Who We Are

Board of Directors

Jill Escher

President

Jill is an autism research philanthropist (Escher Fund for Autism), real estate investor who provides low-income housing for adults with developmental disabilities, former lawyer, and mother of two children with nonverbal autism. In her role as an advocate, she serves as president of the board for Autism Society San Francisco Bay Area and, in her role as a promoter of innovative research was recently elected to serve on the governing council of the Environmental Mutagenesis and Genomics Society. She loves hiking with her son and ice skating with her daughter, and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Feda Almaliti

Vice President

Feda is well known for her work spearheading autism insurance reform in California. She served as Director of Outreach for the Mental Health & Autism Insurance Project, and now serves on several boards where she continues to press for improvements in how needed services reach those affected by autism. She has a teenage son with a severe form of autism and lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area. 

Amy Lutz

Secretary

Amy S.F. Lutz is an advocate and writer based in Pennsylvania. Amy's work has been featured in The Atlantic, Slate and Babble, among others, and she writes about autism at Inspectrum for Psychology Today. She is also the author of Each Day I Like It Better. She is one of the founders of EASI Foundation: Ending Aggression and Self-Injury in the Developmentally Disabled, and her advocacy has taken her before the FDA, IACC (Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee) and ISEN (International Society for ECT and Neurostimulation. She is currently pursuing a PhD in History and Sociology of Science at University of Pennsylvania. She is the mother of five children, one of whom has a severe form of autism.

Alison Singer

Treasurer

Alison Singer is Co-Founder and President of the Autism Science Foundation, a non-profit organization based in New York City dedicated to funding innovative autism research and supporting the needs of people with autism. As the mother of a 20-year-old daughter with autism and legal guardian of her older brother with autism, she is a natural advocate. Since 2007, Singer has served on the federal Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee (IACC), which is charged with writing an annual strategic plan to guide federal spending for autism research. She serves on the executive boards of the Yale Child Study Center, the Seaver Autism Center at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, the Marcus Autism Center at Emory University, and the University of North Carolina Autism Research Center, as well as on the external advisory board of the CDC’s Center for Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities, the New York State Immunization Advisory Committee, and the Simons Foundation SPARK advisory board. In 2012, the American Academy of Pediatrics named her an “autism champion.”  In 2017 she received the International Society for Autism Research (INSAR) “Outstanding Research Advocate” award. Singer serves on the board of directors of INSAR and chairs the INSAR Communications Committee. Prior to founding the Autism Science Foundation in 2009, she served as executive vice president of Autism Speaks and as a vice president at NBC.

Frank Campagna

Member

Based in New York, Frank Campagna is the father of a teenage son with severe autism and epilepsy. In 2011 he began writing a blog and Facebook page called "Autism Daddy" about his experiences and giving people a realistic, non sugar-coated look at the world inside an autism household, from a father's perspective. Since then, he has become a social media sensation and now speaks at autism conferences and events around the country. Frank has also worked at Sesame Street for the past 23 years, and worked closely on their recent autism initiative, Sesame Street & Autism:  See Amazing in All Children.

Lisa Parles

Member

Lisa McCauley Parles is a partner in the Springfield, New Jersey law firm Parles Rekem, LLP and the parent of a 28 year old with severe autism.  Her practice focuses on representing individuals with disabilities and their families in the areas of special education, transition and adult services, residential placements and guardianships.  In addition to representing individuals with disabilities and their families, she has also represented numerous not for profit organizations in the disabilities community.

Lisa is a frequent lecturer and has appeared in a number of broadcasts, including Nightline and World News Tonight. She has participated as a panelist and moderator for numerous continuing legal education seminars. Lisa was an invited expert on the United States General Accountability Office’s panel in Washington, D.C. entitled “Youth With Autism – Transitioning to Adulthood” in 2016.  She has also been an invited speaker before the New Jersey State Senate Legislative Oversight Committee as well as the New Jersey State Assembly Human Services Committee.  She was an invited speaker at the United Nations for World Autism Awareness Day 2017.   (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LWMrvr18EvY).  She successfully advocated for changes to New Jersey’s Statewide Transition Plan in order to ensure that a full array of services and choices are available to the developmentally disabled.

Lisa served as the Director of the Leadership Studies Program at Seton Hall University Stillman School of Business and an adjunct Professor in both the undergraduate and MBA programs.  She began her career as an Assistant District Attorney in the Sex Crimes/Special Victims Bureau of the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office.  She earned her B.A. with honors from Hamilton College and her J.D. from Rutgers University School of Law-Newark where she served as a General Editor of the Law Review.

Gloria Satriale

Member

Based in Pennsylvania, Dr. Gloria Satriale is the Executive Director of Preparing Adolescents and Adults for Life (PAAL), a unique community-based educational transition program for teens and comprehensive habilitation and residential program for adults diagnosed with ASD. She presents and trains nationally and internationally on a wide variety of educational and instructional issues related to autism and has particular expertise in Applied Behavior Analysis, Community Based Instruction, and assessing and increasing quality of life and happiness in severely affected individuals with autism. She has served as a consultant to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Department of Education, Office of Dispute Resolution, and to many advocacy and educational programs.

Dr. Satriale currently serves as the representative on AT&T’s Advisory Panel for technology for the disabled.  She has held a Gubernatorial Appointment to the Advisory Committee to the Governor’s Cabinet on Disabilities for Pennsylvania and was an appointed participant the White House Summit on Autism under President Obama and has testified before committees of Congress and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania legislature. She is a practicing attorney and fifteen-year veteran of the United States Department of Justice who has served as a Special Education Due Process Hearing Officer. Dr. Satriale is a Licensed Behavior Specialist in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is Board Eligible for National Certification as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and holds a number of other certifications. Dr. Satriale’s second of her five children, Nick, is severely affected with autism.

Matthew Siegel, MD

Member

Dr. Siegel is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Pediatrics of Tufts University School of Medicine, Vice President of Medical Affairs, Developmental Service, of Maine Behavioral Healthcare, and Faculty Scientist II at Maine Medical Center Research Institute.  He has developed a continuum of treatment and research for individuals with autism, intellectual disability and co-occurring mental illness and challenging behaviors. 

Dr. Siegel attended Amherst College, Stanford Medical School and trained at Brown University in child psychiatry, psychiatry, and pediatrics.  He is the Principal Investigator of the Autism and Developmental Disorders Inpatient Research Collaborative (ADDIRC), a network of specialized child psychiatry units performing studies of children severely affected by autism. He is nationally recognized for his expertise in inpatient care and the treatment of serious challenging behaviors in individuals with developmental disorders. He serves on the Autism and Intellectual Disability Committee of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and is a co-author of the Academy’s Practice Parameter on the Assessment and Treatment of Children and Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

NCSA Leadership Council

The Leadership Council consists of community leaders from across the country who assist the board in executing the mission of the NCSA.

Rosanna Armendariz — TX
Adrienne Benjamin — CT
Linda Blumkin, Esq — NY
Darlene Borre — CT
Kim Christensen — CA
Megan Cicolello — MA
Kathy Freeman, PhD — NJ
Vance Goforth — TN
Jeffery Hayden, PhD, BCBA-D —CA
Erik Jacobson, PhD — NY
Eric Jager — NJ
Shann Jones — AK
Angela Levin — AZ
Jane McCready — UK
Camilla McMahon, PhD — OH
Deborah A. Napolitano, PhD — NY
Tricia Nelson — UT
Kelley Nesbitt — WA
Dawn Turnage — FL
Michele Villalobos, PhD — NC
Samantha Volpe, PhD, BCBA — NJ

Photo: Bruce Hall

Photo: Bruce Hall