Gail Seemann, MS, LPC is motivated to serve those on the Autism Spectrum because she has a daughter who has a diagnosis of PDD NOS/Aspergers. In July 2009, Gail assumed the role of Disabilities Services Coordinator at UAHuntsville and there, she began a social group for students with AS. Currently, Gail has left UAH to focus on her new private practice, LifeStream Famly Counseling where she will be specializing in working with clients with AS of all ages. Gail is presented her plaque by Glenn Siegel, Asperger Connection Junior Board Member.
Asperger Connection, Inc. is a charitable organization seeking to provide funding to improve the quality of life for children and adults diagnosed with High Functioning Autism (HFA) and Asperger Syndrome (AS).
Asperger Connection, Inc. is a 501 (c) (3) non profit organization. We are currently divided into two divisions: North Alabama/Southern Tennesee and Central Alabama. Each division has their own board members and serve those in their area with Aspergers/High Functioning Autism.
AC Board Members - North Alabama/Southern Tennesee Division
Linda Knowles is from Huntsville and the parent of a 25 year old college graduate with Asperger's, a 23 year old son who is in the Cyber Forensics Master's program at UAB and a 20 year old daughter who is a sophmore at UAH. She has worked as an advocate within the Madison City School system as a volunteer parent to other AS parents and is one of the founding members of a social group created for AS young adults, offering social opportunities and friendships for those individuals in the North Alabama area. She is active in working with emergency first responders in the North Alabama to improve the techniques used with those with special needs when an emergency arises.
Kerry Mataya, M.S.Ed. is the lead Asperger Consultant and founder of the Autism Asperger Syndrome Consulting Group, LLC in Birmingham, AL. She wanted to develop this non-profit because of the need for more Asperger related services in Alabama.
Helen Cole is the mother of an 18 year old son with Asperger Syndrome who is currently a high school student in Huntsville.She also has two other younger children, has a Ph.D. in the field of engineering, and works as a project manager for a federal agency.Helen serves as the Huntsville Chapter Advocacy Chair for Autism Speaks; she supports efforts to raise awareness about autism and to increase public advocacy for initiatives that will improve the lives of those with autism.
Kim Whisenant is from Huntsville and married with two young adult sons; one with AS and the other with ADHD. Her AS son is a senior at UAH and will soon graduate with a BS in Computer Engineering and a double minor in mathematics and Musical Performance. Her ADHD son is a sophomore at Drake State pursuing a degree in Robotics Technologies. Even though no formal diagnosis was made until her Aspie son was 19 years old, she has been advocating/fighting for those with AS and HFA for over 20 years. Kim is currently pursuing a grad degree in IS and works full-time locally at a job that requires her to travel extensively. Even with her busy schedule, she finds time to organize and participate in AS fund raisers, meet with other parents, and to continue to advocate for those affected by AS and HFA.
Junior Board Members
Glenn Siegel is a student at UAH majoring in Political Science and minoring in Philosopy with the goal of attending Law School in two years. For 4 yrs he worked in the Huntsville City School system as a behavorial specialist and an instructional assistant working with a wide variety of children and young adults with various disorders/disabilities including those at both ends of the Autism Spectrum as well as many who fall everywhere in between. The past year Glenn has been providing one on one social and behavorial therapy for several families in the area on a contract basis. Glenn is very passionate about advocating for the provision of resources that will maximize the level of social & civic contributions that every Autism Spectrum Individual has the capacity to make to society. He believes that these individuals can realize their potential and attain levels of independence.
Josh Dowd was born and raised in Huntsville. He obtained his Bachelor's Degree frm Auburn University in Public Relations. Currently he is attending the University of Alabama in Birmingham where he will graduate with his Master's in Occupational Therapy in 2012. Josh understands the importance that social skills play in the lives of those on the spectrum and works as an advocate for those on the Autism spectrum. He has worked on contract for the past few years for local families in the area providing companionship, social mentoring and as a peer buddy for individual with AS.
Meghan Braswell was born and raised in Huntsville. Meghan obtained her Bachelors degree from UA in Tuscaloosa where she majored in Psychology and minored in Child Development. Meghan is currently obtaining her Masters degree in Speech Language Pathology at A&M University in Huntsville, Alabama and will graduate in May 2012. Meghan has a strong family background in the therapy field as her mother has worked in OT in the Madison Co School system for 22 yrs and a sister who will soon graduate with her doctorate degree from UAB in physical therapy. Meghan strives to help families and individuals overcome everyday obstacles and provide support when faced with challenges. Meghan understands the need to raise awareness in the community about Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and the importance of getting the word out about this growing epidemic in our community. Her goal is to bring about the much needed support and assistance that those on the spectrum and their families need in our area.
Russell Godwin is originally from south Louisiana but currently resides in Athens, AL. He holds Bachelors and Masters degrees in Political Science/Government. Having been diagnosed with AS himself, he has volunteered with several awareness campaigns in the community and is actively seeking to improve the lives of those with AS.
Aaron Tanner was born and raised in North Alabama and holds a Bachelors of Science degree in Geography with a minor in Emergency Management from Jacksonville State University. He is currently taking additional classes at UAH in the GIS field. He enjoys maps, research and writing. His future plans involve freelance writing and working in the field of GIS. He is involved in various AS/HFA activities in the Huntsville area and he too is working to improve the lives of those in our area with AS.
Crisis Funding for Lodging for 18 Year Old with AS (2009)
Emergency Dental Care for AS YA (2010)
Individual Social Counseling Scholarships (2010)
Internship Site Placement/Job Coaching for 1 High School Student (2008)
Scholarships for Job Coaching Classes (2010)
Scholarships to Camp Takoda for Huntsville Students (2009)
Social Skills Scholarships for B'ham and Hsv (2010)
Transportation Costs for Young Adult Trips (2008-2009)
Young Adult Social Group (2008-2009)
We are looking to recognize one teacher, one service provider, and one volunteer in December 2011 for their outstanding commitment toward enhancing the quality of life for students and adults within the Asperger community.
We will accept nominations throughout the year. Please submit any names and a half page description with your nomination. We would LOVE to hear from you!
Teacher of the Year
Announced December 2011
Community Provider of the Year
Announced December 2011
Volunteer of the Year
Announced December 2011
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Birmingham Mentor Program
We are in the process of developing a much needed mentor program in the Birmingham area.
If you are interested in mentoring a student or adult with HFA or AS, please send an email with the following information to Kerry Mataya at email@example.com.
Your Telephone number
Your Email address
Employment/career areas for mentoring (if applicable)
Hobbies/interests for mentoring (if applicable)
We are offering support by matching mentors with students in one of the following areas:
(1) employment/careers areas
(3) Asperger Syndrome self esteem boosting (intended for someone with AS to talk to someone with AS).
If you are an individual with Asperger Syndrome (AS) and interested in mentoring someone else with AS, please mention that in your email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please contact Kerry Mataya at email@example.com for mentor availability.