Asperger Center for Education and Training

About Us

Lynda Geller

Lynda Geller, Ph.D.

Lynda Geller, Ph.D., served on the faculties of Georgetown University, Stony Brook University and NYU Medical Schools for 25 years, where she created and developed clinical centers providing an extensive array of services for children and adults with autism spectrum conditions. She has also designed and taught numerous courses on autism spectrum conditions at Stony Brook University, Pace University, Hunter College, and Bank Street College. Dr. Geller developed training courses in coaching students with Asperger Syndrome in college and supporting students on the autism spectrum transitioning to adulthood, that she delivers around the country.

Dr. Geller has consulted with a wide range of schools and families struggling with the complexities of including students on the spectrum in mainstream classrooms. She has developed a variety of innovative interventions designed to address the unique issues adults face in the realms of work, marriage and relationships. Dr. Geller has a clinical practice in New York City that provides specialized clinical and educational services for children, adolescents, and adults with Asperger Syndrome and related conditions. She founded Spectrum Services (, an interdisciplinary cooperative of independent practices and organizations specializing in Asperger Syndrome and other related conditions. Dr. Geller can be reached at For further information on her practice, please see

Mitch Nagler

Mitch Nagler, MA, LMHC

Mitch Nagler, MA, LMHC is the Director of the Bridges to Adelphi Project, which is funded by the Jewish Child Care Association. Mitch is also the Director of the Adelphi Center for Social Training, which provides group and individual counseling and support services to 15-22 year old individuals with Asperger Syndrome, and their families. Mitch also maintains private practice offices in Merrick, NY and in New York City where he specializes in group and individual counseling and support to individuals on the spectrum. Mitch can be reached at
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Ilene Solomon

Ilene Solomon, Ph.D.

Ilene Solomon, Ph.D. is a post-doctorally trained clinical and pediatric neuropsychologist and organizational consultant. She has twenty-five years of experience working in and consulting to medical and educational institutions and independent professional practitioners. She is the former Chief Psychologist at the Child Development Center at Nassau University Hospital, has taught at Long Island University, Bank Street College of Education, and is currently an Associate at the Institute for Cognitive Diversity at Bank Street. Dr. Solomon is in private practice in Long Island, New York. As a neuropsychologist, Dr. Solomon specializes in the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of neurodevelopmental disorders including specific learning disorders, attention disorders, and social learning disorders. She routinely evaluates children through the entire age range from early childhood through young adult. As an organizational consultant and neuropsychologist, Dr. Solomon has assisted numerous school districts to understand that cognitive functioning is not limited to academic success, and has helped develop appropriate educational programs for students with both executive functioning and academic challenges. As a clinical psychologist, Dr. Solomon specializes in the treatment of children, families and parents with a range of difficulties including autism spectrum disorders, other social learning challenges, and attention and learning disorders. She provides individual and family therapy and parent training.

Rhea Hooper

Rhea Hooper, MS, CCC-P

Rhea Hooper, M.A., CCC-SLP is a speech-language pathologist who has worked with children on the spectrum from early childhood through adolescence. Ms. Hooper currently has a clinical practice in New York City which provides assessment, individual treatment and social skills groups for children with Asperger syndrome and related conditions. Ms. Hooper previously served on faculty of NYU Child Study Center and worked in a variety of school settings where she provided a wide array of services to children with speech and language disorders and autism spectrum disorders. She has experience constructing and facilitating group-based treatment models, consulting on home-based therapy programs, and training parents and educators on use of effective communication strategies and treatment programs. Ms. Hooper is a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. She holds her New York State license and teaching certificate for the speech and hearing handicapped.

Renee Soufer

Enid Gort, Ph.D.

Enid Gort is an educator who holds a Ph. D. in medical anthropology from Columbia University and currently teaches at the Sophie Davis School of Biomedical Education at the City University of New York. She has a Certificate in college coaching for students with Asperger Syndrome from Bank Student College of Education. Her experience includes over two decades in college student advising and several years working within the Autism Spectrum community. She publishes in social science journals and is a frequent contributor to the Asperger Spectrum and High Functioning Autism Association Bulletin.

Renee Soufer

Michele Robins, Ph.D.

Michele Robins, Ph.D. is a neuropsychologist and school certified psychologist currently licensed in Pennsylvania. She holds a doctorate in clinical/developmental psychology from Bryn Mawr College. Michele has over 25 years experience in the area of assessment of children, adolescents and adults with learning and emotional problems associated with autism spectrum disorders. As a clinical associate at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School, Department of Psychiatry and a former director of psychology training at the Philadelphia Child Guidance Center of the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Michele consults and lectures widely on the treatment of disorders throughout the lifespan. As a fellow of the Academy of Cognitive Therapy as well as family therapist, Michele uniquely integrates cognitive behavior therapy, family therapy and school consultation to create individualized treatment for individuals with autism spectrum disorders.

Renee Soufer

Shuli Sandler, Psy.D.

Shuli Sandler is a clinical psychologist who received her doctorate in psychology from Long Island University, C.W. Post Campus. Her dissertation focused on remediating some of the social deficits associated with Asperger Syndrome using a unique video-modeling technique. Dr. Sandler is currently in private practice, with offices in New York and New Jersey, and she is licensed in both states. She has extensive experience in working with high-functioning children, adolescents, and adults on the autism spectrum with an emphasis on teaching emotional awareness and regulation. She also has experience running social skills groups and groups with a focus on teaching executive functioning to children and adolescents on the spectrum. Dr. Sandler can be reached at or (646) 374-8543.

Nick Villani

Nicholas A. Villani, CEO of Career and Employment Options, Inc.

Nicholas A. Villani is the president and CEO of Career and Employment Options, Inc., (CEO). He has worked in the field of vocational training and employment for people with special needs since 1982. He has administered programs, written grants, designed programs as well as trained hundreds of professionals in the field of vocational services. For over twenty years, Mr. Villani was the Director of Vocational Services for Developmental Disabilities Institute and then Vice President of Community Enterprises of New York. He was instrumental in developing transition services in both of the agencies as well as designing employment program formats.

Mr. Villani has been a leader in the field of employment for individuals with disabilities by serving as one of its founders and Chairperson of the Long Island Supported Employment Providers Association. He has performed training for agency and school personnel across the United States and has worked as an administrator for not-for-profit and for-profit organizations providing transition services since 1990. Mr. Villani has taught at Dowling College since 1997 developing the course, “Transition Services for Students in Special Education” for graduate students in special education, as well as developing the first in the nation College Support Program for Students with Asperger’s Syndrome at Dowling College. 

While in the not-for-profit sector, he developed some of the earliest programs for individuals with autism in employment that included one of the first service models for adults with high functioning autism.

Mr. Villani and CEO have received several awards, including the “Best Practices in Transition” for work in collaboration with the Amityville School District, the best practices award from the Western Suffolk Guidance Counselors Association, and the SCOPE Award for Community Leader from Amityville School District. He recently appeared on National Public Radio’s “Sound Medicine” show in June of 2011 that featuring CEO’s work with students and adults with autism spectrum conditions. To contact Mr. Villani, please see the website at

Jaime Black

Jaime Black, Psy.D

Jaime Black, Psy.D is a clinical psychologist who earned her doctorate from Yeshiva University, Ferkauf Graduate School of Psychology. Her specialties include autism spectrum disorders, at-risk infants and thier parents, and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Dr. Black conducts individual therapy and runs at various social skills groups children and adults, including unique improvisation groups aimed at improving social skills and working executive functions. She conducts psychological and educational evaluations and writes a biweekly parenting column. Dr Black has offices in New York City and Westchester, NY. For more information or to schedule an appointment, email or call 914-712-8208

Ronni Aronow

Ronni Aronow, M.A., M.S., College Transition Consultant

Ronni Aronow, founder of Supporting Success, LLC, provides individualized High School Skills Coaching, Transition Planning and College Support for students that experience challenges in the areas of Executive Functioning, Social Communication and Stress Management. She is an IECA (Independent Educational Consultants Association) Associate Member. As the Long Island Regional Program Manager for AHEADD (Achieving in Higher Education with Autism and other Developmental Disabilities), she had the opportunity to work with families and support students with disabilities, such as Asperger’s Syndrome and ADHD, while they attended college. In addition, her education and training from Lehigh University (BA Social Relations), New York University (MA Elementary Education), Long Island University-CW Post (MS Special Education with a Concentration in Autism Spectrum Disorders) as well as Certification in Coaching Students with Asperger’s Syndrome, and Certification in Teaching Yoga, has provided her with the knowledge and experience to best serve this population and to encourage them to reach their goals. As a mother of three (one college graduate, one college student, and one high school student), Ronni has experienced firsthand the importance of transition planning, researching colleges and disabilities departments to find the best match, and learning healthy stress management skills. She offers individualized support because she believes each student is unique and presents a different set of strengths and challenges that need to be addressed and supported in order for them to reach their greatest potential. Ronni has offices in NYC and Port Washington, Long Island.
Phone: 516.510.3409

Michael Greenberg

Michael Greenberg, LCSW-R, ACSW

Michael Greenberg, LCSW-R, ACSW has been a social worker at Stony Brook University Hospital for almost 30 years where he was worked at the Cody Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities since its inception in 2001. Mr. Greenberg has been an instructor and social worker in Stony Brook’s Division of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry for over 20 years while maintaining a private practice in psychotherapy in Selden, NY where he works with adults and adolescents. In addition to co-authoring (with Lynda Geller, PhD), “Managing the Transition Process from High School to College and Beyond: Challenges for Individuals, Families and Society,” Mr. Greenberg has presented at a variety of conferences on topics related to young people and their families. He was honored as a Paul Harris Fellow for his work with Stony Brook’s pediatric cardiology program, is a recipient of the New York State/United University Professionals Excellence Award and has twice received the annual Program Award of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Long Island Chapter. Mr. Greenberg has a private practice specializing in adolescents, adults, and families dealing with autism spectrum disorders.

Mary Cohen

Mary Cohen, Ph.D.

Mary Cohen, Ph.D. has thirty-two years of experience working with children, adolescents, adults and their families. She has worked in the field of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) for fourteen years and specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of autism and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Currently licensed in Pennsylvania and New York, she provides individual therapy, family therapy and social skills training groups for adolescents and adults. Her additional training is in neuropsychological assessment and she provides neuropsychological evaluations for ASD individuals to better understand their unique cognitive profile and assist in educational and vocational planning. Dr. Cohen is a consultant to several schools/autism programs and assists with the special educational programming needs of ASD students. She is a clinical consultant to the Coffeehouse Center of Bucks County which provides support for young adults with Asperger’s and Pervasive Developmental Disorder/NOS. Her ongoing research is in the area of Asperger’s Syndrome gender differences, social cognition and social anxiety in ASD. As an Associate Professor in the Social Learning Disorders Program of the Penn Psychiatry Department, she developed the Social Skills Seminar for adults with autism spectrum disorders. It has been featured in the NY Times and on National Public Radio. Dr. Cohen has been a faculty member of Holy Family University in the graduate counseling psychology program and the University of Pennsylvania Department of Psychiatry. She is a frequent presenter at autism organizations, colleges and universities, and conferences in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and New York. She is the author of Social Literacy: Learning to Read Social Interaction. It is published by Brookes Publishing and will be available in 2010.

Renee Soufer

Renee Soufer, M.A., M.Ed.

Renee Soufer, M.Ed., is a doctoral graduate student in Yeshiva University's Clinical Psychology PhD program. She received her Master's in Education from Harvard University, with a concentration inHuman Development and Psychology. Ms. Soufer has served as a classroom teacher for children on the autism spectrum, gaining experience with curriculum development and staff training both in public and private schools. Subsequently, she received intensive clinical and research training as a psychology extern at the NYU Child Study Center's Asperger Institute. She currently serves as an individual therapistfor adult Asperger patients and consults with schools and families on the autistic spectrum. Ms. Soufer has significant experience in assessment, treatment and diagnosis for children, adolescents and adults with autism spectrum disorders. Ms. Soufer has also developed and led social skills groups for children, adolescents, and young adults on the spectrum.

Renee Soufer

Haris Karnezi, Ph.D.

Haris Karnezi, Ph.D. had been working as a professional actress and drama facilitator for 10 years prior to her engagement in autism research. Her educational qualifications include a BA in theatre studies from the Athens School of Dramatic Art in Greece; an MA in Drama in Education (DIE) from the University of Central England in Birmingham, UK; and a PhD in Psychology from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland. Over the course of her PhD, Haris had the opportunity to work on a regular basis with over 50 children on the autism spectrum. This experience gave her an invaluable insight into their needs, and the impetus to develop an intervention model to address them.

Her commitment to the research of autism and the quality of her scholarly output is evidenced in the honours and awards she received throughout the duration of her studies. These include a three year scholarship from Trinity College Dublin (2004-07), funding from the Irish National Council for Special Education (2007), and a TCD Postgraduate Research Award (2007). Haris has presented her work in peer-reviewed conferences, nationally and internationally, and has also led workshops at the Education and Psychology departments of TCD. Her doctoral dissertation entitled: “A novel intervention devised to address the needs of High Functioning Children with Autism, based on the principles of Drama in Education Cognitive and Behavioural theories”, is now available at the TCD library. Following the success of the CBD model as evidenced in the research findings, parental reports and the participants’ enthusiasm to continue with the sessions after the completion of the research programme, Haris had set up collaborations with special schools and clinics in Dublin and in Melbourne. To date, over a hundred children have enjoyed the benefits of the CBD model.

Debra Solomon

Debra Solomon - Certified life and Career Coach

Debra Solomon, founder and professional coach at Spectrum Strategies, focuses on training young adults on the Autism Spectrum and helps them accomplish their life and career goals. Children and young adults on the Autism Spectrum have specialty skills that can be leveraged for successful careers as long as they are steered in the right direction and taught the proper techniques. Debra takes her clients through every step of the job interview process, giving them the confidence to succeed. Her coaching expertise range from providing tips on what to wear on a job interview to teaching executive functioning skills. Debra is an NYU certified life and career coach who helps her clients discover what jobs would be the best match for their interests and abilities. Coaching skills range from individual to family, in order to help them transition from college, the vocational world, or the work force. She has a practice in Long Island and at Spectrum Services in Manhattan. Debra graduated from Syracuse University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business and Sales Administration.