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ASSET Team


The Assessment, Support, Education and Training (ASSET) program provides comprehensive services and employs a multidisciplinary team of professionals with expertise to address the multitude of symptoms and behaviors experienced by children with autism. The ASSET Team strives to fully satisfy the expressed needs of OPWDD, the New York State Department of Education and the parents/educators that we work with.

The child’s core team often includes a physician or nurse practitioner, psychiatrist, gastroenterologist, sleep specialist, nutritionist, master level special educator (may also have a BCBA certification), BCBA/Master or Ph.D. licensed psychologist, adaptive physical educator and/or physical therapist, occupational and speech pathologist and of course the parent(s).

Maureen Maureen T. McSwiggan-Harden, APRN, BC, NP-P,
Maureen McSwiggan-Hardin, APRN, BC, NP-P is a nurse practitioner in psychiatry. She is the Clinical Director of the Assessment, Support, Education and Training (ASSET) program at The Center for Discovery at the Harris and New York City sites.  Maureen is a graduate of the University of San Francisco with an undergraduate degree in nursing, and has a Master’s Degree in Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing from the University of Maryland.  She has a Post Graduate certification as a Nurse Practitioner in Psychiatry from New York University College of Nursing.  She is currently a Jonas Scholar, Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence and doctoral student at the NYU College of Nursing.  Maureen served as the Deputy Director at the Developmental Neuropsychiatry Program at Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) from 2003 until 2012.  The DNP served children, adolescents and adults with Autism Spectrum and Related Disorders.  She was Clinical Assistant Professor in the Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry and Clinical Assistant Professor of Nursing, School of Nursing at Columbia University from 2003 until 2012.   She was a Co-Principal Investigator on a grant with the Autism Treatment Network, funded by Autism Speaks, from 2005-2010.  She also served as a Site Supervisor for the Simons Simplex Collection Genetics of Developmental Difference, a multisite grant, at CUMC site from 2008-2011.
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 Terri Terri Manzione, Esq.
In her journey toward The Center for Discovery, Terri made a few stops along the way. After spending nearly two decades practicing law, she began working with agencies providing services for the developmentally disabled on Long Island. Motivated by her family’s experience in raising her then ten-year-old autistic son, she held internships with PLUS Group Homes and The Long Island Advocacy Center, before developing a Medicaid Service Coordination program for Ascent: A School for Children with Autism. Combining her law background with her knowledge of services for the developmentally disabled, she went on to serve as the Corporate Compliance Officer and Coordinator of Outreach for Nassau Suffolk Services for Autism (NSSA), and worked with a group of families toward development of a L’Arche community on Long Island. Terri has served on the Long Island Family Support Services Advisory Council for many years including a two-year tenure as Chair. She has given many presentations and speeches on services for the developmentally disabled and she is a published author. Above all else, her favorite title is “Stuey’s Mom.”
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 Keith Keith Rico, MS, LBA, BCBA, LMHC
Keith is a Licensed and Board Certified Behavior Analyst, Licensed Mental Health Counselor and adjunct instructor in Autism Spectrum Disorders and related disorders. Keith has been practicing, teaching and helping to build curricula in the field of autism and developmental disabilities for nearly a decade. In addition to working directly with children and adults diagnosed with developmental disabilities, Keith is known for his consultation work with public school districts, government agencies, services agencies, and with parents groups regarding topics as: applied behavior analysis, development and therapeutic intervention services. Keith currently combines both of his specialties – counseling and behavior analysis – to assist both individuals and families that are affected by disabilities. Keith is currently the Senior Behavior Analyst with The Center for Discovery’s ASSET Program and is responsible for oversight of evaluations, in-home and in-school interventions and behavioral planning.
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 spacerTiffini Tiffini Amato, MS Ed, BCBA, LBA
Tiffini is a certified teacher and board certified behavior analyst who holds a Master’s degree in Special Education. She possesses more than ten years experience working with children and adults across a wide range of developmental disabilities, with a specialization in the education and care of individuals with complex autism. Tiffini works closely with teachers, administrators, health professionals, parents and others to provide enhanced teaching strategies/techniques while also providing observational feedback/ideas. She conducts comprehensive educational/behavioral evaluations and trains, including specialized autism seminars for schools and other professional groups. As Senior Director of Training for The Center for Discovery’s ASSET Program, Tiffani guides each behavior analyst and parent trainer through the entire evaluation and training process. She does this for each participant in the ASSET Program.
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 Jenny Jenny Foster, MS, BCBA, LBA
Jenny holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Science degree in Neuroscience, with a specialization in autism from the City University of New York – College of Staten Island. She began working with individuals with autism in 2001 at an ABA-based agency in New York City and she left her position as a clinical coordinator there to pursue graduate school in 2006. After completing her degree she spent two years helping to establish an autism intervention research program with Dr. Eric London at the Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities located on Staten Island. During that time, she also taught courses as at the City University of New York as an adjunct instructor in their psychology department. She began working at The Center for Discovery in 2011 where she was able to apply both her behavioral and research skills to serve individuals with complex forms of autism.  She recently earned a Certificate of Advanced Study in Behavioral Intervention in Autism from the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, and is working towards becoming a Board Certified Behavioral Analyst.  Jenny currently has a dual role as a research coordinator and behaviorist both within the ASSET Program and at Center generally.
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Matt Matt Northrup
Educational Technologist, New York State Certified Teacher, M.S. Health Informatics from Northeastern University (anticipated graduation May 2016) Matt has 10 years experience working directly with children with autism spectrum disorders in schools, residential programs and in-home services. He also has several years of experience interacting advanced technology systems, including multimodal wearable stress sensors, into the classroom setting and assessment spaces at The Center for Discovery. Having worked directly with hundreds of children with autism, Matt is intuitively sensitive to the varying and distinct needs of the children, family, and educators. This personalized approach allows for the optimal integration of advanced technology in order to better understand the most complex children and to identify the factors impacting their lives within the context of his or her natural settings. Matt has 3 children as well as several nieces and nephews, including a nephew with Autism Spectrum Disorder. For Matt, helping families and educators to better understand and help these children is both a personal and professional lifetime commitment.
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Rachael Rachael Skinner
Rachael holds a Bachelor’s Degree with dual Honors in Biological Science and Teaching from the University of Lancaster and a Bachelor’s Degree with Honors in Conductive Education from the University of Wolverhampton. She has worked as an educator in a variety of locations in the UK and the USA for over 20 years. As lead conductor for March of Dimes Canada, Rachael was responsible for establishing a Conductive Education program in Nova Scotia. In 2007 she moved to New York City to become the Director of Programs at Standing Tall Inc., a private Conductive Education and Communication school for students with multiple and complex disabilities. In 2014 Rachael joined The Center for Discovery’s ASSET Program team as the Coordinator of Admissions. The ASSET Program provides comprehensive services and employs a multidisciplinary team of professionals with the expertise to address the multitude of symptoms and behaviors experienced by children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
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Expert Affiliations:

Gregory D. Abowd, M.Sc., D.Phil.
Distinguished Professor, School of Interactive Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology
Director, Heal Systems Institute, Georgia Institute of Technology/Emory University
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Gari Clifford, PhD
Associate Professor, Biomedical Informatics (Emory University)
Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering (Georgia Institute of Technology)
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Don Lollar-EdD
Professor, Department of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) School of Medicine
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Kara Gross Margolis, M.D.
Assistant Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Columbia University Medical Center in the Department of Gastroenterology, Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology. She is a leading research specialist in the brain-gastrointestinal link in Autism Spectrum Disorder and a member of the research committee at The Center for Discovery.
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John Ratey, M.D.
Psychiatrist and an Associate Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School with extensive publications.  He is a leading expert on the neuropsychiatry of Autism Spectrum Disorder and effect of exercise in the treatment of ASD.  He is also a member of the research committee at The Center for Discovery.
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Stephan Rechtschaffen, M.D.
Co-founder, OMEGA Institute
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James Rehg, Ph.D.,
Professor, School of Interactive Computing, Georgia Institute of Technology
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Rune Simeonsson, Ph.D., M.S.P.H.,
Professor and Department Chair, Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
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George J. Todd, M.D.
Chair of the Department of Surgery at St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital and is an author on over 100 publications in his field.  He is currently the Chairman of the Medical Advisory Board at The Center for Discovery and has served on the Board of Directors for many years.
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Katherine L. Tucker, Ph.D.
Professor of Nutritional Epidemiology, Department of Clinical Laboratory and Nutritional Sciences, University of Massachusetts Lowell.  She also has adjunct faculty appointments at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Tufts University.  She is an author of over 250 peer reviewed articles and her research focuses on dietary intake and risk of chronic illness.  She is a member of the research committee at The Center for Discovery.
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Robert Goldberg Ph.D.
Co-Founder & CEO, Neumitra

Casson Masters, M.B.A, B.A.
Co-Founder & CEO Medzingo

George Todd, M.D.
Co-Founder & Chief Medical Adviser, Medzingo

Martin Ouimet Ph.D.
Chief Technology Officer, Medzingo

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 Trainers:
Sam

Samantha Brown

Anneliese

Anneliese Hartman

Krista

Krista Cameron, MA CCC – SLP

Meghan

Meghan Drown

Rachel Thompkins

Rachel Thompson

Rebecca Soto

Rebecca Soto, MS

Erica

Erica Schattgen, BS

Jessica Piatek

Jessica Piatak

 

Samantha Cutugno

Samantha Cotugno, MS CC-SLP