Facilitators for Support Groups and Social Activities

Our facilitators are AANE staff, consultants, or volunteers who themselves are on the autism spectrum, have family members on the spectrum or have worked extensively with the Asperger/autism community. 

Jess Alder - Adults Workshop Facilitator

Jess Alder, MPA has 15+ years of experience in the field of sexual and domestic violence prevention, designing and implementing curricula that engages youth and adult participants in understanding and addressing unhealthy relationship behaviors, including how racism and other forms of oppression intersect with violence. Jess has conducted local, national, and international workshops on healthy relationships, healthy breakups, media literacy, and crisis intervention.

Amanda Bailey - Parents of Children & Teens Support Group Facilitator

Amanda Bailey is a Family Support Specialist at AANE and a COPAA and PTI trained educational advocate experienced with IEPs, 504s, post-secondary transition planning, and helping families work with their school districts. The neurodivergent parent of two autistic children, she has a warm, grounded approach when helping people with new diagnoses and figuring out what comes next. Amanda assists caregivers through support groups, parent coaching, and IEP reviews. Contact: amanda.bailey@aane.org

Stephanie Birkdale - Adults Interest Group and Social Events Facilitator

Stephanie Birkdale is the Program Manager at AANE. She co-facilitates the Boston Book Club for adults on the spectrum and also manages and facilitates the Women's Social Event series. Stephanie is also an adult on the spectrum and enjoys reading, knitting, walking, and web design. Contact: stephanie.birkdale@aane.org 

Bodhi Breese - Adults Social Events Facilitator
Bodhi Breese, MSPH, is a dad and husband. For “work” Bodhi enjoys a diversity of subjects, with professional careers in multiple fields from the arts to medicine. He is a visual thinker, scripter, and sensory sensitive. Nature is his favorite escape. Bodhi hopes to help AANE lift up our larger autistic family. The world needs neurodivergent thinkers! Bodhi lives in British Columbia, Canada.
Jane Thierfield Brown - Parents of Adults Support Group Facilitator

Jane Thierfeld Brown, Ed.D is the Director of College Autism Spectrum, Assistant Clinical Professor at Yale Child Study, Yale Medical School, and the former Director of Student  Services at the University of Connecticut School of Law. Jane provides college consultations and is married with three children, the youngest being her 28-year-old son with Autism. Contact: jane.brown@aane.org

Nicola Brown - Adult Community Connection Facilitator

Nicola Brown is passionate about relationships. She helps people who want to rebuild and strengthen their relationships or get over life's hurdles that may be preventing them from having great relationships. In addition to her formal degrees in ecology and social work, she has trained with some of the world's leading experts on relationships and brings this knowledge and expertise to her work. Her startup KOKORO is: well being done well.

Alex Burke - Adults Interest Group Facilitator - Writer's Workshop
Alex Burke is the Development Assistant at AANE and also facilitates the Online Writers Workshop Interest Series for Adults. Contact: alex.burke@aane.org
Michele Cantara - Adults and Parents of Adults Support Group Facilitator

Michele Cantara, formerly Co-Director of Adult Services at AANE, now provides neurodiversity training on aspects of Aspergers/Autism. Her 30-year-old son is on the spectrum. She applies her lived experience along with 35 years of high-tech consulting and change management to her work with adults and parents of adults over 23. She focuses on workplace issues, parenting without power to improve family interactions and civil/criminal issues.  Contact: michele.cantara@aane.org 

Kate Cody - Adults and Families of Adults Support Group Facilitator
Katherine Cody, PsyD is in private practice in NYC and offers clinical training to graduate and post-graduate students, conducts psychological and neuropsychological evaluations, and psychotherapy services. Her expertise is working with individuals and neurodiverse couples with Asperger/autism spectrum profiles and co-occurring mental health conditions. Dr. Cody is a national speaker and offers consultations regarding best practices in evaluations and evidence-based approaches. Contact: kate.cody@aane.org
Shari Coon-Retelle - Parents of Adults Support Group Facilitator
Shari Coon-Retelle, has a BS in Rehabilitation Counseling and has been working as a certified American Sign Language interpreter in MA for more than 30 years. She is also the parent of two young adults, including a transgender son who is autistic. Shari is interested in creating opportunities for parents to share and get support around having a child with the commonly coexisting identities of being both transgender/gender exploring and autistic.  Contact: shari.coon@aane.org
Deborah Curtiss - Parents of Teens & Young Adults Support Group Facilitator
Deborah Curtiss, MEd, EdS is a Nationally Certified School Psychologist who has over 25 years of experience working with children and families in schools. She worked at AANE as a Parent Support Specialist and is an experienced facilitator of support groups for parents and young women. Debbie has a 27-year-old daughter who has an Asperger/autism spectrum profile. Contact: debbie.curtiss@aane.org
Brenda Dater - Parents of Children & Teens Support Group Facilitator

Brenda Dater, MPH, MSW is the Executive Director of AANE and the author of Parenting Without Panic. Brenda is a mom of three, and her eldest is an autistic transgender woman who is currently in graduate school. Brenda has facilitated parent support groups for over 20 years and thoroughly enjoys creating an environment where parents can find the support, information, and community they need. Contact: brenda.dater@aane.org

Sarah DeCosta - Adults Workshop Facilitator

Sarah DeCosta (she/her) has worked in the overlapping fields of intimate partner violence, public health, and education for two decades since earning a dual degree in Psychology and Studio Art. Currently serving as the Program Director for a multi-site youth program, her experience also includes crisis intervention and facilitating healthy relationship groups. She is neurodivergent, queer, happily married, and the mother of a new baby.

David Duval - Adults Social Events Facilitator - Pizza & Game Night

David Duval earned his BS in Communications/Media from Fitchburg State College in 1996.  He began attending AANE pizza & game nights as a participant and volunteer and now hosts the event.  Dave enjoys collecting music CDs of all genres, attending concerts, and skiing during the winter months. Contact: david.duval@aane.org

Allison Evans - Teens & Adults Workshop Facilitator

Allie Evans is a second year Doctorate of Occupational Therapy student at Boston University and one day hopes to practice as a pediatric occupational therapist. She was drawn to OT for its holistic view of health and wellbeing and the therapeutic use of meaningful activities as interventions. She is originally from Cincinnati and studied public health at The Ohio State University. When she's not in school, she loves to bake, journal, read, explore whatever city she’s in, and hang out with her loved ones!

Jay Eveson-Egler - Autistic Parents Support Group Facilitator
Jay Eveson-Egler, BA (they/them) is an autistic self-advocate and expectant parent who will be welcoming their daughter in the fall. They’ve worked with neurodiversity-based organizations and individuals in a variety of age groups and stages of life. They have a depth of knowledge of LGBTQIA2S+ issues in the autistic community. They have prior experience founding and facilitating neurodiverse peer support groups and remain active as an adviser with the Neurodiverse Students Association at Mount Holyoke. Contact: jay.eveson-egler@aane.org
Leslie Feinberg - Families of Adults Support Group Facilitator

Leslie Feinberg is the NY Resource & Referral Specialist at AANE and founded Supporting Our Young Adults Network (SOYAN) which she created to meet the needs of parents in the community whose children utilize NYS self-directed services so they may lead a self-determined life.  Contact: leslie.feinberg@aane.org

Christa Flanagan - Adults and Parents of Adults Support Group Facilitator
Christa Flanagan, M.Ed is a Consultation Specialist and LifeMAP Coach at AANE. Her experience advising college students and their families through higher education has given her the insight needed to support individuals in working toward their personal, educational, and independent living goals. Contact: christa.flanagan@aane.org
Olive Gallop - Adults Interest Group, Social Events, and Support Group Facilitator
Olive GallopOlive Gallop is an autistic trans woman and the Facilitation Specialist at AANE. She is a published author on the intersectionality of autism, gender, and sexuality. Olive specializes in helping young adults. She has experience working with universities, parents, and individuals. Olive is also an artist and musician and is knowledgeable on how artistic expression can help those on the spectrum. Contact: olive.gallop@aane.org
Dena Gassner - Adult Women Support Group Facilitator

Dena Gassner, MSW, Ph.D. Candidate is an Adjunct Professor in the Autism Certificate Program at Towson University. She is a contributing author to Spectrum Women: Walking to the Beat of Autism and a national board member for Arc US and has provided consultative services and given testimony to the Government Accountability Office in Washington and at the UN in Geneva. Contact: dena.gassner@aane.org

Stephanie Goodner - Adults Interest Group Facilitator - Book Club
Stephanie Goodner is a long-time book connoisseur and enjoys connecting with other avid readers when she co-facilitates the Online “Open” AANE Book Club for Adults, which meets on the second Tuesday of each month.  Contact: stephanie.goodner@aane.org
Brandy Haberer - Adults Workshop Facilitator

Brandy is the social media and community manager at Hiki App (a social app for autistic adults). Brandy attended the University of North Ga and Toccoa Falls College, majoring in Psychology. She and her husband Matt also have a podcast and social media presence called, “The Chronic Couple” where they share their perspective both being autistic adults.

Thomas Hall - Adults Meetup Group Facilitator - Science & Technology Discussion
Thomas Hall holds a BSEE in Electrical Engineering and an MS in Nutrition and Biochemistry. He is a retired Professor of Electrical Engineering Technology as well as an instructor of Computer Science for a bit. Thomas received his Asperger's diagnosis a few years ago though he always knew he was different.
Chet Harding - Adults Interest Group Facilitator - Improv
 Chet Harding is a co-founder of Improv Asylum, an internationally acclaimed comedy theater for over 20 years. Chet is an active actor, writer, producer, and director. He created and produced hundreds of live shows for Improv Asylum, and he was also a head writer for the Emmy-nominated Improv Asylum’s Vanity Project TV show. He also created, wrote, and starred in a pilot for Comedy Central and can be seen in the movie SuperTroopers 2.  
Nick Haslam - Adults Interest Group Facilitator - Dungeons & Dragons

Nicholas Haslam is the LifeMAP Administrative Assistant at AANE and also co-facilitates the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Interest Series and was first introduced to DnD over 20 years ago, but has been campaigning for the last five years. As a player, he favors gish characters. Contact: nicholas.haslam@aane.org

Becca Lory Hector - Adults Support Group Facilitator

Becca Lory Hector is the Director of Training at AANE. She was diagnosed on the autism spectrum as an adult and has since become a dynamic autism advocate, consultant, speaker, and author. Becca has published multiple articles and books about life on the autism spectrum with the goal of spreading acceptance, building understanding, and encouraging self-advocacy. The creation of her international, grant-approved, virtual course for autistic adults, “Self Defined Living: A Path to a Quality Autistic Life”, is allowing her to help improve the lives of autistics. Contact: becca.loryhector@aane.org

Yesica Hickey - Facilitadora de grupos de apoyo para padres de niños y adolescentes
Yesica Hickey es una Especialista de Apoyo y Servicios Para Familias que Hablan Español en AANE. Ella es la madre de un hijo adulto joven que fue diagnosticado con autismo a la edad de tres años. Yesica se graduó como maestra de educación especial en 2010 y estuvo trabajando en Perú con niños pequeños, niños y adolescentes. Yesica ahora vive en los EE. UU., donde obtuvo su Certificación de Especialista en Autismo (CAS) y es Especialista Cognitiva Certificada por la Junta (BCCS) de IBCCS.  Contacto: yesica.hickey@aane.org
Laura Graham Holmes - Adults Workshop Facilitator

Laura Graham Holmes, PhD is a psychologist and professor at CUNY Hunter College Silberman
School of Social Work. She specializes in co-designing and co-facilitating classes for autistic
adults on topics like healthy relationships, LGBTQIA+ affirming therapy, and substance use.
Outside of work, Laura enjoys exploring NY and eating delicious meals with her partner and

Trish Huff - Adults Social Events and Support Group Facilitator

Trish Huff, MSW, LICSW  has a private practice in Western Mass. Trish began working with AANE by facilitating support groups for adults on the spectrum and serving as a community liaison providing information and referral. She co-led the start-up and administration of a local chapter and provided presentations on the autism spectrum for the community and local educators. Contact: trish.huff@aane.org

Bonnie Kaplan - Families of Adults Support Group Facilitator

Bonnie Kaplan stays at the cutting edge of valuable resources, services, and research by attending many conferences and presentations each year. She is always interested in learning the latest information and gets tremendous satisfaction from sharing this information with members of the support group. Contact: bonnie.kaplan@aane.org

Jodi Kaplan - Teens Support Group Facilitator
Jodi KaplanJodi Kaplan, MS, MBA is a special education teacher and an experienced support group facilitator. She was on the Board of Directors of the Asperger Syndrome and High Functioning Autism Association, chaired the annual fundraising event, and is a parent to an adult child with an Asperger/autism spectrum profile. Contact: jodi.kaplan@aane.org
Robert Lagos - Adults Support Group Facilitator

Robert Lagos holds a BS degree from UCLA and is a computer programmer analyst and statistician. He has presented at events and workshops for AANE, Sweetser, and Southern Maine Autism Conference and has mentored teens and young adults with autism. Robert is also a co-author with Wilma Wake and Eric Endlich of the book, "Older Adults: The Lost Generation" and is a “virtuoso” classical pianist. Contact: robert.lagos@aane.org

Aaron Levinger - Adults Interest Group Facilitator- Team Trivia

Aaron Levinger is the LifeMAP Data Entry Specialist and Administrative Assistant and facilitates several groups at AANE. He has spoken for the Understanding Our Differences program in addition to speaking to many groups of students and other audiences. In 2013, Aaron was given the Katie Lynch Memorial Award as Speaker of the Year. Aaron works other part-time jobs, including one at his local public library.  Contact: aaron.levinger@aane.org

Kate Libby - Adults Interest Group Facilitator - Cooking Workshop

Kate Libby is the founder of Kate Libby Coaching.  She provides individualized support to young adults who are seeking to enrich their lives, achieve their goals and define what success looks like on their own terms. She also completed the AANE LifeMAP Coach training program. Kate earned her Master’s Degree in Art Therapy and Creativity Development at Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY. She loves to work on projects in her art studio and camping with her family.

Toby Liebowitz - Adults and Parent of Adults Support Group Facilitator

Toby W. Liebowitz is a retired special educator. She currently is a part-time reading Practitioner tutoring students with dyslexia. She also teaches Hebrew to adults in Rhode Island and in Poland. In addition, she facilitates support groups for adults as well as parents of adults with Asperger/autism profiles. She has members of her extended family with Autistic profiles. Besides baking and reading, she enjoys supporting others in sharing their challenges and successes with each other. Contact: toby.liebowitz@aane.org

Allyson Linehan - Adults and Parents of Adults Support Group Facilitator

Allyson Linehan is a Consultation & Coaching Specialist and a LifeMAP Coach at AANE. Allyson has worked over 30 years in the human service field and has a Masters in Pastoral Counseling from Boston University. She enjoys helping clients achieve their goals and dreams. Contact: allyson.linehan@aane.org

Stephanie Loo - Parents of Teens & Young Adults Support Group Facilitator

Stephanie Loo, M.Ed. is the Senior Family Support Specialist at AANE and draws upon her wealth of personal and professional experience to provide valuable information, resources, and support by phone through Parent Coaching. She initiated the AANE/NESCA Transition Roundtable, which resulted in expanded programming focused on transition planning and preparing our teens for college. Contact: stephanie.loo@aane.org

Linda Manning - Adults and Parents of Adults Social Events and Support Group Facilitator

Linda Manning, MBA has a background as a special education consultant and also works at a non-profit organization serving seniors and individuals with disabilities. She is the parent of four young men, two who are neurodiverse, and two who are neurotypical. Contact: linda.manning@aane.org

Katie McLean - Adults Social Events Facilitator - Outdoor Enthusiasts Club
Katie McLean, LICSW, is originally from New York and moved to Boston 7 years ago to pursue her Master's Degree in Social Work. She is currently a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker and works full time as a Geriatric Social Worker. Katie is a HUGE fan of the outdoors and spends her free time running and doing yoga in nature. She has completed many half marathons and in 2017 completed her first full marathon. She hopes to one day run the Boston Marathon!
Janeka Melanson - Parents of Adults Support Group Facilitator

Janeka Melanson is the Human Resources & Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Specialist at AANE. Janeka is married with two daughters and is a member of the board of the Special Education Parental Advisory Council and Parent Teacher Organization, as well as a Special Olympics Coach. She is an advocate of self-care and exercise, especially for those raising children with unique challenges. Contact: janeka.melanson@aane.org

Grace Myhill - Neurodiverse Couples Support Group Facilitator

Grace Myhill, MSW is the Director of Couples and Partner's Services at AANE and of The Peter M. Friedman Neurodiverse Couples Institute. She specializes in working with neurodiverse couples who encounter difficult or unfulfilling relationship dynamics with their partners or spouses. Grace is also in private practice and works with individuals, couples, groups with other neurotypical partners or couples, and in intensive workshops with other couples. Contact: grace.myhill@aane.org  

Stephen Nadel - Adults Social Events and Support Group Facilitator
Stephen Nadel, Ed.D., MSW, LICSW is the Clinical Team Leader at the Natick, MA office of DCS Mental Health. Dr. Nadel also practices at Harbor Counseling and specializes in working with clients on the autism spectrum. His personal experience with his 22-year-old son with Autism has been his inspiration and has led him to discover his own Aspie characteristics. Dr. Nadel is also a Julliard-trained classical French horn player who has traveled the world. Contact: stephen.nadel@aane.org
Nisha Narvekar - Adults Support Group Facilitator
Nisha Narvekar, MA, Ph.D. Candidate has been with AANE in various capacities. She was LifeMAP Assistant Director and a seasoned LifeMAP coach. Nisha enjoys a rich experience from working with a diverse set of clients. While in India, Nisha worked with underprivileged children at a high risk of HIV, using dance therapy for group counseling and creating HIV awareness. Contact: nisha.narvekar@aane.org
Jenna O'Donnell - Adults Support Group Facilitator
Jenna O'DonnellBS, is an autistic adult, parent of an autistic son, and a special education advocate.  Her lived personal experiences led her to find success and meaningful work in educating staff and administrators about autism and its educational impact. Jenna is a graduate of the Mass Families Leadership Series and completed advocacy training with both Wrightslaw and Parent Consultant Training Institute of the FCSN. Jenna did not receive her autism diagnosis until much later in life and in turn, facilitates groups for women who are new to their diagnosis. Contact: jenna.odonnell@aane.org
Anastasia O'Melveny - Adults Support Group Facilitator

Anastasia O'Melveny leads the AANE Artists Collaborative and facilitates the  Support Group for Adults Over 50. Contact: anastasia.omelveny@aane.org

Judy Omidvaran - Families of Adults Support Group Facilitator

Judy Omidvaran founded the Westchester County Autism Advisory Committee in 2009 to inform elected officials, policymakers, government agency management, and law enforcement of the needs of those with autism, particularly the unserved needs of adults.  The committee meets regularly with the Department of Community Mental Health leadership. Contact: judy.omidvaran@aane.org

Pam Palmucci - Parents of Children & Teens Support Group Facilitator

Pam Palmucci, MSW, LCSW received her Master of Social Work from Simmons University in Boston and completed her field placement for Threshold at Lesley University, which is a program for young adults who identify as having one or more disabilities. Pam completed and received certification from the Federation for Children with Special Needs Parent Consulting Training and remains active as a consultant to Boston Medical Center’s Autism Friendly Initiative. She is most proud to be the mother of three wonderful children, her youngest is a teenager and on the autism spectrum. Contact: pam.palmucci@aane.org

Nancy Parker - Parents of Children & Teens Support Group Facilitator

Nancy Parker, MSW, LICSW, is a Senior Manager of Adult & Family Services at AANE. Previously, Nancy has worked many years as a counselor in hospitals, colleges, and prisons, created mental health training programs for educators, and provided information, referrals, and support to parents of children with mental health issues. Nancy initially contacted AANE as a parent, when her daughter was first diagnosed in 2006. Contact: nancy.parker@aane.org

George Pelc - Adults Support Group Facilitator
George Pelc is a LifeMAP Coach at AANE and has been working with people on the autism spectrum for more than 26 years. He was an early childhood educator and attended the Autism Spectrum Disorders Graduate Program at Antioch University. George then began his decade long career supporting adults and is a very empathetic person who highly values the ability to connect with the individuals he works with. Contact: george.pelc@aane.org
Emmett Perkins - Adults Support Group Facilitator
Emmett Perkins is a proud autistic and transgender individual. Using his own lived experience, he co-facilitates two of AANE's open support groups for adults. He loves dogs and helping others. Contact: emmett.perkins@aane.org
Branden Plank - Adults Support Group Facilitator
Branden Plank is an experienced facilitator who has been leading support groups for over a decade. Branden identifies as an individual with an Asperger/autism spectrum profile and his warm and welcoming nature has made him a trusted friend and mentor of many of his group members. Contact: branden.plank@aane.org
Dawn Prince-Hughes - Adults Interest Group Facilitator - Journaling Workshop
Dawn Prince-Hughes, PhD is an interdisciplinary anthropologist with a background in primatology and marginalized cultures. She has been an autism community advocate for over two decades and has written extensively about her experiences on the autism spectrum. Her autobiographic book “Songs of the Gorilla Nation” is a widely acclaimed best-seller.
Erica Rémi - Adults Support Group Facilitator

Erica Rémi is the Director of Development at AANE.  Erica previously worked at the nonprofit organization Year Up and the consulting firm Development Guild. She has gained extensive knowledge about Asperger/autism profiles through working with neurodiverse colleagues, building relationships with AANE community members, and parenting a child on the spectrum. Contact: erica.remi@aane.org

Liz Roberts - Parents of Adult Support Group Facilitator

Elizabeth Roberts PsyD specializes in the diagnosis and evaluation of individuals across the lifespan with autism spectrum disorder and other learning, developmental, and neuropsychiatric conditions. She currently practices in MA and NY and provides education and mental health with neuropsychological evaluation, psychotherapy, legal advocacy, consultation, training, and supervision. Contact: liz.roberts@aane.org

Marcia Robinson - Grandparents Support Group Facilitator

Marcia Robinson, MEd, CAGS is the Coordinator of Volunteer Services and a LifeMAP Coach at AANE. As a school psychologist who practiced in several MA school districts, she uses her expertise and experience to embraces the grandparents of individuals of any age with an Asperger/autism spectrum profile. Marcia offers a balance of information, support, as well as strategies for successful family experiences. Contact: marcia.robinson@aane.org

Elena Rossen - Teen Social/Support Group Facilitator

Elena Rossen, MEd (they/she) is a LifeMAP coach at AANE. Elena comes to AANE with experience as a formal and informal educator, across a range of subject areas and settings. They have a deep passion for creating spaces that celebrate neurodiversity and supporting individuals in accessing the tools and skills they need to reach their full potential. In their spare time, Elena enjoys meditation, hiking, creating art, and playing music in local brass bands. Contact: elena.rossen@aane.org

Emily Rothman - Parents of Adults Support Group Facilitator

Emily F. Rothman, ScD is a Professor at Boston University School of Public Health and also a student in a licensed mental health counseling program. She co-authored a curriculum for teenagers about pornography and has experience teaching healthy relationships classes to teenagers with an Asperger profile and college students with mental health challenges. Dr. Rothman has appeared on the Today Show, NPR, CNN, Teen Vogue, and other media outlets. Contact: emily.rothman@aane.org

Bruce Sabian - Fathers Support Group Facilitator

Bruce Sabian, LMHC is the owner, co-founder, and director of Academy MetroWest, a children’s group therapy program in Natick, MA. Bruce runs weekly social skills groups and provides individual counseling and executive function coaching services to children, adolescents, and adults. He also works as a consultant and trainer with schools and organizations. Contact: bruce.sabian@aane.org

Pat Schissel - Adults, Families of Adults, and Spouse/Partner Support Group Facilitator

Patricia Schissel, LMSW is the NY Director and a senior clinician at AANE. Her experience includes adjunct faculty at Adelphi University and at the C.W. Post campus of Long Island University. She has served on numerous national committees and boards and has also played an instrumental role in the founding of innovative new programs that have achieved national renown, including Westbrook Preparatory School. Contact: pat.schissel@aane.org 

Rachel Semple - Teens & Adults Workshop Facilitator
Rachel Semple is a second year Doctorate of Occupational Therapy student at Boston University. She is from northern California and attended California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo for her undergraduate education in psychology, biology, and child development. Rachel’s passions within occupational therapy include mental health and group interventions. Outside of occupational therapy, Rachel enjoys spending time with friends, hiking, and finding the best espresso in every town she visits! 
Leslie Sickels - Spouse/Partner Support Group Facilitator

Leslie Sickels, LCSW is a clinical social worker at Spectrum Services in NY. She specializes in working with neurodiverse couples, individuals with Asperger/autism spectrum profiles, and neurotypical partners.  Much of Leslie’s work also focuses on gender, sexuality, and sex as they relate to the unique concerns of individuals on the autism spectrum. Contact: leslie.sickels@aane.org

Maxfield Sparrow - Adults Support Group Facilitator
Maxfield Sparrow (Max, for short) is a non-binary/metagender middle-aged Autistic writer, self-advocate, and Direct Support Professional (DSP). Most recently, Max edited the poetry and essay anthology Spectrums: Autistic Transgender People in Their Own Words, from Jessica Kingsley Publishers. Max lives in Durango, Colorado, with Fermat the Wonder Cat.
Christian Tsetsos - Adults Social Events Facilitator

Christian Tsetsos is an active member of the AANE Speakers Bureau and an adult on the Autism Spectrum. Christian has been giving speeches and participating on panels at AANE for ten years. He also works full time at a company that provides services to individuals on the spectrum. In his free time, Christian enjoys baking, hiking, movies, exploring different towns & visiting new places. Contact: christian.tsetsos@aane.org

Kelly Urban - Adults Support Group Facilitator

Kelly UrbanKelly UrbanLMHC is a Senior Manager of Individual & Family Services and a LifeMAP Coach at AANE.  Kelly previously worked at McLean Hospital, using DBT to teach young women emotion regulation tools and other life skills to move forward in their lives. Kelly is passionate about supporting individuals, families, and professionals, to help navigate what an Asperger profile means for them or those they care about. Contact: kelly.urban@aane.org

Sharon Velek - Adults Support Group Facilitator
Sharon Velek works professionally with dogs and with people with physical and emotional disabilities. She is an experienced and respected public speaker, writer, and teacher in her field. She started realizing she might be on the autism spectrum in 2013 at the age of 43. Special interests have included neuroplasticity, swimming, Nonviolent Communication (NVC), meditation, bird watching, social justice, LGBTQ rights, and of course, dogs.
Liliana Valvano - Adults Workshop Facilitator

Liliana Valvano is a social worker and long-time disability justice community organizer. She specializes in the helping people at the intersection of lgbtqia+ and autistic identities to celebrate and advocate for themselves. In her free time she likes to make collages, play music, and love on her dog, Muppet.

Ilia Walsh - Adults Support Group Facilitator

Ilia Walsh, MSEd, MBA is the Director of Individual and Family Services at AANE and the creator of the Autism In Real Life Podcast. Ilia is a mom of two young adults, one of which is autistic. She has over 25 years of experience with families, children, and adults through training, education, and support. Ilia is also a registered yoga teacher and also enjoys painting, dancing, and travel. Contact: ilia.walsh@aane.org

Ryan Walsh - Adults Support Group Facilitator

Ryan Walsh, BASoc is a Neurodiversity Training Specialist at AANE. Ryan is also a musician who is highly involved with music and podcast production and enjoys playing video games and spending time with his friends. As a member of AANE's Speakers Bureau, Ryan enjoys and appreciates the opportunity to speak on his lived experience as someone on the autism spectrum on topics related to self-advocacy, mental health, education, employment, and building meaningful connections. Contact: ryan.walsh@aane.org

Sam Warner - Adults Workshop Facilitator

Sam Warner is a Communication Specialist and works with leaders across multiple industries to improve their DEI policies and help Neurodivergent (Autistic, ADHD, Dyslexia, etc) people into work and at work to achieve recognition, respect and understanding. She is also a Professional Speaker, TEDx Speaker, TEDx Curator, and Speaker Coach. Sam is Autistic and has ADHD, Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, PDA, and SPD herself.

Bob Waters - Adults Interest and Support Group Facilitator
Bob Waters has participated in many of AANE’s programs and has contributed his time as a volunteer and as a speaker at several of them. Bob is on the Autism Spectrum and believes very strongly in advancing more compassion and understanding of Neurodivergence in society. Bob loves History, Theater, Music, and learning new ways to help advance the field of Neurodivergence support.
Kim Wutkiewicz - Adults Support Group Facilitator

Kim Wutkiewicz worked in AANE's Development Department, where she wrote extensively about the unique experiences of people living with Asperger's and related profiles, particularly women living on the spectrum. Kim has a long history of working with individuals to navigate challenges and find balance, as both a board-certified acupuncturist and registered yoga teacher. Contact: kim.wutkiewicz@aane.org

Miriam Zisook - Adults Support Group Facilitator

Miriam Zisook, LCSW  practices at Looking Glass Counseling and has worked as a designer on assistive and wearable technology.  She looks to support and increase the power and participation of disabled people in technology fields. Miriam's work is focused on how learning to make things and solve problems like a designer can help people become more confident, competent, and empowered.  Contact: miriam.zisook@aane.org