ISA Faculty

ISA Faculty The Center for Integrated Self-Advocacy

The Center’s courses are taught by expert and engaged professors who guide learning – including Dr. Valerie Paradiz, developer of the ISA curriculum. All Houlton faculty are also supported by teaching assistants. Houlton faculty include recipients of distinguished awards from the National Science Foundation, the Ford Foundation, The Institute for Humane Studies, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the New York Academy of Sciences, and National Academies of Sciences, among others. ISA faculty are highly experienced practitioners of this innovative modeland have garnered several awards including prestigious book awards and research fellowships.

Program Faculty


Valerie Paradiz, PhD heads the Center for Integrated Self-Advocacy and is the director of the Autistic Global Initiative (AGI) of the Autism Research Institute, a groundbreaking program staffed by adults on the autism spectrum devoted to building partnerships across stakeholder groups within the disability community. Paradiz also directs her own consultancy, Valerie Paradiz, LLC, which designs leading curricula and provides technical assistance and strategic planning to schools, universities, corporations and agencies that support individuals with disabilities. In her capacity as AGI director, Valerie serves as an NGO representative to the United Nations and as Editor-in-Chief of the Autism Research Institute’s Adults with ASD eBulletin. Her service to boards and advisory councils include Autism Speaks’ Family Services Committee, the Autism Society of America, IDEA Partnership’s National Community of Practice in Autism, the National Institute of Mental Health’s Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee’s Strategic Planning Consortium, and Bankstreet College of Education’s Autism Annotation Board.

Dr. Paradiz is the developer of the 2010 International Book Award finalist in education, Integrated Self-Advocacy ISA®, which includes a certification training series for educators, therapists, families and support providers who wish to foster individuals with ASD in achieving greater self-determination and ability in self-advocacy. Additional publications include Lesson Plan a la Carte (AAPC, 2011), an easy planning model that helps educators and support providers to create interventions that integrate learning objectives with therapeutic supports and accommodations directly in the classroom, the community, employment or other learning settings. Valerie is also a contributor to Scholars on the Spectrum Achieving Dreams (Auricle, 2012), a collection of essays written by adults with autism spectrum diagnoses. Her memoir, Elijah’s Cup (Simon & Schuster, 2003) is the story of the author’s experiences raising her autistic son and their involvement together in the self-advocacy community. Dr. Paradiz has been featured in the New York Times, Redbook Magazine, The Guardian, Parade Magazine, on NHK Japan, MTV’s True Life and on National Public Radio. Valerie received her PhD in German Studies from City University of New York’s Graduate Center.


Andrew Nelson, M.Ed., ISA-CI is a Positive Behavior Support Trainer with the West Virginia Autism Training Center at Marshall University where he provides Family Focused Positive Behavior Support and training to parents, teachers, and professionals on a variety of autism-related topics. He is the founder of the Autism Theatre Network and is the author of Foundation Role Plays for Autism (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2010). Andrew’s work has been noted in American Theatre, The Autism File, Southern Theatre, and Tathaastu: So Be It magazines. Andrew is an Integrated Self Advocacy Certified Instructor and also serves as an assistant editor for the ARI Adults with Autism eBulletin.


Anne Duquette is a special education teacher at a New York City public school in East Harlem; she teaches adolescents who are on the autism spectrum. Anne received her B.A. at Smith College. Anne received two M.A.’s at Teachers College, Columbia University. For her first M.A., as part of a fellowship, Anne assisted with a research project on an abuse-prevention curriculum designed to empower women with intellectual disabilities become effective decision-makers. For her second M.A., she conducted research in Kenya on sexual violence against female students with intellectual disabilities. Anne is presently working on her M.Ed. in School Leadership.

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