March 31, 2023 | 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM | Regis College, Weston, MA

You will be required to pay by check in person tomorrow at the Conference.


Keynote Speaker Dr. Daniel B. Pickar.

Neurodiversity: Understanding what it means and interpreting its implications for families in Juvenile and Probate Court


The March 31, 2023 Annual Conference will be held in the Upper Student Center Lounge at Regis College in Weston. There will be signage posted directing you to the Conference. You may download a Regis College Map, or view it on this special Map Page.

Daniel B. Pickar, Ph.D., A.B.P.P., is a board-certified child psychologist who conducts child custody evaluations, mediation, consultation to family law attorneys, and psycho-educational evaluations of children. He received his undergraduate education at Brown University and completed his Ph.D. in clinical psychology at the California School of Professional Psychology at Berkeley.

For 12 years, he served as the Division Chief of Child and Family Psychiatry at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Santa Rosa, California. He has published numerous journal articles and book chapters in the areas of child custody evaluation, mediation, children with special needs in divorce, and served on the editorial board of the Journal of Child Custody for 6 years. He regularly presents workshops at state and national AFCC and AAML conferences and serves on the Board of Directors of AFCC. In 2019, Dr. Pickar was awarded the Judge Rex Sater Award for “Excellence in Family Law” by the Sonoma County Bar Association.

He also served on the editorial board of the Journal of Child Custody for 6 years, and currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Association for Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC).


8:30-10:15: Keynote Address: Dan Pickar, Ph.D.
10:15-10:30 AM: Break
10:30 AM -12:00 PM: Keynote Address, continued
12:00 Noon – 1:00 PM: Lunch (included)
1:00 – 2:30 PM: Representing Neurodiverse Parents and Children in Court
Kate Nemens, Esq., Vanda Khadem, Esq., Hon. Richard Simons
2:30 – 3:00 PM:  Through a New Lens: Understanding a Neurodiverse Profile
Becca Lori Hector
3:00 – 3:15 PM: Break
3:15 – 5:00 PM: Investigating, Evaluating, and Intervening with Neurodiverse Parents and Children
Lisa Gallagher, Psy.D., Jessica Greenwald O’Brien, Ph.D., Hon. Brian Dunn


Hon. Brian J. Dunn was appointed as an Associate Justice in the Probate & Family Court in 2013.  He was appointed as the First Justice of the Suffolk County Division of the Probate & Family Court in 2017.  He currently serves as the Chairman of the Guardianship Committee of the Probate & Family Court.  Judge Dunn is a member of the 2025 Transition Leadership Team of the Probate & Family Court.  He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Massachusetts Judges Conference.  He served on the Board of Directors of the Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee from 2014 to 2018.  Prior to his appointment, he worked continuously in the juvenile and probate and family courts of the Commonwealth as an attorney for over 20 years. Judge Dunn served as lead counsel for more than 600 children and parents in termination of parental rights, adoption matters, care & protection cases, C.H.I.N.S. matters, paternity, guardianship, child support and delinquency cases.  He also served as Guardian ad Litem in more than 300 hundred cases.  Judge Dunn served as the President of the Juvenile Bar Association for over five years.  He also served for over nine years as the Regional Coordinator for either Norfolk or Suffolk County for the Children & Family Law Program of CPCS.  Judge Dunn is a graduate of Suffolk University Law School.

Lisa Gallagher Psy.D.. is a clinical and forensic psychologist in private practice who began her career working with children and families involved with the Massachusetts and Rhode Island Family Courts. She is a Clinical Fellow of the American Association of Marriage and Family Therapy and a graduate of the Kantor Family Institute, where she learned large systems mediation and systemic family therapy. She updated her forensic and mediation skills, completing divorce mediation training at Roger Williams University School of Law (2012) and the William James College (WJC) Certificate in Child and Family Forensics (2015). Her court-involved work has included child protective, termination of parental rights, adoption, child custody, juvenile justice, and adult sex offender cases. She works as a GAL, Category V Parenting Coordinator, parent coach, mediator, and court-involved therapist. She also provides consultation to therapists, evaluators, GALs, parenting coordinators, attorneys, child protective agencies, social service agencies, schools, and health care agencies.

Becca Lori Hector is an openly autistic professional on a mission to close the disability gap in leadership by working with companies to attract and retain disabled talent. With her focus on Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging (DEIB), she has worked to promote a sense of inclusion for disabled persons in the workplace throughout her professional career. Ms. Hector is the Director of Training for the Asperger’s/Autism Association of New England, Inc. (AANE). AANE provides individuals, families, and professionals with information, education, community, support, and advocacy. She is a dedicated autism and neurodiversity advocate, researcher, consultant, speaker, and author. Her work includes neurodiversity and disability consulting, as well as research on autistic quality of life.

Vanda Khadem, Esq. has been in practice for over 25 years. She specializes in all aspects of family law. Ms. Khadem also serves as a mediator, Parent Coordinator and Guardian Ad Litem with a particular focus on special needs children. Ms. Khadem also represents families of children with disabilities in special education matters. Ms. Khadem’s special education practice includes a unique concentration on children diagnosed on the autism spectrum. She has been featured on New England Chronicle News and WUMB FM Radio’s Commonwealth Journal, The Brookline TAB, WBUR, and Exceptional Parent Magazine. Ms. Khadem was chosen as a recipient of the 2009 Distinguished Citizens Award presented by the ARC of Massachusetts for her contributions to persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Ms. Khadem is the 2016 House of Possibilities, Champion of Special Children Award Recipient. In addition to her private practice, Ms. Khadem is the Founder and President of Autism Higher Education Foundation (“AHEF”) a not-for-profit organization dedicated to developing life-long learning and educational opportunities for individuals on the autism spectrum.

Kate Nemens, Esq. is a graduate of Northeastern University School of Law. Attorney Nemens is presently the Supervising Attorney for the Family Law Project of the Mental Health Legal Advisors Committee. Before coming to the project, Attorney Nemens worked with low-income clients as a staff attorney in the family law unit of the Legal Assistance Corporation of Central Massachusetts (now Community Legal Aid in Worcester), primarily representing victims of domestic violence. Attorney Nemens was a 2005-2006 Boston Bar Association Public Interest Leader, and a 2008 Women’s Bar Foundation, Family Law Project for Battered Women Volunteer Attorney Award recipient. Attorney Nemens is a regular presenter and trainer of attorneys, clinicians, advocates, peers and parents regarding representing parents with psychiatric disabilities and has participated in over 30 local, regional, national, and international panels and conferences. She is a volunteer mentor attorney for the Women’s Bar Foundation Family Law Project for Battered Women, a member of the Massachusetts Child Welfare Coalition, an advisory committee member for Boston Medical Center’s Project RESPECT PLUS, and consultant to the National Research Center for Parents with Disabilities at Brandeis University’s Heller School.

Jessica Greenwald O’Brien, Ph.D. is the Director of the Center of Excellence for Children, Families, and the Law and of the Child and Family Forensic Evaluation Service at William James College in Newton. She is also a member of the Teaching Faculty, Clinical Psychology Department and the Forensic Psychology Concentration. Her expertise includes: high conflict parenting and child custody cases, pediatric forensic evaluations in juvenile justice and child welfare contexts, intimate partner violence/domestic violence, trauma and delinquency, the impacts of trauma on learning, and creating school environments conducive to learning for children with trauma.

Hon. Richard Simons currently serves as the First Justice of the Berkshire Division of the Probate and Family Court. He was appointed to the Court by Governor Deval Patrick in 2008. He serves as Chair of the Court’s Education Committee and is a Trustee of the Flaschner Judicial Institute. He serves on the Advisory Committee for both the J2J Mentor Program and Changing Lives Through Literature Committee. In 2014, he and his Chief Probation Officer conceived of and implemented a program, “Enhancing Families Through Literature” based on the successful alternative sentencing program, “Changing Lives Through Literature.”  The program works with families caught up in litigation before the Probate and Family Court to develop parents’ communication skills in a non-adversarial environment, while at the same time promoting the value of reading to children.  In 2017, “Enhancing Families Through Literature” was recognized with the Irwin Cantor Innovative Award given by the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts for innovative court-connected programs.  Judge Simons volunteers with the MBA Mock Trial Program as a coach for a local high school.

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CE CREDIT: This program is sponsored by the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC) and is approved by the American Psychological Association to offer continuing education for psychologists. This program has sought 7.0 continuing education credits for psychologists, social workers, mental health counselors, and licensed marriage and family therapists. We have also applied for CE credits for PC professionals (in MA) and CPCS/CAFL. AFCC maintains responsibility for the program and its content.