Learn about our dedicated & knowledgeable leaders who help make our meetings and events possible.
Teri Beardsley is married with two children and is now retired after 31 years in Special Education. She holds multiple certifications and endorsements. Over her career, she specialized in Cross Categorical Resource, Developmental Preschool, and Kindergarten. Her passion for Autistic children was enriched, as for most involved with the Autism Society, by a wonderful son who is currently very involved in SEEDS for Autism. Volunteerism is a way of life for Teri, and retirement has not slowed her down. She served as coordinator for West Valley AZ ASSIST, in addition to teaching online courses and supervising student teachers for Grand Canyon University. Before Teri moved to Arizona in 1985, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Speech and Language Pathology from Illinois State University, and a Master’s in Special and Elementary Education from Northern Illinois University. Her many interests include her two well-loved dogs, reading, cooking, and knitting. Teri loves travel enough to enjoy setting up itineraries for other’s vacations, although she is a strong supporter of all things local, including shops and restaurants of downtown Phoenix.
Sarah Blank and her husband, Levi, have three sons. Two of their children are on the spectrum. Sarah‘s oldest son was diagnosed with Autism in 2009. Sarah has an M.Ed and taught English at Estrella Mountain and Phoenix Community Colleges. She now works for the Gentry Foundation as a Family Liaison. She is passionate about helping guide families with a recent Autism diagnosis.
Sarah is excited to support, engage, and encourage parents and caregivers through the Autism Society of Greater Phoenix’s monthly Goodyear support group.
Cynthia is the meeting leader for the Caregiver Support Group in the North Valley. She is the parent of a child with Autism.
Susan Golubock, an Autistic Occupational Therapist (OT), has worked almost exclusively for over 20 years with Autistic individuals since her diagnosis. Her 40+ years as an OT include certification in sensory processing, courses in executive functioning, yearly in-services on Autism, and a master’s degree in special education assistive technology. Susan had the opportunity to work with a team of therapists and school administrators to bring about a system change toward a more educationally relevant therapy service delivery model that is now considered best practice. Susan has both participated in and presented at a yearly retreat/conference planned for and run by Autistic adults for 10 years. She, and Jim Sinclair, a strong Autistic advocate, spent over 4 years providing lectures to schools, clinics, and conferences on working effectively with Autistic individuals as part of her business, Making Sense of Autism, LLC. She has, for the past 19 years, attended and then co-hosted an Autistic adult support group, now under the auspices of the Autism Society of Greater Phoenix. Susan is currently working on researching the effectiveness of training modules for a Neuro-Strengths-Based Approach to Autism in helping therapists, educators, and parents better understand the research being done on Dutism and how to use it to work more effectively with Autistic individuals, from an Autistic perspective.
Rachel Lack is a documentary filmmaker and owner at Purling Place Productions. She is the parent of a child with Autism.
Tara Marshall is an Autistic adult who has a Bachelor’s Degree in Anthropology and Religious Studies, and an Associates Degree in Speech Language Pathology. She is currently working as a Speech Language Pathology Assistant, trying to help other people with disabilities, especially other Autistic people, learn communication skills. Her frequent interests include reading about science, especially the common co-occurring medical issues in Autism, general evolutionary biology, dinosaurs, sharks, and science fiction. She is a controlled crazy cat lady, who currently has 3 cats, a dog, and a husband in her home. When not working, she is found reading, writing, and listening to music from small bands that most people in the USA have never heard of. Tara has Hypermobile Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, 2 Primary Immunodeficiency Disorders, a suspected Mast Cell Activation Disorder, Epilepsy, and Anxiety. Tara co-hosts an Autistic adult support group alongside Sue Golubock.
Brad Nuttall has worked professionally as a writer, designer, analyst, inventor, consultant, mentor, economic advisor, and software developer. After graduating from Arizona State University with a Mechanical Engineering degree, he helped a small engineering firm in Arizona successfully launch the R&D branch of their company to complement their core business of engineering analysis. He achieved this by marrying innovative ideas with grant funding and connecting the dots to develop winning teams consisting of key government stakeholders, large aerospace and defense primes, important academic affiliates, and critical commercial-licensing partners. Later, he consulted as a “rocket scientist” (engineering stress analyst) on the NASA Space Launch System (SLS) – more commonly known as the “Artemis rocket” – that will take astronauts back to the moon and eventually to Mars. His engineering efforts helped guide the rocket from conception through development and into production.
Additionally, Brad has prior experience serving on the Governor’s Economic Advisory Committee, has been a key contributor to engineering teams nominated for the Governor’s Pioneering Innovation and Popular Mechanics Invention of the Year Awards, and has mentored many of ASU’s business and engineering groups on their respective senior capstone projects.
Brad is committed to helping Arizona’s ASD community live full, socially-connected, financially-fulfilling lives. This mission is the most personal to him since he, himself, is a member of the ASD community. As such, he has deep, intimate knowledge of the struggles the ASD community face on a daily basis, and believes his successful track record of instituting innovative technical and human-factor solutions can help us fix what has become a broken system.
In particular, the adult ASD community has an 85% unemployment rate and an average life expectancy of only 45 years due to mostly preventable causes, namely childhood accidents and extremely high rates of suicide across all ages (due to bullying, stresses associated with masking and camouflaging, and ultimately widespread social isolation and financial insecurity). This is not a successful track record of addressing our problems; indeed, these statistics speak directly to our inefficiencies and failures as a society.
As part of a broader movement dedicated to change for the better, Brad has volunteered to host in person adult ASD social support meetings with the utmost of care and compassion – a safe space for us to connect with others who “get it”. We wish to build long-lasting friendships and social connections that can assist us through life. Ultimately, these groups offer a judgment-free, uplifting, positive environment for us to have fun while gaining the unique support only members within the community can provide.
Dawn Oliver is a retired Admissions and Development Director, Education Consultant, Teacher/ Trainer and Freelance Writer with a passion for helping students to achieve their greatest potential by honoring them for who they are and embracing all their individual differences. Her career began as a high school teacher of English, speech, and theatre arts, quickly advanced into private school administration, admissions, and development. She resides in Arizona with her husband and two daughters. She has been volunteering with the Autism Society of Greater Phoenix for several years as a leader of a young Autistic adult group that meets monthly.
Dawn holds a degree in English/Education from Douglass College of Rutgers University with teaching certificates to teach English and Speech and Theatre Arts. She also completed a Specialized Summer School Institute in the Morningside model of generative instruction for teachers, in addition to serving as one of the directors, at Morningside Academy in Seattle, Washington. Morningside Academy is a nationally acclaimed and successful Foundations and Middle school Program for students with learning differences that provides instruction tailored to meet each student’s needs, enabling them to catch up, build up, and get ahead. As Director of Education at Tutor Doctor, she met with families seeking 1:1 tutoring services, conducted assessments, offered consultation services, and developed individual learning plans to promote student success. She also supervised and trained a large staff of fifty highly qualified tutors. She has also participated in various programs offered by the UCLA PEERS program at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior. The Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS®) is world-renowned for providing evidence-based social skills treatment to preschoolers, adolescents, and young adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), anxiety, depression, and other socio-emotional problems.
Dave Taylor is married with 2 children and is a Supervising Producer with The EW Scripps Company. He has previously hosted several #DadChats for the non-profit Fathering Together, and has moderated a lot of Zoom and in-person networking events for other non-profits as well. He has a Bachelor’s Degree in Broadcast Journalism from the University of Southern California. He and his wife’s motto for their kids, both of whom are on the Autism spectrum, is “whatever the f*** it takes.” He is always looking to learn from others, and is excited to help other Dads be the best they can be, while helping their kids be the best they can be. Dave also loves playing pickleball and tennis, and going out to try new bars and restaurants in the Phoenix area.