Advisory Board

Howard Finelt

Howard Finelt has achieved over 50 years of diverse entrepreneurial business successes specializing in the marketing and licensing of intellectual properties – patents, trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. He has worked as President, CEO and EVP in Fortune 500 company’s, public companies and start-ups. He began his career in his family’s Jewelry Casting business where he developed the concept of Limited Edition Reproduction Collectibles, licensing and developing royalties for artists. He is the owner of more than 10,000 copyright jewelry designs. He continued as CEO of a Public Company, a where he designed, created, and marketed the first “Precious Metals” Collectibles license with the Walt Disney Company. His expertise continued with reproduction collectible products for The Franklyn Mint and many other notable Sports and Entertainment companies. As CEO of a high profile sports licensing partnership with Pat Summerall & John Madden, he licensed and marketing the # 1 sports product in the world Super- GripBall. Mr. Finelt joined Bugles Boy Industries as EVP of Licensing being recognized on the front page of the LA Times generating world acclaim for his work. For the past 17 years Howard has been CEO of his Licensing firm specializing in intellectual property management of Patents, Copyrights and Trademark brands across more than 20 diverse industries. Mr. Finelt was listed in the Who’s Who of the Jewelry industry for his prolific copyright jewelry designs and licensing products and designs for such notable firms as GE, GM, Seagrams, the United Nations and many others. He is a member of the prestigious Licensing Executive Society; was a member of the Young Men’s’ Philanthropic League of NYC and many business organizations. Mr. Finelt is the son of the pioneer and inventor of the modern mass production of investment / lost wax casting and injection molding. He is an Air Force Veteran having attended American University and CCNY Baruch School of Business.

Nirith Avraham

Nirith resides in Israel. Nirith has a Master’s in Special Education from the Universite Libre de Bruxelles, Belgium. For the last 28 years she has been a consultant and therapist for people with special needs. She is the parent to participating artist Neri Avraham who also resides in Israel.

Kóan Jeff “KJ” Baysa M.D.

With more than 25 years of clinical experience in New York, California, and Hawaii, Kóan Jeff Baysa is a physician providing medical oversight to various companies in healthcare and entertainment. Dr. Baysa also is an international curatorial consultant. With an extensive U.S. and international curatorial history, credentials as an art critic, and expertise in exhibition design, he is a liaison between contemporary art and medical science for artists, galleries, art fairs, biennials, collectors, and museums.

Dr. Laurence A. Beckeer

Educator, film maker who over the past thirty  (forty) years has introduced the art of four accomplished autistic savant artists and continues to lead workshops and consult throughout the United States, Dr. Beckeer (Becker) speaks to parents, teachers, and researchers at conferences and exhibitions throughout the U.S. about his experiences in the fields of autism, disability, and creativity. His first documentary film, WITH EYES WIDE OPEN (1983), received 3 International and 4 National awards, and his second documentary, FIERCE LOVE and ART, premiered in 2018. It features 7 savant artists, a prodigious savant musician, an author/minister, all with autism, and their parents who used art to enable their often silent children to demonstrate their intelligence, creativity, and wisdom to an astonished world. See

Francine Britton

Francine is an nternational educator who has worked in 29 countries and lived in five. Currently living and working in Ajijic, Mexico, Francine writes, lectures and creates teaching materials in her specialty areas: the UN Rights of the Child and teaching art to young adults on the autism spectrum . Francine is the former artistic director of the Good Purpose Gallery and the national coordinator of the Student Educational Development Fund based in Lee, MA. Francine is the author of six books.

Donald Cohen

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.

Julie Manier-Coy

The mother of two boys, Julie’s youngest son Grant is eighteen and diagnosed with Aspergers. Julie, is also the owner and manager of Grant’s Eco-Art. Julie’s son Grant is a participating artist in the Art of Autism project and is also on our advisory board.

Alix Generous

Alix Generous (born 1992) is a professional speaker, neuroscientist, author, artist, consultant, comedian, and media producer. As an active participant in the autism movement, her TED talk “Communicating my inner life with Asperger’s” has received over 1.4million views. She’s featured on NPR, Bloomberg Businessweek, TED and most recently, at the Sydney Opera House. When she’s not speaking at conferences, she lives in Los Angeles where she works in media production and is currently writing and illustrating her first book.

Daniel Gross

Daniel Gross, 29, has been an avid enthusiast of professional film production since childhood. He began reading at the age of two, and his love of books – and all things Disney – in those early years morphed into a devout lifelong appreciation of film. Daniel obtained his undergraduate education as an Honors student at the University of Connecticut, and went on to receive his M.F.A. in film production from the University of Southern California in 2013. Currently, he works as a film/television editor and contributor to various webisode, documentary shorts, narrative features, websites, and music videos.

Patrick Jasper Lee

Patrick Jasper Lee is an author, musician, artist, consultant, and speaker on Romani traditions and also on Asperger’s Syndrome. Jasper has garnered critical acclaim for his books. He resides in Wales and is a contributor to the Art of Autism through his blogs, poetry, music, and art.

Leanne Libas

Leanne blogs for the Art of Autism. She started advocating after a life-changing experience at YLF (Youth Leadership Forum for Students with Disabilities). Whenever she doesn’t work on her homework or scan a bunch of papers at work, she spends her free time reading books, watching YouTube videos, searching on the Internet to learn more about the disabled community and culture, and creating her own fantasy world with her latest special interests. Leanne has one of the most popular blog on The Art of Autism – Breaking Out: My Autism Story.

Grant Manier

Grant Manier, eco-artist, at a very young age and because of his autism developed a passion for paper. By his early teens he began collecting and recycling as an affordable way to continue his passion. Grant is emerging as one of the most intriguing and captivating young artists today. His Eco-friendly artwork is capturing the attention of his community, gaining national media, he is honored with awards for his Eco-impressionism and for his outstanding contribution to the special needs community.

Tito Mukhopadhyay

Tito communicates eloquently through his writing and he has gained national recognition for his poetry. He has published his book of memoirs and poems, and is pursuing a career as a professional writer.

Jodi Murphy

Jodi is the creative director for Zoom Magazine and founder of Geek Club Books, 501c3, autism storytellers through mobile apps and empowerment programs for awareness, acceptance and understanding. Her mission is to use the art of storytelling and technology to entertain and educate for the social good. Jodi is a ‘positive’ autism advocate, lifestyle journalist, marketing specialist and mother to an awesome autistic adult son and equally awesome neurotypical daughter

Ron Sandison

Ron Sandison works full time in the medical field and is a professor of theology at Destiny School of Ministry. He is an advisory board member of Autism Society Faith Initiative of Autism Society of America. Sandison has a Master of Divinity from Oral Roberts University and is the author of A Parent’s Guide to Autism: Practical Advice. Biblical Wisdom published by Charisma House. He has memorized over 10,000 Scriptures including 22 complete books of the New Testament and over 5,000 quotes. He frequently guest speaks at colleges, conferences, autism centers, and churches. Ron and his wife, Kristen, reside in Rochester Hills, MI, with a baby daughter, Makayla Marie born on March 20, 2016. You can contact Ron on his website or email Ron at

Jennifer O’Toole

Jennifer is the author of the Autism Society of America’s 2014 Outstanding Literary Work and of the bestselling Asperkids series. One of Tony Attwood’s “Top Aspie Mentors” and winner of the Temple Grandin Award for global contribution by a person on the spectrum, Jennifer has advised the President’s Council on Disabilities and keynotes internationally. Her multimedia social education company, Asperkids, debuted in 2013 and now reaches over 250,000 each month, spreading the precious, precocious AWESOMENESS of differently-wired wonderful. She was diagnosed at 34 as an Aspie & is the (very) proud mom of three Asperkids. Find out more about Jennifer here.

Stephen Mark Shore

Diagnosed with “Atypical Development and strong autistic tendencies” and “too sick” for outpatient treatment Dr. Shore was recommended for institutionalization. Nonverbal until four, and with much support from his parents, teachers, wife, and others, Stephen is now a professor at Adelphi University where his research focuses on matching best practice to the needs of people with autism.In addition to working with children and talking about life on the autism spectrum, Stephen is internationally renowned for presentations, consultations and writings on lifespan issues pertinent to education, relationships, employment, advocacy, and disclosure. 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, president emeritus of the Asperger’s Association of New England, and advisory board member of the Autism Society, Dr. Shore serves on the boards of the Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism Association, The US Autism and Asperger Association, the Scientific Counsel of OAR, and other autism related organizations.

Header image: Alex Nichols weaving

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.