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Atlas Foundation For Autism

Atlas Staff


Amanda Friedman
Amanda Friedman, MSEd, SBL
Executive Director

Featured Articles By or About Amanda

Amanda is a special education teacher with over 15 years experience within the educational field. She has completed the Administrative Certification Program from the College of Saint Rose/CITE. Amanda has worked with students ranging in age from 3 – 25 years old with an array of differences including Autism, Mental Retardation, Emotional Disturbances (PTSD, Schizophrenia, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, etc.). She has acted as the Vice President for the Hudson Valley Autism Society, sat on several Walk for Autism Committees, and is a parent advocate for families at CSE and school meetings. Amanda has been through certified trainings in ABA, TEACCH, BART, and multiple trainings in DIR/Floortime.


Nicole Kolenda
Nicole Kolenda, M.S., CCC-SLP
Executive Clinical Director

Featured Articles By or About Nicole

Nicole is a NYS licensed/ASHA certified pediatric speech and language pathologist with over fifteen years experience with children and young adults with Developmental Differences. Nicole ran a thriving pediatric practice on Manhattan's Upper East Side for the past 14 years. She has taught and supervised at NYU, Columbia and Marymount University, as well as Hofstra University; she continues to teach as an adjunct. Nicole has also collaborated on research in the area of speech development and has written for numerous parent magazines and blogs.


Debbie Namdar
Debbie Namdar, M.S., CF-SLP
Speech Language Pathologist

Debbie is a speech and language pathologist, who earned her master’s degree from Hofstra University and is certified as a Teacher of Students with Speech and Language Disabilities (TSSLD). Prior to obtaining her master’s, Debbie received a bachelor’s degree from Queens College majoring in Communication Sciences and Disorders. She completed her clinical externship in the Great Neck Public Schools where she gained experience working with a wide variety of children with communication impairments. Throughout her clinical experiences, Debbie has learned the best ways of working with individuals from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds. Debbie believes in providing each child with individualized therapy by planning functional and meaningful activities. She values a team approach to helping students with learning differences, and enjoys working collaboratively with teachers, parents, students, and other professionals.


Kristein Lenzo
Kristin Lenzo, M.S., OTR/L
Occupational Therapy

Kristin is a licensed and registered occupational therapist who earned her Master’s of Science degree in Occupational Therapy from Seton Hall University. Prior to earning her master’s degree, she studied at The College of Staten Island and received a Bachelor’s of Arts degree in Psychology. Throughout the past eight years she has gained experience with children of all ages that have been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) while working at The GRACE foundation, a non-profit organization that is dedicated to providing support, education, and direct services to individuals and their families that are impacted by ASD. Kristin is a motivated team player and believes that with support, each child has the potential to meet their individual goals, improving their quality of life.


Erica Rahavy
Erica Rahavy, M.S., OTR/L

It's hard to believe Erica has been the Atlas School Psychologist for two years! Erica received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Boston University, and her Masters in School Psychology from Rochester Institute of Technology. She has worked with children with special needs in a variety of settings, including inpatient psychiatric, BOCES, and non-public schools. In addition to her certification as a School Psychologist, Erica became a certified RDI Consultant in 2009, and has also received certification in Strategies for Crisis Intervention and Prevention, Cornell University's Therapeutic Crisis Intervention, and clinical training in administration of the Autism Diagnostic Observation Scale (ADOS). Erica has presented at the Annual Relationship Development Intervention Conference, for the New York Association for Applied Behavior Analysis, and the Keyspan Lecture Series. One of Erica's most humbling positions is as the mother of two young boys.

Erica is available for RDI sessions, parent training, psycho-educational evaluations and behavioral consultations.


Robert Taylor
Robert Taylor
Staff and Student Program Supervisor

Robert Taylor has over 15 years working with children, young adults, and seniors with diverse developmental differences. He has had multiple trainings in BART, safety measures, behavioral supports etc. Albeit, Robert's greatest knowledge comes from respecting students and learning their ways of navigating the world and communication. He believes that in order to truly help a child one must be consistent, mentally present, and observing all of the time. Communication comes in many forms and sometimes simplicity and trust are the greatest foundations.

News & Featured Content

  • Amazon Smile: Shop on Amazon to Support Atlas

    Shop on Amazon.Com & have .05% of your total purchase be donated to Atlas by amazon. Simply select Atlas Foundation For Autism Inc as the charitable organization you would like to support.

  • Unique Traits of Individuals with Autism

    Autism Speaks Staffer interviewed Amanda Leeder to discuss her work as a doctoral candidate in Fordham University's Applied Developmental Psychology program. She has employed behavioral, developmental and literacy-based...

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