Emma Zurcher-Long is a thirteen-year old Autistic girl living in NYC. She is a public speaker, writer and likes to sing on stage. Emma applauds those who have found, or are in the process of finding, their individual voice, as she has through typing.
Emma has had the opportunity to present at several conferences and schools around the country. Her writing has been published on her blog, Emma’s Hope Book, Special Parent Magazine, HALO’s 2014 edition of Voices and the recently published anthology: Typed Words, Loud Voices Edited By Amy Sequenzia and Elizabeth Grace
She would like to continue opening people’s minds to differences.
Meet Ariane Zurcher
Ariane Zurcher is a writer, public speaker, artist, award-winning jewelry designer and owner of Ariane Zurcher Designs. Ariane Zurcher’s writing has been published in: Allure, Elle Magazine, Options, XX1st Century, Aspen Magazine, Aspen Times, Special Needs Parenting, Parenting Magazine, Emma’s Hope Book, Where Art and Life Meet and many others publications and blogs.
Ariane Zurcher was the voice of Barb for the audiobook - I Might Be You by Barb Rentenbach and Lois Prislovsky, wrote the foreward to Judy Endow’s book: Painted Words: Aspects of Autism Translated and has given presentations at a number of conferences and schools around the country.
Ariane Zurcher lives in New York City with her husband, two children and their impish cat.
Meet Ellen Yack
Ellen Yack has practiced as an occupational therapist since 1979 and has a Masters Degree in Education. She currently is the Director of Ellen Yack and Associates Paediatric Therapy Services, a private agency providing occupational therapy and speech and language services to children, adolescents and their families in Toronto and surrounding areas. Her areas of expertise include sensory processing disorders, autism spectrum disorders, attention deficit disorders, global developmental delays, learning disabilities and disorders of self-regulation. Ellen is certified to provide DIR ® Floortime intervention. Ellen provides occupational therapy consultation to the Redpath Centre for Social and Emotional Development and consults to the Autism Team at the Toronto District Catholic School Board and the Autism program at Aisling Discoveries Child and Family Centre. Ellen conducts a variety of workshops across Canada and has published in her field. She is one of the co-authors of the book Building Bridges through Sensory Integration: Occupational Therapy for Children with Autism and other Pervasive Developmental Disorders and is a contributor to the book Children, Youth and Adults with Asperger Syndrome.
Meet Diana Merrell
Diana is a dedicated mother and was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome at The Redpath Centre a few years ago. She has a 15 year old daughter, Emma, who has Aspergers Syndrome as well; and Ty, her 10 year old son has classic Autism.
Diana has taken numerous workshops and training opportunities, is a certified Autism Interventionist and has worked as an Instructor Therapist in an IBI program. She has been a volunteer at Autism Ontario York Region Chapter for multiple years sitting as President and Vice President. When her son's educational needs were not met in traditional settings, she decided to teach Ty at home, where he has been thriving.
Diana has severe anxiety with speaking engagements but wants to give back to the ASD community that has helped her through many challenges.
Meet Mandy Klein
Mandy is an autistic self-advocate whose husband and daughter are also on the spectrum. Identified at 34 following her daughter Micah’s autism diagnosis, she’s found relief and answers in the knowing why she experiences the world the way she does. Severe anxiety had been a constant theme in her life, limiting her opportunities and silencing her voice. As a woman who often ‘goes non-speaking’ when she is unsure of how to respond or is anxious, she often finds herself literally unable to communicate with others. The words do not come out.
She began writing her blog, Tales From An Autism Family, as a way of finding her voice after finding support in other autistic bloggers. She’s been heard! Her writing has since been quoted by Dr. Kevin Stoddart for Autism Ontario's joint response (through OPAAA) to the Governement of Ontario's Select Committee on Developmental Services Interim Report released March 5, 2014, and has been archived in the Special Collections and Archives department of the Brock University Library. Her dream of attending an autism symposium full of information relevant to autistics, families, and caring others is about to become a reality. With the support of two Ontario autism organizations—Kerry’s Place Autism Services and Autism Ontario-- she is the driving force behind Autism Rocks!—Let Us Move You.
Mandy is an accomplished para-equestrian and creates beautiful circle-art. She lives in York Region with her husband, daughter, two dogs, a cat, a tortoise, a bird and tropical fish.
Meet Dori Zener
Dori Zener, M.S.W., R.S.W. has been working with people affected by the Autism Spectrum and learning differences for over a decade. She is constantly in awe of the talents and resilience of the clients and families she works with. Dori helps teens and adults with ASD build greater self-awareness, improve their mental health and enhance social skills and understanding. Family members and partners work with Dori to understand how ASD influences their loved one so relationships can flourish. Dori has particular interest in working with girls and women with ASD. She has presented at national and provincial conferences on special needs parenting, women with autism spectrum disorder and eating disorders.