Armenian Autism Outreach Project Inc. is a non-profit, all-volunteer organization of professionals and parents formed in 2006. AAOP's goal is to raise awareness about autism in the Armenian-American community in Greater Los Angeles by informing parents, teachers & administrators about what autism is & how it is diagnosed, best practices in autism education, treatment & resources.
AAOP's outreach activities include teacher seminars, parent informational meetings, television: Horizon TV (last Wednesday of month, 8:20-9:00 pm), newspaper articles, parent support group & family social events and warm line: 818-542-AAOP (2267).
The mission of the AAOP is to promote early identification and appropriate intervention for Armenian children and youth who may be at risk for, or have autism, to ensure that they progress optimally in their development, achieve their highest potential in school, and participate at their individual best as members in their community.
The founding members are:Taline Ashekian, B.S.
Nora Chitilian-Kalachian, M.S.
Sonia Konialian-Aller, Ph.D.
Houry Sosikian, M.S.
Mariam Tsaturyan, Psy.D.
The current members are:
Lusine Balian, B.S.
Lusine Balian has a bachelors of Science degree in Biology from University of California Riverside. She is currently a candidate for a Masters of Science in Speech and Language Pathology from California State University Northridge. From 2007-2009, Lusine worked as an Aid for Dr. Irwin Lehrhoff, providing early intervention speech therapy to children 0-3 years of age. Currently Lusine works for Total Education Solutions as a Speech Specialist, providing supervised speech therapy to school aged children various Los Angeles Charter schools. Lusine has a passion for working with special needs children, in particular children with Autism.
Nora Chitilian-Kalachian, M.S., L.M.F.T. - Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist
Nora Chitilian-Kalachian has a Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology and a Masters of Science degree in Marriage and Family Therapy and Counseling from California State University Northridge. She has been working in the field of Mental Health and counseling since 1996.During her undergraduate and graduate studies she worked as a teacher both in regular and special education schools. She has facilitated court ordered domestic violence classes with male perpetrators. She's been a social worker working with developmentally disabled children and facilitated parent-support groups for their parents. She has also worked at the Armenian Relief Society's Child, Youth and Family Guidance center as a therapist from 2001 until 2004 and facilitated parenting groups.Currently she is in private practice in Glendale and works at The Help Group, a non-public school, providing therapy services for children and adolescents with Autism and Asperger's disorders. She is active in the community and conducts workshops on parenting skills, anxiety, stress management, relationships and social skills in the community and at educational institutions, including at various Armenian schools. She's had numerous public appearances both on TV and as an invited guest speaker at seminars.
Member to the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT). www.norasguidance.com
Taline Hovsepian, M.A. - Psychology Intern
Talin Hovsepian holds a Bachelors of Arts degree in Psychology from California State University, Northridge and a Masters of Arts degree in Clinical Psychology from the California School of Professional Psychology, Los Angeles.
Currently, she is on the path to acquiring her Doctorate degree in Clinical Psychology. Talin Hovsepian has experience working with adults, children and families in the areas of depression, anxiety disorders, substance dependence, pervasive developmental disorders, mood disturbances, social skills and relationships, as well as other psychological conditions.In her work in the mental health field, Talin Hovsepian has observed an increasing desire in the Armenian-American community to gain access to culturally sensitive mental health services and education. She hopes to serve her community by sharing her time, knowledge and experience, as well as helping to bridge the gap between families and individuals and the services and resources available for them.
Nansi Manokian M.A.
Nansi Manokian M.A. is a Marriage and Family Therapist Intern. Nansi graduated from the University of Riverside with a B.A degree in Psychology and went on to complete her M.A. degree in Clinical Psychology with an emphasis in Marriage and Family Therapy from Pepperdine University.Nansi has previously worked at a community counseling clinic where she completed an intensive 16 week training course. Her practice areas include individuals, couples, children and families and she has worked with a diverse clientele with a variety of symptoms. Her experience consists of the treatment of relational problems, anxiety, depression, anger management, and trauma as well as experience working with children and adults with autism and ADHD. Nansi is also a clinical member of the California Association of Marriage and Family Therapist (CAMFT) and a member of Psi Chi, The International Honor Society in Psychology.
Sonia Konialian-Aller, Ph.D., CCC - Speech Language Pathologist
Dr. Sonia Konialian Aller, a licensed Speech-Language Pathologist, obtained a Ph.D. degree in Cognitive/Developmental Psychology from Indiana University with a specialty in language development, and a Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology, after receiving her B.A. degree in Psychology from the Beirut College for Women. Since 1983, after completing an interdisciplinary Clinical Fellowship at UCLA's Neuropsychiatric Institute, she has provided services to children with special needs and their families, with a focus on autism among Armenian and Arabic speaking children.
Over the past 20 years at Children's Hospital Los Angeles, Dr. Konialian Aller has served as Supervisor in the Division of Hearing and Speech, Communication Disorders Discipline Director at the USC University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, and faculty of its Interdisciplinary Leadership Training in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Program. She is also an Adjunct Professor in Communication Disorders at California State University Los Angeles, where she teaches and provides clinical supervision in the Master's program.
Dr. Konialian Aller is a founding member of the Foothill Autism Alliance, a parent-professional volunteer organization, and has continued to serve on its Board of Directors since 1998. In the Spring of 2007 she was elected the Director-Elect of the California Speech and Hearing Association's Division 7.As a founding member of the AAOP, Dr. Konialian Aller is excited about developing and providing culturally responsive informational programs and resources, and family- centered parent empowerment supports to assist parents, educators, and service providers in their efforts to identify, advocate for, and meet the needs of Armenian children with autism and related neurodevelopmental challenges.
Houry Sosikian, M.S. - Special Education Teacher
Houry Sosikian has been working with children with special needs since 2001. She holds an Education Specialist Credential and a Master's Degree in Special Education.She currently works for Glendale Unified School District, as a Resource Specialist. Previously she has worked at The Help Group, which is a nonpublic school for children with autism. She has also worked as a behavior therapist providing discrete trial therapy. Her background encompasses working with children who are on the autism spectrum, learning disabilities, emotional disturbance, mental retardation, and attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder. She always works to provide a motivating and productive learning environment for all students. She has a strong passion and devotion to foster a high quality of life for her students.