Debra Muzikar is co-founder of the Art of Autism nonprofit. The Art of Autism is an international collaborative project composed of talented individuals who have come together to display the creative abilities of people on the autism spectrum (ASD). Debra is author of two books – The Art of Autism: Shattering Myths and The Art of Autism: Shifting Perceptions. She writes a regular column “The Mind’s Eye” for the Autism File magazine which focuses on the creative aspects of those on the autism spectrum. Debra has been a member of many boards whicch focus on disabilities and autism in the past including CHANCE Inc., The Rhythmic Arts Project, ASA Santa Barbara, and Angels Bearing Gifts. Debra is the parent of 3 children. Her youngest Kevin is an artist on the autism spectrum.
Founder of Normal Films, and co-founder of The Art of Autism, Keri’s work as an advocate, key note presenter, workshop leader, and social skills facilitator has touched the lives of thousands of people over the past two decades. The core of Keri’s work began when her son, Taylor, was diagnosed with autism. Taylor, now 23, and Keri have made 4 films together and have traveled all over the world to present their talks and workshops. Past clients include The Army, Marines, Autism Society of America, The ARC, United Cerebral Palsy, Centers for Disease Control, numerous universities and colleges, and more. Keri’s highly charged and inspirational talks get participants up on their feet with highly interactive and innovative approaches to utilizing the arts as key “power tools” for interventions. Keri is founder of the nonprofit Pause4Kids in Thousand Oaks, California.
Donald Cohen is the founder and executive director of In the Public Interest, a national research and policy center on privatization of public goods and responsible contracting. His opinion pieces and articles have appeared in the New York Times, Reuters, the Los Angeles Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, The New York Daily News, The New Republic, and other online and print outlets. In his spare time he hunts down new music and is also helping to develop the Autism Creatives Collective, a community of talented creative writers, artists and musicians on the spectrum who support each other in their creative endeavors.
Tom Iland’s achievements include graduating from Cal State University Northridge, becoming a Certified Public Accountant, and working in corporate America. Tom is now pursuing a professional career as a speaker and trainer sharing insights and practical advice with the Autism community. Tom has written a book (soon to be published) with his mother Emily Iland titled Come to Life. He is a frequent blogger on the Art of Autism website sharing insights on autism.
Carly Fulgham is a proud autistic writer, artist and self-advocate who graduated from the University of Iowa in three years with honors. She is Autism Society Ventura County’s first board president with an autism diagnosis and is a founding member of the Autism Society of America’s Public Policy and Advocacy Committee. She also serves the Autism Society of America’s Panel of People on the Spectrum of Autism Advisors. Carly addresses mortgage correspondence strategy for national bank and is passionate about the inclusive workplace. She didn’t get her diagnosis until after a breakdown in her mid-20s and credits that moment with changing her life for the better.