About the Authors


Amanda Deering
Amanda Deering is an undergraduate student at UCLA pursuing a degree in Psychology.  She has been working at C.A.R.D. as a Research Assistant since summer of 2010.  Before C.A.R.D., Amanda first learned about Autism Spectrum Disorders at the UCSB Koegel Autism Center.  Outside of C.A.R.D., she is an aspiring photographer and works as a DJ on UCLA radio.


Amy Kenzer

Dr. Amy Kenzer is currently a Research and Development Manager at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders. Dr. Kenzer has worked in a variety of positions in the field of behavior analysis, including basic research, applied research, and practical work; with individuals with and without autism and other developmental disabilities, of all ages, and their families and care providers. Her earliest work was at the University of Nevada, Reno Early Childhood Autism Program. Dr. Kenzer is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral and a licensed behavior analyst in the state of Arizona.  She received her PhD in Behavior Analysis from the University of Nevada, Reno, under the mentorship of Dr. Patrick M. Ghezzi.  Dr. Kenzer also provides graduate level training in behavior analysis at Arizona State University.  Dr. Kenzer’s primary research interests include habituation of operant responding, fluency-based instruction, component analysis of ABA-based teaching techniques, and large-scale outcome research. Dr. Kenzer’s primary professional interests include graduate academic and clinical training, as well as bridging basic and applied research in behavior analysis.


Marlena N. Smith
Marlena N. Smith earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley. She has been with CARD since fall 2009 and works as an Analytics Coordinator. In addition to writing for the blog, Marlena has contributed to multiple CARD Research and Development publications. In her free time, Marlena enjoys hiking, cooking, singing karaoke, and spending time with family.


Daphne Plump
Daphne is the Public Relations and Events Manager for the Center for Autism and Related Disorders. She joined CARD in 2007, and loves all aspects of her work and her incredible team! Daphne spent 17 years as a news reporter and foreign news correspondent, with work taking her from Iowa to Serbia….from China to Los Angeles and everywhere in between. Daphne is committed to making CARD’s Public Relations and Events the best sources for delivering global autism awareness. Questions? Contact her at d.plump@centerforautism.com.


Jonathan Tarbox
Dr. Jonathan Tarbox is currently the Director of Research and Development at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders. Dr. Tarbox has worked in a variety of positions in the field of behavior analysis, including basic research, applied research, and practical work; with individuals with and without autism and other developmental disabilities, of all ages, and their families and care providers. He has worked for and in public school districts, private schools, sheltered workshops, group homes, developmental centers, behavioral consultation agencies, hospitals, and community-based recreational programs; in direct service provision, supervision, consultation, and program development and director roles. His early career involved positions at both the New England Center for Children and the Kennedy Krieger Institute. Dr. Tarbox is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral, and he received his PhD in Behavior Analysis from the University of Nevada, Reno, under the mentorship of Dr. Linda J. Hayes. Throughout his career in behavior analysis, Dr. Tarbox has been actively engaged in basic, applied, and interdisciplinary research and has over 35 publications in peer-reviewed journals, book chapters in scientific texts, and articles in popular media. Dr. Tarbox currently serves on the board of editors for the The Analysis of Verbal Behavior and Behavior Analysis in Practice, is a past member of the board of editors of the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis, and currently serves on the Governmental Affairs Committee of the Practice Board of the Association for Behavior Analysis International, the Board of Advisors for the Chicago School for Professional Psychology Los Angeles, and is the President of the Nevada Association for Behavior Analysis. Dr. Tarbox’s primary research interests include verbal behavior, rule-governed behavior, private events, and recovery from autism. Dr. Tarbox’s primary professional interests include graduate academic and clinical training, as well as dissemination of behavior analysis at the national and international levels.


Adel Najdowski
Dr. Adel Najdowski graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2004 with her doctorate in Psychology. She was a Manager of Research and Development at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders, Inc from 2005 – 2009 during which time she was a co-creator of CARD SKILLS, a comprehensive assessment and curriculum for children with autism. She currently serves as the Director of SKILLS. Dr. Najdowski has served children with autism for 15 years. She began in 1995 as a therapist providing direct 1:1 instruction to children with autism using applied behavior analysis (ABA). Since then, Dr. Najdowski was a behavioral consultant for multiple school districts between 1999-2003 as well as a Clinical Specialist for the Nevada Center for Severe Behavior Problems from 2000-2004 and the Assistant Co-Director of the UNR Early Childhood Autism Center-Based Program from 2001-2002. Dr. Najdowski has taught multiple undergraduate and graduate level courses in psychology for the University of Nevada, Reno. She served on the editorial board for the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis in 2010 and has also served as a guest reviewer for Behavior Analysis in Practice. Dr. Najdowski has been a National Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) since 2003 and a doctorate level BCBA-D since 2009. She has six first-authored publications, 18 co-authored publications, and has been an author on 63 presentations given at conferences. Her current research interests include teaching higher level skills to children with autism, assessment and curriculum design for children with autism, evaluation of procedures used in early intensive behavioral intervention programs, and feeding disorders.


Olivia Maximo

Olivia Maximo graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in English in 2008. Olivia has always liked writing and cannot think of a better way to make a small difference than through her words. As an L.A. native she is drawn to the crowds, celebrity gossip, and the outdoor and an eco-friendly lifestyle. Olivia is excited for the progress, although slight, that has been made in the research of Autism and cannot wait to spread the news with everyone.


Morvarid Naghshineh
Morvarid Naghshineh is the BI Reports Developer for the analytics department, at the Center for Autism and Related Disorders. Morvarid earned her master’s degree from University of Southern California, in International Public Policy and Management, in 2006. She has over three years experience working directly with special needs children, and joined CARD in the summer of 2011. Morvarid’s hobbies are listening to music, dancing, improving her flamenco guitar skills, and spending time with her family.


Tyler Bridges
Tyler graduated from Azusa Pacific University with a BA in Business.  Tyler works for CARD as the Social Networking Coordinator, and with over 4 years of experience working with kids, and 2 years experience in Social Media Marketing, Tyler is optimally suited for his work at CARD. Tyler is also an avid cyclist and health enthusiast spending most of his weekends outside.