Principal Subject Bud was a young adult in college (Radio-Television-Film; Temple University) when mental illness struck. Over the years, he has been diagnosed with Major Depression, Bipolar Disorder, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and most recently with Asperger’s Syndrome.
After graduation, Bud worked as a film and video production assistant before moving to Los Angeles, where he was a freelance script reader for Ridley Scott’s Too Magic Productions. In the wake of severe depression, Bud returned to Philadelphia. His emotional problems worsened and he entered a long-term residential treatment program.
Bud gradually got better. After a multi-year job gap, he worked as a wedding video editor, which he described as a safe harbor. He enjoyed the job, and it naturally invited him to practice self-management skills. He also met new people outside of the world of treatment. Bud moved forward, punctuated by episodic setbacks. He currently lives by himself in Philadelphia and receives outpatient therapy for help with his OCD and Asperger’s Syndrome. Several years ago, Bud’s father established the Clayman Family Foundation to support mental health advocacy and other social services. Today, Bud manages its day-to-day operations. As a filmmaker, Bud’s vision of this documentary is clear. “I want people to understand that there is more to mental illness than pain and problems. My recovery is about acceptance and getting on with life.”
Cathy Grayson, M.A. has specialized in Asperger’s Syndrome and high functioning autism as both a teacher and a consultant for more than 30 years. She provides consultant services to families, schools and agencies, focusing upon behavioral skills, social thinking skills, language skills, assessment, inclusion, as well as developing individualized programs using cognitive social integration therapy. She is nationally known for her work and has presented numerous workshops to professionals and parents. Ms. Grayson and Alan Sohn co-authored Parenting Your Asperger Child, a “how to” book that takes a problem solving approach to help parents and professionals teach the skills individuals with Asperger’s need to function in the real world.
Judy holds a Master’s of Education in Recreation and Leisure Studies with an emphasis in Administration from Temple University and a Bachelor of Science from the Pennsylvania State University in Therapeutic Recreation. Judy has been supporting the growth and development of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities for almost thirty years and has been employed at SPIN since 1986. Within her 25 years at SPIN, Judy has dedicated herself to a career providing and ensuring quality, best practice services and supports.
Judy began in the field in direct support as a Therapeutic Recreation Specialist. Her commitment to innovative, inclusive community resource development and collaboration has been a hallmark. Judy served as the Corporate Officer of Professional Development at SPIN and has been dedicated to achieving nationally recognized success in the area of professional workforce development. In May, 2011, Judy was promoted to the Executive Director. Judy has served on ANCOR’s Foundation Board, Community College of Philadelphia, Arcadia University, Temple University and Holy Family University’s Advisory Councils. Currently, Judy serves as chair of the Philadelphia Alliance Intellectual Disabilities Domain.
Judy has been an adjunct instructor at Temple University and lectures in many college classrooms. In addition, Judy has presented on the topics of innovative program development, leadership and workforce development at local, state and national conferences. Judy believes in the power of possibility and that partnering and investing in people can provide unique opportunities for everyone to reach their fullest potential and share their strengths with others.
After working with children, adolescents and adults who have disabilities for 30 years and seeing firsthand the high incidence of sexual abuse, Ms. Nowell went back to school and completed a Master’s Degree in Sexuality Education in 2002. Since then she has worked hard addressing the unmet need for sexuality and relationship education for people who are on the autism spectrum or have intellectual disabilities.
Over the past 10 years Ms. Nowell has taught hundreds of adolescents and adults about relationship skills, sexual abuse prevention, sexual health, and boundaries. Ms. Nowell has developed best practice models of care for people with disabilities who are victims of sexual abuse, and people who have problematic sexual behavior or are sex offenders. In 2007 she received the Emerging Professional Award from The Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality for her work.
In 2009, because of the lack of quality materials for teachers and parents of teens with ASD or intellectual disabilities, Ms. Nowell founded Social Signals LLC. Social Signals develops materials that teach healthy relationship skills which can be used by both teachers and families. These materials are available at www.socialsignalsED.com.
Nina Wall, M.SS., LSW, is the Director for the Bureau of Autism Services in the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare. Prior to this position, she served as co-chair of the Autism Task Force commissioned by Secretary Richman in July 2003. She was a founding member and first President of the Pennsylvania Action Coalition for Autism Services (PACAS), a statewide board of regional autism advocates. She has served as a Board member for Pennsylvania Protection and Advocacy, and served for seven years as the Information and Referral Director for the Autism Society of Greater Philadelphia. A graduate of Bryn Mawr College’s Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research, Ms. Wall worked as a family, child and adolescent therapist with a specific focus on clinical work with families of children and adolescents with ASD and other behavioral health challenges. Ms. Wall is the parent of a young adult with autism.
Rachel Simon is an award-winning author of six books and a nationally recognized public speaker on issues related to diversity and disability. Her titles include the bestsellers The Story of Beautiful Girl and Riding The Bus with My Sister. Both books are frequent selections of book clubs and school reading programs around the country. Ms. Simon’s work has been adapted for theater, NPR, the Lifetime Channel, and Hallmark Hall of Fame, whose adaptation of Riding The Bus With My Sister starred Rosie O’ Donnell and was directed by Anjelica Huston. A new, updated edition of the book Riding The Bus With My Sister, was released in early March, with fifty pages of new material that continue the sisters’ life-changing journey.
Ms. Simon graduated from Bryn Mawr College in 1981 with a Bachelors degree in Anthropology. She received an M.F.A. in Fiction Writing from Sarah Lawrence College in 1988. She has taught creative writing at a number of local colleges, including Penn State Abington, University of the Arts, and Bryn Mawr College. Currently she writes full-time. Rachel Simon lives in Wilmington, DE, with her husband Hal.
Walter Lewis is a manager for the MossRehab Drucker Brain Injury Center’s, Community Residence (group home) and for the two Moss Rehab Clubhouse programs. He received his Master of Education in Therapeutic Recreation from Temple University. He is a certified Therapeutic Recreation Specialist and a certified Brain Injury Specialist. Walter’s experience in healthcare consists of over twenty years’ experience in mental health, both inpatient and outpatient settings, and he has worked as an Activities Director in both the nursing home and adult day program environments. He has worked for MossRehab Drucker Brain Injury Center for over 10 years.
Walter has co-presented several sessions on the Use of the Clubhouse Model for survivors of traumatic and acquired brains for Pennsylvania, Delaware and New Jersey Brain Injury Association/Alliance at their annual conferences. At the Drucker Brain Center, Walter participated in a work group which researched, developed and presented a model for educating Drucker staff and survivors of Traumatic Brain Injury on Sexuality and Intimacy.
Additionally, Walter is an Adjunct Professor for the STEM program at Cumberland County Community College, New Jersey.