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Autism Society Elects New Board Members; Officers Including First Non-Parent to Lead Organization

COLUMBIA, MD:  The Howard County Autism Society (HCAS) at its December 2021 Annual Meeting added six new members to its Board of Directors, honored its Volunteers of the Year, and elected a new slate of officers, including the organization’s first non-parent to serve as President.

Joining the Board as its new officers are Donald M. Barrick, President, Andrew Stettner, Vice President, Pamela Stiner, Treasurer and Brad Bernstein, Secretary.

Barrick, a Commercial Real Estate Broker and Principal Member of the BAF Group LLC, has the distinction of being the first non-parent to serve as President in the organization’s nearly 30-year history.

“It is my unqualified honor to serve as the first non-parent President of HCAS, a role I do not take lightly,” says Barrick. “I look forward to working with each and every one of you – self-advocates, parents, family members, professionals, the business and disability communities and others – to improve services and expand opportunities for everyone in the Autism and disability community.”

Patrick Boxall completed a three-year term as President of HCAS, having navigated the organization through the challenges of COVID-19, losses within our community, great growth and change.  He will continue to serve as HCAS’ Past President and member of the Executive Committee.

Continuing their service to the Board are Theresa Ballinger, Don Barrick, Patrick Boxall, Brad Bernstein, Jackie Robinson-Cooper, Jim Curran, Nora Hart, Robin Kittleman, Matthew Plantz, Sabina Sambat, Pam Steiner, Andrew Stettner, Jorge Tirigall, Mia Williams and Lisa Wilson.

Members completing their service at the end of 2021 including Katie Gandy, Marianne Martinson and Catherine Pakulla.  HCAS remembered and honored Board Member Erik Myers who passed away in fall 2021. His spirit and contributions are greatly missed.

New individuals joining the HCAS Board of Directors include:

Alex Arevalo – Originally from Lima, Peru, Alex currently lives in Columbia, MD. Alex is a board-certified behavior analyst and licensed behavior analyst in the state of Maryland. He has more than 7 years of experience in the assessment and treatment of severe problem behavior. He spent those years at the Neurobehavioral Unit (NBU) at Kennedy Krieger Institute doing both clinical and research work. Currently, Alex works with individuals diagnosed with autism providing ABA services. He became involved with HCAS through co-leading the Latino Parent Support Group to orient and increase resources to Latino families.

 Cindy T. Graham, Ph.D. is a licensed clinical psychologist and CEO/founder of Brighter Hope Wellness Center, a mental health group practice in Clarksville, MD. Dr. Graham has specialized in working with people diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, I/DD, and severe behavior problems for 23+ years. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Princeton University and both masters and doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology from Louisiana State University. She trained at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics with rotations at Kennedy Krieger Institute. She has been featured in The Washington Post, “O, The Oprah Magazine”, Parents, The HuffPost, and Good Morning Washington. Dr. Graham lives in Howard County with her family.

 Shannon Kenney has been involved in the work of inclusion and equity for over a decade, dedicated to facilitating groups to move to a place of cultural competence both personally and organizationally. Ms. Keeny has presented at several international conferences and co-authored an article for ASCD, Questioning Our Beliefs and Biases. She is co-author of Culture, Class, and Race: Constructive Conversations That Unite and Energize Your School and Community.  In addition to her position as a facilitator in the office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, she has been an adjunct professor for the McDaniel College Excellence and Equity in Education Master’s Program.

Benjamin Smith is a Data Analyst / Programmer with the United States Government.  He graduated with a degree in Mathematics from Towson University and is a self-advocate active in the HCAS Adult Social Group.  Ben has an interest in advocacy issues and has participated in the Autism Society of America’s Day on the Hill, visiting with lawmakers and sharing his perspective on issues as a person with a disability.  Says Ben, I understand about Autism. I understand the challenges that Autistic individuals face. Having advocacy is not something that is automatic, but it is something that makes these individual stories incredible. Ben makes his home in BelAir, MD

 Pamela Williams is originally from Georgia, and has lived in Howard County since 2001. Pam has two children and her son, Jonathan, is on the spectrum.  Pam has worked with HCAS for years to get additional support and guidance as needed, and this has been helpful for Jonathan upon his diagnosis in elementary school.  Over the past few years, Pam has been participating in the Education Committee. Pam is interested in youth transitions from high school. Pamela is the Director for the Cancer & Chronic Disease Bureau at Maryland Department of Health.

Maria Rose Baltazar was raised in Maryland and moved to Howard County in 2000 after starting her employee benefit sales career in NYC.  She currently lives in Ellicott City with her husband and two sons, the youngest of which is on the spectrum and attends Howard County Public School. Since her son’s diagnosis in 2011, HCAS has been a vital resource to her family, offering seminars, events, and a diverse network of professionals to better understand what it is to raise a child with autism.  With her personal, professional, and non-profit experience, Rose brings her collaborative spirit to the HCAS.

A complete listing and bios of HCAS Board Members can be found at https://howard-autism.org/about-us/board-of-directors/

Also at the Annual Meeting, HCAS announced Erik Myers and Judye Hering as recipients of the 2021 Madhu Thibaudeau Volunteer of the Year Award.  ​​Erik and Judye were recognized for their role in founding and supporting the HCAS Adult Social Group. Erik was an HCAS Board Member who passed away in fall 2021. He is greatly missed by the HCAS and local Autism community.  Judye is an Autism mom who first suggested the idea of the group.  The award was named in honor of HCAS Board and staff member Madhu Thibaudeau who died in 2019 and is awarded each year in tribute to her generous and loving spirit.


About the Howard County Autism Society:  For nearly 30 years, the Howard County Autism Society (HCAS) has served individuals with Autism, their families and the community by providing information, support, and advocacy; promoting awareness of Autism that values the dignity and uniqueness of each individual; and working to improve the quality of and access to services and opportunities.  The organization seeks to empower meaningful participation and self-determination in all aspects of life for individuals with Autism.

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