The Help Group’s Advance LA Announces 2018 Conference: Thriving Through Transitions Featuring Experts Whose Research and Practice Support Young Adults with Special Needs

On Friday, May 18, 2018, the Advance LA Conference will take place at the American Jewish University and will feature 20 internationally prominent experts whose research and practice support young people with autism, learning differences and ADHD in their transition to college, the workplace and beyond. This year’s conference theme will focus on neurodiversity and the many strengths young adults can harness as they transition to adulthood. Parents, students and professionals are invited for a day of inspiration, knowledge and action.

Conference speakers include:
·         Dan Siegel, M.D. (Keynote)
Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine; Founding Co-Director of the Mindful Awareness Research Center at UCLA; Executive Director of the Mindsight Institute; New York Times Bestselling Author
·         Rabbi Naomi Levy (Luncheon Speaker)
National bestselling author of To Begin Again, Talking to God, Hope Will Find You and Einstein and the Rabbi; Founder of Nashuva, a groundbreaking Jewish spiritual outreach movement; Named one of the top-fifty rabbis by Newsweek; Has appeared on The Oprah Winfrey Show, the Today Show and NPR
·         Mary Baker-Ericzen, Ph.D.
Licensed Psychologist; Director of the Intricate Mind Institute; Adjunct Faculty in the Marriage and Family Therapy Program and Clinical Faculty in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Diego
·         Michelle Bee, LMFT
Director of Advance LA; Licensed Psychotherapist with over 10 years of experience in the delivery and service of mental health care; Co-chair of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists Expressive Arts Committee; Author of Searching for SHE in Poet-Tree of Life
·         Dr. Jason Bolton, Psy.D.
Vice President of Programs at The Help Group; Member of the Board of Directors and Finance Chair of the California Association of Private Special Education Schools and Agencies (CAPSES)
·         Lydia Brown
Disability Justice Advocate and Organizer; Founding Board Member of the Alliance for Citizen Directed Services; Board Member of the Autism Women’s Network; Writer and Public Speaker who was honored by The White House in 2013; Public Interest Law Scholar at Northeastern University School of Law
·         Ellis Crasnow, Ph.D.
Director of STEM Education at The Help Group; International speaker on STEM education, special education, emerging technologies and neurodiversity in the workplace; Prior to his role in education, Dr. Crasnow was a successful entrepreneur
·         Victoria Dunckley, M.D.
Board-certified Child, Adolescent and Adult Psychiatrist; Author of Reset Your Child’s Brain: A Four Week Plan to End Meltdowns, Raise Grades and Boost Social Skills by Reversing the Effects of Electronic Screen Time
·         Yael Enav, Ph.D.
Clinical Psychologist with over 15 years of experience working and treating in Israel and the U.S.; Study lead at Stanford University’s Psychophysiology Lab, focusing on emotion regulation within children with ASD and their parents; Currently working at Stanford University’s Faculty Help Center and in private practice in Palo Alto
·         Elisha Goldstein, Ph.D.
Co-founding Director of The Center for Mindful Living in West Los Angeles; Psychologist; Speaker; Author of Uncovering Happiness: Overcoming Depression with Mindfulness and Self-Compassion
·         Amy Griffiths, Ph.D.
Co-founding Director of the Thompson Policy Institute; Assistant Professor of Clinical Counseling at Chapman University; Nationally Certified School Psychologist; Licensed Clinical Psychologist
·         Emily Ann Iland, M.A.
Adjunct Professor in the Department of Special Education at California State University, Northridge; Author; President of the Autism Society of America, Los Angeles; Founder of the Santa Clarita Autism Asperger Network
·         Tom Iland, CPA
Author, Come to Life: Your Guide to Self-Discovery; Certified Public Accountant; Distinguished Toastmaster; Board Member of Autism Speaks, The Art of Autism and Junior Chamber International
·         Robert Koegel, Ph.D.
Founding Director of the Koegel Autism Center at UC Santa Barbara; International authority in the area of autism, publishing over 200 articles and papers, and six books; Distinguished Professor; Senior Researcher at Stanford University School of Medicine; Recipient of numerous multi-million dollar research and training grants from NIH, NIMH, and DOE
·         Lynn Koegel, Ph.D.
Founding Clinical Director of the Koegel Autism Center at UC Santa Barbara; Co-author and Co-editor of major textbooks on autism; Co-author of the bestselling book, Overcoming Autism: Finding the Answers, Strategies, and Hope that Can Transform a Child’s Life; Developed and published procedure manuals used in school districts throughout the world; Clinical Professor at Stanford University School of Medicine
·         Elizabeth Laugeson, Psy.D.
Founder and Director of UCLA PEERS Clinic; Licensed Clinical Psychologist; Associate Clinical Professor at the UCLA Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior; Training Director for the UCLA Tarjan Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities; Author of PEERS for Young Adults: Social Skills Training for Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Other Social Challenges
·         Jessica McCabe
Actress and Writer; Creator and Host of the “How to ADHD” YouTube channel; Presenter of the popular TED Talk, “Failing at Normal: An ADHD Success Story”
·         Aydin Olson-Kennedy, MSW, ACSW
Executive Director, Los Angeles Gender Center; Co-founder, Stonewall Alliance Center Community Counseling Program; Co-founder, Transgender Task Force at California State University, Chico
·         Johanna Olson-Kennedy, M.D.
Medical Director, The Center for Transyouth Health and Development; Associate Professor of Clinical Pediatrics, Keck School of Medicine, USC; Clinical Researcher at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles
·         Lindsey Sterling, Ph.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist; Assistant Professor, California State University, Long Beach; Clinical Psychologist at The Weichman Clinic at Hoag Neuroscience Institute
Conference participants can select from 15 sessions focusing on academics and careers, relationships, gender dysphoria, and diagnostic considerations and interventions. The Advance LA Conference is open to educators, clinicians, researchers, parents, graduate and undergraduate students. Continuing education credits are available.
Registration options include $80 for students, $120 for parents and others, and $165 for professionals seeking CE credits. For information on Advance LA and the conference, please visit, call 818-779-5198 or email
Advance LA, an innovative program of The Help Group, provides individualized transition support, training, and resources to teens and young adults with a wide range of needs including learning differences, autism spectrum disorder, executive functioning difficulties, ADHD, and other social or emotional issues.
Founded in 1975, The Help Group is the largest, most innovative and comprehensive nonprofit of its kind in the United States serving children with special needs. Its broad range of educational, mental health and therapy services, child abuse and residential programs extends its reach to more than 6,000 children and their families each year.