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Atlas Foundation For Autism

Atlas Staff


Amanda Friedman
Amanda Friedman, MSEd, SBL
Director of Student Affairs & Co-Founder

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.


Kristen Iannuzzi
Kristen Iannuzzi, M.S., OTR/L
Occupational Therapist

Kristen is a NYS licensed occupational therapist with a masters in OT and a bachelors in Psychology from Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She was able to explore her passion for ASD at Grand Valley and was a recipient of the Holiday-Willey Scholarship for students pursing careers working with children with ASD. Kristen completed a pediatric affiliation at Mona Shores Public schools and a service learning project serving children with special needs in Ibarra, Ecuador during graduate school. She has also served as an ABA technician and an ice hockey coach for children with special needs. She is passionate about facilitating engagement in meaningful activities for individuals of all backgrounds and abilities.


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.


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

  • Big Daddy Autism - Documentry by Aaron Feinstein

    A documentry about the inspiring relationship between a divorced father with sole-custody of his son, Alex, a non-verbal 16yr old on the autism spectrum. (An Atlas Family)

  • 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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