In his work with children on the autism spectrum in various settings, Joel has noticed a need for more engaging social skills curricula, stronger visual components and more compelling social skills learning activities. He first created the World of Ryuu with Rebecca Klaw, another Pittsburgh-based professional working with children with Asperger’s or other autism spectrum disorders. His two illustrated children’s books, The Conversation Train and The Green Zone Conversation Book, are published by Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Joel provides dozens of free social skills downloads on this website.
Through Autism Teaching Strategies, Joel provides trainings nationwide on the topics of social skills teaching and effective counseling for children with high functioning autism.
Joel provides individual and group services, in schools and clinical settings, at The Watson Institute in Sewickley, Pa.
He received a master’s degree in social work from the University of Louisville in 1986 and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Michigan in 1979. Joel was a community organizer with the Peace Corps in Sierra Leone where he helped to build a midwife clinic and develop a health education curriculum for primary schools.