Advisory Committee

The Neurodiversity Initiative Advisory Committee is an interdisciplinary group of colleagues who collaborate on a variety of programs, events, and initiatives.

Dr. Shahla Ala’i-Rosales

Associate Professor

Dept. of Behavior Analysis

Devin Axtman

Student Services Coordinator

Office of Disability Accommodation

Dr. Samantha Bergman

Assistant Professor

Dept. of Behavior Analysis

Dr. Miriam Boesch, Associate Professor, Dept. of Educational Psychology,

Recent publications:

  • Da Fonte, M. A., Boesch, M. C., & Clouse, K. A. (in-press). Aided communication systems: Using assistive technology to support individuals with complex communication needs. In D. Chambers (Ed.), Assistive technology to support inclusive education. Bingley, West Yorshire, U.K.: Emerald.
  • Da Fonte, M. A., Boesch, M. C., Wolfe, N. P., & Young, R. D. (2019, in-press). Communication system identification for individuals with complex communication needs: The need for effective feature matching. International Review of Research in Developmental Disabilities, 57.
  • Boesch, M. C., Da Fonte, M. A., Ostroff, A., Wilson, J., & Paranczak, J. (2018). Culturally sensitive considerations: Identifying and using reinforcers in the classroom. The Journal of the International Association of Special Education, 18, 64-69.
  • Da Fonte, M. A., & Boesch, M. C. (2018). Implementing effective augmentative and alternative communication practices for students with complex communication needs: A handbook for school-based practitioners. New York, NY: Routledge.

Recent presentations:

  • Begley, E., Boesch, M. C., & Thiessen, A. L. (2019, March). People who use AAC during natural disasters: Lessons from Hurricane Harvey. Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the Texas Speech-Language-Hearing Association, Fort Worth, TX.
  • Boesch, M. C., & Da Fonte, M. A. (2019, January). AAC apps: Using a feature matching evaluation tool. Poster presented at the Annual Convention of the Council for Exceptional Children, Indianapolis, IN.
  • Boesch, M. C., & Da Fonte, M. A. (2019, February). A teacher’s guide to embedding AAC in the classroom. Poster presented at the Annual Convention of the Council for Exceptional Children, Indianapolis, IN.

Dr. Susan Nichols, PhD, BCBA-D

Kristin Farmer Autism Center Representative

Dr. Andrew Colombo-Dougovito, Assistant Professor, Dept. of KHPR,

Recent publications:

  • Colombo-Dougovito, A. M. (2019, in press). Building rapport: Improve interviews to capture detailed responses from parents of children with disabilities. PALAESTRA. (Professional Affiliation: Adapted Physical Activity Council of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance; United States Paralympics, a division of the United States Olympic Committee; and the Education Committee of the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association)
  • Colombo-Dougovito, A. M., Kelly, L. E., & Block, M. E. (2019). The effect of task modifications on the fundamental motor skills of boys on the autism spectrum. Journal of Developmental and Physical Disabilities, 31(5), 653-668. DOI: 10.1007/s10882-019-09666-4
  • Colombo-Dougovito, A. M., & Block, M. E. (2019). Fundamental motor skill interventions for individuals with autism spectrum disorder: A literature review. Review Journal of Autism and Developmental Disabilities, 6(2), 159-171. DOI: 10.1007/s40489-019-00161-2 (JIF: 1.407; Scimago H-index: 12; SJR: Q2 in Psychiatry and Mental Health)
  • Blagrave, A. J., & Colombo-Dougovito, A. M. (2019). Community barriers to physical activity for families with a child with autism spectrum disorder. Advances in Neurodevelopmental Disorders, 3(1), 72-84. DOI: 10.1007/s41252-018-0094-0.

Recent presentations:

  • Colombo-Dougovito, A. M. (2018, Sept.). Task Modification to effectively build gross motor skills in autistic youth. Paper presented at the Northern California Autism Symposium, Chico, CA.
  • Colombo-Dougovito, A. M. (2018, July). Inclusion of autistic voices: Strategies to navigate the grey area of informed consent. Paper presented as a part of a panel at the 9th International Conference on Applied Human Factors and Ergonomics and the Affiliated Conferences, Orlando, FL.

Lucy Gafford



Dr. Linda Holloway, Professor, Rehabilitation & Health Studies,

Recent publication:

  • Catalano, D., Holloway, L., Mpofu, E. (2018).  Mental health interventions for parent caregivers of children with autism spectrum disorder: practice guidelines from a critical interpretive synthesis (CIS) systematic review.  International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 15, 341.

Recent presentations:

  • Holloway, L. (2019).  Creating an Inclusive Climate for Individuals who are Neurodivergent.  23rd Annual Texas Higher Education Law Conference, March 26, 2019, Denton, TX.
  • Holloway, L., Ennis-Cole, D., D’Souza, N., Gafford, L., & Cole, R. (2018).  STEM at the Park! Collaborating to Help Students Explore Careers in STEM. NCRE Fall Conference, October 26, 2018, Washington, DC.
  • Holloway, L. (2018). Vocational Rehabilitation for Individuals with ASD.  Presented at National Taiwan Normal University, April 27, 2017, Taipei, Taiwan.
  • Holloway, L. (2018). Transition from High School to College.  Presented at National Taiwan Normal University, April 28, 2017, Taipei, Taiwan.
  • Deer, L., Holloway, L., & Cihon, T. (2016).  The Role of Community & Social Support for College Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Adventures in Autism; Intervention and Research Conference, July 30, 2016, Denton, TX.

Dr. Tamara Knapp-Grosz


Counseling & Testing

Dr. Boji Lam

Assistant Professor

Speech & Hearing Sciences

Lauren Mathews, Clinical Assistant Professor. Speech & Hearing Sciences,

Recent publications:

  • Kamakshi V. Gopal, Erin C. Schafer, Lauren Mathews, Rajesh Nandy, Derek Beaudoin, Laura Schadt, Ashley Brown, Bryce Phillips and Joshua Caldwell. (2019) “Effects of Auditory Training on Electrophysiological Measures in Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.” Journal of the American Academy of Audiology. In press.
  • Schafer, E. C., Gopal, K. V., Mathews, L., Thompson, S., Kaiser,K., McCullough, S., Jones, J., Castillo, P., Canale E., Hutcheson, A. (2018). “Effects of auditory training and remote‐microphone technology on the behavioral performance of children and young adults who have autism spectrum disorder.” Journal of the American Academy of Audiology. In press.

Recent presentations:

  • Mathews, Lauren (2019, November). To Succeed or Not Succeed: Considerations for Individuals with ASD in Higher Education.  Accepted presentation the American Speech-Language Hearing Association Annual Convention, Orlando, FL.
  • Mathews, Lauren, Schafer, Erin C. (2018, November). School-Based Management of Auditory Processing Dysfunction in ASD: Speech-Language Pathology & Audiology. Presentation at the American Speech-Language Hearing Association Annual Convention, Boston, MA.
  • Mathews, Lauren, Holloway, Linda, Murphy, John (2019, 2018, 2017). Defining Neurodiversity.  Campus- wide presentation to various UNT departments, student support offices or student groups to facilitate understanding and acceptant of Neurodiversity.  Currently have trained over 500 faculty, staff and students, Denton, TX.
  • Mathews, Lauren, Javaheri, Sophia, Jurek, Aubrianne (2018, June). Preliminary Outcomes from an Auditory Processing Training Model for Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Presentation at the Texas Autism Research Conference, Austin, TX.

Dr. Maureen McGuiness

Dean of Students
Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs

Dr. Smita Mehta


Educational Psychology

John Murphy, Ph.D., Professor & Chair, Division of Jazz Studies,


  • Welcoming the Autistic community: Neurodiversity-based approaches to equitable library services, with Sara Outhier and Zachary Tumlin, Music Library Association annual meeting, Norfolk, 2020
  • So You Think Your Supervisor/Student/Colleague is Neurodivergent? With Linda Holloway and Lauren Mathews, UNT, April 2018.
  • My Experience with Music-Induced Hearing Loss. Health in Music Education Conference, UNT, 2016.
  • Accommodating the Needs of Students on the Autism Spectrum in University Music Programs, Society for Ethnomusicology annual meeting, Washington, D.C., 2016.
  • Who Cares if You (Can’t) Listen? Noise-induced hearing loss as a research problem and occupational hazard in ethnomusicology, Co-presented with Kris Chesky. Society for Ethnomusicology annual meeting, Los Angeles, 2010. My portion is published in UNT’s open access archive:

Stacy Nunnelee

Senior Lecturer

Speech & Hearing Sciences

Erin O'Toole

Librarian III

University Library


Elaine Pawlowicz

Associate Professor

Studio Art

Kathy Roberts

Application Support Analyst

Dr. Erin Schafer

Associate Professor

Speech & Hearing Sciences

Dr. Rachita Sharma



Rehabilitation and Health Services

Dr. Karen Toussaint

Associate Professor

Behavior Analysis

Dr. Gina Vanacore

Senior Director


Dr. Katy Washington


Office of Disability Access