and also holds a certificate for the Partners in Policymaking Advocacy Leadership Training Program. Lindsey (along with her spouse, Dave),  has appeared together in Glamour,Good Morning America, NPR, and the Emmy-nominated documentaryAutism in Love. When she is not reporting to her job positions, you can find her engaged in her passions of traveling, Japanese culture, documenting her life through photography, and composing pieces on her 1909 Steinway.

David Hamrick, MS…

Yetta Myrick, BA  between being a mother of a young son diagnosed with autism and Intellectual Disability, Yetta is leading initiatives in Washington D.C. and beyond that focus on bettering the lives of people on the spectrum. She is the Founder and President DC Autism Parents (DCAP), leads the DC  Act Early COVID-19 Response Team Project, and leads the DC Autism Collaborative’s Developmental, Monitoring, Screening and Evaluation subgroup. And ECHO Autism Communities is most proud to have her as a Parent Educator/Advocate on the ECHO Autism Hub Team at Children’s National Hospital. 

With such a strong background in autistic and advocacy groups in the DC area, who better to touch on the intersectionality between racism & ableism? Yetta is joined by fellow advocates Catherine Miller, MEd, LPC, Patrina Dixon, CESP, and Pedro Velasco for this key conversation at this year’s symposium. 

Catherine Miller, M.Ed., LPC is a mother to an 18-year-old son on the autism spectrum as well as a grandmother to her 5-year-old grandson who was recently diagnosed with autism. As a parent of color with an autistic child and grandchild, Catherine advocates for other parents of color to seek a diagnosis sooner rather than later. Catherine’s professional work as a Licensed Professional Counselor focuses on challenging behavior, ADHD and autism

Patrina Dixon, CESP is a recently diagnosed (ASD) single mother of three children. Two of her children are neurodiverse and one was recently diagnosed with autism. Patrina offers a valuable perspective on this symposium topic by offering insight into why some systems fail BIPOC families.  

Through Patrina’s previous work as an employee of the Missouri Department of Social Services, Job Coach, Team Lead and Instructor of Pre-Employment Services at Easterseals Midwest and as a client of Vocational Rehabilitation, she has learned about the many service and support systems from the inside out. Patrina became a Certified Employment Professional CESP in 2016 and she is an active member of the MO chapter of the Association of People Supporting Employment First. Patrina is a strong advocate for individuals on the Autism Spectrum and she works closely with employers to create employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.  

Pedro Velasco, Parent Advocate, is a father of two children, Chantal 26 and Jair 15. Jair was diagnosed at 25 months with ASD. When Jair was younger, he had limited language, but now he is in High School with a 504 plan and is fully bilingual in English & Spanish.   

Pedro is a Community Worker for Padres Unidos a nonprofit organization and active Family Advisory Committee for UCI the Center For Autism & Neurodevelopmental Disorders. Pedro continually works to inform the Latinx Community about Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Lorri Shealy Unumb, J.D., is an executive leader, lawyer, professional speaker, law professor, mother of three teenage boys, and an internationally renowned autism advocate. 

She began her legal career clerking for a United States District Judge in Charleston, South Carolina, and then moved to Washington, D.C. to practice law with the United States Department of Justice. She enjoyed a fulfilling career as an appellate litigator, arguing civil cases in Circuit Courts all over the United States. 

After two academic stints at law schools in D.C. (George Washington University) and Charleston, Lorri began running and teaching advocacy courses at the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Advocacy Center. During the same period, she hosted an award-winning weekly cable TV show called “The Law with Professor Lorri.” 

Following her firstborn son’s diagnosis with autism, Lorri began working in autism advocacy as a volunteer, writing ground-breaking autism insurance legislation for South Carolina (“Ryan’s Law”) that passed in 2007 and served as the catalyst for the national movement toward autism insurance reform. In recognition of Ryan’s Law, Lorri was awarded the Autism Society of America 2008 “Parents of the Year” award (along with her husband Dan). She then was recruited by the New York-based nonprofit Autism Speaks to advocate full-time on behalf of individuals with autism.  As the national head of state government affairs, she testified more than 100 times on various autism issues in legislatures throughout the United States and beyond and led an autism insurance reform effort that resulted in 50 states requiring insurance coverage for autism by 2019. 

Alongside her career with Autism Speaks, in 2010 Lorri founded the Autism Academy of South Carolina, a non-profit, year-round diagnostic and treatment center for individuals with autism; in 2019, the board of directors voted to rename the academy “The Unumb Center for Neurodevelopment” in honor of Lorri & Dan’s extensive national contributions in the autism field. Lorri & Dan also wrote the first-ever comprehensive textbook on legal issues related to autism, called “Autism and the Law.”  Additionally, Lorri is in her 15th year of organizing and conducting the annual “Autism Law Summit,” a national gathering of parents and professionals who advocate for legal and policy changes to better the lives of individuals with autism. Finally, in 2018, Lorri was appointed by the governor of South Carolina to serve as a Commissioner for the SC Department of Disabilities and Special Needs, which administers several of the state’s Medicaid waivers.  

In 2019, Lorri was recruited by the nonprofit trade association The Council of Autism Service Providers; as CEO, she has led the association into a period of rapid growth, increased visibility, and international expansion. 

For her local, national, and international advocacy efforts, Lorri has been recognized with  

  • the NASCAR Foundation’s Betty Jane France Humanitarian Award;  
  • the Jefferson Award for Public Service (Charleston, SC);  
  • the Professional Women in Advocacy “Excellence in a State Campaign” 2014 Award; and 
  • the Civitan International “World Citizenship” 2021 Award.   

Her work has been profiled on CNN, on NPR’s “Morning Edition,” and in Town&Country magazine, from whom she received one of three 2009 “Women Who Make a Difference” awards.  She is also profiled in the American Academy of Pediatrics book “Autism Spectrum Disorders:  What Every Parent Needs to Know.” 

Lorri is a magna cum laude/Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of South Carolina (Journalism, 1990; Political Science 1990; Law 1993). 

April 7th, 2022

On-Demand Topics & Videos

On-Demand Topics & Videos

Kristin Sohl, MD

Welcome & Opening Remarks

Renae Beaumont, Ph.D.

This presentation provides an overview of the theoretical framework, evidence-base and content of the Secret Agent Society computer-game based social skills training program for 8-to-12-year-old children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (Level 1), their caregivers and school support staff. The online program delivery platform will be demonstrated, and real-world session footage will be shared. 

 The goal of this presentation is to improve participants’ knowledge and skills in delivering effective social skills training interventions to children on the Autism Spectrum.

Kelly Bermingham, MA, BCBA

The September 26th project is an annual emergency preparedness checkup for families impacted with autism. In memory of Feda and Muhammed Almaliti, this project provides an annual checklist to prepare your home and your child in the event of a fire or natural disaster. 10 minutes every 365 days can save lives. 

Stephen Shore, Ed. D
Haley Moss, J.D.
Paul Kotler

Gain insight and greater understanding by listening to a panel of autistic adults who will share their perspectives and what it really means to listen to, support and authentically engage autistic people. 

Lindsey Nebeker
David Hamrick

Many individuals on the autism spectrum and their loved ones may express ongoing and sometimes exhausting challenges associated with relationships, interpersonal communication, and interaction. What can we learn from these challenges, and how can we as a community better support and enable those who are neurodivergent to feel empowered, and what can we work on ourselves in our own relationships? Join Dave and Lindsey, an autistic couple, as they share a few of their own “formulas”, insights and takeaways from their 16+ years of experience navigating a romantic relationship.

Brenna Maddox, Ph.D.

Autistic individuals are at disproportionate risk for mental health problems compared to the general population, with depression and anxiety among the most common of these co-occurring conditions. Co-occurring depression and anxiety contribute to functional impairment, reduced quality of life, and increased risk for suicide in autistic people. Cognitive-behavioral and mindfulness-based treatment strategies are effective for reducing depression and anxiety in autistic people. 

Yetta Myrick, BA
Catherine Miller, MEd, LPC
Patrina Dixon, CESP
Pedro Velasco

A panel of parent & family advocates come together to share how race and ableism has impacted their lives and the lives of their children and grandchildren. This panel will enlighten us on the opportunities that are available to reduce the effects of racism and ableism across communities. 

Lorri Unumb, J.D.

The range of autism-related issues that call for ongoing, deliberate advocacy is as broad as the spectrum itself. Join renowned autism advocate Lorri Unumb, Esq., for a survey of hot topics in autism policy, including: 

  • The need for more, and more diverse, residential settings and adult services 
  • The effort to recognize severe/profound autism as a distinct diagnosis  
  • Safety concerns across the spectrum 
  • Insurance issues, including advances in coverage and mental health parity protection 
  • Medicaid coverage across the lifespan 

ECHO Autism Communities

Symposium 2022 Objectives and Disclosures