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Understood experts

The professionals who advise Understood are all experts in their fields. They include educators, researchers, learning specialists, physicians, psychologists, lawyers, and more. They share a commitment to helping individuals who learn and think differently thrive in school, at work, and in life.

 

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Amanda Morin is Understood’s director of thought leadership and expertise.
Expertise: special education, learning disabilities and ADHD, early intervention, personal experience

Bob Cunninham, EdM, serves as executive director of learning development at Understood.

Expertise: special education, learning disabilities and ADHD, school administration

Ellen Braaten, PhD, is the director of the Learning and Emotional Assessment Program (LEAP) at Massachusetts General Hospital.

Expertise: neuropsychology, mental health, learning disabilities, ADHD

Claudia Rinaldi, PhD, is the Joan Weiler Arnow ’49 Professor at Lasell University, where she serves as chair of the education program.

Expertise: bilingual special education services, learning disabilities, and multi-tiered system of supports (MTSS), pre-service and in-service teacher preparation, bilingual (Spanish)

Kristin J. Carothers, PhD, is a clinical child psychologist devoted to the destigmatization of mental health problems.
Expertise: clinical psychology

Kara Ball, MEd, is an elementary science and STEM education specialist with Baltimore City Public Schools.

Expertise: teaching strategies, dyslexia, personal experience, teacher professional development

Adiaha Spinks, MD, MPH, is an assistant professor of pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine and a developmental-behavioral pediatrician for Texas Children’s Hospital.

Expertise: developmental-behavioral pediatrics

Manju Banerjee, PhD, is vice president of educational research and innovation at Landmark College.

Expertise: college transition, young adults

Afrika Afeni Mills, MEd, helps educators develop and sustain student-centered learning experiences that are diverse, inclusive, and equitable.

Expertise: racial equity

Jerome Schultz, PhD, is a clinical neuropsychologist and lecturer in the Harvard Medical School Department of Child Psychiatry.

Expertise: anxiety, ADHD

James Emmett, MS, is the lead workplace strategist for Understood, where he supports efforts to create more inclusive workplaces for people with disabilities.

Expertise: workplace, inclusion

Donna Volpitta, EdD, is the founder of Pathways to Empower. Her work draws on the latest research in neuroscience, psychology, and education.

Expertise: resilience, mental health

Elizabeth Harstad, MD, MPH, is a developmental-behavioral pediatrician at Boston Children’s Hospital.
Expertise: developmental-behavioral pediatrics, medication management

Juliana Urtubey, MA, 2021 National Teacher of the Year, is an Understood Mentor Fellow and a special education teacher and instructional strategist in inclusion and resource settings.

Expertise: special education, bilingual (Spanish)

Karen Wilson, PhD, is a clinical neuropsychologist who specializes in the assessment of children and adults through comprehensive evaluations.

Expertise: neuropsychology, ADHD, learning disabilities, transitions

Keri Wilmot is an occupational therapist who works with children of varying ages and abilities in all areas of pediatrics.

Expertise: occupational therapy, sensory processing

Michelle Lassiter, MA, CCC-SLP, serves as Understood’s expert relations and editorial research associate.
Expertise: speech/language development and disorders, executive functioning, learning disabilities, culturally sensitive assessments and intervention practices, bilingual (Spanish)

Kareem Neal, MA, is an Understood Teacher Fellow and a self-contained special education teacher in Phoenix.

Expertise: postsecondary education, school leadership, diversity, culturally responsive teaching, special education

Shaquala Butler, MA, is an Understood Mentor Fellow and a reading specialist in Huntsville, Alabama.

Expertise: teaching strategies, interventions, critical race theory, teacher professional development

Christina Gutierrez, MSEd, is an Understood Teacher Fellow and a response to intervention (RTI) coordinator and interventionist with early elementary students in New York.

Expertise: English language learners, teaching strategies, interventions

Brian Smith, MA, is an Understood Teacher Fellow and a kindergarten teacher in Claremont, North Carolina.

Expertise: dyslexia, teaching strategies